Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Big News on the Doctor Who Front

I haven't done as much on this blog thus far on talking about television news, but it is part of what I occasionally want to cover, especially when it has a big effect on television shows that I absolutely love, in this case, the longest running Sci-Fi show in all of history, Doctor Who...

Before I get to the news on this fantastic (and fantastical) show, I want to talk a little bit about the last season, the first since the Doctor came back without Russell T. Davies in charge, the first under Stephen Moffat.

While some people I know didn't enjoy the Moffat run series as much as they did the Davies run seasons prior to it (featuring Christopher Eccleston for a year, and David Tennant for four, three series and a series of specials), most critics praised this last season, and I agree.  While I (and I'm sure most fans of the Doctor would agree) am a huge fan of Tennant's incarnation, and despite my enjoyment of Matt Smith, he's no David Tennant, the overall story of the series was the best of the new run, in my opinion.  I am a fan of a series (or season as we say in the good ol' U S of A) that is truly serial, where each episode works with each other and towards a specific end.  There are no throw-away episodes, no "time-wasters".

I thought the last season's story was incredibly imaginative, and the finale was fantastic, one of the best in quite some time.

So, the big news of the last couple of days for Doctor Who is that next season will be split into two stories with a break in the middle allowing for a cliff-hanger episode.  An interview with Moffat from The Guardian broke this news.  The Doctor will return to the air for seven episodes, concluding with "an earth shattering climax", a "game-changing cliffhanger", then going on hiatus until the autumn when the show will return with six more episodes (ostensibly telling a different story coming out of the game-changer that occurred in the mid-season finale) culminating in the season finale.  The Doctor will then return on Christmas with the Christmas special.

The departure of the fantastic David Tennant also meant that ratings weren't as strong as they were in the final Tennant year, so the hope is that with double the "event" episodes, the premiere, a mid-season finale, the autumn premiere, and the season finale (instead of just one premiere and finale we now have two of each), the ratings overall will be stronger.

Personally, I am not a fan of splitting a season in two, with a hiatus in the middle, and this is what Heroes attempted to do in its last couple of seasons, and that didn't work out so well at all.  However, I think that we can all agree that the stories on Doctor Who under Moffat are much better than anything on Heroes after season one.  Doctor Who is a much better show, and so the failure of Heroes shouldn't really have anything to do with this decision in regards to Doctor Who.

A major plus, of course, is that while the number of episodes doesn't change, there will be new Doctor Who throughout the year.  We "are never going to be more than [a] few months from the new series of Doctor Who."  And as an impatient person, that is an exciting thing.

The other thing to talk about with this news is, of course, what the "earth shattering climax", the "game-changing cliffhanger" will be.  Will it result in the actual, unchangeable death of a companion?  Something that is very rare in the world of Doctor Who, and hasn't occurred in quite some time.  Really only one major companion has died (although a few others who haven't traveled as long with the Time Lord have also died), Aldric who was a companion of the fourth and fifth Doctor throughout seasons 18, 19, and 21.  So if Amy Pond is killed off, that would be a game-changer.

A bigger game-changer, of course, would be the Doctor regenerating into a woman, but that probably won't happen anytime soon.

Until Next Time, Whatever happens, Moffat won me over last season, and I look forward to what he does next with the series.

Friday, August 27, 2010

LOST The New Man in Charge, first thoughts


No, seriously... SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, if you are still here, then I will assume that you have watched the entirity of LOST and perhaps watched this special as well.

On the LOST Season 6 Blu Ray, there is a special feature from after Dr. Jack's death (What? I told you there were spoilers!) entitled The New Man in Charge. It looks at the time on the Island with Ben working for Hurley.

If you are one of the people who complained about the number of answers neglected in the finale, this less than fifteen minutes will probably be exactly what you wanted. Tons of "questions" are answered in the special, and there are also a lot of good little LOST in jokes.

While most people will focus on the answers provided, I want to talk a little bit about the jokes, because the sense of humor in LOST is a part of the show that I loved, but never really spent much time talking about.

First, the special makes fun of its own purpose, the fact that there are questions that people want answers to that the show itself didn't have enough time to divulge. When the DHARMA workers ask who Ben is and what he is doing there, Ben replies, "I'm tying up a few loose ends."

While watching the Hydra Orientation video, Dr. Chang actually uses his real name, but he asks that those watching not give it out as he would hate to have to use an alias in the future, which, of course, we know that he does. The reveal is handled in a very amusing aside, which I really liked. If you really had to know why Chang always uses a different name in the videos, now you know, otherwise, it was an amusing joke.

The next reveal also made me laugh, as we got the reappearance of the Hurley Bird, which is called a Hy-Bird by the DHARMA folk.

And by the way, how awesome was the Polar Bear worker who apparently got a little too close to the Bears referenced by the loss of his arm. A nice little foreshadowing for Chang himself.

Just after the video ends, Hector references one of my all time favorite LOST moments, saying, "I think we're gonna need to see that again." That was of course the first thing that Locke said after watching the first orientation video we saw way back in season 2.

Finally, Ben goes to our favorite mental institution and we find our favorite kidnappee, which leads to the great moment of Walt asking Ben if he is there to kidnap him again.

Tons of questions were answered, and it was great to have some new LOST if only for 12 minutes, the only problem is that it raised another huge question that apparently we will never get an answer to...

Until Next Time, how in the world did they get a DHARMA Van to present day Los Angeles?

Josh Man