I attended my first convention when I was 15 years old (I won’t tell you how long ago that was). It was a sci-fi convention in New York City – guests included cast members from classic Star Trek, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, authors like Isaac Asimov, and more. I’ve attended quite a few since then – Creation Cons, I-Cons, you name it. I admit, many things have changed over the years, but some things remain the same.
A sense of joy, enthusiasm, community, and creativity pervades these events like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Luckily, this remains the same. For shy, quiet nerds like myself, there’s a sense of belonging and opportunity to express yourself (costumes are optional, but a marvel to behold – sadly, I don’t have that level of creativity or dedication). It becomes a party with strangers you feel you already know – a celebration of fandom – weird and wonderful. One where you are welcomed with open arms.
At many conventions, fans have an opportunity to meet and mingle with the stars of their favorite films and TV shows. I remember meeting George Takei (Sulu – Star Trek) as a teen, hearing his booming laugh from across the room, and the late James Doohan (Scotty – Star Trek), whose smile lit up the auditorium as he regaled us with Star Trek stories, sporting various accents (which he learned by ear). I met Jimmy Doohan several times. He is sorely missed. These memories still make me smile.
There are some changes – the crowds are a good deal more diverse and more women and families attend these events now. It wasn’t coolwhen I was growing up to let my geek flag fly, especially being a girl and a Latina. Now it’s downright chic to be geek. I admit it, I wear it like a badge. I’ve been out of the “Geek Closet” for a long time and proud of it.
Attending as media, I feel an obligation to be a bit more restrained and behave (not that I aim to misbehave – wink to Firefly fans) and not geek out. I feel the need to step back into observation mode but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still get a bit star-struck after all these years– I’ll always be a fan first.
After a 6 month wait – thanks to Snowpocalypse January2016 – I finally got aglimpse of the irrepressible John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow), the fun-loving Stephen Amell (Arrow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), the adorable David Mazouz (Gotham, The Darkness), and others from the DC Comics TV EU. It was certainly a treat.
With thousands in attendance (over the course of the weekend, or so I’d heard), the main floor was buzzing with activity – vendors tables, cosplayers, and actors running between panels and autograph tables, kindly greeting fans with smiles. I can only imagine how exhausted they were. There was so much to see and so many people to squeeze through, I was exhausted just being there, but I enjoyed myself and met some great folks.
I had a quick, but lovely chat with Sean Pertwee (Alfred on Gotham – IMHO the best and most badass Alfred to date). He recalled his experiences with conventions growing up, attending with his father, the late Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who/The 3rd Doctor). I met Jon at a con a few years before his death and he was larger than life. Sean saw fandom full throttle then and he’s a part of it now. Sean is incredibly gracious and kind to fans, as evidenced by his struggle to speak with a hoarse voice (his signature raspy voice even raspier), he kept going, signing autographs, taking pictures and attending panels with co-stars. Like his father before him, Sean Pertwee is beloved by fans and quite the mensch.
I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with actor Maximiliano Hernandez (The Last Ship, Hand of God, Winter Soldier, Sicario). I caught up with the busy film and television actor at HVFF and we chatted about his career and becoming part of the Marvel EU.
I also met some fellow writers and musicians and remembered why I started this journey in the first place. 15-year-old me would be proud.
If my muse cooperates, I hope to have more for you. Until we virtually meet again…
After many long months of waiting since the first teaser trailer for the third installment of the current Star Trek reboot movies, I had started to wonder why I hadn’t seen much fanfare since. It had seemed as though the PR machine had gone silent, almost grinding to a halt. The first trailer, with the Beastie Boys soundtrack, had many fans, myself included, viewing this next installment with a skeptical eye. After that, I could hear a pin drop.
I’d gone looking for the release date for the film. Realizing it was due out this summer made me wonder why hadn’t I seen more about it? Last night, the new trailer dropped, and I could stop “waiting to exhale”. It had action and adventure, yes, but most of all, it seemed as though this trailer focussed more on the “heart” of Star Trek. As a long time fan of the original series and the adventures that followed – from Next Generation, to Deep Space 9, through to Voyager – the heart of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s vision, and hope for humanity, is why I kept coming back.
Let’s hope Star Trek Beyond embodies the essence of this beloved franchise.
Here’s a look at the second trailer for Star Trek Beyond, starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, and the always-awesome Idris Elba – due out July 22, 2016.
Last year I saw reports that Lifetime had a new horror series entitled Damien, based on the classic 1976 film The Omen, starring Lee Remick and Gregory Peck (with Patrick Troughton from Doctor Who as the impaled priest, because you know, all roads lead back…). But when the series failed to materialize in early 2015, as reported, I didn’t know if I should be upset or relieved.
