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’”

‘Doctor Who’ Brings Maisie Williams on for ‘The Girl Who Died’

Puppetry and baby talk win out in an intriguing installment.

Clara (Jenna Coleman), the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and Ashildr (Maisie Williams).
Clara (Jenna Coleman), the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and Ashildre (Maisie Williams). Photo Credit: BBC Worldwide Limited

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

The Vikings are Coming!

It’s another multi-episode story arc for Doctor Who, as viewers are introduced to Ashildre in “The Girl Who Died.” The offbeat and “strange” Viking girl is portrayed by Maisie Williams from the hit series Game of Thrones, a casting decision that’s generated buzz for months. Williams is neither the Doctor’s granddaughter nor someone else from his past. That revelation may leave some viewers disappointed, but I regard this weekend’s chapter as a strong venture onto some new ground. Continue reading “‘Doctor Who’ Brings Maisie Williams on for ‘The Girl Who Died’”

Review: ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ – Series Finale

Events continue at a quick pace in the final chapter of BBC series Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Drawlight (Vincent Franklin) returns from Venice with Strange’s message and Lady Pole’s (Alice Englert) finger. Lascelles (John Heffernan) kills him, set against any potential alliance between Strange (Bertie Carvel) and Norrell (Eddie Marsan). His deception is detected by Childermass’ cards.

Norrell and Childermass
Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) and Childermass (Enzo Cilenti), Photo: JSMN Ltd. / Matt Squire

Childermass (Enzo Cilenti) departs for the sanatorium of Segundus (Edward Hogg) and Honeyfoot (Brian Pettifer) to reach Lady Pole, who is under a sleeping enchantment. It’s an amazing sight when Strange’s black tower relocates from Italy and descends upon Mr. Norrell’s estate in England. Strange creates a labyrinth and conjures up fire to frighten Norrell in the library. Norrell fights back feebly with rain, inadvertently breaking the tension in the chamber. Continue reading “Review: ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ – Series Finale”

TV Review: Madness Reigns on ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ in “The Black Tower”

Jonathan Strange finally meets the Gentleman.

Marc Warren and Bertie Carvel
The Gentleman (Marc Warren) watches Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) at work. Photo: JSMN Ltd, Matt Squire / BBC America.

Following “The Black Tower,” there’s only one more episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a BBC series that depicts a Napoleonic Europe beset by magic. The penultimate installment is a jarring descent into madness. Norrell (Eddie Marsan), the older magician, is frustrated that he can’t locate Strange (Bertie Carvel), his former apprentice. He reluctantly pulls Drawlight (Vincent Franklin) out of jail to handle the search.

Strange is hiding in Venice, trying to “catch” madness, a mental state that enables one to see fairies. He meets the lovely Flora (Lucinda Dryzek), from whom he learns about an old lady that lives with cats and eats dead rodents. Yes, she’s mad. I would have preferred a less stomach-turning method for demonstrating his obsession with getting Arabella (Charlotte Riley) back. Strange succeeds and meets the Gentleman, a fairy king (Marc Warren) with a penchant for deals. His happiness fades upon realizing that Belle is alive, turning quickly to rage when he discovers the Gentleman’s involvement with Lady Pole’s (Alice Englert) resurrection. Continue reading “TV Review: Madness Reigns on ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ in “The Black Tower””

Review: ‘Arabella’ Teases Buildup to Confrontation Between ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’

Photo of Jonathan Strange
Hard times are ahead for Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel). Photo: JSMN Ltd, Matt Squire, BBC America

“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” have decidedly split, as the former (Bertie Carvel) resides back at his family estate with his lovely bride Arabella (Charlotte Riley). Strange is busy working on a book and a series of etchings. He’s still a bit shaken by his harrowing experiences at Waterloo, where he used his magic to kill a hatchet-wielding Frenchman. His own weapon of choice was a giant hand that he conjured out of the mud. Continue reading “Review: ‘Arabella’ Teases Buildup to Confrontation Between ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’”

TV Review: Alliance Between ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ Fades in ‘All the Mirrors of the World’

Is there room for only one magician in England after all?

“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” always seemed to have a tenuous friendship at best in the television adaptation on BBC. It can only be as such when Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan) insists on his way in terms of making magic “respectable.” In “All the Mirrors of the World,” the two gentlemen sever their ties, a move precipitated by the publication of Norrell’s book on magic.

Bertie Carvel as Jonathan Strange
Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) Travels Through Mirrors. Photo: JSMN Ltd, Matt Squire / BBC America

The episode opens with the aftermath of Lady Pole’s (Alice Englert) attempt to assassinate Norrell, which resulted in Childermass (Enzo Cilenti) taking a bullet for his employer. Norrell is quite testy when the younger fellow awakens, asking why he performed magic on the street. He’s also a bit paranoid at this point, asking how Childermass even knew how to cast such a spell; he’s awfully incredulous when he learns that he showed that trick to Childermass. Continue reading “TV Review: Alliance Between ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ Fades in ‘All the Mirrors of the World’”

Looking Ahead to San Diego Comic-Con: Thursday Edition

Comic-Con will be in full swing come Thursday, July 9. If you were fortunate to snag a badge to the biggest convention in San Diego, which panels should you attend? Let’s run through a few must-sees:

“Hand of God”

In this Amazon series, Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Hellboy”) plays a corrupt judge who may be “in the midst of a religious epiphany” after a family tragedy. It’s now a question of whether he’ll continue along the same course or try to do the right thing. It’s a full panel with Perlman, Ben Watkins (“Burn Notice”), Garret Dilahunt (“Justified”), Andre Royo (“Happyish”), Alona Tal (“Supernatural”), Julian Morris (“Pretty Little Liars”), Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Criminal Minds”), and Elizabeth McLaughlin (“Betrayal”). From the trailer, could it potentially fill the void left by the cancellation of Kelsey Grammar’s “Boss” a while ago?

“The Player” Sneak Peek and Q&A

This new NBC drama premieres in the fall. It’s no surprise that the high stakes chase after criminals feels somewhat like “The Blacklist,” because the same executive producers are on the project. Philip Winchester plays successful security tester and agent Alex Kane, whose life is turned upside down by the death of his wife. His adversary and quasi new employer is the enigmatic and smooth Mr. Johnson, portrayed by Wesley Snipes. Catch this sneak peek and the ensuing discussion!

“Doctor Who” Q&A The stars of “Doctor Who” are coming to Comic-Con! It’ll be Peter Capaldi’s first appearance at SDCC this summer. He’ll be there along with Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, and Steven Moffat. Missy is due back for Season 9, but I wouldn’t expect Steven Moffat to be forthcoming with spoilers. Will Peter Capaldi share any surprising facts and possibly outdo last year’s reveal about how he turned down a “Doctor Who” audition years ago?


Later on Thursday afternoon, Steven Moffat will address another segment of the BBC America fan base: the “Sherlock” fans! Will there be any more light shed upon the Victorian special? Also joining him are executive producer Sue Vertue and Rupert Graves, who plays DI Greg Lestrade.

While there’s a plethora of things to do at San Diego Comic-Con, you’ll miss out if you don’t put these panels as a priority. For a complete list of Thursday’s programming, visit the SDCC website. Check back soon and we’ll run through Friday’s program schedule.