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Welcome to The Capaldi Era of 'Doctor Who'

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

DoctorWhoCap20140820
The latest season of "Doctor Who" wastes no time in getting to the point, but doesn't get right to the new face of the regenerated Doctor in the Season 8 premiere episode (Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m., with pre- and post-shows hosted by Chris Hardwick). And in this episode, appearances — what they reveal and what they hide — are everything.

The loyal trio of the reptilian Vastra, human Jenny Flint and Sontaran commander Strax have evolved into the Scooby-Whos (sorry, couldn't resist) of the series. They are ready and able to lend a hand, a ninja blade, whatever the Doctor orders when he happens to be in distress. They are front and center often for an episode that introduces a new Doctor, in this case Peter Capaldi (above) the 12th Doctor by most counts. He's lean and green at being a Time Lord, until the effects of regeneration wear off. His look reads a gray David Copperfield, and he possesses the proper restless, relentless energy of a Time Lord.

While he seems to fill the bill of quirkiness and derring-do required of the Doctor, this jury of one is still out on The Capaldi Era — it took me a full season to get past the loss of David Tennant and Matt Smith's chin before I warmed to the new guy, and I still miss Christopher Eccleston. The latter revived the now 50-year-old franchise about an alien Time Lord who travels in a TARDIS (a time machine that looks like a UK police box) and picks up human companions to share his adventures.

ClaraDW20140821Companion Clara (Jenna Coleman, left), the Impossible Girl whose history was revealed toward the end of last season, gets a bit of a raw deal here. She is not immediately accepting of this new Doctor, with his gray hair and lined face, and gets called out on it a number of times.

Clara and the Doctor are deposited in Victorian London and are immediately scooped up by the Doctor's merry band of followers: Vastra (Neve McIntosh) as the voice of reason, Jenny (Catrin Stewart) as her devoted human wife and Strax (Dan Starkey) as comic relief. The first five minutes of the episode is devoted to Strax, with his twisted understanding of humans and genders, giving a recap of the Doctors' regenerations through the years.

He speaks for us all — well, me — when addressing the concept of this latest regeneration: "The number of Doctors gets a little trickier later on."

And did I mention the T-rex in the Thames?

Here's the thing about this episode to be appreciated by fans. tThis episode played out as Steven Moffat's check list of addressing fan concerns. Aging the Doctor from 20-something Smith to 50-something Capaldi? Check. Where do the new looks come from when the Doctor regenerates? Check. Is companion Clara just a pretty face who only had eyes for her much younger Doctor? Check.

My favorite line belongs to Vastra, though, who says when she's confronted with a newspaper page filled with classified ads, "Advertisements, yes, so many. It's a distressing modern trend." If only.

The story itself seems to be a concept evolved from Moffat's other BBC series, "Sherlock." Vastra even says, "The game's afoot" at one point. The mystery isn't how the T-rex got there — it swallowed the TARDIS and brought the Doctor and Clara to Victorian London. The T-rex meets his demise in a manner seen in other recent sudden deaths, sparking a creepy mystery and a nasty new villain for the Scoobies and you know Who.

There's a not-so-surprising cameo toward the end of the episode that helps in this transition process to another new face in the "Doctor Who" canon, and a last-scene reveal that moves the story forward.

Chris Hardwick, aka The Nerdist, who will be in town a week from Saturday with the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival, was naturally delighted to talk about this new incarnation of the Doctor when we spoke recently. He summed up the great expectations of "Doctor Who" fans this way:

"I'm really excited because I think Capaldi is such an interesting choice and will take the Doctor in different places than he's been before. I'm hosting this little wraparound show for the premiere on the 23rd of August. I love the show because I think it's a metaphor for life, because you lose the things you love and there's always a place in your heart for those things and those people but then you get to discover new people and new experiences. It's kind of like when Tennant turned into Matt Smith. I still loved Tennant but then I grew to love Matt Smith. And now, hopefully, I'll get to love Capaldi. It's just kind of nice that the show keeps reinventing itself. I don't know how long they are going to do it, but hopefully forever."