An intense Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan in “The Omen” (1976).
Omen II(1978)starring William Holden, Lee Grant and Robert Foxworth, saw Damien reluctantly (though not too reluctant) accept the mantle of Antichrist, and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), starring a then lesser-known Sam Neill, saw Damien’s rise to power.
The new series Damien, which somehow landed on A&E, would seem to fit in the timeline between the second and third films, whilst ignoring the remake (starring Liev Schreiber and Julia Styles) entirely. From what I understand, Damien draws heavily from the original 1976 film (not sure where this leaves the 1978 film Omen II) and follows an adult Damien Thorn (as a photojournalist, not a politician) apparently unaware of his destiny, definitely setting the stage for some great drama and suspense.
Harvey Stephens as young Damien Thorn in “The Omen” (1976).
Given the popularity of Bates Motel, it seems fitting that A&E, instead of Lifetime, has picked up the series. Created by Walking Dead producer Glen Mazzara, one hopes for something that honors the original film’s chilling tone. Certainly Mazzara is no stranger to pushing the horror envelope.
I feared Lifetime would err on the side of “camping things up”, ala The Witches of East End (which is a guilty pleasure I admit to, in the vein of Charmed, so no angry letters, please). But for Damien, I want something else. I want to see his journey – his evolution. If there’s anything human in him, I want to see how deeply conflicted he is as he is tempted toward the dark side – “Yes, Damien, he is your father.”
This will require an actor with skill, someone who can be likable and charismatic, as well as haunted and dark. Enter fan favorite Bradley James (Merlin, iZombie). An IMDB search to see what James had been up to led me to this little tidbit, and I was immediately intrigued, and dare I say it, excited.
Bradley James as Prince Arthur Pendragon in the BBC Series “Merlin”.
With his leading man good looks, James was cast as the heroic young Arthur Pendragon in Merlin (2008-2012), and more recently, as the funny, charming and lovable musician Lowell Tracey in iZombie (he quickly endeared himself to audiences as Liv’s ill-fated zombie lover – a sentence I thought I’d never write, and will probably never write again).
To keep audiences hooked he’ll have to walk a fine line between sympathetic/tortured and downright evil, as we know what Damien is destined to become. We know Norman Bates’ fate and the fates of those around him in Bates Motel, given the source material Psycho, still we find sympathy for Norman as he battles against a severe mental illness and hallucinations that compel him to kill.
Unlike Norman, whom we meet as a teen under the thumb of his controlling (still alive), neurotic (possibly borderline personality) mother Norma, Damien (as portrayed by Bradley James) is a grown man. He may not be so easily manipulated and he will likely be aware of his actions.
Norman Bates as portrayed by Freddie Highmore in the A&E series “Bates Motel” and Anthony Perkins in the 1960 film “Psycho”.
As we saw briefly in Omen II, Damien initially has reservations about his future as Prince of the Underworld and overlord to humanity, but he turns too quickly for my taste, killing his cousin and best friend Mark, when Mark rejects him upon learning the truth. This is where he seems to turn towards the Dark Side, never to return. However, in Omen III the tables are turned, and it is his humanity and feelings for a woman that becomes his undoing. (Sorry for the spoilers, folks, but the films have been out for over 30 years). Again, this felt forced. I wanted to see a more remorseful, conflicted Damien. Perhaps now I’ll get my wish.
Let’s face it, we love our reformed bad boys, don’t we? Complex, brooding, bad, but with a softer side. We certainly love our tortured supernatural beings – starting with the first repentant vampire Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows), inspiring characters like Nick Knight (Forever Knight), Angel (Angel), Methos (Highlander), and more recently, Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries) and Klaus Mikaelson (The Originals).
Bradley James as Damien v. 5.0 (If you count all the films).
It will be interesting to see Damien’s development over time, and if like Klaus in The Originals, if he will walk that tightrope between villain and sympathetic anti-hero; someone who loves deeply, and is fiercely protective and loyal, only to doom those closest to him, due to his nature and the beast within (in Klaus’ case, his vampiric/hybrid nature, in Damien’s, his demonic birthright). Is Damien damned? Does he have a choice? Or was his fate sealed before he was even born?
I’m intrigued, not to mention, more than mildly interested in seeing more of the devilishly handsome (see what I did there?) Bradley James (hopefully in various states of undress… but I digress, as I often do…) and definitely looking forward to seeing him as Damien Thorn.
Damien airs Monday, March 7th, 2016 at 10pm EST on A&E after the season premiere of Bates Motel.
