Friday, July 06, 2007

Returning To Who-ville

"Doctor Who" fans like myself can breathe a bit easier tonight with the American debut of Series 3 (or Series 29, depending on how you count) tonight on the Sci-Fi Channel.

When the show first returned with Christopher Eccleston in the title role three years ago, I'll admit to some nerves at the time, because who knew if the new series would capture what was so magical of the original. But under the stewardship of producer Russell T. Davies, "Doctor Who" has been all that and more.

Last season, with David Tennant taking over the title role, the show has taken its game to another level. Except for one mis-step the entire season ("Fear Her"), Tennant's first year in the role saw some of the best ever work for the series, with episodes such as "School Reunion," "Love and Monsters" and perhaps the best hour of TV all of last season, "The Girl In The Fireplace."

Series 3 picks up tonight (Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.) moments after last season left off. The Doctor has just bid a tearful farewell to his companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), who is trapped forever on a parallel Earth. As he turns around, a woman in a wedding dress (Catherine Tate) has appeared out of nowhere on the Doctor's ship, the TARDIS.

I actually thought the brilliantly comic Tate would have been worthy as a full-time successor to Piper, because Tate excels at playing rather oddball roles. Playing a rather shrewish and jilted bride might have made for a nice contrast from Rose, but alas, Tate only appears in the premiere, which served as the Christmas special in the UK.

Sci-Fi is also airing the official third season premiere tonight at 9:30 p.m., which introduces new companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), a medical student who teams with the Doctor after her hospital mysteriously vanishes, then reappears on the moon.

Piper left the series as one of the most popular actresses on British TV, and it was likely a daunting task to find a replacement, but Agyeman has drawn raves thus far as Series 3 just ended in Britain. It's being reported this week that pop star Kylie Minogue has signed on to appear in this year's Christmas special, which should be interesting.

Meanwhile, "Doctor Who" fans who are awaiting to see the show's spinoff, "Torchwood," your wait is almost over. BBC America will start airing the first season of "Torchwood" in September.

SATC NEWS: New Line has announced it is beginning production of the long-awaited "Sex & The City" movie, which has been floating around ever since the series ended a few years ago. All four actresses - Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis - have been signed for the movie, though no word on some of the male roles, such as Chris Noth.

I think a "SATC" movie will probably do well for itself in terms of box office, but how they approach it from a dramatic standpoint will be interesting. "SATC" was successful because it was able to integrate intertwining storylines for all four women over a season's worth of episodes; I don't know how that will translate into a two-hour movie, especially since all of the previous storylines were wrapped up.

It's the same reason why I'm one of the few people who has never clamored for a "Sopranos" movie, because the beauty of the series was its character development over a season. That's something that's hard to accomplish in a film.

But I guess we'll see.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: I'm not certain, but tonight may be the final episode of "Standoff" (Fox, 9 p.m.), a mostly entertaining little series that never found its audience.

One series that did find an audience was "Jericho," which was rescued in the 11th hour by rabid fans. If you want to see what the fuss is all about, the show's pilot is being re-aired tonight (CBS, 9 p.m.)

The "Live Earth" concert, featuring some of the biggest acts in music, airs Saturday (NBC, 8 p.m.) If nothing else, it's a chance to catch a reunited Pink Floyd as well as the Police. Madonna, Shakira, Faith Hill, Duran Duran, John Mayer and others are also listed to perform.

Sunday's best bet is another episode of "Foyle's War" (PBS, 9 p.m.)


Hotspur said...

Foyle's War is one of the best British mystery series. Well worth watching

zodin2008 said...

No comment on "Who". I tried the new version a few years ago and it didn't do anything to me. At least it seems they spend more then $5 on special effects, unlike the series you seem to remember so fondly from your childhood.

"Standoff" wasn't a show I was wild about when it premeried last Fall--but just like "Studio 60" on NBC, each network buried the show for months, waited for the May sweeps to pass, and each show was brought back with little fanfare.

And just like "Studio 60", "Standoff" leaves better then ever. The show has been terrific the last 5 weeks, really hitting its stride creatively with some fast paced and well done storytelling.

The chemistry has always been there between the lead actors, but the show never went much beyond the actors sparks. Until these last few weeks.

I think what it says to me is that in the good old days, networks gave solid shows with potential more time to grow & find an audience and hit their stride creatively. it's a shame that NBC and Fox showed no patience and now kick out the door two good television series (before their time) and instead continue to litter the Television landscape with trash like "Are you Smarter then a 5th Grader?" or "Age of Love".

It's shameful. What's more shameful in that today's low attention span culture, the dumbed down audience is choosing these mindless reality escapes, rather then forcing themselves to watch an entertaining hour of TV, like "Standoff".

"Sex & the City".

This was a show that myself and a lot of men suprisingly got into. Of course legions of women (including my wife) are rabid SATC fans, but this show was smart, brutally funny and honest, and it appealed to men.

It even had a stable of good male characters such as Big (Chris Noth), Aidan (John Corbett), Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler), and Steve Brady(David Eigenberg).

others such as Kyle Maclaughlin even big gues stars like Matthew Mcgonahey made appearances).

So as a male fan of SATC, I think a movie, with the correct writing team and careful plotting, could be a real winner. The box office is there (think it could get the kind of $ next Summer that "Devil Wears Prada" banked in 2006) especially with so many big budget sequels and special effects movie, this movie has an opportunity to be a great date movie and actually have humor for adults.

This really was (and always will be) the defining role in the career of the talented & funny Sarah Jessica Parker so it will hopefully be worthy of seeing her at her best. (and I can guarantee they will have Noth, Handler and Eigenberg in this film...all 3 were major characters along with 2 key Gay characters, Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) and Anthony Marantino (hilarious comedian, Mario Cantone, a regular fixture on Comedy Cnetral and VH1).

(Oh, and "Standoff" star Ron Livingston, was one of Carrie Bradshaw's more well known deposed boyfriends, Jack Berger...he infamously dumped Carrie through a Post-It note!).