No matter how much you love any given incarnation of the Doctor, his adventures must inevitably draw to a close at some point. Of course, that’s the case with any story — they can’t just carry on forever (as my class-action lawsuit against The NeverEnding Story will attest) — but the nice thing about Doctor Who is that, every time one Doctor bows out, another takes the stage. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what Peter Capaldi brings to the table, but having just rewatched the show’s modern seasons, I do feel a little bit nostalgic about David Tennant and Matt Smith’s respective takes on the time lord. If you feel the same, we’ve got some good news: two new ongoing comic book series will chronicle further “untold” adventures of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors!
Frank Herbert may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean the Dune universe is going to stop expanding anytime soon. Since 1999, Herbert’s son Brian, along with writing partner Kevin J. Anderson have been churning out Dune books of their own, actually eclipsing Frank’s output in number. Their, latest, Mentats of Dune, hit bookshelves today from the fine folks at Tor. A sequel to Sisterhood of Dune, Mentats is the second in the proposed Great Schools trilogy.
Set after the great jihad against the thinking machines, but before still before the events of the original novel, a new wave an anti-technology fervor is sweeping across the Imperium. Within this framework, Herbert and Anderson weave together more than half a dozen storylines, including Gilbertus Alban’s school where he teaches students to become “human computers,” the banished relics of the Rossack Sisterhood, the aged war hero Vorian Atreides’ attempts to make amends for his past and reconnect with his scattered family, and a Harkonen’s quest for vengeance, among others. There’s a lot going on here. And of course it wouldn’t be a real Dune book without spending some time on Arrakis with a sandworm or two. The various arcs span the galaxy, and delve into key pieces of Dune lore.
As huge a deal as The X-Files was to pop culture back in the day, it was no surprise that the word of a new Chris Carter show in the works stirred up a lot of excitement across the realms of geekdom. But with that excitement came doubt. After all, The X-Files has been off the air for over a decade, and the second X-Files movie wasn’t exactly a high point in the genre. What if Chris Carter returned, only to reveal that he shouldn’t have? His new apocalyptic pilot, The After, met with a decidedly mixed reaction when it went up for public perusal last month, but it must have impressed the Powers That Be — Variety is reporting that the show has been ordered to series by Amazon Studios.
Written and directed by Carter, The After follows several strangers who find their fates intertwined as a mysterious apocalyptic event throws the world into chaos. The pilot leaves the nature of that event unexplored until the final moments, when it drops a batshit-crazy twist into the proceedings that suggests the show could potentially improve over the pilot’s mediocrity…or it might flame out in spectacular fashion. Suffice to say, it looks like The After will be channeling not just The X-Files but also Carter’s Millennium. Unfortunately, the pilot had some serious problems working against it, ranging from awkward dialogue to cliched characters to, in at least one instance, an actor who doesn’t seem to have any ability to, well, act. Hopefully now that the show has been given the greenlight, Carter will find his stride again and The After will earn our eyeballs. (You can read Nick’s review of the pilot right here.)
The late Douglas Adams was born on this day in 1952. He would have turned 62 today, and it’s still a damn shame that we lost him at the criminally young age of only 49. (From a heart attack, after working out — a cruel twist that, I have to think, he would have seen the dark humor in.) Still, his legacy lives on, and will as long as people keep reading his inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy,” not to mention all his other works. One of the things we love most about the Hitchhiker’s Guide stories is Adams’ bountiful imagination when it comes to conjuring up crazy ideas for the beleaguered Arthur Dent to run across during his tours of the galaxy. In honor of Adams’ birthday — and of all the joy his stories have given us over the years — we decided to highlight some of our favorite Adams inventions. Thanks to smart phones, tablets, and the Internet, most of us are effectively walking around with a copy of the Guide in our pockets or purses, even if most of them don’t have that comforting phrase “DON’T PANIC” emblazoned on them But here are some other Adams inventions that, if there were any justice in the world, would be totally real.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 8/7c) — “Yes Men”
There’s not a whole lot happening on the TV front tonight, but if you’ve stuck with ABC’s woefully uneven Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — or even if you’ve already bailed — you might have a reason to tune in tonight. So far the show has had a couple of noteworthy cameos during its first season: Samuel Jackson popped up in the show’s second episode, and Stan Lee put in the requisite appearance in the February episode “T.R.A.C.K.S.” Tonight the show is bringing in another player from the big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe: actress Jaimie Alexander, who will be reprising her role as Lady Sif from the two Thor movies.
The show previously tied into Thor: The Dark World for the November episode “The Well,” but while it involved Asgardian technology, it didn’t actually bring in any of the Asgardians we know so well. (Although we did get Peter MacNicol, which helped ease the pain.) I think much of the excitement when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was first announced was at the thought of more direct interactions between the show and the events of the movies, but for the most part S.H.I.E.L.D. has focused on its own core of characters. That’s understandable, but also not much comfort when the characters and storylines so far haven’t really knocked it out of the park. The writers and producers keep insisting in interviews that there’s great stuff coming, but we’re about to see the 15th of only 17 planned episodes at this point, so they’re running out of time to bring the awesome. Scuttlebutt says S.H.I.E.L.D. will likely be returning for a second season, so here’s hoping the show finally hits its stride.
When it comes to the undead, pop culture has largely shifted its focus from vampires to zombies. The Walking Dead remains a massive hit for AMC, and properties such as Warm Bodies and In the Flesh have taken the basic zombie concept and added a post-modern twist or two. Well, if anybody’s going to put vampires back in the spotlight, Guillermo del Toro is just the man for the job. FX’s The Strain, based on a trilogy of books co-written by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, looks to help us forget True Blood’s camp vamps and Twilight’s sparkling emo douchebags by making vampires scary again. And while FX isn’t showing off The Strain’s vampires just yet, they have let Yahoo TV premiere several new character photos.
The images show off four of the show’s cast. From top to bottom we’ve got Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, and David Bradley. Stoll, seen up top, has been seen recently in the Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop, and fans of Netflix’s House of Cards will recognize him as Rep. Peter Russo. Now with hair! In The Strain, Stoll plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, a CDC scientist tasked with investigating a viral outbreak that looks uncomfortably like vampirism.