Tag Archive: BBC America


Vikings, gods, aliens, and Maisie Williams… yeah, Doctor Who is weird. But weird is fun and interesting. “The Girl Who Died” has a much lighter tone than the previous two episodes, and it’s a nice change of pace.

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED.

Basically, the Doctor and Clara land on Earth quite some time ago and are instantly captured by vikings and are taken to the viking village. Simple and tidy setup, nothing wrong with that. The Doctor tries to show off his power and act as Odin, one of the gods the vikings pray to. Just as he’s doing this, a giant image of a man in the sky, who the villagers know as Odin, appears and he claims to be Odin and is sending his troops down to bring the best warriors of the village up to Valhalla.

So crazy it just might work. Left to right: Clara (Jenna Coleman), Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Ashildr (Maisie Williams)

So crazy it just might work. Left to right: Clara (Jenna Coleman), Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Ashildr (Maisie Williams)

Well, it goes rather poorly, as the men are killed, but Clara and Ashildr (played by Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) are also brought to the ship referred to as Valhalla, but they are not killed. Ashildr, much like Arya (really, if you know Game of Thrones, you’ll notice similarities in the two characters), declares war on the alien posing as Odin. By the way, they happen to be one of the other million deadliest alien races (seriously, is it the Daleks, Sontarans, or this new race called the Mire?).

No matter, the village has 24 hours to get ready to fight the most fearsome beings in the universe. Easy, right? Maybe, that is, if the village’s soldiers weren’t just killed off.

This is where the tone changes compared to the rest of the series 9 so far. We get a series of funny scenes of the Doctor trying to train the villagers how to fight. It seems getting normal townspeople to use swords is harder than you may think. These scenes are a welcome change to the more dramatic nature of the past four episodes.

Admittedly, I do think the episode starts to fall towards a little more silly territory, but then ties it all in with a couple serious scenes to balance the tone. We are given a nice scene between the Doctor and Clara the night before the battle is to begin. The two of them seem more like friends this year and don’t have the awkwardness that sometimes came up last year.

As with Doctor Who, all ends well in the end, and I won’t give any of that away, but it is somewhat anti-climactic. But that’s not important (though, it does hilariously use The Benny Hill Show’s theme tune). What is important is the Doctor remembering why he chose his face, which has been hinted at since his first episode. He chose it to remind himself to always save someone and to not just give up. In this case it is Ashildr, who was integral to securing their victory over the Mire, even if it cost her life.

The Doctor doesn't look overly intimidated by his new enemy

The Doctor doesn’t look overly intimidated by his new enemy

This is where the episode becomes important and more than just a standalone story. The Mire have technology to revive them during battle, and the Doctor took it from them once they were defeated (two tablets to be exact). He revives Ashildr with one, and while she lives she too cannot die (Captain Jack says hello). At this point, only the Doctor knows this and it sets up the story for next week’s The Woman Who Lived.

Before that, I would like to note this episode, despite its silliness does something welcoming for a story in a Steven Moffat led series: establishes the background and develops a new character who will likely show up throughout series 9. Ashildr has a well established character. She’s loyal to her village and its people. Not only is she loyal, but she likes the people and isn’t just loyal because she has to be. However, now we get to see how she develops as the people around her die and she continues to live forever. Unlike the Doctor she can only run so far. These are things we may find out in The Woman Who Lived, and I hope we do. River Song was Moffat’s big character, but her development, well, never really developed and she just ended up showing up to say “hello sweetie” and “spoilers.” Boring, very, very boring. Now we have a character who isn’t annoyingly in love with the Doctor, and instead has to cope with going through the decades, seeing the world change, and having to be an observer, never really there.

I’m excited for the rest of series 9 and am really interested in seeing where The Woman Who Lived takes us. Until then, here’s the trailer:

Doctor Who: Under the Lake Review

After the fantastic story to open series 9 of Doctor Who, I had my doubts about a base-under-siege story as a followup. However, after watching “Under the Lake,” I can safely say my concerns were not needed and that series 9 continues its mark of excellence.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Typically, these sort of stories result in a lot of running around and a somewhat rushed ending and they usually get kind of

Doing some sort of stuff

Doing some investigative stuff

boring. I can’t say what the end result is since this is a two part story, but I can say the cliffhanger has me wanting more.

