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Spike’s Idiot Box: Every Doc Has Its Day

‘Doctor Who’ celebrated its 50th anniversary on November 23rd. Leading up to the occasion, the BBC has been airing tons of ‘Doctor Who’ episodes and specials in preparation for this television milestone. I’m a huge fan of ‘Who’, especially after its revival several years ago. I remember seeing old episodes on PBS when I was a kid and liking them, although at the time they seemed strange and exotic. Who knew that the show would come back bigger and better than ever in the 21st Century? Here’s to the next 50 years.

BBC America aired a made for TV movie called ‘An Adventure in Space and Time‘, a rose-colored-glasses view of the genesis of ‘Doctor Who’ 50 years ago. It’s a bit of a cheapie, but nicely recreates the time and does a serviceable job showing how ‘Who’ became such an integral part of the British zeitgeist after a bumpy start and plenty of reservations, thanks to the passion of its creators and their advocates. The best thing about the movie, though, was the performance of David Bradley as William Hartnell, the first Doctor. He simply BECAME Hartnell – the look, the voice, the gestures and mannerisms. What a great performance.

The ‘Doctor Who‘ 50th anniversary special, called ‘The Day of the Doctor’, gave us a trio of Doctors with which to contend. John Hurt starred as a distant past Doctor who was responsible for a horrifying decision eons ago during the Time War, in which the Daleks threatened to exterminate all of the Time Lords. David Tennant returned as the 10th Doctor, whose path crossed with Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor when some freakish rifts in space and time threw the three of them together. As the sinister Zygons worked to take over the planet, the Doctors foiled their plan, figured out a way to redeem their own history, and saved another planet in the process. As expected, this was a glorious episode and a real treat to ‘Who’ fans. The ending also served as a fine tribute to the history of ‘Who’ and each of the actors who have played a different incarnation of the Doctor. I can’t wait until the Christmas special!

The series finale of ‘Eastbound & Down‘ did not disappoint. Sacha Baron Cohen guest-starred as Kenny’s network boss, an unbearable douchebag who demanded that he use his new talk show to humiliate Guy Young. Kenny did some soul searching and changed for the better. He defied his boss and used his first and last show to explain himself, and to acknowledge the wrongs he had done before walking off. Kenny asked April to reconsider their impending divorce. Seeing the changes in him, she took him back and they moved away to live happily ever after in Santa Fe. In a flash-forward, we saw highlights of their life together and a series of absurd bits and pieces that were fairly hilarious.

Hello Ladies‘ ended its first season this week. Stuart was excited about an upcoming date with a model. Getting his posse together, they spent the night going from place to place trying to meet up with her. Jessica, who was recently cast in a recurring role in ‘NCIS’, was happy to use that job to elevate herself above her friend Angelina. However, she found out that the show had given her the axe after she tested poorly, although she pretended nothing was wrong. After ditching his friends, Stuart finally ran into his model date. Surprisingly, he did the right thing and left her to be with Jessica when he found out about her loss of the role. The series hasn’t been renewed for a second season yet, but I enjoyed it for the most part. It’s not easy to like, though. The characters are fatuous and shallow, clueless and self-centered to the point of being unlikable. I’ll probably continue to watch if it returns, but I won’t miss it a lot if it doesn’t.

The Walking Dead‘ devoted last week’s entire episode to catching us up with what’s been going on with the villainous Governor since the end of the last season. After burning down his old town of Woodbury, he struck out on his own, utterly destroyed and aimless. Eventually, he came into the lives of two sisters, a little girl named Meghan who reminded him of his own dead daughter, and their dying father. He tried to resist their charms, but after some inevitable violent and traumatic events, he became protective of them. After the death of the father, they decided to move on. Their truck broke down and they were attacked by zombies. The Governor was in the process of defending Meghan with his own life when he was discovered by Martinez, one of his old henchmen from Woodbury.

In ‘Homeland‘, it was revealed that Saul’s goal in using Javadi is a regime change in Iran. Franklin was told to get the Langley bomber out of the country. Carrie tried to stop this from happening, as the bomber is necessary to clear Brody’s name from the case. When she intervened, Quinn shot and wounded her, and Franklin killed the bomber. Later, Saul arrived in Caracas, where he was taken to Brody at the high-rise. He found him catatonic on a mattress, surrounded by filth, with evidence of ongoing heroin abuse.

