TARDIS Home Companion

Even the most casual fan of Doctor knows that everyone’s favorite Time Lord rarely travels time and space by his lonesome. The Doctor has companions with which to traverse the cosmos – and the newest companion was just announced over the weekend!

Newcomer Pearl Mackie has now been revealed as the latest addition to the Doctor Whoniverse as a new companion named Bill. Mackie has a few stage and screen credits to her name but it’s safe to say her role on Doctor Who is her biggest yet and quickly propels her to celebrity status, especially among Whovians.

Unfortunately, it will be at least a few years before UNC-TV acquires any episodes with Pearl Mackie as Bill (currently, we are airing the David Tennant episodes) but I’m sure Doctor Who fans are anxiously awaiting to see her turn as the latest TARDIS traveler and find out what she brings to the table, er – console.

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Who Day

52 years ago today, a television institution signed on the air in Great Britain. It later made its way to the States and became a public broadcasting staple. So grab your impossibly long scarf, slap on a stalk of celery or don your fez (fezzes are cool) and celebrate the world’s longest-running science fiction TV series, Doctor Who! 52 years may seem like a long time but, as every Time Lord knows, life doesn’t begin until 750.

The PBS Connection

If you watched the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, you didn’t see a lot of PBS shows taking home awards. In fact, none by my count. A bit of a shame (and I was really pulling for Wolf Hall) but, when a lot of quality shows get nominated, the winner’s margin can be extremely thin. So, cliché as it is, this is honestly is a case of “it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

That being said, there was a very interesting PBS connection I couldn’t help but notice.

As you may have noticed, actor Reg E. Cathey won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role in House of Cards. He received the Emmy when the Creative Service Awards were presented a few weeks back (PBS did win a few of those) but made an appearance at Sunday night’s festivities as a presenter.

Well, it’s certainly fair game to point out that Netflix’s House Of Cards is an adaptation of the British mini-series House of Cards – a drama that UNC-TV has broadcast as recently as this year. (And while the Kevin Spacey series is very good, I will always favor the original with Ian Richardson as Machiavellian Tory Francis Urquhart.) But Reg E. Cathey has a far more interesting PBS connection in that he was a regular on a classic kids’ series UNC-TV aired in the late ’80s/early ’90s.

You may remember Square One TV. Created by the Children’s Television Workshop, Square One may be best known for the Dragnet-parody “Mathnet” but the educational anthology series featured lots of skits, parodies, cartoons, music videos and the like, all designed to teach basic mathematics. Reg E. Cathey was one of the regular performers on the show (I know that’s where I first saw him) so you might say that PBS launched his career.

So, congratulations to Mr. Reg E. Cathey. You may not have won an Emmy for PBS per se but it’s nice to see a former employee made good.

[Addendum: A quick glance at Cathey’s imdb profile also lists a performance as Guildenstern in a Hamlet adaptation starring Kevin Kline which Great Performances aired in 1990. I have that on VHS somewhere, so I’ll have to fish it out and watch it again.]

PBS Wins Again!

The 67th Primetime Emmy® Awards will be held Sunday and quite a few PBS programs are nominated but the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy® Awards were presented on September 12 and PBS won four awards.

Congratulations to everyone for a well-deserved win!

Here are the recipients…

HOW WE GOT TO NOW WITH STEVE JOHNSON

Outstanding Motion Design
Miles Presland Donovan, Creative Producer
Luke Best, Art Director/Illustrator
Peter Mello, Animation Director
Chris Sayer, Animator

DOWNTON ABBEY, SEASON 5, EPISODE 6

Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series
Nic Collins, Key Hairstylist

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, EPISODE 1 “Get Action (1858-1901)”

Outstanding Narrator
Peter Coyote, Narrator

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Outstanding Special Class Program
Andrew Carl Wilk, Executive Producer
Allen Kelman, Supervising Producer
Douglas Chang, Producer
Elizabeth W. Scott, Produced by
Audra McDonald, Host

It’s A Walt World After All

In promoting next week’s American Experience event, Executive Producer Mark Samels said, “Well, first of all, there is a person. You know, a lot of young people don’t even know there was a Walt Disney – it’s just the name of a company, an enormous company – but there actually was a man.”

That thought was staggering to me but it rings true. Disney, the company, seems omnipresent in American culture with four-fingered gloved hands in everything from television and film to comic books and video games. Is it possible that some younger generations – millennials, say – don’t know there was a Walt Disney? I can believe that, even as I’m saddened by it.

That’s why I can’t wait for Walt Disney, a new two-part American Experience that airs Monday and Tuesday on UNC-TV. As someone who has loved and studied animation and filmmaking, I am well aware of Walt Disney’s legacy but I am less than familiar with his life. This four-hour documentary will explore his work, his legend and his creative genius. Let’s hope it also familiarizes those unaware of the man with just who Walt Disney really was.

Watch a PREVIEW at PBS.org and set your recording devices for American Experience: Walt Disney, premiering Monday night at 9 on UNC-TV.

5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2006!

Did you ring in the new year recently? If you’re an EastEnders fan, the answer is most likely yes.

The two back-to-back episodes of EastEnders which aired last night on UNC-TV (repeating Tuesday at 8pm on UNC-MX and Sunday morning at 3am on UNC-TV) were originally shown on BBC One in January 2006. They were the first episodes shown that year. That means the previous week’s episodes that were aired on UNC-TV were from 2005. So Happy New Year, Walford!

Now, the practical upshot of this means we are about nine years behind the episodes of EastEnders shown in England. Story-wise, this is no big deal; it’s not as though the series is exceptionally topical, meaning it’s unlikely any of Albert Square’s denizens will reference Tony Blair’s cabinet reshuffling in May 2006 when it happens. (That being said, there may be some references to England’s showing in the World Cup when it occurs in June 2006.)

This, however, brings us to a bit of a snag as EastEnders is being broadcast four times a week in the UK but UNC-TV broadcast two episodes a week. This disparity between the original broadcast date and the airing of said episode on UNC-TV only ensures the gap will widen in the future. Continue reading