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Into the Hive Mind: Top 10 Things We're (I'm) Looking Forward to This Fall

Christine Bancroft |
September 18, 2013 | 6:37 p.m. PDT


I may be only halfway through season one, but considering Tumblr's freakout last season, I can tell you the whole plot of season eight. (Tumblr)
I may be only halfway through season one, but considering Tumblr's freakout last season, I can tell you the whole plot of season eight. (Tumblr)
Summer is dead and gone as we get back into the routine of school. While my "summer" life is not so different from my "school" life (I binge-watch Netflix regardless of the season), I will always miss the days of being overwhelmed with all the nothing I had to do. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, as the cliche goes. Although I mourn summer's passing, fall, in all its return to responsibility, also brings the return of many fandom-related activities. 

Although we'll return to our regularly scheduled fandom guides next week with "Supernatural," this week, let's take a look into what you can look forward to during the autumn and early winter. 


10. "Supernatural" season nine (returning Oct. 9)

I'm confessing from the outset: I have only seen the first half of season one of "Supernatural." It's scary and I'm very much a wimp—I don't like seeing violence on screen as it happens (which makes "Game of Thrones" a no-go for me) and anything in the vicinity of horror makes me quake in my tea-themed socks. 

I have so many friends in the "Supernatural" fandom, though, that their happiness brings me happiness. Or, as is more often the case, the uncontrollable output of emotion resulting from a new season. The schadenfreude of being on the periphery of a fandom in chaos is immensely enjoyable, especially considering that one day soon, that will be me. They can laugh at me then.  But for now, as the SPN fandom descends into madness, I will be nearby with a cup of tea, a box of tissues, and a falsely-sympathetic smile plastered on my face. 


9. Danny Boyle's "Frankenstein" comes to Los Angeles (Oct.  30-Nov. 1)

A visually stunning play, the acting is just incredible. I highly recommend anyone near a venue to check it out. (Tumblr))
A visually stunning play, the acting is just incredible. I highly recommend anyone near a venue to check it out. (Tumblr))
The landmark play, which showed on London's West End, was directed by "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle (who also directed the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics) and featured "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch and "Elementary" star Jonny Lee Miller in opposite roles as the Creature and Doctor Victor Frankenstein. Each night, they would reverse roles, each bringing a different complexity to the iconic roles from Mary Shelley's horror and science-fiction novel. "Frankenstein" had previously shown during its runtime in 2010, but because the National Theatre is turning 50 this year, they are showing encore performances of their most popular showings on National Theatre Live.

The National Theatre, host to Britain's premier theatrical venues, has its landmark "National Theatre Live" project, which films British productions and brings the critically-acclaimed shows to international cinemas. "Frankenstein," "Coriolanus" (with Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss) and "Othello" (Adrian Lester in the title role, Rory Kinnear as Iago) are the ones I'm planning on attending. 

To see showtimes, watch trailers or purchase tickets, check out National Theatre Live's website here. The nearest venue to USC is the Downtown Independent at 251 Main Street. 


8. "Psych The Musical" (Dec. 15)

Some shows are well-suited to musical episodes. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" seemed to start the sensation with its episode "Once more, With Feeling." "Scrubs" and "Raising Hope" have done them; "Community" has had two and "Fringe" had a film noir musical. Some play on the "Battle of the Bands" or "We're Putting on a Musical" motifs; others, like in Broadway musicals, just have characters break out into synchronized song and dance numbers, as though nothing is wrong. 

The 110th episode of the show will air on Dec. 15 and has been years in the making. Creator Steve Franks will write and direct the episode and will compose the original songs in a two-hour episode. We've previously seen musical episodes ("High Top Fade Out," "Let's Do-Wop It Again") featuring Gus's (Dulé Hill) a cappella troupe, "Blackapella" (or, as Shawn Spencer likes to call it, "Quarter Black," even though it doesn't make any sense).

As a fan of musicals (again, I scream: DOCTOR WHOSICAL) and psychic crime drama and various incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, this has the potential to be one of my favorite episodes of the series.


7. John Finnemore. Just. John Finnemore (always, but especially now)

Words cannot describe how much this image describes my life, and how much I love this man. (Tumblr)
Words cannot describe how much this image describes my life, and how much I love this man. (Tumblr)
John Finnemore is, without a doubt, one of my favorite comedians on the planet right now. He writes the sitcom "Cabin Pressure," which can be purchased on iTunes, and a sketch comedy show called "John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme," which has taught me how to properly spell "souvenir." He loves sea otters and recently wrote an article for the UK's Guardian newspaper regarding their conservation, and is generally an extremely lovable man.