Basically, the Doctor and Clara end up in an underwater base located in the midst of a flooded town in the not-so-distant future. Here’s the catch (so punny): there are ghosts roaming the halls of the base. To make matters more interesting, there’s a spaceship they discovered in the town that they brought aboard the base, and it has some sort of writing on it that sort of subliminally conveys a message to all that have looked at it.

Here’s the mystery: where’d the ship come from, what is the writing, where is the ship’s captain, why is one of the energy cells missing from the ship, and where is the body being transported in it (suspended animation chamber or something, can’t recall exactly what it’s called)?

These are a lot of questions that normally wouldn’t be around if the episode was only 45 minutes. This is why I enjoy two part episodes. The writer is able to fully develop the story, creating little parts and details that otherwise would not be able to make the final cut.

Speaking of the writing, I love how the characters are written in this story. Naturally, there’s a crew on the base, and as some background, in the opening credits one of the dies and becomes a ghost. Instead of being hostile towards the Doctor – and in turn killing about 10 minutes of the Doctor trying to gain their trust – they basically just go with it (and a little help of the psychic paper saying he’s from UNIT helped as well). The crew isn’t yelling at each other or anything. Instead, they’re trying to figure out how to approach the situation and actually listen to what the Doctor has to say. I rather enjoy how these professionals aren’t a bunch of bumbling fools, which is something that bothers me in a lot of sci-fi when a team of supposedly intelligent scientists turn into a bunch of clueless characters existing just to be killed off, which is basically lazy writing.

Clara is arguably the best dressed teacher on any show ever

Clara is arguably the best dressed teacher on any show ever, and Rose could take some style advice from her

There is one annoying character, a businessman who is over-the-top in it for the profit, but luckily he gets killed off and becomes a ghost (not a big spoiler, you see it coming a mile away).

Perhaps my favorite character is Cass, who is deaf and has her interpreter, Lunn (the sexual tension is strong between these two). Whereas in the the pre-Moffat era, having a diverse character meant banging it over the viewer’s head until the entire planet knew there was a diverse character, Cass exists as an actual character and not as an agenda or political correctness. I don’t believe it was ever pointed out that she’s deaf. Which would make sense since the Doctor and Clara travel the universe, so if a deaf person is their biggest surprise, well, there’s an issue. And Cass ends up being the one in charge of the base, which is great in terms that it shows her disability does not define her and for all the people complaining about Moffat’s apparent (at least to some people, I don’t see it as much) lack of ability to write a female character, he has writers who can write strong female characters.

Cass and Lunn

Cass and Lunn

Also note, Lunn was not killed by the ghosts when he was cornered by them. Why is this? I think that is something we’ll have to wait to find out. I don’t want to give away why he got in this position, but just remember it. This is something I like about a two part episode, they can have these mysteries all come together as things get resolved in the second part, or at least that’s the hope.

Even more interesting, the ghosts are mouthing words, which the Doctor concludes are coordinates to a building in the town. What is the significance of the building? Well, the Doctor believes they are a signal, but a signal for what?

The Doctor gets tired of not knowing why the town was flooded (well, he knows a dam broke, but what happened around that time) and all the previous mysteries noted (ah, they also found the suspended animation chamber, which is now just chilling in their main room, because why not?), so he decides to go back to the TARDIS and to when it all started. Except the ghosts get smart, and begin to lock down the base, so as they’re all running to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara get separated. Clara ends up with Cass and Lunn and the Doctor gets O’Donnell and Bennett (also the sexual tension, but again, enjoyably written characters).

Then, the cliffhanger: the Doctor and them fly away and Clara and her group make it back to the main room, look out the window, and see the Doctor as a ghost. Except, unlike all the other ghosts who are mouthing the same words, the Doctor is saying something different. What happens in the past that caused this? What is he saying? Just add more questions to the list.

