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Comic book time!

Due to the huge amount of comic book movies being released, I thought I will write about comic books themselves. It’s obvious the films are hugely popular, but it’s important to remember their origins. I have a drawer full of Batman, X Men and Thor comics.

The_Marvel_Universe

Image from Culture Culte via Flickr

So here is my comic book guide for dummies. First, the two big companies:

Marvel: Otherwise known as the ones who make the movies. Marvel are more light hearted, with a bigger emphasis on massive events involving loads of characters. Famous for Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor (my favourite), Hulk, Iron Man and Daredevil. The characters are normally ordinary people imbued with powers and they are more science fiction based (Doctor Strange aside).

DC: Otherwise known as the ones who should be making lots of movies but aren’t, DC tell darker stories with more serious characters with a wider range of personalities. The story arcs are more personal to certain heroes. Famous for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Constantine. The heroes usually have personality problems and there is an emphasis on fantasy and magic, with technology also playing a part.

There are other comic companies but these are the two which everyone recognises and the ones where the most famous heroes come from. I’ve already discussed why they are so popular, so I’m going to talk about which company I prefer and why I like reading them.

I’m more of a Marvel person, but it’s funny because I find the DC characters more interesting. I much rather prefer Green Lantern, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter to Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk (though they are all cool). Similarly I prefer Batman to Spider-Man. However, the reason I prefer Marvel overall is not just because of the movies but because they feel more like a combined universe. I can read a Spider-Man comic and imagine that the X-Men exist, but while reading a Batman comic it is hard for me to imagine that Superman is somewhere (probably because Batman is so different to the other DC characters). So overall I think both are great, but I prefer Marvel, even though the DC universe is more interesting.

Conclusion

The main reason I like comics is because of the fact that it isn’t just words, but artwork and pictures as well. The stories are also really cool and the comic book universes are just so awesome! In one universe you have a guy dressed as a bat fighting clowns, people made of clay, mad scientists and an alien battling bald business men and a giant monster. The other universe has a guy dressed up as a spider fighting a man made of sand, alien symbiote and a scientist with four metal tentacles and a billionaire with an iron suit who fights warlords and a dragon. The extent a comic book can go with its characters is just brilliant. What other form of storytelling can have Asgardians, gamma mutated scientists, sorcerers and a WWII super powered soldier in the same story? And because it is a visual medium, it means that these characters can be instantly recognised.

And that’s why I like comic books. I read normal books as well but there is something about comics which appeal to me. It’s also good that there are movies which are being made from them, so there is always something for me to enjoy at the cinema.

Doctor Who Monster Symbolism

Yeah, I know. I said I wouldn’t do any Doctor Who posts for a while but I just had to do this. It all steamed from a thought I had about how a good Cyberman story would work. This then led me into thinking about other famous foes and what they might represent, at least to me. I’ve already discussed the Daleks and how they are obviously an allegory for Nazis, so I’ll skip them. So without further ado…

  • The Cybermen- Communism

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The Cybermen are my absolute favourite Doctor Who villain for many reasons. Not only do they look awesome, have awesome voices (EXXXXXXCELLENT!) and are a chilling concept, but they have historical relevance too. Their first appearance in 1966 (The Tenth Planet, which is also the first regeneration story) was in the middle of the Cold War, where Communism and nuclear war were dangerously close. What are the Cybermen’s gain? To turn everyone into them. Their catchphrase (not “Delete”) is “You belong to us. You shall be like us”. The basic aim of Communism is for everyone to be equal with no rich or poor. The Cybermen exist without gender, names or emotion. Both of them represent a totally equal and harsh world. They also represent the rise of technology and how people lose their identities and emotion to them, which was a theme used in Dark Water extraordinarily well. The Series 8 finale is my second favourite Cyber story after Earthshock, which has the debut of the Excellent Cybermen.

  • The Silence- Religious extremists

silence will fall

The Silence are a fascinating concept as both monsters and as an organisation. But something which I’ve noticed about them is how there are many parallels between them and the real life religious extremists, people who claim they are part of their religion when the religion itself shuns them. The Silence are an offshoot of the Church of the Papal Mainframe, who help the Doctor fight the invading forces on Trenzalore. While the main church and the confessional priests (the “Silent” creatures) are good and help the Doctor, a rogue bunch, led by Kovarian, blow up the Tardis and when that fails launch a scheme to kill the Doctor to prevent him from reaching Trenzalore (all of this is some of the best plotting I’ve seen on the show incidentally). This is basically an exaggerated form of reality, where groups of people “apparently” uphold the laws of their religion (“Apparently” in huge sarcasm marks). The Silence believe that death and destruction is a good way of achieving their aims, just like the extremist groups of in real life.