“This is the ideal place for all of us lunatics who love to live in the world of the imagination.”
– John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies(Lord of the Rings) returns to New Zealand and the land of Elves (this time as an Elf himself) on the set of MTV’s new series, TheShannara Chronicles, based on the best-selling books written by fantasy author Terry Brooks. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) co-produced the series along with Smallville and Into the Badlands creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough,in concert with Brooks.
Starring John Rhys-Davies, Poppy Drayton(Downton Abbey), Aaron Jakubenko (Spartacus: War of the Damned’s), Austin Butler (Carrie Diaries, Arrow) and Manu Bennett(Arrow, Spartacus),the series follows the adventures of three teens on their own epic quest.
The locations are lush and beautiful, as one has come to expect from New Zealand productions, and the sets look grand. MTV hopes to cash in on the sword and sorcery/LOTR craze with Shannara, and what little I’ve seen, looks promising.
Here’s a glimpse into the world of The Shannara Chronicles debuting Tuesday, January 5, 2016 on MTV at 10pm EST.
You can’t keep a good dog down, and it seems, even after almost 40 years, our beloved robotic canine (get it?) appears to have more lives than a cat. K-9 is set to return again, this time in a standalone film of his own. The inner-seven-year-old inside me couldn’t help but get excited when I read earlier this week that K-9 would be back. He was part of my childhood. I first fell in love with Doctor Who during the Tom Baker era, and for me, K-9 was part of the family.
It was announced earlier this week that K-9 Creator and writer Bob Baker, along with Nick Park from the Wallace and Gromit series, is producing the film K9: TimeQuake, which is due out in theaters in 2017 and will feature our robotic hero facing off against a classic Doctor Who villain from the 3rd Doctor and 5th Doctor eras – Omega.
Omega staring down at the The Second and Third Doctors (Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) in “The Three Doctors” (1973).
Omega, a legendary Time Lord himself and an intergalactic engineer, had been credited with founding early Time Lord society, along with the great and mighty Rassilon, and with harnessing the power from a supernova to give the Gallifreyans mastery over space and time. Unfortunately, Omega was trapped in an anti-matter universe and had gone mad as a result. He has come close to destroying the galaxy more than once, only to be stopped on each occasion by TheDoctor. Omega has appeared in several Doctor Who stories including – TheThree Doctors 10th Anniversary Special (with Stephen Thorne as Omega) (1973) ,The Arc of Infinity (with Ian Collier and Peter Davison as Omega) (1983)and the Big Finish5th Doctor audio Omega (2003), with Ian Collier reprising the role.
K-9 Mark I (as voiced by John Leeson) and The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) in the TARDIS.
A Girl’s Best Friend… K-9 first appeared in the 4th Doctor adventure The Invisible Enemy (1977). He was the creation of Professor Marius, in the year 5000. K-9 joined The Doctor and then-companion Leela (played by Louise Jameson) on various adventures. With his computerized brain and laser snout, K-9 soon proved to be a valuable member of the crew.
Even after The4th Doctor left Leela on Gallifrey with K-9 Mark I and Romana in E-Space with K-9 Mark II, we knew we hadn’t seen the last of our beloved tin dog.K-9 seemed to have as many lives as The Doctor, returning for not just one, or two, but three TV spinoffs, several specials and Big Finish Audios over the years.
K-9 Mark III was left as a gift for former companion Sarah Jane Smith from The 4th Doctor in the TV pilot K9 and Company (1981) – the first attempt at a Sarah Jane spinoff (starring Lis Sladen). K-9 resurfaced again in the The Five Doctors 20th AnniversarySpecial (1983), with Sarah Jane, and yet again for the David Tennant story School Reunion (2006), reuniting Sarah Jane, K-9 and The 10th Doctor.
Lightning struck twice for K-9 and Sarah and the result was the hit BBC Kids series TheSarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011). Sadly, K-9Mark IV was trapped in a void for most of series, as he was promised to DisneyXD (featuring modifications and design changes – I favored his original design) for aK-9 Series(2009-2010) for Australia. Each time he was voiced by the original actor John Leeson (actor David Brierly voiced him briefly in 1978).
Sarah Jane Smith (Lis Sladen) and K-9 Mark IV in the Doctor Who episode “School Reunion” (2006).
Initial Reaction to “TimeQuake”… To be honest, I’m having trouble seeing this work on the big screen and don’t understand why they haven’t just done a theatrical release based on The Doctor (yes, they made two movies with Peter Cushing, but that was a long time ago).
