Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
Blu-Ray and DVD, Tuesday 2/14
The annual tradition of the Doctor Who Christmas special continues with The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Last year’s special, with its Dickensian feel, fish that swim through fog, and a truly haunting song to wrap things up set a high bar. Does this latest outing surmount it? Well, no, not quite, but it’s still a rousing good time. The Doctor visits World War II Britain and takes on the task of helping a family recently struck by tragedy. The Doctor arranges an outing to help comfort them, but as is often the case, things don’t go as plans. Soon The Doctor and his new friends find themselves entangled in the troubles of a unique race of aliens, and trying to protect them from a crew of spacefaring strip-miners. Tipping its hat to the works of C.S. Lewis, The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe has everything you’ve come to expect from Doctor Who: adventure, insanity, humanity, and a heartfelt finale. The Christmas trees may have come down over a month ago, but it’s not too late to celebrate with The Doctor. [see cover art]
Alcatraz (Fox, 9/8c) — “Paxton Petty”
The team is on the hunt for a dangerous inmate who has scattered landmines throughout the city. Just remember, standard procedure when stepping on a landmine is to leap fifty feet into the air and scatter yourself across a large area.
“The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore” by Benjamin Hale
Benjamin Hale is a remarkable chimpanzee. He’s not only smarter than the average chimp, he can also speak, and weigh in on subjects such as art and philosophy. While being studied as a research lab, he falls in love with Dr. Lydia Littlemore, and there’s simply no way this ends with anything other than a planet full of damn, dirty apes, is there? [see cover art]
“Ashes of Candesce: Book Five of Virga” by Karl Schroeder
Ashes brings together the heroes of Schoeder’s earlier installments in his “Virga” series. The books meld steampunk aesthetic with a far-future setting in the world of Virga, “a world of endless sky, with no land, no gravity.” [see cover art]
“Blood Ocean” by Weston Ochse
Set in a floating ramshackle city made up of lashed-together boats, Waterworld-style, Blood Ocean envisions a world where every human without O-negative blood has been wiped out by a plague. As if things weren’t already bleak enough, there seems to be a murderer stalking the city… [see cover art]
The River (ABC, 9/8c) — “Los Ciegos”
The entire crew is struck blind after being exposed to dangerous spores. To make matters worse, they’re now being stalked by a local tribe who want to determine if they’re “worthy” to stay in the jungle. Being judged unworthy would be…bad.
Face Off (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Triple Threat”
The contestants are tasked with one of their most difficult challenges yet: “aging” three models, who just happen to be triplets. That’s easy, just make ’em have children. They’ll age three years for every one that passes.
Prophets of Science Fiction (Science, 10/9c) — “Isaac Asimov”
Science Channel’s series examining some of the genre’s greatest talents returns for its winter premiere. Each episode looks at how great SF writers have imagined this future. This episode focuses on the man who gave us the Foundation books, the laws of robotics, and much more.
Person of Interest (CBS, 9/8c) — “Blue Code”
Reese infiltrates a smuggling ring to track down his latest POI. Sadly, this show has lost my interest.
Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “A Better Human Being”
The team investigates a schizophrenic patient’s connections to a series of murders, and Olivia begins to remember things she shouldn’t be able to. This is the 13th episode of the season, with nine more left to go until, possibly, the end of the series itself. But there’s still hope that we might yet get a fifth season. Fingers crossed, Fringe fans!
An Idiot Abroad (Science, 10/9c) — “Face to Face with Gorillas”
Karl gets shipped to Uganda for a close encounter with mountain gorillas. That’s gorillas with an s, not the band.
Comic Book Men (AMC, 10/9c) — “Episode 2”
The first episode of AMC’s new reality show was surprising charming and funny, focusing more on the staff of Kevin Smith’s Red Bank, New Jersey comic shop than on the filmmaker himself. If you’ve ever bagged a comic book to keep it in better shape, you’ll find much to enjoy here.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) — “Triggerfinger”
Rick, Hershel, and Glenn are trapped and forced to confront both walkers and dangerous humans. To say nothing of the danger posed by the question, “Why the hell is trigger finger being used as one word?”