Tag Archive: BBC


Following “The Girl Who Died,” Ashildr is back in England and in 1651. She can’t age but luckily seems to be pretty good at learning and adapting to new accents and ways of speaking. And she’s also not doing very well coping with her ability not to die. So how is “The Woman Who Lived” as a sort of sequel to “The Girl Who Died?” Let’s find out.

SPOILER WARNING

I’m not sure if this story needed to be told directly after Ashildr found out she can’t die. The only real connection is her and I’m assuming they may do something with her character later in series 9, which is why they wanted to get this one out of the way so early on. But in England, Ashildr, who decides she doesn’t want that name and simply calls herself Me or as

the-woman-who-lived

She’s a thief and he, well, he’s trying to look cool

people know her, The Knightmare, a thief. But no ordinary thief. Instead, she’s a thief looking for an alien artifact, called The Eyes of Hades. More on all this in a moment.

If you’re wondering why Ashildr is going by Me, it’s because she doesn’t see herself as that person anymore, or any of the other people she has been, instead, she’s just her, or rather, Me. The main story basically deals with her dealing with not being able to die, which ends up feeling a little drawn out since we’ve had the Doctor go on about it a lot during the David Tennant era, so hearing it again isn’t as interesting. However, Maisie Williams is still solid in her role, so at the very least, when these specific scenes come up, they’re still well done.

It is fun to realize she became rich somewhere along the way, perhaps through thievery, but probably just had the time to get to that point. She has also become cold to the world. By not being able to die she has stopped getting close to people (she previously had children, but they all died during the Black Death, so, understandably, she’s not in the best of places right now).

Back to the alien artifact. Both Ashildr and the Doctor are looking for the same artifact, but for different reasons, and here comes the antagonist of the story: Leandro, a lion guy, like literally, it’s a lion that’s a person (Doctor Who does enjoy a future universe full of cat people).

We learn the artifact is Leandro’s way of creating a portal between his world and Earth and for his people to come and attack Earth. It’s not very exciting. However, the artifact requires a sacrifice, and Ashildr decided to sacrifice Sam Swift, a rival, or rather just another notorious thief in the area. And then after she realizes what’s going on she knows Leandro never intended to help her explore the galaxy like he promised/tricked her

Woman-Who-Lived-3

See, more cat people

into thinking, and as such she turns against him. Through a series of events he is defeated and everyone is happy. Except Swift, who was sacrificed, but if you recall, another one of those devices that brought Ashildr back is still around.

So what happens? Well, AShildr decides to stop being quite so cold to the world and she saves Swift and now he too can live forever, which really isn’t so exciting, but hey, it works to get her back on track emotionally.

Noteworthy, Clara is absent from this episode. It’s actually a bit of a relief to do without Clara for a little bit. For some reason her writing has made her somewhat overbearing. I still like her, but a break was nice.

Overall, I’m not completely into this episode. The problem is the interesting parts (relationship with the Doctor and Ashildr) end up being pushed aside some for the less than exciting story with Leandro. I do enjoy that Ashildr is set up to come back for future episodes, and I suppose this story was needed to show what she’s been up to since being a viking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still entertaining to watch and you will want to know what happens, but looking back on series 9 so far, it does not hold up to the previous two two-part stories (possibly due to this being a setup episode for Ashildr for a future story, in which case, I do want to know what has become of her).

However, I am interested to see what happens in the upcoming two-part Zygon story, which I will be reviewing as a whole, so below are both trailers:

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.”

Into the Dalek sees the Doctor going to the most dangerous place in the universe, or at least the twenty something most dangerous place in the universe.  Yes, the Doctor seems to be finding himself frequenting these sorts of places more often these days, but I suppose they want to drive home how much darker series 8 is, fine, so be it, what’s important is how the episode is, and everyone can have a sigh of relief, because it’s a Dalek episode actually worth not only watching but watching again and then possibly once more.