I held out hope that K-9 would return to the current series of Doctor Whoalongside Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Let’s face it, Capaldi would have a blast, and K-9 would quickly endear himself to the irascible old Time Lord, as well the rest of us, as he always does.
I also held out hope that Time LadyRomana and K-9 Mark II might have survived the Time War and resurfaced during the 9th Series along with the resurrected Time Lords, or Team Sarah Jane: The Next Generation featuring her kids (now grown), might end up working for U.N.I.T. with K-9 Mark IV at their side. A gal can dream, right?
Instead, the Time Lord’s best friend will be fighting the big bad alone, facing off against one of The Doctor’s oldest enemies. Not sure how that will play out, but happy to hear K-9 is still out there, fighting the good fight.
Here’s a classic moment with K9 Mark I and Leela (Louise Jameson).
And another, a rare clip featuring an inebriated (not sure how) K-9 Mark II with Romana Mark I(Mary Tamm) and The Doctor Mark IV. Enjoy!
The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) in “The Fires of Pompeii”
That’s right! Not only are the Ood singing, Whovians everywhere are rejoicing! You read it right! DavidTennant and Catherine Tate are reprising their roles as the 10th Doctor and companion Donna Noble from Doctor Who,as reported earlier today on the Big Finish website!
David, one of my favorite Doctors (after Peter Davison, who happens to be his father-in-law, but I digress, as I often do…) remains a fan of the series and an advocate to this day, and in spite of his busy filming schedule for Jessica Jones (David plays the Purple Man/Killgrave, in case you missed it), he’s returned with the brilliant actress/comedienne Catherine Tate to record a series of audios for Big Finish Audios.
Big Finish has been championing the ongoing and missing adventures of Doctor Whosince before its television revival in 2005, when the Doctor returned in the form of Chris Eccleston’s 9th Doctor.
Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures aredue out in May 2016 – exclusively on the Big Finish site. Each of the (3) three titles are available to pre-order separately today for just £10.99 (approximately $17 US) on CD or £8.99 (approximately $14 US) to download. A bundle of all three titles is also available for £25 (approximately $38 US) on CD and £22 (approximately $34 US – American fans, please check your currency calculator) to download.
All three will be also available as a limited edition box set– only 5,000 copies – exclusively from bigfinish.com. The book-sized box set will include exclusive artwork, photos, articles and a one-hour documentary featuring interviews with the stars and production team. A must have for the 10th Doctor/Doctor Who fan!
For more, check out this delightful video featuring an interview with the dynamic duo of time and space, David Tennant and Catherine Tate, or as the Ood refer to them, the Doctor-Donna.
A life size model of Wonder Woman on display at New York Comic Con 2015 for the upcoming Batman v. Superman movie. Photo credit to Peter Parrella at SkeletonPete.com.
“If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” – Junot Diaz
Human beings have an unconscious need to identify with those around us, to draw cues from our environment and to connect with the faces we see. We’re inspired by the characters we grow up with in the books we read, or see in our favorite films or tv shows.
Literature and graphic novels/comics have taken the lead in creating complex, multidimensional characters (both male and female) of substance. But tv/film has a greater reach to broader audiences and mass appeal. Seeing an image can reinforce something we already know – see that same image over and over again, and how much more powerfully ingrained does it become in our subconscious? This is why it is critical to have live action, visual representations of ourselves, as not only independent and capable, but also powerful.
The elegant, but deadly Mrs. Emma Peel as portrayed by Diana Rigg in the 1960s British spy series The Avengers (also starring Patrick Macnee).
Dreaming What Can Be
When we’re children, we believe anything and everything is possible. But girls quickly learn that’s not true, at least, not for them. Boys believe they can be Superman, Batman, or Spider-Man. When I was a little girl, I let my imagination soar with WonderWoman, Batgirl, the Bionic Woman, Uhura, and Mrs. Peel – even Barbara Wright and Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who. But what about girls after me? Who did they grow up with? Who were their role models?
We need to see the world as we wish it would be. We look for people who look like us to tell us it’s OK to BE us. If we are constantly seen as background decoration, sexualized, victimized and powerless (or powerful, but only if we’re sexualized or bitchy/angry/bad girls/mean girls), then what message does that send? Women as subservient, hollow or embittered beings? To gain any ground at all, you must sacrifice your body, your honor and ethics. Because you can’t possibly be good, moral, intelligent, have healthy relationships (with men and women) or have high-powered careers and still be yourself, can you?