So where are we now? The Doctor’s a ghost, adding to the total count of now four ghosts (one original, then a crew member, the business man, and now the Doctor), what’s in the suspended animation chamber, where is the missing energy cell, why did the town flood, what’s the mysterious writing on the spaceship, and who is the first ghost that didn’t die at the base?

I guess we’ll find out in part two “Before the Flood.”

Skaro, Davros, Daleks, Missy and Clara dead or alive, so much was left with last week’s cliffhanger, and rest assured, “The Witch’s Familiar” resolves everything in a pleasantly satisfying and entertaining manner. Without further delay (please excuse me posting this after “Under the Lake” aired, I will have that review up within a much more reasonable time frame) here is the review of “The Witch’s Familiar.”

THERE ARE SPOILERS, REPEAT, SPOILERS AHEAD.

Clara and Missy apparently were killed last week, or that’s what the Daleks thought. Of course they weren’t (contracts and all that good stuff dictate they live) and we now know how they are alive. Missy tells Clara of a story when the Doctor was trapped, about to be shot by a bunch of robot assassins, and in a fraction of a second, used the energy from their laser beams to teleport out of his less-than-desirable position. Similarly, Missy uses the energy from the Daleks’ laser beams to poof her and Clara (remember, their vortex manipulators are linked) out of their situation. They end up outside the city where the Doctor is and must trek back, which is mostly done off screen, so more time for the Doctor and Davros.

An old rivalry lives on

An old rivalry lives on

It’s worth noting, Missy and Clara are surprisingly great together. Or rather, I think Missy would be great with anyone. Michelle Gomez plays the part perfectly, always keeping the viewer on edge, never quite knowing which direction the character is about to go in. Unlike Steven Moffat’s previous female “equal” for the Doctor, River, Missy actually has a personality beyond saying “Hello Sweetie” and showing up to cryptically say how everything is out of order and this is the first time or this is the last time or this is somewhere in-between. I feel like there’s a whole mystery left to unravel with Missy, such as how she escaped Gallifrey, and even though we know about a lot of her past, there’s still room to explore. If it ever is explored is another topic of discussion, but for now I’d like to hope it will be explored at some point.

The majority of the story is based around the Doctor and Davros talking. Even though Davros is evil and is destined to always be evil, it was interesting to see him act with some humanity. Attempting to trick the Doctor into thinking he was going to die soon, Davros was able to play on the Doctor’s emotions, and “trick” him into using some regeneration energy to allow Davros to see one final sunrise. However, Davros anticipated this compassion, and tried to harness the Doctor’s regeneration energy (to make Dalek/Time Lord hybrids, at least it’s cooler than human Daleks and pig people), but then the Doctor countered that, and used his sonic sunglasses to do some sci-fi stuff. Little did Davros think, the regeneration energy would go through the whole city.

While Missy and Clara trek back to find the Doctor, they are in a tunnel, that’s actually a sewer, that’s actually a catacomb, where apparently the decaying Daleks are tossed down in. So the regeneration energy also went to them, and since they were pretty annoyed for being thrown away, they used the new energy to rise up and take down the city. Yeah, it was weird, but the real highlight of the story was the Doctor and Davros talking. Throughout, parallels are again drawn between the Doctor and Daleks. At one point, Davros seems to be glad Gallifrey survived, and that both he and the Doctor try their hardest to continue the existence of their people. This continues throughout the majority of the episode, and aids in further developing Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. By the way, Capaldi is absolutely fantastic in series 9 so far. It seems the writers, or at to this point, Moffat, have figured out the way he plays the character and catered the writing towards his strengths and personality.