  • The Ood- Slaves

ood

This one is pretty obvious, but it still needs pointing out. The Ood are one of the most iconic New Who monsters and it’s easy to see why. In a modern age where slavery is a thing of the past, it’s great that the Ood exist to show what the horrors of slavery were. They are clearly meant to be black slaves in the 19th and 18th centuries and the Ood Corporations are a metaphor for the rest of the world. The ending of Planet of the Ood shows that they are free which mirrors the end of slavery. If the Ood come back it needs to be a story which tells the audience what the Ood represent and uses it to tell a great story. Incidentally, the Ood are probably the only Doctor Who alien to not be in a bad story (The Satan Pit, Planet of the Ood, The Waters of Mars and the Doctor’s Wife are great and I remember liking the End of Time when I saw it).

So that is some creature symbolism. What other famous Who foes do you think represents the real world?

 

A lowdown on Gothic stories

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Recently I have become interested in a new kind of stories. These stories are Gothic stories. Stories like this include Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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To say these stories are influential is an understatement. Many of them are the most iconic stories of all time, and made my favourite fantasy creature (the vampire) an icon of popular culture. There were also gothic horror movies made in the 50’s with new additions to the monster mix, including the werewolf and the mummy, whose appearances turned them into iconic foes. And while I promised I wouldn’t mention Doctor Who, I have to mention the period of the show when the stories became influenced by the Gothic genre (Pyramids of Mars, The Brain of Morbius, The Seeds of Doom, Image of the Fendahl, State of Decay, and more recent stories like Mummy on the Orient Express all take influence from the Gothic genre).

So why is this genre so iconic and influential? I think it is because of the characters. Everyone knows Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster (he is not called Frankenstein, that’s his creator) and Dr Jekyll. These characters are great because they were so different from anything at the time and because they still work now. The movie versions of these characters also help their popularity (although Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t big and green with a bolt through his head, he was more human like in the book and in the recent theatre version where he was played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which I saw last October).

Another reason why I personally like this genre of storytelling is the sheer variety of them. Vampires, split personality, artifical people- they truly feel unique. They also tackle themes which at the time they were written (19th century) were extremely controversial, like the idea of playing with God in Frankenstein and the fear of the unknown in Dracula.

And that is why I like Gothic stories, not just because they are imaginative and unique, but because they are ahead of their time. I got many Gothic stories for Christmas and I’ve enjoyed reading them. It’s great to see what stories were like in the past.

Comedy: The sequel

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This post is a sequel to my post about comedy, where I questioned what happened to the comedy genre? And as per usual with sequels, it’s not as good as the first one (unless I’m going down the Star Wars or Spider-Man route, which I’ll try to do). Nevertheless, this one will be focused more on the kind of language used in comedy, and why puns and wordplay are so hilarious.

1) Puns

One of the most common forms of comedy is puns. Puns are either a joke which swaps one meaning for another (wrap, rap) or using a common trope of the thing being described (The vampire watched a movie. It sucked). These jokes work because everyone expects them but they are still funny because the characters don’t notice it. It can also be funny if used visually. For example, if someone needs a shock because of hiccups, why not electrocute them? The absurdity of the situation makes it work because it is just so ridiculous. Just making puns isn’t funny, but making puns within context is, in my view.

2) Wordplay and farce

This is my favourite kind of comedy, the kind of ridiculous situation which in my opinion makes the best comedy. Farce is literally an absurd situation, such as a robber robbing a bank armed with a banana or an evil spy planning to destroy the hero with an armadillo cage. What works about this is that the situations that comedy presents can be literally anything, and things which shouldn’t be together are together.

So that’s why comedies are so great, because they use language to clever extremes in the form of puns and silly wordplay. While it is hard to pin point exactly what makes comedy click, as it is in the end about what makes an individual laugh, but I believe that there are certain things which make comedies work for me. What makes you laugh?

Series 8- Changes I would have done

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It’s 2015! A new year! This year is full of things I am looking forward to- a new Avengers movie, a new James Bond movie, a new Star Wars movie, a new Jurassic Park movie and of course, Doctor Who Series 9 (or Season 35 if one wishes to be precise). But before we look to the future, let’s look at the series just past, and look at some elements of some stories I would have changed. But first, I’ll give my overall episode ranking-

1. Dark Water/Death in Heaven

2. Listen

3. Mummy on the Orient Express

4. Robot of Sherwood

5. Flatline

6. Time Heist

7. Deep Breath

8. The Caretaker

9. Into the Dalek

10. Kill the Moon

11. In the Forest of the Night

So, with that out of the way, let’s look at my changes to some of the episodes in the series-

1. Make the spiders in Kill the Moon a proper threat.

 

I was really looking to this story, and one of those reasons was the fact that the spiders seemed like a genuine threat. What was the last time an original Doctor Who monster was evil because it was just evil? The last time that happened was House from The Doctor’s Wife. The spiders in this story are great when they appear, but the whole episode is so focused on the “moon is an egg” thing that they lose any impact they should have. To make the spiders awesome, and to make the episode feel more Doctor Who-ish, here’s what I would have done-

OK, so the Doctor and Clara (sans Courtney, who was not needed), arrive on the Moon (by chance. The last time the Doctor arrived somewhere random without former planning or outside interference was The Crimson Horror). The episode set up is the same: a bunch of astronauts are sent to blow up the Moon, there is a debate whether to destroy it or not, all that stuff. But, the spiders are there already and have taken over the base. The spiders are creatures who were on a spaceship as cargo when they took over and crashed the ship into the centre of the moon, thus explaining the Moon’s lack of gravity as the ship is in the centre. The spiders learn of the humans due to the ship data banks and lay millions of eggs within the moon, making it bigger. Their plan is to eventually make the moon so big that it will crash into Earth, allowing the baby spiders to feast on the Earth.