Through "Cabin Pressure," a delightfully witty (and sometimes heartbreaking) radio show about an continuously out-of-luck "airdot" (an airline with only one jet, because "you cannot put one jet in a line"), he has amassed a fandom of creative, generally amiable folks. (The so-called "fandot" will be getting a column in the near future, mostly because they're just so happy all the time). Finnemore not only writes "Cabin Pressure" but plays the flight steward, Arthur, the son of the grumpy, cost-cutting CEO and stewardess Carolyn (Stephanie Cole). Roger Allam plays Douglas Richardson, the smooth-talking, manipulative first officer who resents being junior to the much younger Captain Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch, in a role completely antithetical to the coolly confident intellectual he often plays), whose inferiority complex is evidenced by the inordinate amount of gold braid on his hat.

Right now, the third series of the "Souvenir Programme" is airing in England, but can be accessed in America via the online BBC iPlayer. It's like "SNL" but infinitely more heartwarming and you can do other things while listening (read, do math homework, don't do math homework). I like to sit in very public places and laugh silently to myself. It disconcerts everyone nearby so no one wants to sit next to me. I don't like people sitting next to me. 


6. COULSON LIVES in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."  (Sept. 24)

For a fandom that is resolute in its complete and utter denial in the demise of Agent Phil Coulson in 2012's "The Avengers," seeing Clark Gregg reprise the role as the badass normal of the Avengers Initiative is a dream come true. 

Although Joss Whedon will neither direct nor write the series following the pursuits of a team of secret agents countermanding the world-ending efforts of supernatural and/or superhuman foes, he will remain on hand as an executive producer. Whedon has said that he's still very much involved with the show and has given input to make the story align with the overarching plan of the film franchise. 

With Marvel taking over the airwaves over the next two years with "Thor: The Dark World", "Guardians of the Galaxy", "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and, yes, "The Avengers: Age of Ultron", the fandom will have no dearth of material. The return of Marvel to the silver screen (and I do not mean the "Phineas and Ferb" episode featuring the Avengers) means a whole new dimension to the wildly popular franchise.


5. "Parks and Recreation" (Sept. 26)

There is so much to love with this show. Ron Swanson's (Nick Offerman) moustache is my hero; Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ann's (Rashida Jones) girlmance is everything I could've wanted and I would like to be April (Aubrey Plaza) and wear her cardigans. 

According to Michael Ausiello, the sixth season premiere will feature a European holiday, as Leslie travels to London to accept an award from the International Women in Government. 

Although Ann (Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe) will sadly depart the show after the 13th episode, considering I've been preparing for the complete cancellation of the comedy since season four, I'm ready. 

Perhaps Vice President Joe Biden will reprise his role as himself sometime this season. I doubt it, but it's good to have hopes. 


4. A look at the Community Calendar with "Welcome to Night Vale" (Live show on Oct. 5 and panel at the LA PodFest on Oct. 6)

"Welcome to Night Vale" is everything. ALL WILL BE ASSIMILATED. (Tumblr)
"Welcome to Night Vale" is everything. ALL WILL BE ASSIMILATED. (Tumblr)
"Welcome to Night Vale" was the most downloaded podcast in this dimension for the month of July 2013. Possibly in other dimensions too. It is written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and is told through the voice of actor Cecil Baldwin, who plays Cecil, the Voice of Night Vale at the community radio station. The little desert town of Night Vale is weird. Everything about it is strange, from the nigh-omnipotent City Council to the underground city beneath the bowling alley. 

Cecil tells the story of the strange and often deadly goings-on in Night Vale, which exists in a place where time does not actually exist, people are violently murdered or killed on a possibly daily basis and nobody seems to think it is strange. I've heard it described on Tumblr by comic artists kateordie as "What would happen if Stephen King and Neil Gaiman created a town on Sims and just let it run," or, in my point of view, the strangeness of "The Twilight Zone," the absurdity of "Monty Python" told with the mundaneness of NPR. 

Because of "Night Vale's" surge in popularity in July, the creators will be hosting live shows around America and will have a show on Oct. 5 and a panel on Oct. 6 at the LA Podcast Festival or "LA Podfest." I will be going to the live showing on Oct. 5. If I come back different, or possibly, if I don't come back at all, remember that I loved you. Remember me as I was, not as I will be. 

Tickets are still available here. Note that the show requires the Friday day pass and the panel will require Saturday day pass and tickets for individual panels or shows are not available. Also, expect a column on "Night Vale" and its fandom very soon, readers.