Girls learn to accept their fates as second class citizens and the “weaker sex” early on. They dream of a White Knight, as they languish in their tower, imprisoned by their inferiority. Their value is less about the person they are and it becomes about being an object of desire or worthy “love interest”. The message – be pretty and patient and you might get your Prince Charming in the end. I wonder how many Rapunzels died of old age waiting in that tower… but I digress…
The beautiful Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in the classic 1960s sci-fi Series Star Trek.
Pop Culture Representations of Women In recent years, comic book inspired films and TV shows have hit an all-time high. The Super Friends I grew up with are back in many forms. While overjoyed, I was also dismayed that Batgirl, Supergirl and especially Wonder Woman, have been largely absent from the vast landscape for many years (at least in live action form since the 1970s – not counting a failed attempt at a Wonder Woman pilot or the CW’s Birds of Preyseries)… even though Wonder Woman comics have been around since the 1940s. Many of us got tired of hearing studio exec excuses, “Superhero Girls don’t sell”. Previous superpowered females (featuring leading ladies Supergirl, Catwoman, Elektra) failed to impress, and have been cited over and over again as examples as to why it is now 2015 and we still don’t have a Wonder Woman movie (one is finally due out in 2017).
Market forces determine what we see. Really? I’m female. I have money to spend and I want to see more of my gender as powerful leading ladies. More importantly, I want my friends’ children to see it too – especially their young daughters. One friend, a schoolteacher, reported to me that most of her students did not even know what feminism or the suffragist movements were. That’s telling and disconcerting. As I’d feared, we’ve taken a step backwards in gender equality since the 1970s. Apparently, we’d come a long way and then promptly had forgotten what it meant.
Girls are discouraged from taking risks, from entering into scientific fields, or entering into law enforcement and the military. It’s not lady-like. I’d been similarly discouraged when I was younger, but I’d seen my heroes excel at math/science/martial arts/law enforcement, so I believed it was possible. At one point I wanted to be a detective, a lawyer and a forensic scientist. I didn’t become any of those things, but I toyed with them all as career options because I felt it was possible. The Bionic Woman and Mrs. Peel were secret agents for heaven’s sake! Beautiful, brainy and bold! That what’s I wanted to be too!
Whoopi Goldberg often relays a story from her youth. She was inspired by the beautiful Nichelle Nichols. Seeing a woman of color in a prominent role in the hit sci-fi series Star Trek gave her hope. She credits Nichelle’s portrayal as Uhura for inspiring her to become an actress herself, and one with with a message… diversity and gender equality matter. Representation matters. For those who don’t feel this is necessary, I would argue you are already at the top of the food chain. Congratulations. This isn’t aimed at you. It’s for others who feel they don’t matter, because they’ve been getting the wrong message.
Natasha Romanoff (or Romanova), aka Black Widow, in The Avengersas portrayed by Scarlett Johansson.
NYCC 2015: Diversity and Gender Equality Matter Largely ignored when it comes to representation in media, let alone in badass, kickass roles where women are the protagonists, we want to stand up and be counted. We want inclusion. We want to be more than just the girlfriends or sidekicks, or the hot vixen of the week. And while film execs say market forces and “box office trends” determine what we see, we want to BE the power – the heroes and the leaders – a driving force in film in television. Women make up more than 50% of the population, but you wouldn’t know it based on what we see in the media. In Marvel’s Avengers, Black Widow was featured prominently, but many took issue with her role being marginalized in general, as she wasn’t given a standalone film, like her male teammates (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and The Hulk).
DC SuperHero Girls by Mattel on display at New YorkComic Con 2015 at the Javits Center. Photo credit to Peter Parrella at SkeletonPete.com.
From Marvel’s Jessica Jones to IAmElemental,New York Comic Con 2015 (NYCC 2015) proved one thing, women are a force to be reckoned with. Geek Girls took to the internet and the results are evident. On the NYCC floor, newly mintedIAmElementalaction figures and Mattel’s DC Superhero Girls were proudly on display. No longer in the shadows, they took their rightful place next to Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, CaptainAmerica and Wolverine (some of MY favorite male superheroes).
IAmElementalaction figures were on display at New York Comic Con 2015 and at Sweet Suite15 this year. Photo credit to Peter Parrella at SkeletonPete.com.
This year, many of NYCC 2015’s panels featured themes on female empowerment, gender equality and diversity. Panels aimed at media professionals, creators and consumers included provocative and thought provoking topics on gender and diversity such as:
A (Wo)Man’s World: Closing the Gender Gap in Pop Culture – including speakers from the UN for Women’s “He for She” campaign.
Marry, Do or Kill? What Will it Take to Shatter Female Stereotypes in Comics?