The dillema then becomes this- to kill eveything on the Moon, including the unhatched eggs, or to let the spiders hatch and deal with them afterwards. This way, the core foundation of the episode (whether an innocent live is worth killing for the safety of others) is intact, but there is a core threat and the episode would have benefited from this. The Doctor still leaves, they destroy the moon, and the Doctor reappears and reveals that he took all the unhatched eggs to their native planet. He then reveals that he only did what he did to test Clara, who storms out of the Tardis. The episode remains intact, and in my eyes, a change along those lines would have meant I would have enjoyed the episode more (still not sure about what my mum would have thought).

2. Have there be an alien presence in In the Forest of the Night.

 

This is the only story in the story I actually don’t like. Kill the Moon at least had sci-fi elements in it, and it had a great, unique premise with an amazing final scene which changed the Doctor/companion dynamic drastically. This episode just happened with no consequences for the characters, a story like Hide which tries to be a character piece but has no interesting characters, threat or story to be that. People may complain that Robot of Sherwood was too childish, but that at least had sci fi action, an entertaining story and a clever dynamic between the Doctor and Robin (Not to mention I’m bias towards anything linked with medieval elements). The main problem with this story, aside from the lack of any threat, was the ‘fairies’ which live in the trees. Seriously? A literal fairy tale? Urgh. To make this story better, I would have done this…

So the world wakes up and there’s a forest. Everyone is confused about it (naturally) and the Doctor detects an alien spaceship hovering above Earth, invisible to Earth radars. In the spaceship are powerful aliens who see themselves as gods and aim to pass judgement on lesser planets (for extra continuity make them Eternals). The aliens are bored, immortal and want to test Earth. So they make trees appear all around the Earth, watching the people’s response. Naturally, being humans, they try to cut them down. The aliens then decree that the human race are an unnecessary addition to the universe and remove the trees and send a solar flare down to destroy the humans.

The Doctor agrees with them and offers to take Clara with him, as she is the only important human being to him at this moment. Clara chooses to stay, and this act of kindness and loyalty to her species convinces the aliens that there is some good in humanity, so the trees reappear and stop the solar flare. In this way, I have made the story more like Doctor Who, more character driven, more thought provoking for both the audience and the characters and conveys the eco friendly message of the episode in a subtle way.

Those are the two major changes to two episodes which disappointed me. I don’t like bad Doctor Who so I hope in my own way I will convince the BBC to look through their scripts and say “What do the Whovians want?”. My next post will definitely be none Doctor Who related, as I can’t write about it with no Doctor Who to talk about for 8 months. What changes to the series would you have wanted?

 

 

Doctor Who Christmas Special Review + Series 9 speculation

Christmas is over and done with, but as always, we have a Doctor Who Christmas Special to discuss! There’s also the first episode title of Series 9, so we have that to look forward to. So, let’s take a look. This review will be different from my other reviews. I will focus primarily on the things which I consider to be the main pros and cons of it. Yes, it has flaws, so it can’t be as good as the Christmas Invasion, A Christmas Carol or the Time of the Doctor, but there is still a lot to this episode which is great. As per usual, spoiler alert

Pros

  • The Doctor’s characterisationdu wee ouuu

It took me a full series to fully accept Capaldi as THE Doctor, 100%. He had his moments (his conversation with Robin Hood, the ending of Mummy on the Orient Express, his speech in Flatline) but it wasn’t until Death in Heaven where he realised who he truly was and became the character we all know and love. This episode continued the trend of having the Doctor pretty much offend everyone and get offended by everything (“You have a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive, no wonder everyone keeps invading you”). He is responsible for all the dream exposition and gets an epic introduction, with him insulting Santa and marching into the Tardis with a great soundtrack supporting him. It’s also the first time this Doctor is truly happy, as he rides the sleigh out of the dream. The emotional core of the story is of the Doctor slowly helping Clara let go of Danny and to make her a better person.

