Amelia Pond was the girl who waited, but things are now happening pretty fast for Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan. From the wreckage of ABC’s bizarre run of very late night/early, early, early morning renewals, cancellations, new series pick-ups, we now know that Gillan’s sitcom, Selfie, has been ordered to series.
Doctor Who is no longer the cultural institution in Britain that is little-seen in America. Heck, it’s now made the cover of Entertainment Weekly multiple times. Sure, post-show Christopher Eccleston has mostly popped up in random movies, a villain in the first G.I. Joe and then a barely recognizable villain in Thor: The Dark World. And, yes, David Tennant’s American TV show Rex is Not My Lawyer never made it past the pilot stage, and his bid for film stardom stalled with his admittedly hilarious turn in the little-seen Fright Night remake. He’s doing great, but mostly after having returned to British television (although he is starring in the American version of Broadchurch, should that make it past pilot). But, hey, Catherine Tate crossed over to America, starring in the final two seasons of The Office. Sure, those were the post-Steve Carell years (i.e., the ones nobody watched), but still she was in an NBC sitcom (i.e., the ones nobody watches).
Entering these murky waters are Karen Gillan, Arthur Darville, and Matt Smith. Darville’s enjoyed a celebrated run on Broadway, replacing the departing Steve Kazee in playing the lead in the musical Once. Smith is in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, and has scored an apparently major role in Terminator: Genesis. However, ole long-legged Amelia Pond has ‘em both beat.
Since leaving Doctor Who, after starring in the British-Irish indie comedy Not Another Happy Ending Gillan has made good on her promise to conquer American film and TV. She started small, appearing as a regular in the most recent season of Adult Swim‘s NTSF:SD:SUV, and delivering a truly stellar performance in indie supernatural horror film Oculus:
She’ll appear later this year as one of the 3 villains in Marvel’s forthcoming mega-budget comic book movie Guardians of the Galaxy:
And now she’s the star of her own ABC sitcom:
From Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek, Selfie is officially described as being a modern day take on My Fair Lady in which “after ‘Instafamous’ Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) comes to the stunning realization that having 263,000 Twitter followers isn’t the same as having real friends she seeks out marketing guru Henry (John Cho) to ‘rebrand’ her.” IMDB offers only slightly more insight, with its show synopsis reading, “After being the subject of an embarrassing viral video, a self-involved 20-something enlists the help of a marketing expert to revamp her image in the real world.”
So, what kind of show can we expect? Will this be My Fair Lady meets Suburgatory? Well, prior to Selfie and Suburgatory, Emily Kapnek was responsible for the Heather Graham sitcom Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which lasted a mere 6 episodes, and As Told By Ginger, an animated series which ran for multiple seasons. Suburgatory is currently in its 3rd season, and is unlikely to get a 4th.
Finding out Kapnek has a background in animation probably makes sense to Suburgatory viewers, considering she has made that show a live-action cartoon, as argued quite astutely by the AV Club. The show features Emma Stone-doppleganger Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, a Manhattan teenager transplanted to a ridiculously affluent suburb where she and her dad George (Jeremy Sisto) are the only ones who seem to recognize the insanity surrounding them. George mostly attempts to make peace with it whereas Tessa simply plots ways in which she could get back to Manhattan. This set-up positions Tessa as a Daria-like annoyed observer, quick with an eye-roll and witty one-liner (e.g., “Don’t you think it’s time you hung up those mom jeans and went back to being a dad” in reference to her dad’s new jeans).
It would appear that with Selfie Gillan’s character will, at least initially, more resemble the type of person Tessa Altman would struggle to understand than come off as the calm center holding together the show’s zany craziness.
UPDATE 5/13/14: ABC has released a clip from the Selfie pilot as well as announced when exactly the show will air:
Awww, man, it sounds like Gillan is using her American accent, first rolled out in Oculus. Why rob her of her charming, natural Scottish brogue that so many of us know from Doctor Who?
Selfie will premiere in the fall, kicking off Tuesday night in the hour 7 PM Central/8 PM Eastern formerly occupied by Agents of SHIELD, which has been shifted back a full hour.
Does Selfie sound fun to you? Or do you give it no more than 6 episodes before ABC burns it to the ground? Kicking off Tuesday night with a sitcom is a risky move, and places a lot of pressure on Selfie. However, ABC doesn’t have a lot of mid-season shows in waiting meaning they’ll likely be a bit more patient with Selfie.