Matt Smith, David Tennant
Who knew? Few could have foreseen the enduring success of Doctor Who given its inauspicious origins a half-century ago — a fascinating story of pluck, luck and imagination delightfully rendered in An Adventure in Space and Time, a new TV movie (Friday, 9/8c) airing as part of BBC America's 50th-anniversary Who celebration this weekend.
You don't have to be a Whovian to appreciate this jaunty re-creation of a simpler, scrappier time in TV history. A "year-ometer" (cute touch) dials back to 1963, when the staid BBC's brash new head of drama, Canadian showman Sydney Newman (a marvelously uncouth Brian Cox), greenlights a new sci-fi serial to appeal to kids and fickle sports fans. With a miniscule budget, an overheated "broom cupboard" of a studio and an edict of "no tin robots or BEM (bug-eyed monsters)," Newman appoints an unorthodox team to realize his vision: Verity Lambert (Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine), an ambitious pioneering female producer, and Waris Hussein (Sacha Dhawan), a novice Indian director.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the Season 7 finale of Doctor Who. If you haven't watched yet, read no further or we'll be forced to sic our memory worm on you.]
One mystery down, and an infinite number more to go on Doctor Who.
Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith
After Doctor Who's last Cold War adventure, the Doctor and his companion are traveling back a decade.
On Saturday's episode, "Hide" (airing 8/7c on BBC America), the time-hopping duo go back to the 1970s to visit a haunted house. Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays companion Clara, tells TVGuide.com, "It's very eerie and haunted, and I think the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara arrive kind of wanting to play a bit. But actually in Doctor Who-style, it's more than what we think."
You'd think Easter weekend might be a quiet time for TV. You'd be wrong. Easter Sunday turns out to be one of the most overstuffed nights since February's sweeps-stakes, capped by a face-off between the season finale of cable's hottest horror show and the premiere of pay cable's most deluxe epic fantasy.
AMC did not make the third-season finish of The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c) available for preview, but we're already fearing the worst as the climactic showdown approaches between the Governor's troops and TV's most heroic prison gang, while failed peacekeeper Andrea swelters in the torture dungeon back in Woodbury. It's nothing new to wonder who'll live or die in this bleak post-apocalypse. But until this riveting and wrenching season, we were mostly worried about the zombie "walkers," who've taken a back seat lately to the human monsters battling for power and revenge.
Let's hope you didn't have much else planned for this weekend, because there's so much excellent TV on tap it's hard to know where to begin.
Let's start with the winners' circle. You couldn't ask for better timing, or a more satisfying result, than Homeland's sweep of the top drama Emmy prizes last Sunday — exactly one week before Showtime's launch of what's shaping up to be a remarkably taut second season (Sunday, 10/9c). Expectations couldn't be higher. (If you missed any or all of the first season, with the deservedly Emmy-winning lead performances by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, Showtime is replaying all 12 episodes in a Saturday marathon starting at noon/11c.)