  • The concept of the villains

dream crabs

 

I really like the concept of the Dream Crabs. While the “Don’t do something” thing is getting a bit old as it’s been done with the Weeping Angels, the Silence and the Teller, it is presented in a way which seems fresh. I like the old fashioned feel that they have, as they feel like something which a Classic Series Doctor would fight, and the whole story is reminiscent of an early Tom Baker story (at least the scenes in the Arctic Base are). However, I wished the creatures did more then stand around, and they didn’t really have a plan and in the end weren’t really menacing enough. Which leads me to…

Cons

  • The plot was confusing

doctor-who-christmas

 

While I understood the whole story (as in it didn’t confuse me in a way the Girl Who Waited or Journey to the Centre of the Tardis did where it was so confusing I was bored), after thinking about it the plot was full of holes. Why did the Dream Crabs make an Arctic Base? Were there four people whose ideal world is in a base? What is the Doctor going to do about the Dream Crab who killed the Professor? Or is there one Dream Crab ready to try again? Why were they putting them through multiple dreams? At least in Inception (yes it’s not a Doctor Who story but it’s the same concept) the dreams within dreams was part of the story of that film. But why did the Dream Crabs decide to do this? Why was the Doctor in an extra layer of dreaming? When thought is applied, the story makes no sense.

  • The ending

 

 

 

dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams

 

So, now we know that Clara is staying for Series 9, there is more speculation. I will admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the ending. I would have been if the final dream scene wasn’t so great. The Doctor rescues Clara only to find that she is an old woman. They have a Christmas dinner and then Santa comes and it was all a dream. My problem is this: why have a scene which is so good only to have it be a dream? If they had cut straight to the actual ending then I wouldn’t mind. I also didn’t know what to think of Clara staying, as her character seems two-sided. In Series 7, she was a pretty boring character who was fun and energetic. In Series 8 she was slightly more serious, slightly more realistic and grew as a character.

Now I prefer Series 8 Clara, as she is a better character, but I miss that charm she had with Matt Smith. Capaldi is a very serious Doctor and a light hearted companion is needed in my eyes. So for Series 9, have Clara become that fun, inquisitive person who travelled because it was fun, but still retain that character and don’t make her journey in Series 8 irrelevent. Tardis teams often work because they’re contrasts: Fun Four/Serious Sarah Jane, Serious Nine/Fun Rose and Alien Eleven/Human Amy. For Series 9 it should be Serious Twelve/Fun Clara. But she should still argue and question the Doctor, as that’s what made companions like Donna and Rory work.

So, Series 9. The first episode is called the Magician’s Apprentice. At first it sounded like a new companion debut, but with Clara staying it could be different. But the new companion could still happen. Perhaps the Doctor gets another companion and Clara acts as his/her teacher. If it’s a male though, let’s not have him fall in love. Have someone like Jack or Harry, someone whose just there to be a generally cool guy to be around. But I’ve already discussed that.

Phew, that was long. What do you think of the Christmas Special? What do you make of the title? And, more importantly, do you think a new companion should join?

 

Why do people love Christmas?

So, it’s one week till Christmas. Christmas songs are playing, lights are shining and children are anticipating a big fat man dressed in red turning up to give them presents. I am looking forward to, in no particular order: Doctor Who, meeting the family and a long break from school.

But WHY do people like Christmas? This is basically a companion piece to my Why do people like being scared? post, only this time it’s “Why do people (including me) like Christmas?”. Well, I have three reasons –

This was my grandparents' Christmas tree.

This was my grandparents’ Christmas tree.


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Christmas Time- What Doctor Who stories can be used?

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In only 19 days it’s Christmas (!!!!!!!!!!!). One of many things to look forward to is the Doctor Who Christmas special. I almost always love them (mostly. It took me a long time to appreciate A Christmas Carol and I found the one afterwards incredibly dull). I have a soft spot for them because despite my memories of the David Tennant era being patchy, I vividly remember sitting down watching the Christmas specials. So, with this year’s story having Santa, dreams (Mara return?), Arctic bases and the Doctor in a hoodie, I’ve decided to take a look at some other ideas that could be used in future specials. So far we’ve had Sycorax, Racnoss, Hosts, Cybermen, the Master, flying sharks, tree things, snowmen and last year we had everything. What can join the brigade?

  • The Krampus

krampus

 

One Christmas related myth I’ve been fascinated with is the Krampus. In German, Austrian and Romanian folklore, the Krampus is a demon who is basically the anti-Santa. He follows Santa around and punishes naughty children by trapping them in his sack and banishing to their lair. Seeing how Santa is in this year’s story, it’s not impossible for Krampus to appear this year, but if he isn’t, then next year would be a perfect time. Maybe the Doctor arrives at a town where children are being kidnapped and he goes off to fight Krampus. I think given time that Krampus will appear, but I’d rather it be sooner rather than later.

  • Living snow

snow

 

This may have been already dealt with in The Snowmen, but that was just snowmen and an ice person. What I want is a special where the snow is a living, breathing monster, with each snowflake being a micro-organism which can kill people in a touch. It’s sort of like the Flood, except this time it is snow and can posses dead corpses and skeletons. This not only will be awesome but it could create a monster that will make people wish it doesn’t snow! The story could be that London is caught in a new Ice Age, but the snow entity is actually absorbing the human race for its own schemes.