Photo credits: @BBC/BBC

 

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Vacation post - 08-22-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 62nd birthday to former Penguins forward George Ferguson (right). Acquired in the 1978 offseason along with Randy Carlyle in a deal which sent Dave Burrows to the Maple Leafs, Ferguson spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins. In 1978-79, "Fergie" played in all 80 of the team's games while scoring 21 goals and 50 points. In seven postseason games that spring, Ferguson scored three points including a series-clinching overtime goal in a 4-3 victory in Buffalo in Game 3 of a quarterfinal series (below). The 1979-80 campaign saw Ferguson appear in 79 games while once again scoring 21 goals and 49 points. In that postseason, he played in five games and recorded three assists. Ferguson set a career high in goals (25) and scored 43 points in 1980-81. In five playoff games, he netted eight points. In 1981-82, Ferguson once again hit the 20-goal plateau with 22 goals and netted a career-high 53 points in 71 games. He would see action in five postseason games that spring and recorded one assist. After seven games and no points in 1982-83, Ferguson was traded to the Minnesota North Stars along with a draft pick in exchange for Ron Meighan, Anders Hakansson and a draft pick. In 310 games with the Penguins, Ferguson scored 195 points, 40th-most in franchise history. In 22 postseason games Ferguson scored 15 points.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins forward Mitch Lamoureux. An eighth-round pick in 1981, Lamoureux spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1983-84, Lamoureux appeared in eight games and scored two points. In 1984-85, he set career-highs in games (62), goals (10), assists (eight) and points (points). His final NHL season was in 1985-86 and he played in three games while failing to score a point. He was released in the 1986 offseason. In 73 games with the Penguins, he scored 20 points.

-Happy 20th birthday to current Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta. A first-round pick in 2012, Maatta made his NHL debut last season by appearing in 78 games and scoring 29 points. He saw action in 13 posteason games and recorded four points.

(Photo: Penguins Hockey Cards)

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Barney's Tank

Written by Rob Rogers on .

One of the things that the tragic events in Ferguson, MO, has revealed is that small-town American police forces are now equipped for war. That will come in handy in the event that terrorists are sitting around plotting to invade small-town America. 

082214 Barneys Tank

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Voytik officially, finally named starting QB

Written by Sam Werner on .

Shocker, I know. The worst-kept secret around Pitt football is finally not a secret any more. Panthers coach Paul Chryst announced today that Chad Voytik will, indeed, be the starter for Pitt's opener against Delaware Aug. 30.

Voytik took every single first team snap this training camp, so this really isn't a surprise, and Chryst even admitted as much.

"He's taken all the reps with the ones," Chryst said. "I think he's proud, and he should be, of the work he's done. But he wasn't real high. I think all of them are competitive and want to play, and I think absolutely it means something to them. I don't think he feels like he's arrived or anything like that, and that's what I like about it. He keeps working."

And Voytik said that, even though this was a designation he knew was coming, it means something to earn the official title of "starter." In fact, as training camp progressed, he began to get a little antsy as to when the official announcement would come.

"It feels good," he said. "I have been getting the 'one' reps, but being named is an honor and I am just so excited to play in nine days.

"We're all getting kind of anxious, looking at the clock on the wall counting it down. We are all excited."

In other news, Chryst shed some light on the running back situation. He said that, as of right now, Pitt still have five running backs (James Conner, Isaac Bennett, Rachid Ibrahim, Qadree Ollison and Chris James) that could see action against Delaware. As Pitt heads into game week, though, Chryst said that number will likely get down to four, with only three guys really getting into the rotation. Here's the exact quote:

"I think we've got five guys that can play. We'll pare it down a little bit. It's hard to get five ready. It was good getting Isaac back going. I liked the way James worked. Rachid has done a really nice job. He's a guy that's truly made improvements from spring to fall camp. And the two young guys have done a good job.

"We'll visit on that a little bit, and make sure we get four guys ready. Really, you're getting three ready and then another that in any kind of situation can help."

Conner is obviously a shoo-in to play, but it seems like both other spots are up for grabs. Bennett is the best back in playbook knowledge and pass protection, which makes him a valuable asset on third downs. I also think it's still hard to believe James will stay off the field. That said, nothing would really surprise me. Ibrahim and Ollison have both looked good in training camp, so that'll be one big thing to watch in the opener.

Chryst also confirmed Thursday that redshirt sophomore Reggie Mitchell will be the starting cornerback opposite Lafayette Pitts for the opener. That means Avonte Maddox will likely be the first defensive back off the bench in nickel situations.

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How to get passes to see preview of "The November Man"

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 
 
If you are trying to get passes to the free preview of “The November Man,” here is the correct information. There was a problem with the web address and code in the ad (not our fault but I know it’s frustrating when the code doesn't work). 
 
Go to this address: 
http://www.relativityscreenings.com/PITTPOSTGAZ
 
Type in this code: 
PITTPOSTGAZ
 
“The November Man” stars Pierce Brosnan and opens in theaters on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
 

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