Geeks of Color, Third Generation Edition: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Secret Identities: Creating Transgender Characters in Comic Books
Crip Culture and the Media: Perceptions of Disability in Film and Television
Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl on the new CBS Series Supergirl debuting tonight, Monday, October 26, 2015.
Kara from Krypton Lives
Tonight, CBS airs the highly anticipated pilot for Supergirl. It’s been a while since we’ve seen her live – not since Laura Vandervoort played her on Smallville, or Helen Slater starred in the poorly received theatrical release in 1984.
Highly anticipated, but also being viewed critically, some early reviews of Supergirl have been mixed. Some are worried it might be too “fluffy” or saccharin – too (dare I say it?) girly!
Can Kara become the hero our little girls need? Will she be an inspiration to a new generation and become what Wonder Woman, Uhura, Mrs. Peel and Sarah Jane Smith were for me? Time will tell.
In the coming weeks/months, I’ll attempt to take a look at the rising trend in The Super Woman, and female-centric role models for empowerment in pop culture, to see if these women are the heroes our little girls (and boys) need and deserve. Stay tuned.
Supergirl airs tonight, Monday, October 26, 2015 on CBS at 8:30pm EST.
Hello friends and fellow Whovians. While I don’t like to post spoilerific reviews, there may be a few tidbits given away in this one. If you haven’t seen the Doctor Who Series 9 opening episode, Magician’s Apprentice, proceed at your own risk. – SylverWhisper
Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) and U.N.I.T.’s own Dr. Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) in a powerful scene from Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
“You see, if someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?” – The 4th Doctor in Genesis of the Daleks
The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) on Skaro
Painful Realizations… The Magician’s Apprentice starts off Series 9 with more of a bang than a whimper, from the word go, on a war-torn planet in the heat of battle. A little boy is running for his life from sounds of weapon fire. We don’t know who the little boy is (not yet) and we fear for his life, as does a ragged young soldier attempting to rescue him, only to succumb to deadly hand-mines (you read that correctly), land mines in the form of creepy hands reaching up from the ground to grab you and pull you under. When The Doctor arrives on the scene, he’s too late to save the soldier, but not the little boy, only to find out the boy’s true identity… and OUCH, what a realization that is…
Younger (angrier) Kate Lethbridge-Stewart in Downtime, portrayed by Beverley Cressman, Kate from the current series (Jemma Redgrave) in the middle, and Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (as portrayed by the late, great Nicholas Courtney).
The Family Business… Meanwhile, back at U.N.I.T. HQ (haven’t seen Torchwood make an appearance in a while), the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce is investigating the mystery of planes hovering in the sky, apparently “frozen in time”, as they desperately try to call The Doctor (their former “scientific advisor”) for help.
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), as many of us know by now, has taken up her father’s mantle (I miss The Brigadier terribly and keep hoping former U.N.I.T members like Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant and Mike Yates will show up). It’s ironic, given their initially tumultuous relationship, as revealed in earlier classic episodes and spin-off media (Downtime), The Brig and his kid had a rocky road.
However, it’s great to have a Lethbridge-Stewart in command of U.N.I.T. again, but to see her team falter (when trying to locate the missing 12th Doctor) only to have Clara point them in the right direction, while it’s great to see Clara step up and take charge, seemed a bit off. I want my U.N.I.T. to be more on the ball. Or at the very least, to show a bit more fire when a civilian starts pushing them around! Get it together, U.N.I.T.! Where’s Brigadier Bambera(Angela Bruce) from the 7th Doctor story Battlefield? She wouldn’t take sh*t from anyone, not even Clara Oswald.
I would like to see more of that friction/friendship between the U.N.I.T team and The Doctor again – showing both sides of an argument. It was the backbone of The Doctor’s relationship with The Brigadier, someone he respected, even when they disagreed. However, there was no doubt The Brigadier was a fighter and a leader, and loyal to The Doctor ’til the end. I want to see a more bad-ass Kate. I want to see her on the battlefield, like her father – right in the thick of it – not just in a control center away from the action.
Terry Molloy as Davros and Peter Davison (my Doctor) as the 5th Doctor facing off in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984).
“I’m not here as your prisoner, Davros, but your executioner.”
– The 5th Doctor in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984)
The Moral Dilemma… For those who had a chance to see the Series 9 opener, the themes in Magician’s Apprenticemay seem familiar. They should, even for the non-classic era Whovian. The Doctor has struggled to make a final decision to take out The Daleks (and Davros) before they could become too powerful and wipe out whole worlds over several incarnations.