  • Silent Night

silence will fall

 

Now this one is silly, completely personal and will probably never happen. But how cool would it be? Not only would it be a great title, but the Silence can get a stand-alone story without the Series 6 arc dominating over them. They are a brilliant monster which should return, and what better time than Christmas? The Doctor arrives in a town or a planet where everyone has forgotten Christmas. Why? Because the Church of the Silence has taken over the place. Remember (or not), the Silence are not just after the Doctor’s life, in fact they helped the Doctor in the Time of the Doctor. There are many rogue branches out there, and I would love them to come back.

  •  A Nightmare Before Christmas like story

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Again, completely silly, but one of my favourite movies combined with my favourite TV show would be amazing. The Doctor arrives in a world where nightmares are real, and they are trying to break through to the real world. Their leader (Jack Skelligton!) jumps through a time loop and arrives on Earth at the dawn of humanity, becoming an anti-Santa and making everyone hate Christmas. The Doctor needs to stop this and avert the timeline back to normal. Not only would a skeleton Santa be cool, but this year’s Santa could then re-encounter the Doctor and fight Anti-Santa. Ok, ok, this is getting really cheesy, but it’s Christmas so I forgive myself.

So those are four random ideas for next year’s Christmas special. Out of all of them, Krampus is probably the most likely one, with the Nightmare Before Christmas being the least. How excited am I for this year? Very! The Doctor and Santa versus Dream Crabs… 19 days to go!

“Who” should the next companion be?

So, you should know by now that I LOVE the Series 8 finale. LOVE with a capital LOVE. One of the best things about it (amongst others) is the incredibly simple yet effective ending to the Doctor and Clara’s story. Compared to Rose, Donna, Amy and Rory, the departure was very subdued, leaving me to think that Clara has left the series. However, she’s in the Christmas special, but what if THAT’S her departure? If it is, than next year, we’ll have a brand new companion (or companions) in the Tardis. It’s always fun having a new companion, as they get all the famous phrase: “It’s bigger on the inside”. Cue an exotic alien world, followed by amazing adventures with the Doctor.

But WHO should the new companion be? Every single New Series companion with the exception of Captain Jack is from 21st century Earth (River Song is debatable). This isn’t so bad, after all, Sarah Jane was from modern day Earth (modern day Earth being 1973 back then). However, in the Classic Series we also had: Time Ladies, Scottish warriors, aliens, robots and people from the past and future. In the new series we’ve had modern day humans and a 51st century Time Agent. It’s time for change I think. They’ve already broken the young Doctor trend, why not break the modern day Earth trend?

I would like a companion from the Earth’s past. Maybe a Victorian-era detective? A medieval princess? (Though seeing how there’s already been one medieval story in the Capaldi era I doubt this). Or maybe a companion from Earth’s future? Or an alien? Not all aliens want to obliterate mankind, and a whole new species could be created. Maybe, like the Doctor, his companion is a runaway, escaping her (or his) race. Even if Clara is staying, an alien could add an extra dynamic to the Doctor’s adventures. I have deduced that there are three main types of companions, and New Who has only really dealt with one. So, let’s start…

The brain box

Examples (that I’ve seen): Susan, Romana, Nyssa, Adric, K9 and to some extent River Song (if she counts as a companion).

This is the companion who the Doctor can treat as his equal. Normally an alien (who looks like a human) or a fellow Time Lord, the brain box serves as extra exposition and adds an interesting spin to the Tardis crew. These companions sometimes gain their own one story companion and have entire sub-plots to do with them solving a different part of the story while the Doctor is occupied or sometimes captured. K9 is the most literate example, as his main job is to break the Doctor out of jail. However, they can sometimes seem redundant, as the Doctor is normally the chief brain box and they just tag along and continue explaining. However, when coupled with type 2, they serve as a more varied Tardis team: The Doctor is the one who solves the problem, the brain box helps out and the human adds the, well, human side. On that note…

The human

Examples (that I’ve seen): Ian, Barbara, Joe, Sarah Jane, Harry, Tegan, Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory and Clara.

The majority of companions are humans from the current decade the story is set in. They normally work for UNIT, have a normal job and (for the new series), have an extended family. These companions are the ones who the Doctor stumbles across and shows them the universe, normally making them a better person. Due to them being a different species, they often clash with the Doctor, from Sarah Jane arguing for the Dalek’s genocide, Tegan spending an entire series annoyed at the Doctor’s inability to reach Heathrow, Rose sympathizing with a captured Dalek and speaking out against its death, Donna arguing with the Doctor about saving Pompeii, Amy convincing him to spare the Star Whale and, more recently, Clara storming out of the Tardis after the Doctor pushed her too far. This is where the majority of the show’s drama comes from, as normal people with normal lives explore the universe and add their personal perspective to the mix. As I said, a historical companion could add an even bigger change, and this is an almost inevitable addition to the crew (in fact, the only pure Doctor/Brain Box crew I’ve seen is Four/Romana/K9).