Every series we have gotten a Dalek episode, some good, some average, and some downright awful (human Daleks and pig people, just think about that for a minute) and honestly, this may be the best one that isn’t part of a finale.  Back in series 1 we had Dalek, which reintroduced the Daleks to thousands of Classic Who fans and introduced Daleks to waves of new fans.  The episode was very good, last of the Daleks, last of the Time Lords, that is until the finale of series 1 in which a massive Dalek fleet appeared out of nowhere and then they never stopped coming, which leads us to Into the Dalek.

YEAH, THERE ARE SOME BIG SPOILERS UP AHEAD

Brief Summary:

Essentially, the episode is about the Doctor still coming to terms with his regeneration and trying to figure out what sort of person he is and asking Clara if he’s a good man.  As the story progresses there are parallels between himself and the damaged Dalek.  Yes, the Dalek in question this weeks is damaged and as a result has been

Can this show just be the two of them talking, I'd be quite alright with that

Can this show just be the two of them talking, I’d be quite alright with that

captured and to an extent has turned “good” or at least different.  The Doctor starts off the episode by rescuing a soldier trying to flee from a Dalek ship and when the soldier’s ship blows up, the Doctor materializes around it, allowing the soldier to survive.  She starts to freak out a bit about the situation but after some stern words from the Doctor, she realizes who is in charge.  The Doctor shows how he really hasn’t the time for excess.  He still understands emotion (the soldier’s brother just died, and he gets that, but he also lets her know she’s a soldier and has to get back on duty when they arrive back on her base ship), so it’s not like he’s this cold figure looming over people.  Once on her ship, the Doctor finds out they have a damaged Dalek they want to repair by shrinking down a team to go inside the Dalek and presumably repair it (because who isn’t proficient in Dalek repairs?).  Before that can be done, the Doctor has to go fetch Clara, who is back on Earth teaching and it’s three weeks past their last meeting in last week’s episode.

Back they pop to repair the Dalek.

See, Daleks really aren’t all that interesting, and I have a feeling they knew this when writing.  The story barely features a Dalek and by shrinking everyone to go inside the Dalek it could have been anything with a mechanical outer shell, but that’s alright.  When they go inside the Dalek there is a Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (and The Invisible Enemy) feel as they’re rummaging through hallways and various rooms.  Eventually they do get to finding the issue: a part of the Dalek leaking radiation, in turn altering the part of it which limits emotion and allows it to be “good” or rather, realize the Daleks are bad and in turn want to kill the Daleks, so good-ish.  Once repaired the Dalek goes back to normal and the Doctor tries to come to terns with the fact that some things will never change: Daleks will always be evil.  He kept saying this to Clara leading up to this point, not because he was being stubborn, but instead because he was tired of it, tired of the lack of change, which also reflected his state of mind.

Opinion:

Without simply restating the entire episode, I will say by the end of it the Doctor, with the help of Clara, realized things are not always as they seem.  A damaged Dalek could still be “good” even if consistently a soldier.  While the Dalek notes how the Doctor is a good Dalek (another tired line in Dalek episodes), Clara lets the Doctor know what really matters is he tries to do good.  Even when things don’t go right it still ends with good intentions.

Right, is this really a good idea?

Right, is this really a good idea?

Now, I do enjoy the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara.  For once she isn’t written simply as a plot device to lead into the 50th anniversary and her personality is a lot more defined, probably a result of more consistent writing.  While still finding himself, the Doctor has a distinct personality.  He has no time for trivial matters or things that cannot be avoided.  In one scene a member of the group inside the Dalek is going to die, the Doctor knows there’s no way to stop it from happening, so he puts a sort of tracking device in him so they can see where dead bodies go in the Dalek.  Yes, at first it seems harsh, but as the Doctor notes, there was no way to save him so his death can at least help them survive.  This Doctor gets mad at soldiers waving guns around and barking out orders.  He doesn’t have the time to put up with that, just talk like a civil person, that’s all, don’t eliminate your soul for the sake of being a good soldier.  In a way, this Doctor needs Clara to balance him out, though, I’d like to see a solo episode or two with him, that would be interesting (I’m thinking along the lines of The Deadly Assassin).

