Okay, I'm WAY behind on weighing in on BBC America's announcement of the casting of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor on the long-running series Doctor Who. The news was presented Sunday during a live special that was clearly a big event over there ... live studio audience, big fanfare, plenty of teasing and anticipation-building. And thunderous applause when Capaldi made his way on stage.
Whether you're a Whovian or not, you have to appreciate just how big casting for this role is. Consider that there have been 11 actors to portray THE SAME ROLE ... that's unheard of. And this new Doctor comes just when the show is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It's just a lot of big news all around.
As for Capaldi, I don't know much about him. He has guest-starred on the show before and has worked in both television and film and was most recently seen in World War Z (ironically as a W.H.O doctor). At 55, he is far older than his predecessor Matt Smith, who will depart the role this Christmas. Show runner Steven Moffat has said he wanted an older Doctor, and he has gotten his wish, saying that the list of contenders for the role pretty much consisted of one name: Capaldi.
As has been before, it will take some time to get used to this new Doctor, but I think they have made a good choice.
In related news - related in that my favorite Doctor is starring in a new series - David Tennant headlines a new BBC America series, Broadchurch, which premieres tomorrow night.
There are certain actors that I really only love in one role (sorry, David Boreanaz, I know Bones is a successful show but to me, you'll always be Angel) and there are those I'll follow wherever they go (Jensen Ackles, Nathan Fillion), and Tennant is one of them. This incredibly talented Scotsman won me over instantly as the 10th Doctor and I have since watched him online in other projects, including a bit of Shakespeare, which he masters so well.
So I was excited to learn that he was starring in this new drama and was also happy to learn that there would be other Who alums included in the run, including Arthur Darvill, who played Rory Williams in Series 5, 6 and half of 7 (in England, seasons are called series).
The premiere episode opened with an impressive single-take tracking shot which, in a matter of a few minutes, introduced us to a good number of townsfolk, undoubtably many of which will figure into the ongoing mystery. The setting is bright and sunny in the onset, which you don't normally think of when you think of England. It isn't long before we're taken to the crime scene and we're there as his mother Beth (Jodie Whittaker) experiences the horror of her loss.
I love hearing Tennant speak with his native Scottish accent! This is a far different role from the Doctor ... quieter, more internal, far less physical ... but it's nice to watch him play someone different. I admit that though his character is angry, disheveled and has a troubled past, I'm hoping for a touch of the levity I've come to love from his earlier performances ... but this is not that show.
You get a sense that the two lead characters are destined to clash in their opinions and investigative styles, and Tennant and Colman play off each other nicely. In her bland pant suit and closely-cropped curls, Colman's Ellie looks harder, colder than she actually is - she's rather sensitive, cautious - and it works well. Plus the fact that these people are her neighbors, some friends, and the fear that one of them could be a killer, gives her a really interesting facet to play.
The show plays with a lot of interesting camera angles and lighting and is supported by a very haunting score. I know people are likening this series to AMC's The Killing or Sundance Channel's Top of the Lake, but I haven't watched either so I can't concur (though I hear the latter is really good). There's nothing particularly groundbreaking here. This is a show I think you watch more for the characters and their interactions and emotions rather than the mystery of the murder itself, though I'm hoping for a nice twist or two along the way. At only eight episodes and with a promised solving at its conclusion, I expect the story to move along at a decent pace.
Bottom Line: As a true Tennant fan, I have to say give this show a go.
Broadchurch premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 10 p.m. on BBC America.