Glasses are cool, Clara, I have sonic glasses now

Glasses are cool, Clara, I have sonic glasses now

We also get flashbacks to “Asylum of the Daleks,” with Clara once again finding herself inside a Dalek. Though, this time she is in there as a disguise and has full, telepathic control of the movement and weapons of the Dalek. This is mainly done as a plot device, in which the Doctor has to figure out if it is really Clara or an actual Dalek, at which point he threatens to kill the Dalek and Clara makes it say mercy (note, the Daleks were created by Davros, and in turn cannot say certain things, so when she wants to say it’s Clara it translates and is conveyed as “I am a Dalek”). Of course then the Doctor has to figure out why the Daleks would be able to say mercy, and realizes he made a mistake all those years ago, leaving Davros to die. Watch for yourself what happens then, but I’m sure you can guess if you have not already watched. It’s actually a really nice scene, so yes, do watch it if you have not already.

Whereas “The Magician’s Apprentice” faltered with pacing and tonal issues, “The Witch’s Familiar” doesn’t miss a beat, and keeps your eyes stuck on the screen until the final credits role. The performances from the cast are all great and for once in a long time I can say Moffat did a very good job wrapping up a story.

Here’s to hoping next week’s base-under-siege “Under the Lake” keeps the the same high quality as these two episodes did. Here is the trailer for “Under the Lake:”

 

Here we are, Doctor Who is back with the dramatic opening scene of “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Is it good, bad, or a little of both? I’m going with the latter, read on to find out how the 12th Doctor’s second season began.

Brace yourself, SPOILERS AHEAD.

After Clara and the Doctor told each other the truth in last year’s Christmas episode, they went their separate ways, with Clara being a schoolteacher and the Doctor doing whatever it is he does, and that leads us to the dramatic beginning of the episode, on Skaro. There’s a big war going on, and for whatever reason the troops on ground have bows and arrows and the opposing forces have early era airplanes, but ignoring that, this is a war on Skaro. So far so cool. As the previews showed, there’s a young boy here, and the Doctor pops in, as he does, and attempts to save him. Until, spoiler, he finds out it’s a young Davros. Davros, as in, creator of the Daleks, that Davros. Fast forward a bunch of years and Davros is seeking the Doctor because he all of a sudden remembers what happened all those years ago and is dying in a hospital. Worth noting, he is being sought out by Colony Sarff, a colony of snakes that create a humanoid being and is a loyal follower of Davros.

Things are looking a little bleak

Things are looking a little bleak

Cut to intro title/credits scene.

Back to the show.

For the next ten to fifteen minutes we may as well forget the Doctor is doing much of anything because it turns back into the Clara show as all of the airplanes on Earth stop and Clara is pulled out of her classroom and brought to UNIT Here she is apparently more competent than all of UNIT, including Kate Stewart, who is in charge of UNIT, but I’ll conveniently ignore that. After a few minutes of not much happening other than Clara telling Kate what to do, Missy comes back. Hold up, what, but she died, right?

Wrong. So that means there’s an explanation for how she didn’t die, right?

Wrong. Because, well, Moffat has tendency to not explain these sort of things (I’m looking at you Sherlock) and expects everyone to go with it, so fine, I’m going with it.

After some time, Missy, who didn’t turn good mind you, ends up helping Clara and UNIT find the Doctor. Key things to note, the Doctor left Missy his last will and testament in case he dies and Missy is his best friend, which we all kind of knew if you watched some of the Classic Who stories, where there were some rather fun scenes with the two characters. Sure, we don’t know how she came back, but she escapes death all the time, it’s her thing. I’m good with it because I really enjoy her character. She’s so dark and ridiculous, I always look forward to seeing what she is going to do next. She doesn’t play the role of the strictly villainous character, she actually has a dimension to her character, which I sometimes feel is lacking in characters Moffat creates. So more Missy the better.

