Here’s what we’ve been watching on television.
Doctor Who: “A Town Called Mercy”
- Excerpt: The very first time the Doctor went to the American West with its cowboys and shoot-outs was when the First Doctor visited Tombstone in The Gunfighters. A Town Called Mercy, mercifully, is better than The Gunfighters, Sadly, it isn’t much better.
- Excerpt: From that set-up, it seems like “A Town Called Mercy” is going to be a fairly straightforward episode riffing on Western motifs (or songs by The Jam), and it is for the first third. Yet the script by veteran Who writer Toby Whithouse is a lot trickier than that, and one of the delights of the episode is seeing the ways in which it sets things up to look one way, then suddenly flips everything on its head.
- Excerpt: I wonder: Is the show making space for the legend of the Doctor to disappear from the universe, perhaps for a fresh-slate reboot, and just in time for the 50th anniversary?
- Excerpt: To be fair, it’s very clear that these two annual trips to North America have been an attempt for Doctor Who to “break” into the market place over there – to provide viewers with something recognisable as a gateway to a uniquely British television show. While the American backdrop of last year’s trip added some wonderful stylistic touches, A Town Called Mercy feels like a more overt attempt to tell a distinctly “American” story within the framework of the show.
Key and Peele: Season 1
- Excerpt: Neither Keegan-Michael Key nor Jordan Peele is a big enough star to warrant his own Comedy Central series. But, put the two “MadTV” veterans together and you get “Key and Peele”, a sketch comedy show soon to begin airing its second season.
Newsroom: Season 1
- Excerpt: Science fiction for people who don’t want to be bothered with any of that tedious thinking stuff, and just want to get to the action. (The action isn’t all that fabuIous, either.)
Steve Martin: The Television Stuff
- Excerpt: Shout! Factory’s compilation of Martin’s TV specials from the ’70s and ’80s is top-notch.