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November 29, 2014

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'Doctor Who' Fans, Producers React to Death of Elisabeth Sladen, aka Sarah Jane

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 19th 2011 6:20PM
There's been a lot of talk in the last week or two about women and science-fiction and fantasy.

Let's not rehash that debate here. Let's simply pay tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, who proved in four decades' worth of terrific work on 'Doctor Who,' that women and genre fare go together just fine.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the late '70s, I watched Sladen, the plucky companion on 'Doctor Who,' not just help defeat all manner of aliens but also hold her own with two different incarnations of the Doctor, feisty specimens played by Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. She played the sidekick role with such unquenchable energy and undeniable fizz that Russell T Davies, who revived 'Doctor Who' several years ago, created a new spinoff, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures,' just for her.

"I absolutely loved Lis," Davies said in a statement from BBC America. "She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis."

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Behold the Unrelenting Horror of (Gulp!) McG's 'Spaced' Remake

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 23rd 2010 11:03AM
Simon Pegg, Julia Deakin and Jessica Hynes on the BBC sitcom
There are very few moments in American history when the unrepresented and disenfranchised masses of society manage to muster together enough courage and strength to topple the high watermark of oppression. They seem to come along once in a millennium, but when they do, they give you this warm and fuzzy feeling inside that maybe life doesn't suck as much as you thought it did and everything, like the movies, may actually turn out alright in the end, closing credits, fade-to-black.

The early days of the American colonies saw the uprising of the Boston Tea Party in which angry settlers grew tired of unreasonable taxation. The mid 20th century saw the sluggish but eventual snowballing steamroll of the Civil Rights Movement. And I like to think that the new millennium's moment of triumph goes to the total destruction and annihilation of Fox's 'Spaced' remake. Granted, I'm not setting the bar very high, but it's only been ten years. Baby steps.

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Top Gear Getting Into Video Games

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 10th 2010 8:03PM
Ever wanted to strap a Scion to two thermal rocket boosters and launch the bastard into the stratosphere or fill a car to the brim with water and drive it into general traffic just to see the reaction of the others drivers on the road? Do you still like having a clean driving record and car insurance that doesn't require the blood of your first born child?

BBC has got the solution for gearheads like you and me: an official 'Top Gear' video game! The broadcasting giant is taking the world's greatest car show and bringing it to a a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS or iPhone near you, news that doubly good to me because I'm a huge 'Top Gear' fan and I called for it to be turned into a video game right here at TV Squad! Who says dreams don't come true now, Mom?

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New Year brings Inbetweeners sitcom to BBC America

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Dec 5th 2009 1:01PM
The award-winning Inbetweeners is coming to BBC America in 2010.One of the best British comedies you've never heard of is headed to BBC America in early 2010.

The Inbetweeners features a handful of awkward young men constantly stuck, well, "in between" childhood and adulthood, loneliness and popularity, romance and dignity, etc. The electric wit of the show's dialogue helped it knock down "Best New Sitcom of 2008" at the British Comedy Awards.

Written and created by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (Peep Show, Flight of the Conchords). the show stars Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison as the hopelessly awhward teens struggling through a new school in suburban Britain.

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Torchwood: Captain Jack Harkness / End of Days (season finale)

by Martin Conaghan, posted Jan 3rd 2007 9:01PM
Torchwood villain(S01E12 / S01E13) I really only have one minor complaint about this end-of-season double-bill of Torchwood, and it's barely worth mentioning.

For a debut season of a large budget sci-fi show on the BBC, scheduled late in a poor slot on a digital channel with limited viewers and decidedly adult themes, strong language and graphic violence, this show succeeded where so many others fail miserably.

And it achieved its success by giving viewers a taste of something usually only witnessed in much higher-profile shows, such as its big sister show Doctor Who; originality.

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Torchwood: Combat

by Martin Conaghan, posted Dec 27th 2006 12:02PM
Owen Harper(S01E11) The first rule of Torchwood is, you do not talk about Torchwood.

The second rule of Torchwood is, you should steal plots from other movies and TV shows, but do so in such a way that it feels compelling and relatively original.

The third rule of Torchwood is, make sure you throw something in at the very end which knocks everything out of balance and makes the show even more of an interesting prospect for the series finale.

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Torchwood: Out of Time

by Martin Conaghan, posted Dec 19th 2006 1:09PM
Torchwood: Out of Time(S01E10) Imagine this: you suddenly find yourself accidentally transported 50 years into the future with absolutely no hope of getting back to where you belong.

It would be great, wouldn't it? All that new technology, fashion changes, a better lifestyle? A whole new world to explore?

Don't be so stupid.

It would be awful. And this week's episode of Torchwood proved it.

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Torchwood: Random Shoes

by Martin Conaghan, posted Dec 14th 2006 2:02PM
Gwen and Captain Jack(S01E09) It's been a fairly bumpy ride with Torchwood in recent weeks, what with Sam Raimi-style plots one week, and maniacal robots the next, only to be followed by sexually deviant aliens and sub-dimensional pixies.