The action hero 

Examples (that I’ve seen): Normally the job for the male companion: Jamie, Harry, most of UNIT, Captain Jack and Series 6 Rory, though sometimes females are an example of this, like Leela, Ace and again, River Song. Many one off companions are also this too: Duggan, Canton, Riddell and Robin Hood.

When Doctor Who first started, a male companion was needed to do all the things the Doctor, at the time, couldn’t do: run down corridors, jump over buildings and hit people (Rory gets the best punch award against Hitler). These are unique companions, as the Doctor (unless he’s Jon Pertwee) will normally avoid to fight and try to talk his way out (in fact, the Fourth Doctor gets annoyed when Duggan starts punching everyone he tries to talk to in City of Death). These companions don’t run away, they stand and fight, even when they’re hideously outnumbered. Ace will hit Daleks with baseball bats, Jack will cling to the Tardis through the Time Vortex, Rory will battle Headless Monks and Leela will jannis thorn anyone who even thinks of fighting her. These companions are awesome, as it shows that not everyone who travels with the Doctor relies on him, as they can pretty much fight by themselves. A new action hero might be effective with Capaldi’s older, more talkative incarnation (spoon fight with Robin Hood aside).

So, what does this ultimately mean? It shows how varied the Doctor’s adventures can really be. In fact, the original Tardis team had all three companion types: Susan was the brain box, Barbara was the human and Ian was the action hero. The Fifth Doctor team had TWO brain boxes without an action hero (though the Fifth Doctor himself might count seeing how much he fights). The Eleventh Doctor had the human and the action hero, but not since 1963 has the full team been used. Of course three companions in a 45 minute story is probably not possible (or it might be: The Impossible Astronaught had four companions, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship had five, Time Heist had three and The Stolen Earth had everyone. Two of them were two parters but it still shows it works).

Whoever the new companion is though I’m sure that they will be fine. I’ll probably like them and Mum will be glad to see Clara gone (according to her, Clara’s crimes include slapping the Doctor, being childish near Robin Hood, arguing against the Doctor and many more which I’m sure she’ll be happy to go on about). I want more variety within the show, and companions open up gateways for interesting characters. What is your favourite companion? Mine is Sarah Jane, with Donna being a close second. What kind of a companion do you want to see in the Tardis?

My favourite Doctor Who stories

Two days ago was my birthday and to celebrate I’m going to reveal my personal favourite Doctor Who stories. Before I begin I just want to point out that I haven’t seen every Classic Series story (I’m working on it) and as a result some fan favourites will not be here (The Caves of Androzani, often considered the greatest story of all time, is unfortunatly not here). So, let’s begin…

12. Dark Water/Death in Heaven

“I am an idiot! With a box, and a screwdriver! Passing through, helping out, learning.”

dark water

It may seem strange to have a story which is less than a week old in the all-time greats, but I can’t help but love this story. This story works as it takes every element of the series and gives it a dark, action packed conclusion. It contains the development of the Twelfth Doctor (who has defined himself as THE Doctor) and gives the Missy mystery a masterful (hehe) resolution, which forces the characters to delve into ideas such as the afterlife, free will, love, trust and sanity. Everything in this story builds up to something, and the graveyard scene is one of my all time favourite Doctor Who scenes.

The Master makes a successful comeback and it is the most personal and character driven finale, with the psychotic Master pushing the Doctor to the brink and forcing himself to question his own character. The direction is superb, the Cybermen are chilling and the highlight of the whole story is an amazing sequence with the Doctor James Bonding his way out of a plane. I cannot praise this story enough.

11. Planet of the Spiders

“A tear, Sarah Jane? No, don’t cry. While there’s life there’s…”

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The Third Doctor is one of my favourite Doctors, and it’s this story which solidified it. I will admit, I haven’t seen EVERY Third Doctor story, so this is bound to change to something more obvious soon (Inferno, The Silurians, The Daemons, Carnival of Monsters to name a few Pertwee stories I need to see). However, this story is my favourite Third Doctor and my favourite regeneration story because it represents everything which I love about the Doctor. Indeed, it is the Doctor’s own fault that the spiders (or Eight-Legs) come to Earth, as the crystal the spiders want is what the Doctor retrieved in a previous story (The Green Death).

This adds a personal scale to the whole story, and by the end of the story the Doctor has been captured and defeated by the villains in the story. But, being the Doctor, he pushes onwards and gives up his life to save the universe, where anyone else would have let someone take over. The regeneration itself is brilliant, and the action is great (in fact, an entire episode has the Doctor pursuing the crystal by car, helicopter, Whomobile and boat). It’s the Doctor’s story, and that is why it’s one of my favourites.

10. Dalek

“I am alone in the universe. So are you.”

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My favourite Ninth Doctor story has the Doctor pushed to the extreme, perhaps more than any other story. While the story itself is simple, it’s the Doctor/Dalek which raises this to fantastic (hehe) heights. This is the story which showed what the Doctor was truly capable of, as he is determined to kill a Dalek simply because it exists. This story could have only worked with the Ninth Doctor, as his hardened persona over the Time War has changed him in ways that surprise him. It portrays parallels between the Doctor and the Dalek, and both sides are painted as good and bad, but it’s not so simple. The Dalek kills because it has to, and the Doctor only kills if he absolutely has to.

