Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Week in Geek: Doctor Who and Sabrina make history!

Contributed by
Oct 26, 2018

It's the end of the week. Again. And since Halloween falls on a Wednesday next week, there's every likelihood that you'll be spending this coming weekend in some manner of costume, switching off between eating food designed to rot your teeth and drinking fluids designed to rot your mind. It's fun! 

But before you get around to mangling your insides, don't you think you ought to know what spooky (and not so spooky) things happened during the week that was? Of course, you do! You're a fine, upstanding citizen in the nerd community.

So! Here we are: The five biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

doctor who rosa

DOCTOR WHO MAKES MORE HISTORY

Doctor Who, not satisfied to limit itself to "first ever woman playing the Doctor" added to its list of firsts this week by having Malorie Blackman become the first ever black woman to write for the show. I know! Doctor Who's been around since 1963 and nary a single black woman has written an episode? That's both an exciting first and also a sickeningly horrific bit of racist trivia!

But here we are and Blackman, author of Noughts and Crosses, and the Children's Laureate from 2013 to 2015 broke yet another glass ceiling with an episode called "Rosa," which, yes, was about Rosa Parks.

Sunday, when the episode was set to air, I actually had a long conversation about whether or not Doctor Who was really the means through which to share a satisfying and complete snapshot on one of the most important people in the American Civil Rights movement. 

The good news, though, is that people seemed overwhelmingly pleased with Blackman's script (which was co-written by showrunner Chris Chibnall). It had 6.39 million viewers overnight in the UK and 808,000 people watching on BBC America.

People cried (in a good way) on social media. And I confess, I was more impressed by the episode than I thought I would be. There were so many ways that story could have gone sideways. I think "Rosa" was mostly really good and that also they referenced Stormcage and Vortex Manipulators and, my goodness, does that mean River Song might actually show up next season? Or Captain Jack, come to think of it?

Mostly, though, Doctor Who did an anachronistic but still admirable job representing Rosa Parks. And these days, that's nice to see.

Sabrina Netflix

NETFLIX AND CHILLING ADVENTURES WITH SABRINA

Do the kids still say "Netflix and chill?" Is that a sex thing? Because when I watch Netflix, personally, I'm really watching and not interested in anyone bothering me. And case in point, I am already binging The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the latest live-action series to drop on Netflix

Based on a comic series that was in and of itself based on a much earlier Archie incarnation version of the titular witch, Sabrina Spellman — who had her own live action and animated series at one point starring Melissa Joan Hart — Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a fresh take on that old story of a half-witch who isn't Hermoine Granger taking on a world that isn't exactly in love with her existence.

It's cute, it's creepy, it features Michelle Gomez in a prominent, villainous role. So it's basically everything you'd want. Even the original Sabrina cast likes it!

TEEN TITANS ARE GO AND ALSO NOT GO

Before there was Titansthe live-action series, before Teen Titans Go!, and after the legendary Marv Wolfman/George Perez comic run, there was the 2000s Teen Titans animated series. Heavily influenced by anime of the time and with a focus on a different team member's journey each season, Teen Titans is pretty fondly remembered as one of the best cartoons of the 21st century so far.

And, in fact, people seem to never tire of complaining about the current cartoon series, Teen Titans Go!, specifically because it's not like the 2000s series... even though it has the same exact voice cast. 

Anyway, for years people have complained and demanded that the show they love return. And, on brief occasion, there have been hints that it might in some capacity. There was a pretty major mention of that iteration of the heroes in the animated feature, Teen Titans Go to the Movies. But now it looks like we're getting more with something called Teen Titans Go! VS Teen Titans.

Is it a series? A movie? A digital short? We don't know! But, honestly, people have been asking for this for so long that even a tiny teaser trailer is easily one of the biggest news stories of the week.

Will Terra quit school and rejoin the Titans? I doubt that was the point of the original show's finale, but who can say! 

star trek animated series

STAR TREK GETS RE-ANIMATED

Animated series are kind of having a week. In addition to the Teen Titans tease, there's also news that Rick and Morty lead writer Mike McMahan is developing a half-hour comedic Star Trek animated series called Lower Decks.

"Lower Decks," in case you didn't know, is the title of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that focused on a group of low-ranking crew members as they struggle to navigate their way through the complicated world of the U.S.S. Enterprise D. One of them (multiple decades old spoiler alert) gets killed!

But this animated Star Trek: Lower Decks is a totally different beast. We're not on an Enterprise flagship vessel. This show will be set on one of Starfleet's least important ships. So don't expect any Borg incursions or Romulan defectors or aversions to Klingon Civil War. This is gonna be more about finding a nice little old couple on a planet alone or feature the return of the Outrageous Okona. Expect fewer Cardassians and more Pakleds. Less Borg and more Binar. 

And that's good! McMahan is a real Star Trek expert, so there will probably be no short of goofy winks and nods to previous Trek adventures. And also goofy idiots just barely scraping by in space.

Star Trek: Lower Decks joins Discovery and the untitled Picard project on CBS Streaming. Maybe we could get more animated series? I wouldn't say no to Deep Space Nine Season 8, I'm just saying! 

james karen

JAMES KAREN

When it comes to the barometer of what counts as big news in this ongoing feature, the barometer, frankly, is me. And though I do my best to be unbiased, this week I'm setting that aside a little to bring up legendary horror icon James Karen, who passed away this week.

For me, James Karen was omnipresent. He was in Pathmark commercials and if I watched any sitcom long enough he'd eventually appear. I was just rewatching Murphy Brown and he shows up as one of the producers who decide to hire Murphy in the first place!

But, mostly, I know Karen because of his prolific horror career. I remember him as Mr. Teague in Poltergeist, Frank in Return of the Living Dead, and Ed in Return of the Living Dead II. He played a general in Invaders from Mars and a Secretary of Defense on Nightman. He was in so many anthology TV series, it makes my head spin.

Karen genuinely has one of the kindest faces in horror. He always had an incredible ability to give me a reason to feel sympathy for his characters as they were inevitably devoured by the hordes of evil. 

Karen died at 94. He worked up until the very end, and I'll always be grateful for the enormity of his contribution to the horror genre I love so much. 

And on that note, the week is done! Since we're so close to Halloween, feel free to talk about what horror movies you're watching, what parties you're going to, and who you're murdering! Maybe not that last one! Or maybe that last one! I'm not your mom! Do what you want and I'll see you right back here next week!


Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: