Sunday, June 15, 2008

Captain's Log: Local Nero and Who News

Not much new in the Star Trek universe, especially with the Paramount movie now a year away. There's speculation that the 24th century Spock will be traveling in a Vulcan Time Ship, and rumors persist that the villain is going to be a Romulan named Nero. I suppose he'll fiddle on the Vulcan harp while Romulus burns... Some of this reminds me of past promises: a bold new approach, Trek as you've never seen it, modernized for a new audience, with a bold Romulan villain and a story modelled on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That's what some are saying about the forthcoming new movie. That's also what Rick Berman et al were saying about the then-forthcoming new movie, Star Trek Nemesis.

There was a pretty neat NPR minseries on the cultural impact of Spock, especially as the embodiment of "the mystery of masculinity." Not exactly new ground either, but fun.

Some Doctor Who news, though. After the specials that will constitute the season next year, newly knighted exec producer and lead writer Russell T. Davis will be replaced by Stephen Moffat beginning in the 2010 season. Moffat is the author of some of the most praised and popular episodes of the new Who series, which also happen to be high among my favorites, like "The Empty Child" ("Are you my mummy?"), "The Girl in the Fireplace," and "Blink." He's also written Doctor Who novels, and is otherwise a rising writing star (including a forthcoming Spielberg film.) He's also a funny guy. His past Who work shows he can write scary and intelligent, but his background suggests he can write humor, too. His season 4 two-parter "Silence in the Library" was broadcast on the BBC but not yet in the U.S.

Since Moffat and his new producing partner have been appointed so early, they're already started on their first stories. Rumor has it that Moffat is looking to get edgy s/f writer Neil Gaiman to write an ep. Who will be Who is another question entirely. Rumors persist that David Tennant will end his run as the Doctor at some point next year, in one of the specials. That still doesn't make a lot of sense to me--the season is being shortened because he's unavailable part of the time, so if they're going to accomodate him for that, why wouldn't it be because he's coming back for the next season? Otherwise, why not replace him at the end of this season, and do a complete season next year with somebody else? In any case, the actors rumored to be his replacement haven't been very inspiring to me. (Though Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe is an intriguing idea.)

But scanning Tennant gossip (in Wikipedia no less) suggests he's dated several of the more ravishing female guest stars of the past three seasons. Could the younger William Shatner possibly be a role model?

But it's a different Trek captain in Tennant's present. After winning every conceivable prize in England and the U.S. (except, today, the Tony) for playing the lead role in Macbeth on stage, Patrick Stewart returns to England to play the supporting role of Claudius to David Tennant's star role in Hamlet. The erstwhile Captain Picard has expressed a desire to appear in Doctor Who, so the first Trek/Who crossover may be in the works. (Especially since Moffat inserted Trek jokes in "The Empty Child.") But then, fourth Doctor Tom Baker has suggested he'd take a role in the new Who, and I don't think anybody believes that will happen. Though fifth Doctor Peter Davison and his daughter--playing the 10th and current Doctor's daughter--have appeared. So Who knows?

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