It raises questions about the Doctor’s morality and wether or not he can truly recover from the Time War. The Dalek in this story is awesome, and it is filmed in a way which makes it seem epic. The standout scene for me is the conversation between the Doctor and the Dalek over the screen, as it brings the Doctor/Dalek to new heights. How different is the Doctor from the Daleks? This episode shows that it is frighteningly similar, and that’s great.

9. Remembrance of the Daleks

“Every great decision causes ripples, like a huge boulder in a lake”

remembrance of the daleks

One of the first stories I ever remember watching, Remembrance of the Daleks is non stop Dalek action, as two factions of Daleks seek to gain control of the Hand of Omega. Sounds simple, but like every great story it goes deeper than that, as the Doctor returns to 1963 to stop them? Why? Because he was the one who left the Hand there in the first place, and is the reason he visited 1963 to begin with. It’s a great throwback to the start of the show, but it uses the nostalgia to tell a story rather than just throwing it in for the sake of it.

It defines the Seventh Doctors personality of being manipulative and wary of the past, as well as using the time period to comment on racial and social issues which mirrors the war the Daleks are having. The first cliffhanger has the Daleks conquering stairs, the soundtrack is brilliant and it features the best Dalek ever- the Special Weapons Dalek. Despite the action, there is still a great story here which shows that a Dalek story doesn’t have to be just explosions.

8. School Reunion

“Pain and loss- they define us as much as happiness and love”

school reunion

Another story which relies on the past, School Reunion brings back Sarah Jane and K9. This is a story which is very complex, as it explains why the Doctor leaves companions behind, as he will outlive them. I have appreciated this episode more due to the fact that I have seen Sarah Jane’s original adventures with the Doctor, and it’s obvious that they enjoyed each other’s company. The main theme through the story is letting go of the past and the consequence of power. It opens up strong ideas of immortality and uses the emotion from 1976 to continue a story which has the Doctor’s influence over others come into full force.

The Krillitanes are a strong villain, and the confrontation with the Doctor in the swimming pool shows how the Tenth Doctor deals with situations. Despite the dark themes, the story is also a lot of fun, with plenty of corridor running and awesome K9 action. It is a perfect example of using the show’s own traditions to tell a compelling story with plenty of great moments (the Doctor being a teacher is just brilliant).

7. Kinda

“There’s always something to look at if you open your eyes”

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This is my favourite Fifth Doctor story that I’ve seen, and it features a villain who needs to come back NOW! The Mara is a fascinating creature. Not only is it a giant snake, but it feeds off the subconscious minds of people and enters their dreams in an attempt to control them. This story features very dark imagery and scenes as the Mara tries to control Tegan, and it also delves into a fascinating alien world and addresses colonisation and delves deep into the dark side of humans. With the Fifth Doctor, the kindest and most understanding Doctor, the Mara has found a perfect match as the Doctor not only has to stop a rampaging entity in control of his friend, but deal with humans who seek to control the planet.

The story presents both sides of humans, with both good and bad people among them. There are some great dream sequences, the cliffhangers are memorable and the whole story is a deep study of humans and the parallels between them and the Doctor. The Christmas special this year is apparently about dreaming, so this is a perfect opportunity for the Mara to make its much-needed comeback.

6. The Waters of Mars

“It’s taken me all these years to realise the laws of time are mine, and they will obey me!”

The Waters of Mars (Wallpaper)

This story is sooooo scary. As in proper, hide behind the sofa scary. I was terrified by this episode when it first aired and it still gives me the creeps. However, the scare factor is not the main reason this story works and why I love it. This story works because it personifies the Tenth Doctor, and it shows the dangerous effects of the Doctor travelling alone. The Tenth Doctor started his life happy, carefree and saving the world by making stuff up as he goes along. By the end, he is a power hungry man, and this story is the apex of that.

The events of Journey’s End has affected him by this point, and he is determined to break his own laws and break the laws of his people just to save one bunch of humans. Everything else about the story works, from its direction to its terrifying threat, and it all helps to make a story where the Doctor loses it, forcing the situation into his own hands. It’s one of the Doctor’s darkest moments and even though the world is saved, there is still a feeling of unease as the Doctor is painted as the villain. One of the darkest stories on this list, the Waters of Mars is truly spectacular.

