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Monday, Nov 17, 2014
How did Doctor Who go from grasping at straws to having one of the best seasons in years? Amazingly, in just two simple steps.

There are a lot of people who like Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. There are a lot of people that will (rightly) point to episodes like “The Girl Who Waited” and excellent new characters like the Silence to help really drive the point home that following the monumental popularity and goodwill that David Tennant’s tenure as the Tenth Doctor generated, Matt Smith’s run in the big blue police box was just as good as his predecessor.


Except those people would be wrong.


While there will be some great episodes associated with the 11th Doctor—especially when you factor in the Series Six arc of companions Amy & Rory dealing with their pregnancy amidst all of their incredible time adventures—it was by the time the show reached Series Seven that it was obvious that showrunner and Sherlock scribe Steven Moffat was running low on ideas, episodes like “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Angels Take Manhattan” really pushing the credulity of a show that already dealt with monsters, time paradoxes, and all sorts of otherworldly wackiness. Things seemed to be taking a turn once Jenna Coleman was brought on as Clara, the quirky, fast-talking girl that almost-flirted with the Doctor and seemed to match him on a basis of pure witticisms. When we first met her in 2012’s “The Snowmen”, we find out she leads the strange double-life of being a barmaid as well as a governess, and, most interestingly, was the same girl that was featured in the pivotal episode “Asylum of the Daleks”. Mysteries abound for this sassy new companion.


However, as she spent more time with Matt Smith, that initial pep of energy that she gave us withered away, as her matching Smith on a quirk-for-quirk basis proved to more grating than it was endearing. Although fans were thrown a bone with the wonderful 50th anniversary special, during which Clara had a mercifully brief role, by the time we reached the Neil Gaiman-penned “Nightmare in Silver”, Clara was commanding an army of reluctant soldiers and still offering wry faces and goofy grins even as the soldiers she was leading were dying all around her. It was ill-fitting for the character, and basically painted her as someone made of all quirks and zero emotion. Even with Matt Smith’s halfway-decent send off, there was still a sense of lacking to his final run in he TARDIS, and while some of it could be attributed to tired scripts, having a companion that was simply not interesting on any notable dramatic level is what ultimately marred the last of Smith’s tenure.


Thus, when Peter Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor, it was noted how his character would be unlikable at first, but the audience would grow to love him. True Whovians knew this was a bad omen, as the last time they tried that, it was when Colin Baker was the Sixth Doctor, and the producers at the time wanted to make him an absolute jerk that slowly worms his way into the audience’s heart with his gradual reveal of honest emotions. Instead, Colin Baker’s incarnation just came off as a jerk ... and little else. He was saved by a few decent scripts (see: The Trail of a Time Lord), but his character went down as one of the more contentious Time Lords in the canon, and not in the lovable and curmudgeonly way that Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker had done so well.


Thus, “Deep Breath”, Capaldi’s first episode, was a bit of a strange one to start of Series Eight with: he’s making passes at a female dinosaur, being somewhat dazed throughout the episode as he’s finding the limits of his new body (and the audience is getting used to his accent)—it made for a strange stew. However, despite his non-violent victory over the strange Victorian androids, what was most interesting about the episode is how the Doctor really pushed Clara into the action without a safety net, at one point locking her in a room where she was clearly in mortal danger. It was an odd move, but in truth, this leads to one of the two reasons why Series Eight has been one of the most out-and-out spectacular since the surprisingly satisfying Donna Noble-starring Series Four (with Tennant and Catherine Tate) ...


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Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014
PopMatters takes a look at Fall 2014's new Tuesday shows that will be competing against TV’s highest-rated series.

Despite the old adage that Thursdays are “Must See TV”, you could make the argument that Tuesdays are now TV’s biggest night, due to such hits as NCIS, The Voice, and last year’s big breakout, About A Boy. But for every hit, there are plenty of misses, and last year’s cancellations left plenty of room on the schedule for new TV series. So which of these new shows is actually worth your time? And who dares to challenge TV’s highest-rated show? Read on to find out.


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Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014
We take a look at what new TV series the major networks are offering this fall, starting with the Monday night roster.

Mondays have increasingly become one of TV’s most popular nights. Each major network offers viewers something different, and the strategies these networks have adopted have been mostly successful. This fall sees the premiere of three new series.


Here are official video previews, series rundowns, time slots, and a little critical analysis on their odds of survival. Bookmark this page if you want to keep track of premiere dates and possible schedule changes, because updates will be posted in the comments section.


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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013
Is there anything on TV worth staying at home for? It’s not too late to find out!

The major TV networks have mostly given up on the concept of original television during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.


Fridays have gotten a lot more interesting this year, however. Three new shows will make their debuts on the night, with several old favorites moving right next to them. Its one of the most unique nights of the week, with a wide variety of different reality shows, sitcoms, and dramas.


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Thursday, Oct 10, 2013
It’s not too late to get all the information you need on all the new fall shows.

Thursday is home to the highest-rated and most heavily hyped shows on television. Because some of last year’s new debuts didn’t make it (The New Normal, Last Resort) and a few old favorites came to the end of their run (30 Rock, The Office), many new shows are competing for our attention on this night. There’s plenty of options and something out there for almost everyone.


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