However, this week's episode 'Random Shoes' was a series-stealer, on a parallel with the classic X-Files episode featuring the late Peter Boyle, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose.

I can honestly say I almost had a tear in my eye towards the end; certainly, my wife was sniveling in the corner, rubbing her eyes and producing a heart-warming smile at this decidedly down-to-earth story of a young lad who simply needed some direction in life.

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Torchwood: They Keep Killing Suzie

by Martin Conaghan, posted Dec 5th 2006 9:06AM
Suzie Costello(S01E8) To explain the origins of this week's fantastic episode of Torchwood, we need to go all the way back to episode one ("Everything Changes") and the resurrection glove employed in the opening act, which not only revived the dead for brief spells, but also brought about the death of a Torchwood member.

The important thing to remember is that this is science-fiction folks, and the dead don't sleep for long when technology such as a metal gauntlet which can raise stiffs exists -- even if it's only for a minute or two.

And especially if it's a former member of the Torchwood team.

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Torchwood: Greeks Bearing Gifts

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 28th 2006 11:33AM
Tashiko(S01E07) Let's face it folks, sex sells.

You might not like it, and you especially might not fancy it where sci-fi is concerned -- but Torchwood seems to thrive on the notion that adult audiences fancy a bit of girl-on-girl action in order to reel in the numbers for a show which would otherwise probably only attract nerdy types with unkempt facial hair and poor personal hygiene.

Oh, sure, it certainly gets your attention in the trailers, but it often seems an unnecessary -- and Torchwood is no exception -- but for once, the steamy action formed a genuine part of the central plot (which probably owed more to M. Night Shaymalan's Unbreakable than anything else).

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Torchwood: Countrycide

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 20th 2006 9:04PM
Owen from Torchwood(S01E06) Well, didn't I make a big mistake in sitting down to watch the latest episode of Torchwood all by myself, late in the evening?

Why didn't I just wait until my wife was ready to watch it with me, so that she could reassure me that the doors and windows rattling around the house was just the wind playing tricks on my mind?

But no, I just had to sit and watch it all by myself. I was too impatient.

And now I don't think I'll get to sleep tonight.

Or tomorrow night, for that matter.

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Torchwood: Small Worlds

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 13th 2006 9:03PM
Captain Jack(S01E5) It's difficult not to find yourself comparing Torchwood with the X-Files, since both shows investigate paranormal happenings, alien sightings and other 'unexplained' activity.

And while I could never put my hand on my heart and say Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper come anywhere near the quality of Mulder and Scully, I'm starting to feel that Torchwood is capable of hitting much higher notes when it comes to the fear and terror factor, bringing slightly more of an edge to its so-called adult theme.

"Small Worlds" was one of those episodes where the comparisons to the X-Files couldn't have been more obvious -- the 1996 X-Files episode "Paper Hearts," with Tom Noonan and 'Invocation' from 2000 both immediately came to mind.

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Torchwood: Cyberwoman

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 7th 2006 8:01PM
Toshiko Sato(S01E04) Who would be a pizza delivery girl in Cardiff?

Now that I'm up to date with all of the recent episodes of Torchwood which seem to have piled up on my Sky+ box, I think I can safely say that I'm enjoying this show much more than I did a few weeks ago.

The most recent episode to air in the UK, 'Cyberwoman', set a new standard for this much-confused series, allowing the viewer to settle in and enjoy some traditional Doctor Who-style sci-fi with a bit more edge, gore and excitement than we would normally experience from our favorite time-traveling Gallifreyan.

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Torchwood: Ghost Machine

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 6th 2006 7:49PM
Owen(S01E03) If you were unaware that you were watching Torchwood, you would have been easily forgiven for thinking you were watching an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Tales of the Unexpected, The X-Files -- or any one of the above.

So mainstream and straightforward was the theme of this episode, it could have easily slotted in to the schedule of Lost, Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica, with a few minor character adjustments and a lick of fresh paint on the set.

Despite this, it managed to set itself apart from last week's dreadful mess with some simple science-fiction of the time-traveling kind.

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Torchwood: Day One

by Martin Conaghan, posted Oct 30th 2006 7:34PM
Captain Jack(S01E02) This could have quite easily been the first episode of Torchwood, so quickly was the viewer thrown into the action.

Chuck in some backflash references introducing our main characters; Captain Jack Harkness from the recent series Doctor Who, along with his team of Torchwood operatives, and our central character Gwen Cooper, the ex-cop who takes on the vacant position with a gang of supernatural alien hunters.

And we're done.

A two-hour special would probably have wrapped it all up nicely, but Russell T Davies decided to split things up, especially since this week's episode was more about setting up the adult theme of the entire series than giving viewers a decent run at the characters involved.

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