5. City of Death

“I say, what a wonderful butler. He’s so violent!”

i say what a wonderful butler

If the Waters of Mars showed the Doctor at his darkest, this story shows the Doctor at his most laid back. The Fourth Doctor in this story is 100% awesome, running around Paris with a huge grin on his face, as he takes part in an adventure where he reveals his dislike for being tortured by people with cold hands. This story is one of the funniest stories ever, with so many iconic lines and moments. It’s so funny and well written I can’t have a favourite line (though the above quote is probably the closest). The story itself is ingenious, featuring many twists and turns and with a prime example of wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

It also has the Mona Lisa as a main plot device and the villain has one of the silliest yet most brilliant plans in the whole of Doctor Who. The location work in Paris is great (it was the first overseas shooting the series had), and the whole story is impossible to dislike as it’s constantly moving from one thing or another. The cliffhangers move the mystery along, the music is superb and there is always something happening, be it a funny line (“You’re a beautiful women probably”), a chase scene or a plot point. This story is a must watch.

4. Vincent and the Doctor

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things”

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This episode is so good my mum likes it. Oh wait, I’ve already made that joke. Anyway, the reason I love this episode is not just because it delves into the dark subject matter of mental illness and people’s views on it, but because it is so well made and has the Doctor at his kindest and most joyful (one of many reasons why the Eleventh is my favourite Doctor). This story works on so many levels. It works as a basic Doctor fights monster story, it works as a character study, it works as a historical, it works as an analysis on human psychology and most of all it works as a great Doctor Who story.

The original aim of the show was to educate children, and this story does that, taking a deep and honest look at a complex person. It also shows a new side to the Doctor, as he attempts to change Vincent’s outlook on life, showing his care for humans. However, in the end Vincent still kills himself, reminding the Doctor that history can’t be changed. Even the monster has meaning, as both it and Vincent and been shunned from their respective communities. It’s deep stuff for Doctor Who, but all worth it.

3. Genesis of the Daleks

“Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other, and it’s it? The Daleks cease to exist?”

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This story is often seen as one of the greatest Doctor Who stories, and having seen it I completely understand why. It is a study of the Doctor and shows the Doctor in a helpless situation. It poses many questions and like Dalek it shows the parallels between the Doctor and his foes. He hesitates to destroy the Dalek incubator as he realises that doing so will make him just like them. It poses questions about meddling with the past, responsibility and the lengths that the Doctor will go to. While the Daleks don’t feature much, Davros does.

While he may seem like a ranting villain, he is a fascinating character who is doing what he believes is the best for his people and to him, the Doctor is the one interfering. The dark tone all helps to compliment the deep storytelling, but it’s not all dark, with some hilarious lines (“Hello can you help me? I’m a spy!”). This story is one of the most important in the show’s history, as it forces the Doctor to question himself and it gives him an impossible dilemma: Become a Dalek, or let the Daleks live?

2. Human Nature/The Family of Blood

” Because I’ve seen him. And he’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the Universe… And he’s wonderful”

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My favourite Tenth Doctor story doesn’t actually feature the Doctor much, but he’s the whole reason for the story. At it’s core, the story is all about humanity. For the whole of the show, the Doctor has been an alien, yet when he physically becomes a human he learns all about what it is like. It examines a character, John Smith, and the difference between him and the Doctor. Smith is NOT the Doctor, yet he’s a human being with human emotions, who is forced to die to help save the world. It also shows the Doctor at both his most merciful and merciless.

By choosing to hide away in a watch he is giving the Family a chance to live out their lives in peace, but when they proceed to continue chasing him down he punishes them. It has the Doctor as a complete alien, yet has John Smith as a human. It is easily the darkest story in Doctor Who that I’ve seen, as it deals with death, love, humanity and mercy. It has David Tennant at his best as he portrays two different characters, each with their own outlook on life. This is one of my favourites, but anyone who knows me knows what my number 1 is…

1. The God Complex

“An ancient creature, drenched in the blood of the innocent… drifting about in an endless shifting maze… for such a creature, death would be a blessing.”

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Why is this my favourite Doctor Who story? Not only did it make Matt Smith my favourite Doctor, but it made me realise what Doctor Who could achieve and is the reason I am writing this list. The Eleventh Doctor is the personification of what the Doctor is to me, and this story is the perfect personification of the character.

Matt Smith started off as a quirky, childlike alien who made epic speeches, ran around with a manic grin and eating fancy food. In short, a madman. But during Series 6 he began to lose everything; Rory died (lots), he was given hope of the Time Lord’s survival, he murdered a Ganger Amy, had people die for him at Demon’s Run and all that time he still maintained his cheerful persona. This story shows the apex of the Eleventh Doctor’s journey, as he is trapped in a place which is killing off people and he is forced to stand by and watches it happen. In the end, he is forced to give up his companions and he learns what effect he has on people. Like the Minotaur, he gives hope and feeds in it. This adventure changes the Doctor, and he comes out of it wiser and more competent.

That’s not the only thing to say about this story though. The direction is superb, the music is outstanding, the setting is creepy and the supporting characters are fleshed out and interesting. But this story truly works and is my favourite story simply because it is the ultimate analysis of the Doctor, and it remains to this day the best story I have seen.

So those are my 12 favourite stories. What are yours? While I’m here I might as well give honurable mentions: The Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon, The Deadly Assasin, The Five Doctors, Ghost Light, The Curse of Peladon, The Fires of Pompeii and Father’s Day.

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