Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman Talk ‘Doctor Who’ at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. [Repost]

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman share behind-the-scenes stories. Capaldi revisits his Malcolm Tucker days.

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Photo of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman amuse the crowd during the Q&A, Awesome Con, Washington, D.C. Credit: Pat Cuadros

Doctor Who fans converged on Washington, D.C. for Awesome Con on earlier this month to see Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. The U.K. actors were interviewed by Kristen Page-Kirby, the Senior Arts Editor for the Washington Post Express. The half hour panel also featured a Q&A with the audience.

“I’m not sure how successfully Clara was able to wipe [the Doctor’s] mind,” Capaldi hinted about future episodes. He stopped mid-sentence before giving away anything else. Though Clara has left, it remains to be seen where these leftover pieces, if any, will take the Doctor. Continue reading “Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman Talk ‘Doctor Who’ at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. [Repost]”

Alex Trebek and ‘Jeopardy!’ Come to DC for Power Players Week

It’s truly amazing to see Alex Trebek in action with the crew, contestants, and audience.

Jeopardy! in Washington DC Promo Photo
Credit: ‘Jeopardy!’ and Sony Pictures.

For years, I’ve had the following item on my bucket list: “Attend a taping of Jeopardy!” Typically, you have to venture out to Culver City, CA, to see the famous game show. However, in the last five years, the iconic clue board, buzzers, and contestant stands have come twice to DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.

The first instance was in 2012, when I witnessed CNN anchor Anderson Cooper beat NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and economist Thomas L. Friedman. That same afternoon, I saw Fox News anchor Chris Wallace win against Dr. Mehmet Oz and BBC America’s Katty Kay. These contests were among several panels in the highly anticipated Power Players Week: when well-known individuals in media, news, and politics compete and win prize money for charity.

Three weeks ago, I returned to DAR for another Power Players Week taping. I don’t know how the filming transpires in California, but it’s a unique experience in our nation’s capital. For starters, reporters and camera crews milled around onstage for interviews until the contestants took their places. When the familiar opening credits finally rolled, Jimmy McGuire from the Clue Crew walked out to run the practice games instead of Alex Trebek.

The first match-up consisted of Louis C.K. (Horace and Pete), CNN’s Kate Bolduan (At This Hour), and the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. I loved their chemistry on-stage as they laughed about the clues that they missed in the practice game. It was also amusing when a clue winner forgot that he or she needed to pick the next clue. Senator Al Franken, political analyst Ana Navarro, and legal analyst Sunny Hostin were not so enjoyable during their practice. There was something about the exchanges between Franken and Navarro that felt slightly off compared to the joviality and easygoing nature of first group.

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Alex Trebek. Credit: ‘Jeopardy!’ and Sony Pictures.

Alex Trebek, who turns 76 this year, managed the actual games and announced clues at a quick pace. However, the astonishing aspect of the taping is what he did off-script and off-camera. Trebek was very involved with the crew in catching errors; he reread clues for the sound team and pointed out dollar amounts to be removed from the board. “I love the power,” he joked. “Say it and it’s done!”

“We can chat or you guys can take naps,” he said to the audience when he strode to the front of the stage at the first commercial break. He would cast Kevin Kline, Johnny Depp, Kevin Spacey, or Betty White to play him in a biopic. “Get her out of here,” he quipped after a little girl asked who he knew from the Harry Potter films – yes, the late Alan Rickman. He looked out solemnly during another break and reminded everyone, “Canada is your neighbor.” Trebek would have made a brilliant and entertaining stand-up comedian.

Serious questions were also interesting. He spent the previous weekend rebuilding the washing machine. Dancing with the Stars reached out to him 3 times with invitations to compete. He’d like to have Kevin Spacey as a Jeopardy! contestant someday. He wisely refrained from weighing in on the 2016 Presidential election.

