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Want some original programming during the Christmas holiday? BBC America has you covered with a year-end Nerdist television special airing Christmas Eve hosted by Chris Hardwick — and not to mention, some very special guests.
One of five additional Nerdist specials ordered by the cable network in November following a successful pilot in July, the episode takes a look back at 2011 in pop culture, media and all things tech with guests like Castle‘s Nathan Fillion, Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Wil Wheaton and Franklin & Bash‘s Kumail Nanjiani along with video segments with Simon Pegg and David Tennant.
Compiling the group for the special — which filmed in Los Angeles in early December — wasn’t as difficult as it could have been, Hardwick told The Hollywood Reporter, though he had to get creative to get the ball rolling. “I called, I direct messaged [on Twitter], I emailed, every form of communication known to man short of courier pigeon to try and get these guys and they all said yes,” Hardwick recalled.
But Hardwick, a self-proclaimed Doctor Who addict, admitted that Tennant was the biggest challenge, one of the reasons being that he had never met the British actor. “It was a shot in the dark where I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to London, let’s just see if we can get David Tennant. He’s probably going to say no but sure why not,’ ” he said. The two days before filming were the most unsettling: ” ‘Don’t throw up on yourself, don’t knock anything over, don’t say anything stupid,’ all the things that you go through when you’re a fan of someone,” he said.
Host of regular Nerdist podcasts, which counts J.J. Abrams, Bryan Cranston and Patrick Stewart as recent guests, Hardwick revealed one thing he learned while putting together the year-end special: just how “cool” Pegg really was. “I knew Simon Pegg was cool, but I had no idea the level. He has a generosity that I think may have been created in a laboratory because it almost doesn’t seem possible with a mere mortal,” Hardwick said in his usual dry wit.
In the middle of a whirlwind press tour for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which rose to No. 1 at the box office as it expanded into wide release, Pegg spent an hour where he and Hardwick were “running around trying on a bunch of ridiculous outfits, a silly sketch idea I had,” Hardwick said. “For the rest of the day, the rest of the stuff we were shooting, the British crew we were with could not stop talking about what an amazing guy Simon Pegg is. When a crew does that, you’ve done something right.”
Summing up the year that’s about to pass, Hardwick declared it a “media golden age,” rattling off a bevy of superhero movies (“some great, some not so great”), video games (namely Portal 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) and a “big comic reboot this year” as being key moments in 2011.
Looking ahead at the year to come, Hardwick is anticipating some high-profile projects: “I think The Avengers (in theaters May 4) is going to be amazing. I’m looking forward to more Doctor Who, more Walking Dead next year … and go to as many Comic-Cons as possible.”
The Nerdist: Year in Review, teaser below, airs on BBC America at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and covers topics ranging from Firefly to Christmas gifts (a walrus potholder comes into play). Another original Nerdist special will air with the U.S. debut of fantasy drama series The Fades on Saturday, Jan. 14.
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