Set your TARDIS for Easter: DOCTOR WHO Returns March 30

mazzajazzaFinally, some good news from across the pond — and on these shores — to delight my fellow DOCTOR WHO fans! The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) is returning a tiny bit sooner than expected — but what else would you expect from the Time Lord with questionable timing?

The BBC has announced that the second half of season seven will premiere on Saturday, March 30. And BBC America has confirmed that it will air the new episodes on the same day as the BBC. There will be eight new episodes, so the show is looking at a May finale, just like many American series. (BTW, the finale has been shooting in Scotland, leading to speculation that the story is set… in Scotland. Possibly in the Victorian Age.)

Surely you remember that the Christmas Special, “The Snowmen,” left us with a cliff-hanger revelation about Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Louise Coleman), and that lead writer Steven Moffat has promised to tease us with clues about her. Personally, I like the idea of this mysterious companion, since we haven’t seen this sort of intrigue since Turlough and the Fifth Doctor.
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NBC Turns MUNSTERS Revival Into One-Shot Movie

NBC will air MOCKINGBIRD LANE, the reimagining of the 1960s sitcom that cost $10 million and two years to produce. But instead of doing a full-fledged season, NBC is presenting the two-hour pilot as a stand-alone holiday movie, set to air Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

Developed by Bryan Fuller, whose impressive (if short-lived) TV resume includes the quirky fan faves PUSHING DAISIES and WONDERFALLS, the new MOCKINGBIRD LANE series would have been an hour-long drama as opposed to a situation comedy. The cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster; Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster; Eddie Izzard as Grandpa; Mason Cook as Lily and Herman’s werewolf son, Eddie; and newcomer Charity Wakefield as Marilyn, the “plain” cousin. The premiere was directed by Bryan Singer of the X-Men movies.

As you can tell from these newly released publicity photos, this aborted series was not going to be your grandparents’ MUNSTERS.

I have to admit to being intrigued by the rumored twist on the concept that Fuller came up with: While the original Munsters looked like monsters but acted like regular people, the new version would look (more) normal but act like monsters.

NBC, however, saw things a little differently. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that network execs wanted the Munsters firmly grounded in a contemporary real-world setting that would lend itself to safe, familiar, fish-out-of-water storylines. Fuller, however, visualized a more stylistic world (more akin to his Daisies). Reshoots failed to impress the NBC suits.

Fuller told fans at this summer’s Comic Con International: San Diego 2012:

“I’m not afraid of reboots and reimaginations, I’m afraid of bad ones. I thought now was a good time to see a show about a family of monsters doing monstrous things. With the pilot, you’ll see it’s about monsters, but also parents trying to craft a way for their child, who’s a little different. There is no traditional family anymore — it doesn’t exist because there are so many different types of families. . Herman, who is essentially a zombie living in a constant state of decay, is married to a person who doesn’t age. This is about embracing the freak of your family and being proud.”

At least fans will get a glimpse at Fuller and Singer’s vision soon. And who knows, it might be such a hit that it becomes traditional Halloween viewing, just like good ol’ Charlie Brown.

Revolution 101: “Pilot”

J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke — two of TV’s best fantasy creators, who among them are responsible for LOST, ALIAS, SUPERNATURAL and HEROES — have collaborated for the first time on a new science-fiction series called REVOLUTION, and the result is… something of an underwhelming muddle.

REVOLUTION is set in a world 15 years after and a mysterious event caused every single electrical device on the planet to lose power virtually simultaneously. As a result, our civilization — which was so reliant on electricity to power our devices — has regressed to a Bronze Age society, and the law of the jungle is the law of the land.
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BBC America Schedules Doctor Appointment for Sept. 8

Not to blow my own horn (too much), but I called it! In a piece of reasoning worth of the Ninth Doctor, I predicted that BBC America would hold back the premiere of DOCTOR WHO Series 7 for one week, due to the Labor Day holiday weekend, when viewers will be outdoors, rather than perched in front of the TV. Odds are the BBC will debut Series 7 on Sept. 1.

Lo and behold, BBC America has done exactly, that, trumpeting the scheduling of “Asylum of the Daleks” for Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. ET. Check out the promo (which is really just the Series 7 long trailer with a concrete date inserted at the end, but let’s face it, this is an awesome teaser!)

ETA: On Aug. 22, BBC America changed its mind and moved the premiere forward to Sept. 1, thus invalidating the end of this trailer, so it was removed. Please take a look at my Aug. 22 post, “America’s Appointment With the Doctor Moved Up!” for the new trailer — featuring new scenes!

Somehow, having a definite date makes it both easier and more difficult to wait for the first episode to actually air! I mean, c’mon, the way Matt Smith delivers the line, “Dinosaurs — on a spaceship!” is just as amazing as… well, dinosaurs on a spaceship.

DOCTOR WHO 6.1 (32.1): The Impossible Astronaut

The beginning of the new season felt like the end of one — and not just because the Doctor was killed less than 10 minutes out of the gate! The episode had so many reveals (and a guest appearance by River Song) and such a grand scale that it felt like the sort of thing that is normally reserved for a season-capper; the kind of show that leaves a lingering impression to lure viewers back next season. But in “The Impossible Astronaut,” all that effort was directed at making people tune in for the rest of the season.

But did we see what we thought we saw? (Or is that, “are seeing”?) As fans learned last season, executive producer Steven Moffat is not the least bit afraid to revisit an entire season, shake it around, and cast it in a different light. In this case, it looks like he’s going to circle back at some point, rather than have the Doctor directly backtrack through the stories, as in Series 5’s “The Big Bang.” I suspect the identity of the person in the spacesuit will be a long time coming — though I don’t think I can bear to wait until No. 13. (My initial guess? It’s Amy. Having the Doctor say, “My life in your hands, Amelia Pond,” is just too larded with portent. Moffat doesn’t waste words.)
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