Next month we’ll be saying our goodbyes to the Eleventh Doctor, actor Matt Smith, as he shares one last adventure with his predecessor and prepares to regenerate into Peter Capaldi for the Christmas special. As with many a Doctor before him, Smith proved a controversial pick at first, with some claiming he was too young, and others pointing out the incontrovertible fact that he was not, in fact, David Tennant. Still, many of the skeptics (including myself) eventually warmed to his “old man in a young body” routine and enjoyed many a fine adventure with him. Smith was born on this day in 1982, and GFR congratulates him on another successful journey around the sun.
This Is the Way the World Ends (October 28, 1988)
Whitley Strieber is best known for Communion, his book about his alleged encounters with non-human entities (which they also made into a 1989 movie starring Christopher Walken). In between his “nonfiction” projects, he’s also a novelist. In 1984 he and James Kunetka published Warday, a post-apocalyptic narrative set five years after a nuclear holocaust. Said nuclear apocalypse occurred on October 28, 1988, and lasted for 36 minutes. Let’s all be glad we aren’t in that tangent universe.
Stargate (October 28, 1994)
It’s hard to believe that this movie launched a multi-show franchise that stretched over a decade. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like the original movie, and it’s easily my favorite Roland Emmerich flick (admittedly, it doesn’t have much competition in the “good” column). It all started on this day in 1994 when Stargate hit theaters, starring James Spader, Kurt Freakin’ Russell, and the guy from The Crying Game. How good is Kurt Russell in Stargate? When it came time to replace him for the TV version, they had to turn to MacGyver.
While the TV spinoffs have been off the air for a couple of years now, we will be getting new Stargate on the big screen: a rebooted movie trilogy is now in the works.
In Time (October 28, 2011)
In less auspicious sci-fi movie news, In Time opened in theaters on this day two years ago. Directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, In Time was set in a future where the rich could extend their lives to near immortality, while the poor had to struggle each day to keep their time from running out. Sadly, the movie was nowhere near as good as Niccol’s underrated genre classic Gattaca, and the movie is most notable for a lawsuit filed by author Harlan Ellison, who alleged that the film’s plot ripped off his story “Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.” After seeing the film Ellison dropped the suit.