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.
Can you keep a secret? Probably not as well as Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat's two sons, Joshua, 13, and Louis, 11. These days, nearly every television producer, director, writer, actor and caterer is apprehensive about revealing details and plot points from unaired episodes of their shows. But Moffat is the master. He even gave one of the series' characters the catchphrase "No spoilers." He purposely misleads the press. "I lied my arse off," Moffat told 6,500 attendees at this year's San Diego Comic-Con regarding the content of an upcoming episode. He also runs a tight spaceship: Nondisclosure agreements are as ubiquitous as silver alien masks on the British science-fiction show's set.
Joshua, however, is the first to...
Andy Samberg, Joe Lo Truglio
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Question: Love your column and hope you could shed some light on an issue for me. As I understand it, TV shows/actors submit one episode of what they feel is their best work (that season) for Emmy consideration. Is this true? If so, don't you think the criteria should require a greater sample size since one episode, no matter the quality, does not necessarily tell the story of an entire season? —Charles
Question: What are your thoughts on the selection of Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who's Twelfth Doctor? I have to admit that I had no idea who he was — I assume he's more of a household name in the U.K. I don't want to prematurely bash the selection and I'm willing to see how things work out, but it seems to be a traditional choice and even more so since the modern Doctor Who series has featured younger actors. During the special that announced the selection, the show runner ...
Oscar winner Peter Capaldi will play the 12th Doctor Who, BBC announced Sunday during the live special Dr. Who Live: The Next Doctor.
"It's so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer," Capaldi said during the special, which aired worldwide. "For a while I couldn't...
Happy New TV Year! With the brief holiday programming pause about to be over, it's already time to say goodbye to one of last year's better series: the evocative second season of BBC America's Golden Globe-nominated The Hour. A ticking-clock deadline fuels the suspense in Wednesday's gripping finale (9/8c). With showtime fast approaching for a new edition of the fictional '50s TV newsmagazine, The Hour's co-anchors find themselves embroiled in controversy and peril.
Memo to HBO's The Newsroom: This is how it's done.
In its second season, BBC America's The Hour (Wednesdays at 9/8c) is the very model of a smart, sleek, witty and sexy drama about the inner workings of a high-profile TV news operation. Set in the late '50s, but feeling quite contemporary in its depiction of media celebrity, with political and competitive pressures assailing journalistic ideals, this first-class entertainment avoids the pitfalls of preachiness and extreme silliness that often derailed Aaron Sorkin's TV comeback.
The Thick of It
Timing is everything. Which may help explain why, after a nearly three-year delay, BBC America is finally importing the third season (from 2009) of the blistering political satire The Thick of It to its "Ministry of Laughs" weekend franchise (Saturday, midnight/11c) — on the heels of HBO's launch of Veep, which springs from the same demented imagination of dark farceur Armando Iannucci.
Thick set the tone of deeply cynical, bitterly vicious, and scaldingly profane high-office shenanigans that Veep is adapting with some success.
So funny it hurts, so savage it's scary. That's the classic British way with comedy and satire, as fans of the original Office can attest.
In much the same vein, including shaky hand-held cameras to give a documentary-style sense of realism (with nausea as a possible side effect), BBC America delivers another painfully hilarious winner in The Thick of It (Fridays at 9 pm/ET), about a government minister so ineffectual and insecure he makes the Office manager look like Boss of the Year.
As the six-episode series opens, the minister for social affairs is being fired by the show's reptilian villain, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the prime minister's hatchet man. Filling this vague position with misguided optimism and bumbling social awkwardness comes po