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PopWatch Planner: 'Game of Thrones' and 'Doctor Who' return, Katherine's back on 'The Vampire Diaries', and more

We might as well call this premiere week. Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and The Voice are all back. Nashville returns from a long hiatus. Oh, and that movie where Ryan Gosling has a ton of tattoos that you’ve been thinking might be cool to check out is finally here.

Whether you’re planning an elaborate Game of Thrones party, still debating the Vampire Diaries dilemma that ended so many friendships, or just plotting the best possible way to get Matt Smith your phone number, this week has something for everyone. And we do mean everyone! We start with a salute to strong female characters from Broadway musicals and end with a show where the likelihood of blood (and/or sex) is 100%. Here’s what to do for the days in between.

SUNDAY
Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway… All of ‘Em, 8 p.m., PBS

OK, hear me out. There are just so many TV options on Sunday! Revenge, The Walking Dead, The Good Wife, Once Upon a Time! So, you’re going to watch your favorite. But if you choose to DVR any other show, why not give Chenoweth a chance! She’s got charm, pizzazz, and oh man that VOICE.

MONDAY
The Voice, 8 p.m., NBC

Speaking of voices, the best use of spinning chairs on television returns. We’re all excited to see if Shakira and Usher can carry their weight as judges. Plus, we get to hear a pretty seductive version of ”Sexy and I Know It.”

TUESDAY
The Mindy Project, 9:30 p.m., Fox

Ellie Kemper guest stars! We can only hope that she becomes a regular on the show next season after The Office ends. Maybe if we all ask hard enough, Kemper and Kaling will bring their pop group, Subtle Sexuality, to the show eventually.

WEDNESDAY
Nashville, 10 p.m., NBC

After a month off, we get to find out what’s up with Scarlett and Gunnar! Let’s hope it’s steamy.


THURSDAY
The Vampire Diaries, 8 p.m., The CW

Klaus is shirtless. Caroline’s looking vengeful. We get the Katherine vs. Elena (sans humanity) scene we’ve been waiting for. Plus, we’re kind of loving Rebekah and Elena as partners in crime, right?


FRIDAY
The Place Beyond the Pines hits theaters

Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendez, and Rose Bryne star in this movie about fathers and sons directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine). Come for Ryan Gosling’s abs, stay for his (and Cooper’s) strong acting. Watch some scenes from the movie here to get excited.

SATURDAY
Doctor Who, 8 p.m., BBC America

You saw our two covers, paper dolls, and exclusive video, now it’s time for the premiere. How is Clara going to fare as a companion? Will she be able to fill the Pond-sized hole in our hearts? And who exactly is she? Be prepared to get taken through space and time by a man in a bow-tie.

SUNDAY
Game of Thrones, 9 p.m., HBO

We’ve been preparing for this for a while and we know you have too. If the epic trailer, which basically looks like a movie, doesn’t make you want to watch consider this: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) goes ”dragon fishing” on a sea voyage.

'Doctor Who' Christmas special recap: 'Bow ties are cool'

This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special fell perfectly in line with the episodes we’ve seen so far this season: clever, funny, heart-tugging, topped with sadness, and served with a side of mystery. And, impressively, it did all the aforementioned while also introducing the Doctor’s new companion.

So how’d they do it? With a tale called “The Snowmen,” which was as twisty as it was exciting.

In this story, we met a man named Dr. Simeon who was using a giant snow globe called The Great Intelligence to manipulate snow in hopes of wiping out all the humans of the world and replacing them with ice creatures. The bigger issue here, though, wasn’t stopping the nefarious act — it was getting the Doctor to participate in the world-saving. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: 'Django Unchained' versus 'Les Miserables'

Django-Leo

The holidays are a welcome gift for overworked PopWatchers. Now is the time to catch up on all those movies the critics have already crowned Oscar contenders, or marathon a TV show on Blu-ray before the new season kicks in — Downton Abbey season 3 starts Jan. 6! — or simply track down a show you’ve been reading great things about. In the theater, Quentin Tarantino’s bloody Django Unchained, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a sadistic villain, promises to be a jolly good time when it premieres on Christmas Day. Let’s put him on the Naughty list.

Check out what else is stuffed in this week’s PopWatch stocking.

