Channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am


We bid a fond farewell to David Tennant (right) as the 10th incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who: The End of Time (BBC Entertainment; Thursday and Friday at 8pm), a two-part special that bridges series four and five of the rebooted sci-fi drama and introduces Matt Smith as No 11. Needless to say, the Doctor, with his penchant for grandstanding, is not changing personas without a bang. In The End of Time, he faces a slew of formidable enemies, and fans will recognise many companions and creatures from his past joining in for Tennant's last hurrah.

This special is also the swansong of executive producer Russell T. Davies, who has written a dizzyingly complex plot, with some arcs that go back several series. This might have Doctor Who novices scratching their heads.

Fearing his prophesied end, the Doctor returns to Earth after learning his old nemesis The Master (John Simm; Life on Mars) has been resurrected. Brilliant and madder than ever, The Master seeks to replace the entire population of the world with versions of himself a la Agent Smith of The Matrix.

Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, the ruler of Gallifrey (Timothy Dalton; James Bond in The Living Daylights) and his band of time lords turn up with a plan to end time itself and free themselves from the 'time vortex'. Naturally, it's up to the Doctor to stop both threats and save the universe once more.

It's fitting, in the end, that this Doctor's demise is not brought about by any of the obvious villains in this over-the-top yarn, but by something entirely more touching. Tennant makes the most of his last gasps before an explosive reincarnation in the beloved Tardis. The young, virtually unknown Smith has some big shoes to fill.

For something more terrestrial but arguably as action-packed and goofy, tune in to Chaos (AXN Beyond; Tuesdays at 9pm), a new American spy comedy about a special ops team at the fictional Office of Disruptive Services (ODS), a branch of the CIA.

Events begin with Rick Martinez (Freddy Rodriguez; Six Feet Under) showing up for his first day of work at the CIA to find not only that he is on the terrorist watch list, but his job has been cut. Enter the director of Clandestine Homeland Administration and Oversight Services (Chaos), H. J. Higgins (Kurtwood Smith; 24), who offers him a job as a mole within the ODS.

Martinez learns the team 'does bad things for good'. They don't like taking orders. And they are not above a little blackmail and violence to get things done. In other words, they are the last of the old-school spies. Martinez learns he is more like them than he is like Higgins.

With a balance of laughs and action wrapped in a bit of satire about CIA secrecy and bureaucracy, Chaos makes for a welcome addition to the 'spymedy' genre. With Chuck losing a bit of steam and shine, this series might just become our new favourite.