Extras:

Danny Pink, Clara’s new boyfriend made his first appearance.  All we learn is he was a soldier and all signs indicate to some sort of incident in which he ended up killing a civilian (heavy stuff compared to the last couple series of the show).  So far he seems like a good guy, he had a funny scene when Clara was trying to ask him out/get him to ask her out.  I’m looking forward to more of him, for once we may be getting a male companion (other than Jack) who is a strong character on his own.

Missy makes another appearance.  A female crew member who went in the Dalek was also killed but somehow ended up in what Missy calls heaven.  What is going on there I’d like to know, but I’ve given up with making theories for Moffat stories, far too many of his haven’t gone anywhere and it just turned into a headache, so this time around I’m taking a different approach and simply am trying to enjoy the ride and hoping the writing is more solid this time around.

Conclusion:

I don’t like Dalek episodes.  I dread them the week leading up to them.  They’re rarely good.  This week’s proved to be very good as it allowed the Doctor to analyze himself and ultimately show he is a good man through the simple act of trying his hardest to do good, even if his approach isn’t as happy-go-lucky as the 11th Doctor.  I really enjoy the more serious tone of this series and I hope others do as well.

Next week is set in the past again, and the trailer seems pretty solid for Robot of Sherwood with Robin Hood (it seems very Classic Who):

 

Right, it’s been a while since I wrote about Doctor Who and that’s mainly due to not much happening other than potential spoilers from on set pictures taken by fans (don’t want to accidentally be the one to ruin anything for anyone by posting it) and I watched all of Warehouse 13 (highly recommended), Orphan Black (season 1 again and then 2)and am re-watching Downton Abbey and Fringe at the moment, and I just picked up season one of Continuum.  Needless to say, my TV viewing has been filled with a lot of shows.

But now the teaser trailers are rolling out for Doctor Who series 8.  The latest, and probably most important one, features the Doctor in an exploding console room (seriously, this thing explodes a lot) and what seems to be a Dalek voice narrating the scene.  More surprising is it sounds like Davros, which if it is then they’ll likely use the same lame excuse of emergency temporal shifting away from what would have otherwise been an immediate death at the end of series 4.  As he continues to narrate the scene, a slightly different sounding voice comes in for the last few words.  The voice is still Dalek sounding but a much different tone than the suspected Davros voice.  Since they’re narration goes together it may be assumed they are both in the same room and are on a combined mission of sorts to go against the Doctor.  This may also allow the Daleks to remember all of the Doctor’s past battles with them, which were erased (well kind of sorta erased since the past Christmas episode made Clara impossible, at least as the impossible girl, she should technically just be an ordinary girl that the Doctor would have no interest searching for all that time) by Clara (again, kinda sorta) in the beginning of series 7, as Davros may not be part of the connected Dalek network/mind Clara hacked.

If I’m being honest, I’m tired of the Daleks.  Ever since they became half human in series 3 (wasting two episode slots) they really haven’t been in any good story.  It’s like they just fill this wasted episode spot all the time and show up so much that they kind of turned into a joke and lost any sort of intrigue (similar to the Weeping Angels and Cybermen).  The issue is, the Daleks never showed up this frequently in Classic Who, and even then their stories usually weren’t anything special.

I’d like this season to have an all new threat.  Perhaps a single man or woman who balances between good and evil, never really being dedicated solely to one side.  A complex character who does what he thinks is right but without going to any sort of over-the-top extremes.  This sort of character can challenge the Doctor, who in recent years has been written to do a lot of self reflecting and the like.

