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Weekend Update

May 15th, 2011

I’ve got a big week coming up. Tonight I’m doing the on-stage introduction for The Red Green Wit & Wisdom Tour, actor Steve Smith’s live stage show. It’s no big deal–just a few words and a couple of jokes–but it’s my first time before an audience in quite a while.

Tomorrow I’m off to Orlando for the PBS Annual Meeting, which means three days of meetings and networking. It also means I’ll be taking a few extra days to hit the parks. This’ll be my first time at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And the new Star Wars ride opens at Disney Hollywood this Friday! I was at Disneyland in Anaheim for the opening weekend of the original Star Tours back in ’87, so it’ll be great to maintain the tradition!

But first a little sci-fi TV wrap-up. Last week the broadcast networks announced their series pickups for the fall, and V unsurprisingly received the axe. It’s hard to feel very badly about that; it was a show that squandered every opportunity to become compelling TV. They brought back Jane Badler as lizard baddy Diana but kept her in a cell for nine episodes and killed her minutes after her escape. The final installment reintroduced original series star Mark Singer as the leader of a human military alliance, but it was too little and far too late. (Note to TV producers: maybe you don’t want to wait two entire seasons to add some combat action to your alien invasion series.)

Smallville concluded Friday, and it was every bit as frustrating at the end as it had been these past ten years. The evil god Darkseid brought his warworld Apokolips on a collision course with the Earth, and if you think that sounds like an opportunity for some exciting Super-action, well then you haven’t been producing Smallville. Look, I know that the series was more soap than superhero, but really, when there’s a giant flaming planet looming in the sky, it might be time to stop yapping about your personal issues and put on the Superman suit. I swear that about every ten minutes I shouted at the TV, “Put on the fucking suit!” And would it have killed the showrunners to give us one decent shot of Tom Welling wearing the costume? Ten years, folks. Ten years.

Last night’s Doctor Who was a big step up from the previous week’s lightweight pirate episode, “The Curse of the Black Spot.” The latter seemed content to repeat the basic premise of Steven Moffat’s first script for modern Who, “The Empty Child.” An automated alien medical device that tries to repair humans but doesn’t have the instruction manual? Been there, inhaled the nanoprobes.

The new installment, “The Doctor’s Wife,” was written by famous fantasist Neil Gaiman. I’d been both anticipating and dreading this one. I’ve generally enjoyed what I’ve read of Gaiman’s novels, but the setting–a living junkyard planet named House inhabited by people named Auntie and Uncle–sounded rather twee. However, I think it all turned out rather well. It was a bit fan-fictiony, what with the Doctor meeting a human incarnation of his beloved TARDIS, but at least it was good fan-fiction.

That’s all for now. Gotta put on my Possum Lodge costume and get ready for the show. Don’t know how much time I’ll have for blogging this next week, and it’s hard to do on the iPad in any case. Back next week!

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