Almost Human‘ premiered with two episodes last week. In the first, we met John Kennex (Karl Urban), a moody detective who returned to work after a two year absence. Forced to partner with an android, Kennex destroyed the robot, only to have it replaced with an older model, Dorian, who is perhaps more suited to Kennex’s own peculiar quirks. Together, they teamed up to take down a terrorist group targeting the police department. In the second episode, the dynamic between Kennex and Dorian developed well. While investigating a kidnapping, they discovered that humans were being harvested for DNA in sexbots. The first episode showed a lot of promise and compared favorably to the work of Philip K. Dick. The second really kind of let me down with the cheesy sex robot story line, which frequently made me roll my eyes and/or cringe. There’s enough to like to continue with the show, however. For now.

Murray’s brother Marvin visited ‘The Goldbergs‘ for Thanksgiving. Trying to redeem himself from a contentious history with Murray, he arrived in a shiny new DeLorean. He impressed Murray by repaying an old debt, but things got nasty when he tried to get him to reinvest that money in his Lotions of the Oceans business, which turned out to be a pyramid scheme. This being Thanksgiving, however, things all worked out in the end.

Sons of Anarchy‘ had a massive episode. It turned out that SAMCRO working with the D.A. was part of a ruse they orchestrated to help Clay escape while the attention of law enforcement was diverted. During the hijacking, Bobby Elvis was seriously wounded by a gunshot and one of the sheriffs was killed. They delivered Clay to Galen and the Irish. In short order, however, the gang shot each of the Irish leaders in their heads. In a shocking turn of events, Jax informed Clay that they took a vote and the results were unanimous; it was Clay’s time to die. After all he’s done, he certainly deserved what he got. To his credit, though, he took it like a warrior and stood tall, stoically, when Jax shot him in the throat and killed him in a truly gruesome fashion. Jax forced one of the remaining Irish to work with him on creating a story about how the Irish and Clay all killed each other. The D.A. realized that she had been betrayed by Jax and subsequently offered Tara immunity in exchange for her testimony and for delivering proof of SAMCRO’s involvement in hijacking Clay and killing the sheriff. While operating on Bobby Elvis, she pocketed the bullet, apparently to be delivered to the D.A.

On ‘American Horror Story: Coven‘, the unlikely couple of Queenie and LaLaurie appeared to bond a bit over self pity and fast food. Fiona resumed her relationship with the Axeman. Cordelia had a vision that revealed that Fiona killed Madison, and she warned Zoe that she might have a similar fate. Zoe considered killing Kyle to put him out of his undead misery, but had a change of heart. Madison, also now undead, ended up having sex with him. Marie Laveau manipulated Queenie into delivering LaLaurie to her so that she could enact brutal, bloody revenge. How is it possible that I feel bad for the sliced up, bloody, tortured LaLaurie after all she’s done? I don’t know, but Queenie’s betrayal of her felt heartbreaking in its way.

Top Chef: New Orleans‘ had a quick fire challenge in which legendary musician Dr. John had the remaining chefs prepare a hot sauce of their choosing. For the elimination challenge, they banded together to butcher and cook a 300 lb. pig for a feast. There are now ten chefs remaining in the current season.

The League‘ ended its season with a two-episode finale. Ruxin and Sofia tried to decide if Baby Geoffrey would be Jewish or Catholic. Andre revealed that he’s been pretending to be NFL pro Vernon Davis on Twitter in a long con to trick Pete. Later, Andre attempted to merge with the biggest plastic surgeon in Chicago (guest star Aziz Ansari). Raffi wanted to hook up with Ruxin’s sister Rebecca (Lizzy Caplan), and even converted to Judaism in order to succeed. Rebecca ultimately agreed to have sex with him in order to irritate Ruxin. While the two went at it in a van, the vehicle coasted downhill and crashed into Andre’s new business partner. The resultant injury left Andre the new top plastic surgeon in Chicago. Ultimately, Jenny won the Shiva award and her husband Kevin won the Ruxin award.

Until next time, join in the conversation below!

5 comments

  1. William Henley

    I don’t have cable anymore, but Doctor Who in 3D is preordered and should be in here in a couple of weeks.

    As for the made-for-tv movie, I guess I am going to have to see if I can find it online somewhere, that sounds interesting.

  2. Michael Spike Steinbacher

    Hope you enjoy it, William!

    As for the made-for-tv movie, I wouldn’t call it must-see, but since you’re a fan you’ll probably enjoy it. Netflix mayy have it in a few weeks. Hopefully.

  3. Rcorman

    If you are a Doctor Who fan, track down the other 50th Anniversary special that was released on the 23rd.

    The Five(ish) Doctors.
    Written by Peter Davison, it follows the efforts of the actors who played the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors, to appear in the 50th Anniversary episode. With appearances by the 8th and 4th Doctors (sort of).

  4. William Henley

    I remember back when I first started watching Doctor Who around 1990, I always thought that they just ought to reshoot the 5th Doctor over and over and over again, each time there is a new doctor, and just keep adding another Doctor into the story.

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