SUNDAY, Dec. 23

Meet the Press, NBC, check local listings

In his defiant press conference on Friday, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed the media for last week’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and suggested that American schools should have armed guards. Since he didn’t answer any questions, his sitdown with David Gregory on Sunday morning’s most hallowed political talkshow takes on even greater interest and will most certainly set the political agenda for the week ahead. READ FULL STORY

Cookie Monster and Grover take on 'The Avengers,' 'The Hunger Games,' and more...in song!

seasame-street

We still may not be able to tell you exactly how to get to Sesame Street, but the neighborhood’s beloved denizens know their way to the EW offices. Last year, Elmo and Cookie Monster dropped in to give us their versions of some popular TV shows, but this time around Elmo was too busy working on Elmo: The Musical—the show’s new singing-and-dancing segment that will replace the popular Elmo’s World—to make another visit. Luckily for us, Grover and Cookie Monster (a.k.a. the Blue Brothers) had enough wiggle room in their schedules to stop by to sing a few musical numbers of their own, parodying the likes of The Avengers, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, and even The Newsroom. So if you were one of the many viewers who thought Aaron Sorkin’s biggest mistake was not saddling his newsman protagonist with a crippling cookie addiction, then this video is for you!

READ FULL STORY

'Doctor Who' react: Cubes and the power of three

As many of you have mentioned in the comments over the weeks, the impending departure of Amy and Rory has been made even more tragic by these last few excellent episodes of Doctor Who — because it’s never easy to say goodbye to something as special as what these three share on screen. In some ways, it almost feels like a mean tease, does it not? How great are they together?! Yes, they truly are. Oh, by the way, enjoy it while it lasts, suckers!

I’m sure that’s not how it was intended to be. But if we weren’t already aware of Rory and Amy’s exit after next week, this week’s episode would have completely thrown me off the scent, because they seem more dedicated than ever to their adventures with the Doctor. Of course, that’s not how it began.

In the beginning of the episode, Rory and Amy were questioning how much longer they could neglect “real life” in the name of time-travel adventure. For a moment, it seemed the arrival of some mysterious cubes would quickly throw them back into action, but there was nothing “quick” about these cubes. The period of time following their mysterious arrival one morning was referred to as “the year of the slow invasion” for a reason.

The Doctor and Co., of course, had no idea this was the case. But after four days of “eating endless cereal” and waiting for the cubes to do something interesting — or something at all — the Doctor was stir crazy. (“I hate patience. Patience is for wimps!” he said.) So he took off, leaving Amy, Rory and Rory’s dad, Brian, to watch the cubes. In the absence of the Doctor in their lives, Amy and Rory found they were rather fond of monotony. Rory accepted a full-time nursing position and Amy committed herself as a bridesmaid, two things they could never have done while in and out of life with the Doctor. Brian, meanwhile, kept a dedicated log of cube activity.

On a slightly related note: I adore Rory’s dad! The Doctor has really taken to him in such a way that’s been great to watch — like the great scene that transpired after Brian asked the Doctor what had become of some of his former companions. “Some left me, some got left behind…and some died,” the Doctor answered honestly. “But never them, Brian. Never them.” READ FULL STORY

EW's Morning Bite: And the best sound bite from last night is...

Submitted by tami517:

“I see ‘keep out’ signs as suggestions more than actual orders; like ‘dry-clean only.'”

– The Doctor (Matt Smith) on Doctor Who

Check out the rest of your quote submissions from Friday, Sept. 14 to Sunday, Sept. 16, and come back tonight to share your pick for best sound bite!

Read more:
‘Doctor Who’ react: Have mercy
24 Swoon-worthy Fall TV Characters
11 Faces of ‘Doctor Who’

'Doctor Who' react: Have mercy

In last week’s episode of Doctor Who, the comment section engaged in a lively debate about the Doctor’s actions in the episode. One commenter’s biggest complaint? “…The Doctor has become an executioner, when before he was a pacifist.” Many of you rushed to the Doctor’s defense and while I’m not yet qualified to  speak authoritatively on the matter (this is where I give my weekly disclaimer that I’m new to Who) the debate stayed in my mind all week.

So it was extremely cool that this very subject seemed to be the focal point of Saturday’s episode.

In “A Town Called Mercy,” the Doctor, Amy and Rory found themselves in a slightly anachronistic western town that, as it turns out, was protecting alien doctor Kahler-Jex from a mysterious cowboy assassin. Local lawman Isaac, played by Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1), was the main person charged with protecting Jex — in fact, much of the town wanted to hand him over so they could end their three-week-long stand-off with the gunslinger. But Isaac claimed that Jex had been an asset to the town, helping save lives and even providing them with electricity and water. (Rory, re: electric streetlamp: “It’s only a few years out.” Doctor: “That’s what you said when you left your phone charger in Henry VIII en suite.”) According to Isaac, Jex’s good qualities outweighed his murky past, and he intended to protect him.

