Entry for October 30, 2008: Doctor Who and other SFTV

The big entertainment news hitting the Web this week is the departure of David Tennant from the BBC's Doctor Who. While this is not unexpected or unprecedented, it's still sad news for fans of the time-travel show, I hope that whoever is cast in the role of the good Gallifreyan is a worthy successor and that the writers can keep up the quality of the long-running program (and its spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures).

On Tuesday, 28 October 2008, co-worker Ken G. and I drove out to Thomas K.Y.'s condominium in Lexington, Massachusetts. We had dinner at Mario's Italian Restaurant, then watched Iron Man alongside the RiffTrax commentary. Ken has blogged before about how the creators of Mystery Science Theater 3000 have gone online with their humorous quips about various films, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they didn't detract from what was arguably the best movie of this past summer.

Even as genre television struggles for ratings against reality shows and storylines damaged by last year's writers' strike, I've checked out a few new shows in addition to the metahuman melodramas of Heroes and Smallville, quirky comedies of Chuck and Pushing Daisies, and newcomer Fringe.

On Sundays on the CW, Valentine takes a similar approach to the once and future Cupid in positing classical deities reborn in modern Los Angeles. Although it's slightly preachy, ABC's Eli Stone on Tuesday nights reminds me of Journeyman in its do-gooder protagonist beset with divine trials and inspiration.

Janice and I have also been watching On the Road Again, as chef Mario Batali and actress Gwyneth Paltrow eat their way across Spain. Although I've been recording a few shows because of my D&D4e "Vanished Lands: the F.B.I.," D&D3.5 "Holy Steel" and City of Heroes games, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles has finally fallen by the wayside.

The computer-animated Star Wars: Clone Wars is better than the theatrical release of its pilot suggested, and I'm enjoying being back in George Lucas' space opera universe. As Stargate: Atlantis winds down, I'm cautiously optimistic about Amanda Tapping's Sanctuary, which uses computer-generated backdrops for its cryptozoology setting. Friday nights are even more crowded with NBC's lackluster (so far) Crusoe.

Although I haven't had time for the Americanized Life on Mars, the time-traveling cop show gotten decent reviews, nor have I watched the Jekyll and Hyde thriller My Own Worst Enemy. Since I'm a big fan of USA's funny Psych, I've passed on the similar sleuth show The Mentalist. However, I have watched a bit of Californication, mainly out of curiosity about former X-Files star David Duchovny's recent troubles.

In the coming weeks, I look forward to the premieres of The Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman and the Brave and Bold, and Wolverine and the X-Men (not to mention the upcoming Avengers cartoon). Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule/Legend of the Seeker and the BBC's Merlin may bring decent fantasy back to television — so many shows, so little time!