The question that keeps haunting The Doctor, especially since the 4th Doctor story Genesis of the Daleks (a clip from that story is featured in this episode) is – can/should time travel be used to re-write some of history’s most tragic wrongs and change the course of its bloodiest events. Can a time traveller prevent evil dictators from committing atrocities that would kill thousands, perhaps even millions, or down the line, billions upon billions of innocents?
However, aren’t those events meant to be “time-locked” (as we’ve heard often in Doctor Who – only to have the greatest of time-locked events changed – TheTime War itself) due to their scope? How will the outcome of those events shape the futureof others for generations to come? Perhaps for the better? Who has the right to make that call? Does The Doctor (aka The Lonely Angel, aka The Oncoming Storm) have that right?
Of course I’ve always wanted to see The Doctor go back in time to stop Hitler and the rise of Nazi Germany. Instead, we have Davros and the Daleks to take their place. The Doctor has had many opportunities to avert the Daleks’ creation by destroying their creator, yet he has always failed, often due to his own lack of action.
The Time Lords of Gallifrey (Timothy Dalton in the center as the Lord President of the High Council) from the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) finale The End of Time (2009-2010).
Then came the Time War… and the greatest regret for The Doctor. It cannot have escaped him that his earlier selves could have prevented The Time War and the eradication of countless worlds, including The Fall of Gallifrey (yes, I know it “falls no more” but bear with me here).
When you meddle in time, which version of events do you choose to influence? The moral dilemma keeps coming up: which timeline is worth preserving? Or meant to be preserved? We’ve seen it in come up in Doctor Who over and over again and we’ve seen this play out in other shows as well – Star Trek, Heroes, Continuum– after all, it’s the Butterfly Effect. Change a tiny event in the past and it can have dire consequences in the future.
The Time Lords had a strict “non-intervention” policy, but they’re not around to enforce it now. And let’s face it, the Gallifreyans did in fact interfere, using the CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), when convenient, and then disavowed any knowledge of wrongdoing. So we don’t know how many events they actually shaped to their liking, but they had knowledge and oversight the average person would not possess.
The Doctor, as a Time Lord, has a sense of responsibility to keep timelines stable and in tact. But he’s been known to meddle, again, because he can see the fabric of space and time and which events are “time-locked”. If he wanted to, he could have gone back to save former companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Katarina (Adrienne Hill) and other people he cared for, from dying, but wouldn’t dare contravene the The First Law of Time.
That Was Then. This is Now…
As The Doctor has grown older, he’s become more flexible when it comes to bending these laws. Perhaps, he’s grown more unstable himself. In his 9th incarnation, it was fair to say he was suffering from PTSD from the Time War and from the actions he remembered taking as The War Doctor (as we now know, he remembers incorrectly, as we learned from The 50th Anniversary Special with John Hurt). He has since, tried to redeem himself (in his 10th and 11th incarnations), but the pain and regret still linger…
Missy (Michelle Gomez)
Friends and Foes… When faced with another chance to rid the world of Davros, which road will The Doctor choose? Or did he already make that choice without realizing the consequences? The Doctor is not a murderer. He is most certainly not a child-killer, as he states in his speech in Genesis of the Daleks. But is willful neglect the same as murder? And was he, inadvertently, the architect of the very future he attempted to stop? And what happens once he realizes that abandoning that child on the battlefield of that war-torn planet, Skaro, left a fractured being that would go on to become one of his most despised enemies? Will he go back in time and finally make that one terrible choice? Will he kill an innocent child?
We know that’s not The Doctor’s style. Right? That’s The Master’s style, or in this case Missy’s (Michelle Gomez), whose relationship with The Doctor seems more grey than ever before. There is a precedent for this. The earlier Jon Pertwee incarnation and Roger Delgado’s Master had a friendly rivalry and a grudging respect for one another, that sadly, we never saw developed further once Roger Delgado passed away. Though Michelle Gomez is brilliant and gives us plenty of laughs and gasps, I miss Roger Delgado’s saner, charismatic version of The Master to this day. I imagine there’s a reason for Missy’s sudden attacks of nostalgia and sentimentality for The Doctor’s friendship in this incarnation (she keeps referring to their friendship in Magician’s Apprentice). Will she be the voice of reason this time around? Can she, of all people, save The Doctor from himself?
Time’s Champion? Or Time’s Bitch? When all’s said and done, the question we’re left with – are we all time’s bitch? Are events pre-determined? Are we all just pawns with our role to play? Even The Doctor? Are certain truths inevitable? Are The Daleks inevitable? Or can their course be altered? Should it be? Should that timeline be tampered with? Even to destroy possibly the greatest evil that has ever lived? And what repercussions will that have for the rest of the universe?