So much sass

So much sass

Then things get a little confusing, at least for me, so forgive me if I missed anything explaining this. They look at a big map of the world that UNIT has and search for keywords to try and find where the Doctor is. Somehow Clara figures out he’s in 1138 AD, so I’m assuming the map accounts for all of history. Strange, but alright, it gets the plot going so Clara and Missy can make their way to the Doctor. And I’m not even going to begin to ask or wonder how the Doctor, who came to an “ax fight” with his electric guitar in 1138 AD (funny, but a little bit of a tone killer for this episode) also had a tank, he can’t simply drive one out of the TARDIS doors. Missy and Clara get here via a vortex manipulator (if you recall River used one). What’s more confusing is how Colony Sarff a) knew to look in 1138 AD and b) how they even got to 1138 AD. Even more confusing, and this part I just can’t look past because it makes zero sense according to the lore of the show:

Colony Sarff is presumably using a Dalek ship to go around the universe looking for the Doctor. This would mean the ship has no time travel, because the Daleks only manage to temporal shift to a random place or end up somewhere by accident (or make pig people and human Daleks). So, we are now left to wonder how Colony Sarff a) time traveled backwards and b) time traveled forward without the use of time travel (vortex manipulators only work on the person who is wearing one). And this is important, because Davros is assumed to be dying in 2015 AD (Clara is the same age as the previous season and is a schoolteacher, so it matches the timeline, which at most could only be off a couple of years). So they now need to go forward to 2015 AD. None of this is ever explained, and we are still left to assume the Daleks don’t have time travel because Missy herself said so at the end of the episode.

So Moffat, if you read this, I would appreciate some clarity.

Luckily, the rest of the episode is pretty good.

Yeah, so, that was a thing

Yeah, so, that was a thing

We end up back at the hospital where Davros is, Clara and Missy are kept in waiting as the Doctor confronts Davros, who recognizes the face the Doctor currently has, as it’s the one that he saw all those years ago during the war. This part was pretty great, as it brought in Classic Who moments and tied them all together with the current show and it brought back the drama and seriousness of the opening scene of the episode. Then the big reveal. They’re not on a medical ship as originally assumed, but rather, on Skaro. And not just Skaro, but one that has been rebuilt since the war.

In the final moments, Missy and Clara are left to perish at the hands (figuratively speaking) of the Daleks, as they then turn their attention toward blowing up the TARDIS.

All very heavy stuff and all very good. The time travel still is an issue with Moffat, but I like where this story is going. It’s big and ambitious and brings in the lore of the show. I loved the performances of the entire cast. Each character really hit their stride in this one and the closing minutes had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more. While I enjoyed last season, it felt like it was lacking something, and even though this is only the first episode of this season, I have a feeling it’s going to provide what I was looking for.

I for one cannot wait for next Saturday (well, Sunday, I think I’ll be doing Halloween type things already on Saturday at a haunted asylum, also a good idea for a Doctor Who story), and I am fully on board for this season. Yes, there was some bad, but overall, I want to see what happens next, how will Clara and Missy be saved, how with the TARDIS be saved, how will the Doctor get out of this one? So I’ll leave you with the trailer for next week’s story, “The Witch’s Familiar.”

For some reason, Comcast has Broadchurch On Demand a few days earlier than it is supposed to premier August 7 on BBC America.  I’m quite alright with this and wish more episodes were uploaded, as it’s a rather good show.

It’s difficult to explain the show, as simply saying it’s a crime drama in the small shore town of Broadchurch is what the show is but that wouldn’t be doing it justice.  Episode 1 pretty much sets up the scene with Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) as the two central characters.  So far Alec’s life is a mystery, so there’s not much to say other than it was surprising to watch Tennant in another role and not think of him as the Doctor.  There seems to be a season long unraveling of his character, which at this point can probably go anywhere, and I hope the writers explore and come up with something unique.  On the other hand, Ellie is an established member of the community, has a family, and a personal connection to the murder victim (11 year old Danny) and his family (don’t worry, you learn there’s a murder in the first ten minutes, so no spoilers here).  After the first ten minutes there’s about ten to fifteen minutes of pure depression as the victim’s family (the Latimers) is shown (which makes me continue to wonder if the BBC knows how to be happy), and it works because of the acting, which is a good thing since we will likely be following the Latimer family throughout the season.

Ok, here's the cast of characters (most of them) from left to right: Latimers; sorry not quite sure; Alec and Ellie; Millers (Ellie's family); Karen White, Olly Stevens, and Maggie Radcliffe (all journalists). There are some characters I'm not quite sure of, but it is still episode one, so I'm sure that can be cleared up in due time.