There are things you do not understand about this world, but those things understand you. And they are coming for you. Listen to the podcast, for free, on iTunes and visit their webpage. Check out Night Vale's gift to humans, dead or alive, which is its Twitter page (or its Facebook page), unless you prefer Night Vale's rival city, Desert Bluffs, which is awful. Those guys suck.


3. The 50th Anniversary of "Doctor Who" (Nov. 23)

For those of you who are somehow unaware, I love "Doctor Who." I love Classic "Who." I love New "Who." I love everything about it. I love the often-cheesy special effects, the moral dilemmas, the sci-fi, the snark, the bubbly childish side of the Doctor(s) and the dark, ancient god that forces foes to choose between reforming their greed and hate or death (and sometimes, worse). 

To have a show celebrate its 50th Anniversary in a time of such overwhelming popularity, as an iconic staple of British culture and my own past, is marvelous. There is so much to commemorate, so many questions I want answered (and so many more I never want answered).

I'm especially excited to watch "An Adventure in Space and Time," the special film detailing the creation of the show, penned by Mark Gatiss. David Bradley (who you may remember as Argus Filch in "Harry Potter"), will portray William Hartnell. It's refreshing to see a biopic that will set this often fantastical show into a realistic context. 

Read more: "Doctor Who" 50th Anniversary poster, schedule revealed


2. Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi's incarnation of the Doctor will reportedly keep the actor's natural Scottish accent, which is brilliant. (Tumblr)
Peter Capaldi's incarnation of the Doctor will reportedly keep the actor's natural Scottish accent, which is brilliant. (Tumblr)
Peter Capaldi, best known as the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in "The Thick of It" will be fixing situations in an entirely different way, as an entirely different kind of doctor. He was announced this summer as the Twelfth Doctor, and his unabashed enthusiasm for the show is heartwarming. The Scottish actor, who, in his youth, wrote letters to the showrunners, will be taking the helm upon the regeneration current Doctor (Matt Smith) in the 2013 Christmas special, which is beginning production now. 

Every regeneration, different as each may be, is tinged with a sense of heartbreak as the Doctor we've become familiar with evolves into a new man with a new personality. At the same time, the sense of renewal with each incarnation, of possibility of a Doctorhood beginning anew, the thrill of getting to know this incarnation as the actor settles into the role, is part of what makes this show great. The running themes of "change" and "progress" and "inconstancy" allows the show to morph and draw in new fans with each new Doctor. 

In the meantime, you should watch "The Thick of It" because Malcolm Tucker is hilarious and swears like a sailor, which is a personality trait I really identify with. 


1. Believe in "Sherlock"(premiering at an as-yet unannounced date, but presumably sometime before the end of recorded time)

Although I'm not one to search for spoilers, I love a good trailer now and again. The "Sherlock" fandom has not gotten anything close to that, but we've gotten a short teaser and snippets of the show in a recent BBC Drama trailer. 

Although no definitive date has been announced, it is believed that the show will return to screens in the UK sometime in November or December and to PBS sometime in early 2014. 

(Granted, once it airs in the UK, it's on the Internet, not that I'm advocating any illegal activity whatsoever. Im just saying, the Internet is a pretty big place, with lots of places to upload and stream content. I definitely don't know anything about that, though.)

All I know is, I hate Martin Freeman's moustache. As I've said previously, canonical Dr. John Watson presumably had a badass 'stache, but that doesn't mean that any Watson can pull it off as well as Edward Hardwicke or Jude Law. For the more spoiler-inclined, you can find various set pictures (often under the Tumblr tag "setback"), but remember to tag appropriately and consider your audience. 

I'm equal parts excited and terrified of the fallout of "Sherlock" series three. For a deprived fandom, I worry that this will be like giving drugs to an addict in recovery. I worry about you, "Sherlock" fandom. I also worry about my blood pressure, which will surely go through the roof as the date draws nearer. 


The end of summer brings about the end of lazy mornings, irresponsible (and often questionably legal) activities with friends and, brilliantly, a sense of renewal as shows come back. Spring may bring flowers, but autumn brings season premieres, and I'm sure anyone can guess which I prefer. 

Next week's column will be, finally, about the "Supernatural" fandom. For anyone wishing to contribute information or quotes about the fandom, feel free to contact me below. Happy premiere season, everyone.


Columnist Christine Bancroft can be reached here or found on Twitter here. Do not expect a speedy reply; this is one of the responsibilities she neglects in favor of Netflix. 



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