"Doctor Who." Out with the old, in with the … old? There's a new Doctor in the house and he's a doozy. Having survived more than 900 years, countless battles and a 25th anniversary that got a little crazy, our gallant Time Lord has regenerated for the 12th time (or 13th, or 14th if you count that bad movie), shifting from the impish visage of Matt Smith ("Fezzes are cool!") to the more clenched and furrowed mien of Peter Capaldi, whose tag line might turn out to be "I don't think I'm a hugging kind of person."
Whether you see Capaldi's inaugural episode at home, or in a movie theater, courtesy of Fathom Events, it's a big change, and, as the first episode makes very clear, an intentional one.
Not to diminish Capaldi's physical attractions, but by casting him, current "Who" runner Steven Moffat seems to be steering the story away from Romance back to Adventure and Possibly Instruction. Which is where the show began, after all, conjured way back in the way back as a madcap but semi-educational program for children. None of the early Doctors, as the premiere immediately reminds us, had the eye-candy appeal of the modern versions -- indeed, though ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston was handsome, it was David Tennant who, as the 10th Doctor, got all Lost Boy and swoon-worthy.
Still, many have worried over Capaldi's casting, and to Moffat's credit, he uses the premiere to directly address their concerns by having the Doctor's current companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) share them. Can she love him now that he looks so different, she wonders aloud, hilariously oblivious to television's first gay and interspecies married couple, Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint.
I don't think it's a spoiler, darling, to say yes of course she can, and yes of course we can, because the face may be new and a bit used but it's a good face. And though Capaldi carries storms behind it that we haven't seen before, he's still our own Darling Doctor, after all. BBC America, Saturdays, 8 p.m. For the theatrical event schedule, go to www. fathomevents.com.
"The Emmys." Seth Meyers hosts the Television Academy's annual awards extravaganza, which NBC has moved to Monday in order to accommodate its Sunday-night football. Not the biggest compliment television has received in this age of breathless adoration, but humility is always a good lesson, and surely there will be loads of people tuning it at 5 p.m. on a workday, if only to see all their favorite stars arrive late and out of puff because who knew the traffic on the 10 was so ghastly at that time of day? (Everyone.)
Still, if you can't add to the congestion by rushing home in time to watch it live, you can always DVR it, and that way you don't have to watch those pesky commercials, which only make the already-long telecast seem longer. (Good marketing plan, NBC!)
It's a big year, of course, with many stars previously associated only with film elbowing out those who have worked long and hard to make television what it is today: a platform worthy of stars previously associated only with film. (Hey there, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey, Billy Bob Thornton, Mark Ruffalo, welcome to the party.)
It will also be the last time the academy gets to honor "Breaking Bad," which alone makes the show worth watching. But Meyers is always entertaining, and he has a lot of risk-taking friends out there in the audience. (Any plans, Amy Poehler?) So watch it if you can, when you can. If only to prove that there really are more things in life than football. NBC, Monday, 5 p.m.