Ok, here’s the cast of characters (most of them) from left to right: Latimers; sorry not quite sure; Alec and Ellie; Millers (Ellie’s family); Karen White, Olly Stevens, and Maggie Radcliffe (all journalists).
There are some characters I’m not quite sure of, but it is still episode one, so I’m sure that can be cleared up in due time.

There are a bunch more characters, and it’s even unfair to say “the Latimer family” because it seems the dad, Mark (Andrew Buchan) is hiding something (though I suspect they’ll likely have it be something simple like hooking up with the neighbor’s wife or something).  Judging by the commercials, I’m assuming Reverend Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) will become more prominent, unless that is just a way to bring in viewers since he just came off of Doctor Who, but again, this is the first episode to establish the characters, and I could keep going on and on, but I suspect they’ll become more evenly spread throughout the season, allowing episodes to focus on a specific set of characters.

Ten minutes in, cue the tears, it doesn't get much happier

Ten minutes in, cue the tears, it doesn’t get much happier

Trying to ignore my poor explanation of the characters, I’ll get on with the writing, which is top notch.  I always stress it doesn’t matter how good the actors are if the script isn’t there, and in Broadchurch both elements combine to make something special.  I was surprised to find myself clicking with the Latimers within the first twenty minutes and even kind of feeling bad for Olly Stevens (Jonathan Bailey), a local journalist just trying to make it to a bigger paper and ends up making a mess of the whole situation.  Really, I think I should be kind of annoyed at him, but I like how the show doesn’t force the viewer to see a situation through the eyes of a single character (if they did there’s a good chance I’d see Olly differently).  This lack of perspective is replaced by many perspectives.  As of now it is clear why Alec and Ellie have different views of the same murder case.  Whereas Alec seems to be by the books, Ellie is running more on emotion and personal connection.  It’s difficult to disagree with either of them, because in the end they’re both professionals and neither is written to be over-the-top.

I think that’s what this show really has going for it: the believability of the characters.  I can picture myself living in this town.  It’s all very organic.  Yet, there is also room for artistic creativity, as displayed by some excellent camera work and editing.  There are plenty of slow motion shots with emotional music, various angles of the waves and beach where the body of Danny was found, and an overall feel of despair and mystery.

Yes, this is a heavy show with a potential future filled with a lot of ins and outs, but that should not deter anyone.  The writing, while depressing, is organic and gripping, making the wait for next week somewhat unbearable (especially with those tantalizing “next week” preview clips).  This truly is the crime drama of the year and after one episode I don’t find it unlikely to have it rank right up there with the likes of Sherlock and Downton Abbey in terms of overall quality and entertainment.  Do yourself a favor, do check this show out, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Now please excuse me as I create a bunch of theories about who the murderer(s?) is, and then be proven wrong next week.

 

Serious question.  I don’t think he does – or maybe he does and just isn’t a good show runner, as he was exceptionally good during the RTD era and great for Sherlock and Coupling (currently re-watching both).  At least he doesn’t seem to respect the show and its history.  No time for a drawn out introduction, let’s just dive into it with the sonic screwdriver.

These days the sonic screwdriver is used for everything, and I mean everything from simply unlocking a door to being able to blow up spaceships to conveniently end an episode (The Power of Three).  After doing a bit of quick research online it seems throughout the classic era the show-runners and producers didn’t want the device to basically be an easy out for script writers.  It makes sense too since every episode would just end with the Doctor pointing the screwdriver and something and saving the day.  That would get boring, and you know what, as we’ve found out recently, it does get boring and annoying.  Rarely do we see the Doctor actually thinking out a situation or using his wits, but we do get to see him run around pointing his screwdriver at apparently random things these days and automatically knowing where to go.  Furthermore, since when does the TARDIS grow sonic screwdrivers?  Any fan of the classic era will recall Romana making her own screwdriver, so at what point did Time Lords and Ladies apparently forget how to make them?  Back to using the device to encourage bad writing, I recently watched The Visitation (a fifth Doctor episode with a very good side character and a nice little historical reference ending) and the sonic screwdriver was destroyed.  Then again, the fifth Doctor barely used it, but it was nice to see they took the final (of many steps) to take it away from the show.  And then Moffat and the other writers just uses it as a magic wand to make up for poor writing.