What I’d really like is this season to be along the lines of a miniseries, where there aren’t random filler episodes, but rather one story, which they have attempted in the Classic Who era and I think it needs a return, especially if this season is hopefully going to be about searching for Gallifrey.

Back to Davros, if he is back, which I hope he isn’t because really, how menacing is an old man in an electric wheelchair, then I’ll be a little disappointed.  We already know we’re stuck dealing with Jenny, Strax, and Vastra again, who may I remind you, have never ever been explained, they just showed up, completely dropping any notion of a back story and turning the Sontarans into bumbling fools instead of a clone race designed for war.

As much as I don’t like Moffat’s writing and choices for series 7 and then making his own writing in series 7 literally impossible (even he had no idea how to explain it) but I am intrigued by what he said in an article I read a couple weeks ago about series 8 ending on a cliffhanger.  I actually really like that, which may be due to me being into Orphan Black and its crazy cliffhangers, but I think the format can work well for Doctor Who, at least it can’t be as bad as cramming a blockbuster into a 45 minute time slot each week.  Speaking of, a miniseries format could help get rid of the many rushed endings we had in series 7, or at the very least do bring back two part episodes.

Still, here’s to hoping series 8 brings the show back to the standards of my favorite of the new series; series 5 (odd, I know since I can’t stand Moffat now, but that series he actually did well minus a few errors like how did the Doctor originally get out of the Pandorica and whose TARDIS was that on top of Craig’s house?).  I’m a fan of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman (when Clara is written a little consistently).  I have wanted a return to Gallifrey since the show came back nearly ten years ago now (wow, that went by fast).

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.

 

The wait for the 12th Doctor is finally over, and it has been well worth waiting for.  Peter Capaldi will be stepping into the role of the Doctor next year, well we’ll probably see a bit of him at the end of this year’s Christmas special, and it

Just the man to kick off another 50 years of Doctor Who

Just the man to kick off another 50 years of Doctor Who

will be an interesting year.

Now, I really enjoy his role as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, and obviously he won’t be playing that role for Doctor Who, but it does help demonstrate his range.  I have been going around the internet looking for clips of other show’s he’s been in and none have had me so astounded as his role as Randall Brown in The Hour.  I don’t really know the show, but what I do know is within a two minute clip in which he only talks for about thirty seconds he manages to bring an incredible amount of emotion that I do hope is shown in Doctor Who.  There’s a certain level of maturity about him in the clip, almost like the Doctor trying his hardest not to break down, trying to have restrain.  I love it, and because of that I’ll be placing it right here for you:

Now, how will he be with Clara?  Well, I never saw a big love story growing between the 11th Doctor and Clara, but maybe that’s either because I didn’t want one or because the writing gave little room for the character’s to grow and interact.  Despite the whys, I don’t think pairing her up with Capaldi will be a bad thing.  Just watch a Classic-Who episode and you’ll probably notice the Doctor never was all in love with a companion or vice versa.  I’m hoping they turn out being best of friends, kind of like the 4th Doctor and his companions, who remain some of the best in the show’s history (such as Sarah and Romana II).  I do wish this Doctor would never have to meet Strax, Vastra, and Jenny.

I’m all on board with Peter Capaldi being the next Doctor.  I really hope he gets back on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson since they both seem to be huge fans of the show.  My only concern is the writing, which has been rather on the average/weak side lately, and I suspect it is a result of a) rushing every story into a tiny episode and b) Moffat having no idea how to write a Doctor Who season arc and actually finish it and have it make sense by providing proper closure and not just waving around the Doctor’s magic wand/weapon/screwdriver.

Still, let’s not take anything away from Capaldi here.  He’s proven himself to be a very good actor (who can forget his role in Torchwood: Children of Earth?) and I’ve been wanting an older Doctor.  To me, this is a great choice, and I do hope all the fans give him a chance, as I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised come the start of series 8.

I’ll end this by saying best of luck to Peter Capaldi!

 

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).