What exactly was that past? The Doctor found out when he broke into Jex’s old ship and learned that Jex and a group of doctors had experimented on people, creating cyborgs to help end a war. (How creepy was it when Jex referred to himself as a “father”? Ick.) But after the war’s end, their creations turned on them, killing everyone involved in the inhumane actions. Jex was the last of the doctors standing.

After learning the truth — and after Jex took Amy hostage — the Doctor was ready to hand him over to the assassin. And he got very close to doing so. Amy was the one who knocked some sense into him during a very emotional and excellent scene. “This is not how we roll, and you know it. What’s happening to you, Doctor? When did killing someone become an option?” she asked him. The Doctor admitted that he was tired of people like Jex, and that the evil man had “to answer for his crimes.” “Today, I honor the victims first…all the people who died because of my mercy,” the Doctor screamed at Amy. She wouldn’t hear it. “We can’t be like him. We have to be better than him,” she said.

His face softened at that statement. And the only response he could muster was: “Amelia Pond.” (Swoon.) READ FULL STORY

'Doctor Who' react: How do you start a triceratops?

As someone who has only recently jumped upon the Doctor Who train, I don’t (yet!) have the advantage of several seasons of Who viewing to help me rank episodes on a very large scale. In fact, I have yet to watch an episode of the show that I haven’t liked. And Saturday’s new episode was no exception. Of course, with a title like “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” what’s not to like?!

The strange thing is that while I was looking forward to seeing Who dinos and spaceships, my favorite part of the episode ended up being neither of those things. That honor goes to Rory’s golf ball-carrying dad, Brian, who ended up on the adventure after the Doctor swung by to pick them up in the middle of a random day after being MIA for ten months. (“He hates traveling,” Rory told the Doctor at one point. “Why’d you bring him then?” “I didn’t!”) Not only did Dad have some great soundbites (“I’m riding a dinosaur on a spaceship, and I only came to fix your light.”), but his presence made for some great father-son moments.

Dear old dad wasn’t the only new face in this episode. The Doctor decided that he wanted “a gang” and brought an oversexed Nefertiti and explorer John Riddell along for this adventure in which they went up against a deranged man whose ship was about to collide with Earth. Oh, and there were dinosaurs on the ship.

As expected, the majority of the dinos (which, in case you were wondering, were extremely impressive looking) were not friendly. However, one triceratops very much worked its way into the heart of the Doctor and Co. after helping Rory, his father, and the Doctor escape an encounter with the slowest robots I’ve ever seen. Sadly, the prehistoric, fetch-playing bundle of adorable was later killed by one of the robots. And since Land Before Time gave me a life-long soft spot for dinosaurs, I came very close to crying about it. (In comparison, I really didn’t connect with Nefertiti or Riddell much. But animal co-stars often tend to outshine humans — even when mechanical.) READ FULL STORY

'Doctor Who' react: Oh my gosh, it's [SPOILER]!

Take tonight’s endlessly clever and heartfelt episode, for instance. “Asylum of the Daleks” plunged the Doctor — along with (divorced!) Amy and Rory — into the heart of a Dalek “dumping ground.” (“The ones even you can’t control,” the Doctor told the Dalek Prime Minister at one point.)

Before arriving the gang had made contact with a soufflé-making lass named Oswin, who said she was trapped inside the center of the asylum after crashing her ship. Yes, that Oswin. Jenna-Louise Coleman, the new companion, wasn’t scheduled to appear until the Christmas special, so this was a great surprise. (Also, she’s cute as a button!)
READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones,' 'Mad Men,' and 'Doctor Who' spoofed in burlesque show

Image credit: Stephanie Keith

Your favorite TV shows just got hotter: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Doctor Who have been given a makeunder by a New York City burlesque troupe.

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s rotating cast hosts themed performances every third Tuesday of the month. Last week’s tribute show to Game of Thrones pushed the TV show’s R-rated envelope further with booze, blood, fire, and flesh (lots and lots of bare flesh). In the burlesque act, host Cyndi Freeman (AKA Cherry Pitz) drank a toxic alcoholic concoction that landed her in the hospital. GoT played in her mind during her unconscious state and she channeled the character Tyrion Lannister during her risqué performance.

READ FULL STORY

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