What in the world is the deal with Strax?  Sontarans are clones for war, so what in the world happened with Strax?  I understand they have no idea if the show is to be a childish kid show or a sci-fi show for all to enjoy, but get rid of Strax (and Vastra and Jenny, but they’re a little more tolerable) and give him his own spin-off.  Fill the space left by the Sarah Jane Adventures and give these characters their own show and take them away from Doctor

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Who forever.

What the frak is going on in Doctor Who anyway?  Since series 5 we have had countless threads that went nowhere.  For instance:

  • Who was making their own TARDIS?  Likely very important because it was brought up in series 5 and 6 and again, never explained.
  • What is the Silence (the religious order) and why do they want the Doctor dead?  Come on, this was a full season arc that went nowhere.
  • How did the Doctor’s and River’s timelines get reversed, literally never explained.
  • Who was Madame Kovarian, and I don’t want the excuse of just some baddie, that’s weak and we all know it.
  • Who blew up the TARDIS in series 5?  This, come on now, this is huge, who blew up the TARDIS?  Anyone, really, nobody knows?
  • How did the Doctor get out of the Pandorica?  Yes, he used his magic wand to get out the second time, but how did he get out the first time?

I know I’m missing things for the list, but I think you get my point.

Sure, it may have been a fun ride while the episodes aired, but after realizing the threads go nowhere what’s the point?  Seriously, this is the only show I know that can get away with this and have nobody criticize it.  Furthermore, with only 13 episodes a season, it’s the only show I know that has such inconsistent writing.  This is for another post, but they need new writers and a new show runner.  The show is currently so sporadic that it’s difficult to watch.  It’s like there’s no rhyme or reason to anything anymore.  Series 7 was weird because I like Clara but it didn’t matter at all which order her episodes were in because they were all rather rushed single episodes.  The Ponds in Series 7 were awful, and I still don’t understand why the Doctor blew up a ton of people in The Power of Three or why they wasted money making a completely nonsensical dinosaur episode.  All they had to do was send them to the past, that would have been cool, but no, instead we get the Doctor playing fetch with a dinosaur.

My last point is how the Doctor is written.  Moffat seems to not like it when the Doctor is serious, talks, or stands still.  It’s all running about and no talking.  I wish there was a low-key episode with the Doctor and Clara just kind of you know, talking, developing their relation.  Instead, Clara went from being scared of dead bodies (Cold War) to carrying a giant gun and commanding troops (Nightmare in Silver, what a mess that was).

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

I don’t know.  I liked Moffat during the RTD era, but maybe RTD was able to control Moffat.  Maybe we don’t need these crazy arcs, as he clearly doesn’t understand them and just says how much fun it is to write with time travel, but when it goes nowhere, it’s not fun or entertaining, it’s just a waste.  Perhaps the new Doctor will be older and not as frantic.  We need someone who can calmly analyze and respond to a situation, not someone just running around being all crazy.

Basically, the 50th will determine if Moffat deserves to stay and the Christmas episode will likely only confirm it either way.  Right now it doesn’t seem like he likes the show or maybe he doesn’t understand it or maybe it’s just too much for him to do this and Sherlock, which he’s very good at and as a writer I love his work with Coupling.  Maybe Doctor Who just isn’t his thing and as much as he likes it it just isn’t working.  There’s no shame in that, just go back to writing an episode a season, which were all very good, and maybe make more Sherlock (well, that’s just me being greedy, as three episodes a season, as great as they are, just isn’t enough).

rings of akhaten doctor who

Really Awesome

Is this what the wait for the rest of season 7 has been for?  I really hope not.  Let’s get talking, shall we? (Oh, there will be spoilers)

So, episode two of this half of the season isn’t exactly what I would call good.  In fact, the majority of the episode was nothing short of awful.  I had hoped we’d gotten past the really bad episodes with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, but sadly I have been proven wrong.

