Starting off the week with a dim, gray, and rainy Monday. I think we need a happy video to liven things up, don't you?
Today's selection will probably not make a lot of sense to some of my Loyal Readers, but for all you folks who are about to be baffled, trust me: this is very cool and funny. This is what's known in the TV business as a "cold open," a brief segment of a show that precedes the opening credits. This is actually a pretty common device, especially among hour-long dramas and talk shows. CSI, for example, always does a cold open consisting of the discovery of the dead body of the week, followed by the bad pun of the week, and then a smash cut to The Who singing the theme song.
In this case, we're looking at a cold open from a recent episode of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson -- the best late-night talk show currently running, in my humble opinion; Leno, Letterman, and Conan, meh -- for which a friend of mine was lucky enough to be in the live studio audience. Which means I heard about this opening a couple weeks in advance. For some reason, though, the bit was cut when the show actually aired. (I'm guessing some network suit thought it was too obscure and viewers wouldn't get it, but I don't actually know.) But the 21st Century being what it is, the clip naturally leaked onto the InterWebs last week, and now here it is for everyone's pleasure and edification:
Ferguson is riffing on Doctor Who, of course, the classic British science-fiction series that ran from 1963 to 1989 and was recently revived (in a somewhat more grown-up version) to much acclaim. While it's all presented in a very silly fashion, Ferguson pretty handily summarizes all the major ideas of the show here. And in case you're wondering, the nervous-looking young man who shows up right at the end of the routine is Matt Smith, the latest (and youngest) actor to play the iconic character.
Speaking of Matt Smith, I've been meaning to mention that he and the rest of the Who cast have recently been right here in my humble little home state of Utah, filming an episode of the show in Monument Valley, that starkly beautiful landscape made famous in countless Westerns and TV commercials. This marks the first time Doctor Who has filmed in the United States, and even though I'm more of a casual fan than truly rabid about this show, I am absolutely delighted that they came here, to my own backyard, in order to mark the occasion. I have no idea if Monument Valley will be standing in for some alien planet -- remember, Pixar's Princess of Mars project has been shooting in the same general area -- or if it will be properly identified for what it is. Considering the Doctor is a time-traveler, I have a hunch it'll probably be an Old West setting in the classic Hollywood style (paging John Ford!). But nevertheless, it'll be fun to see a piece of home on a show that is so uniquely British.