We’ll find out tonight when Part 2 – The Witch’s Familiar airs.
Fore more, check out the Series 9 Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar trailer of Doctor Who below.
Doctor Who Series 9 airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it on Saturday evenings on BBC One.
Hey there, fellow Whovians, I know I’ve been a bit radio silent lately, and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it would be remiss of me not to pop in to celebrate the return of our favorite Time Lord, The Doctor, to our screens today. And as always, I look forward to more of his inter-galactic hi-jinx.
Series 9 Cast of Doctor Who – Michelle Gomez, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Once again, the TARDIS crew in the form of 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman), will be back to fight the good fight, and boy, did I miss them!
Series 9 of Doctor Who will see the return of Missy (aka The Master), played by Michelle Gomez,Rigsy, played by Joivan Wade (one of my favorite guest stars from Series 8), some classic era monsters like the Zygons and Daleks and another mysterious character in the form of Maisie Williams, best known for her role as Arya Stark on the HBO original series Game of Thrones.
GOODBYE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL?
At some point we will also see the departure of Jenna Coleman, finally confirmed earlier this week. Jenna will be leaving to star in the upcoming 8-part ITV series Victoria. Her exit had been rumored for some time, and it seems, has been in the works for some time as well.
Joivan Wade as Rigsy in Doctor Who
NOT JUST THE TIN DOG!
I wonder how the Impossible Girl will go out? And who will replace her? Personally, I’m hoping Rigsy (last seen in the episode Flatline) will become a permanent addition to the cast and I look forward to seeing Joivan Wade reprise his role as the young graffiti artist. He was likable, bright, compassionate and seemed to have a great rapport with Clara.
We need another male companion. Traditionally, male companions haven’t done too well on board the TARDIS (Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, was an exception, but even he had to die and be spun off onto Torchwood – no room for him and The Doctor in the same TARDIS). I think we’re overdue. The earlier Doctors had Ian, Steven, Ben, Jamie, and the UNIT team (The Brigadier, Sgt. Benton, Captain Mike Yates, even Dr. Harry Sullivan).
Unlike the novels and audios, male companions on the TV series have suffered from abuse or disuse since the 1980s. We need a fresh young face, someone the Doctor can take under his wing, but can also teach him a few things, and I think Rigsy fits the bill nicely.
Fore more, check out the Series 9 Trailer of Doctor Who below.
Doctor Who Series 9returns tonight. American fans can watch the Doctor Who Season 9 premiere on BBC America at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it at 7:40 pm on BBC One.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #17 Cover by Steve Morris
They say two’s company and three’s a crowd. This is especially true when you have the Mr. and the Ex tagging along. Complicated further by unresolved feelings, sexual tensions, and old rivalries, and you’ve got yourself a classic lover’s triangle. But like anything else in the Buffyverse, amp that up by ten. Let’s not forget, Buffy is no ordinary gal, and her suitors are both supernatural creatures of the night.
So awkward doesn’t begin to describe the encounter when Angel (Buffy’s former love) arrives to aid The Scoobiesand face the news that Buffy’s current flame is none other than frenemySpike (aka William the Bloody when Angel and he used to pal around, committing heinous acts and leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake). Throw in some fangs and sharp implements of death and destruction and you’ve got a perfect recipe for disaster – never mind a lively “ex-boyfriend barbecue”.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #17 Panel
Still, the team must put their differences aside, along with that time Angel killed Giles (good times), among other fond memories, to band together, bringing their collective mojo to defeat the evil Archaeus, a demon which has been attempting to control soulful vamps, and rivals for Buffy’s affections, Angel and Spike.
Of course, evil-doers must be fought, minions dispatched, and quips exchanged, in good ole’ Buffy fashion. What is actually more terrifying and surprising, is the fact that Andrew imparts some seriously thought-provoking words of wisdom, which had me waxing all philosophical. But I digress… as I often do…
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #17 Variant Cover by Rebekah Isaacs
HANGING OFF A CLIFF…
What happens next will leave you on the edge of your seats, as any good crossover event should do, with a cliffhanger that will have you crying “Noooooo!!!!” to rival Shatner’s “Khaaaaaaan!” in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit over-dramatic, but I got your attention, didn’t I?
Once again, the team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs (love her variant cover for this issue, btw) deliver, along with Steve Morris’ cover art, suitable for framing. I really need to collect these as prints. (Steve, help a nerd gal out, will ya?)
If you’ve been staying with Season 10 of Buffy, don’t turn back now, pick up Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason 10: Issue 17, out today, at a comic book store near you!
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