The beginning of the episode with Clara’s parents and the leaf was actually kind of cool and helped add some emotional impact to this version of Clara.  However, outside of that the story went nowhere good.  She and the Doctor end up on an alien world looking down on some really spectacular space CGI.  Then they go to another part of the planet to take a visit to the Cantina (I’m not exactly sure if where they were had a specific name, but it was basically the Star Wars Cantina).  Even from there it seemed like there was some hope when Clara started talking to the Queen of Years (a little girl named Mary was chosen to be the queen, not quite sure why).  It was a nice little scene, as it continues to show Clara has a motherly inclination to her (this probably is important, just as important as the Doctor referencing his granddaughter I’d say).  But then it all goes to pieces.

Apparently the Queen (and presumably King) have to sing a being to sleep every thousand years, or he will eat the soul of the Queen (again, not quite sure why).  Naturally, something goes wrong and the being wakes up, but not before the Queen is teleported to the being and the Doctor and Clara somehow learn to breathe in space (yeah, I know).  So of course the Queen doesn’t die because she’s a little girl and that would not fly.  Eventually the being breaks out of its nifty glass cage and proceeds to be illuminated by a bright light and die (makes sense, right?).  So what is the natural order of progression here?  The sun, yes that’s right, the sun, ends up being the evil force controlling the now dead being (I guess he’s the middleman so the sun can sleep) and decides it wants to be a sun with a face.  Yes, a face, with the eyes, nose, mouth, all of it (to be fair, they treat the sun as a god so the face may be why, and apparently it’s a parasite of sorts, but again, not quite sure why/how).  At this point I’d like to note that if this were done in Classic Who, I imagine they’d at least make an effort to explain anything that’s going on right now, but then again they didn’t have a deranged Steven Moffat who wants to cram everything into a very small time frame or is off doing Sherlock or writing something else (no wonder DW is losing quality control these days, which is kind of sad considering how good Matt Smith can be and Jenna-Louise Coleman is quickly showing signs of becoming my favorite New-Who companion).

The Doctor then goes on a nice speech to the sun how he is all full of memories with pain and loss and love and happiness (you get the point, oh, the Time War was brought up again, I assume to prep us for the 1oth Doctor’s return, as he liked to go on about it a lot) and the sun starts to consume the memories (by the way, the soul is code for memories) but it just isn’t enough to fill its appetite.  So what does Clara do?  Well, for starters she figures out how to fly a space moped and then gives up her leaf for the sun, because we all know that what could have been offers an infinite amount of memories, which is why it is puzzling why she didn’t give up the book of things she wants to do, which likely contains the memories of her and her mother of things that could have been, but whatever, at this point it doesn’t matter.

And well, this isn't really awesome

And well, this isn’t really awesome

So, here’s what gets me the most: the Doctor, yet again, likely kills a ton of innocent people since the sun ate too much and then somehow disappeared, hence no gravitational pull from the sun, and I’d assume the fall of those planets out of orbit (still, was that as bad as blowing up humans on the spaceships in The Power of Three?).

Also, there’s a lot of filler in terms of singing, which I get is important for this story, but it really felt like filler, especially since the Doctor was barely in the episode (perhaps he was needed to film another episode).

I don’t exactly remember how the episode ended, but I do know Clara was given back her mother’s ring she had to give up to buy the space moped.  I liked this part because it brought the episode back to Clara, who is, oh I don’t know, the current story arc that is supposed to wrap up in the next six episodes, and with next week’s episode it doesn’t look like anyone will be addressing that arc soon.  On the bright side, next week’s episode looks to be a lot better and last week’s was also very good (I’ll probably be reviewing it during the week).

So, what do I rate this episode?  It hurts me to do this, but I can’t be kind just because I’m a huge DW fan (actually, that gives me more of a reason to be critical) but The Rings of Akhaten gets a very poor: 5/10

I liked the dialogue between the Doctor and Clara, but the rest was just plain bad.