I can’t imagine what’s in store for Jeopardy! when Trebek eventually leaves the helm of what’s become the longest-running game show on American television. He’s been the host since 1984, before quite a few fans like me were even born. It’s truly amazing to see him in action with the crew, contestants, and audience. His current contract concludes with the 2017-2018 season. If that’s indeed the end, I highly recommend that you obtain tickets, which are free, for a taping session.

Be sure to check out Power Players Week when it airs the week of May 16.


This article was originally published on Blogcritics.org under the same title.

Wil Wheaton Pushes STEAM at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton at the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Credit: Pat Cuadros

Thousands converged upon Washington, DC, last weekend for the fourth USA Science & Engineering Festival. The Festival is regarded as the largest STEM education event in the country, with family-friendly demonstrations and talks. They focus on guiding young people with interests in the career fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In addition to educators and professional associations, well-known scientists and even entertainers offer their insights on these exciting opportunities.

Actor and blogger Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation; Big Bang Theory) was one of the celebrity guests at hand for the festivities this year. On Sunday morning, he introduced the winners of the Generation Nano Awards on behalf of the National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The competition required high school students to imagine their own superheroes with powers emerging out of nanotechnology. With the angle on comic books and visual design, it was fitting that legendary comic-book writer Stan Lee joined Wil Wheaton (virtually) to extend his congratulatory sentiments to the winners. Continue reading “Wil Wheaton Pushes STEAM at the USA Science & Engineering Festival”

Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan
Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan at the North American premiere of ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo: Pat Cuadros

In early December, I caught up with Robert Carlyle twice at the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) as a writer for Blogcritics. The Once Upon a Time actor was at the snowy ski resorts in Whistler, Canada, for the North American premiere of his directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson. He mingled with screenwriter Richard Cowan as well as producers Emily Alden and John Lenic at the Red Carpet. Continue reading “Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’”

Whistler Film Festival: Spotlight on Robert Carlyle

The actor-director was honored with the 2015 Maverick Award at the Whistler Film Festival.

The Whistler Film Festival held a Spotlight on Robert Carlyle earlier this month in British Columbia, Canada. As part of the WFF Signature Series, the actor-director was presented with the Maverick Award. Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, was screened later in the evening for its North American premiere.

Robert Carlyle
Robert Carlyle at the Whistler Film Festival. Photo: Pat Cuadros

The event included an intimate conversation with critic Jim Gordon of CTV, a major news network based in Vancouver. Much of the focus on Carlyle these days seems to be on his work with Once Upon a Time and the upcoming Trainspotting 2, projects that he himself appreciates. “One of the lovely things about Once Upon a Time is that [my family and I] can all sit and watch it on a Sunday night together. You can’t really do that with Trainspotting,” he remarked. Continue reading “Whistler Film Festival: Spotlight on Robert Carlyle”

TV Review: Clara and the Doctor ‘Face the Raven’

After heavy losses, what’s next for the Doctor?

Joivan Wade, Peter Capaldi, and Jenna Coleman
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) want to clear Rigsy’s (Joivan Wade) name. Photo: BBC Worldwide Limited

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

The latest episode of Doctor Who takes the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) to the hidden streets of London, where aliens reside somewhat peacefully away from the world. Lording over them is none other than Me/Ashildr (Maisie Williams) as an enforcer. Sentencing for crimes is rather strict, resulting in a tattoo that counts down to zero. At zero, the Raven comes in for the kill. Continue reading “TV Review: Clara and the Doctor ‘Face the Raven’”

‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: “The Bear and the Bow”

Rumple is put to the test in what’s arguably the best episode this season. Also, that bear is scary!

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

OUAT Promotional PhotoLast week, there were strong hints that Merida (Amy Manson), still under Emma’s control (Jennifer Morrison), would set a bulls-eye on Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Emma thinks that Rumple (Robert Carlyle) can become “a hero” and pull Excalibur out of the stone, but he’ll need some prompting. It’s the return of one of my favorite “versions” of Rumple; he’s regressed and gone full-on “coward” here. Training with Merida is not fruitful until she starts toying with him, bringing the teacup into the mix. Continue reading “‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: “The Bear and the Bow””