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Doctor Who Series 10: The Pilot review

It’s finally here! After 16 months (excluding last year’s Christmas and the entirety of Class) Doctor Who is back without Clara! Yes!

It’s been so long since a new companion I actually had to rewatch the Bells of St John to remind myself of the last time a companion got introduced. To be precise, it’s been over 4 years, which is why The Pilot is so refreshing and feels so new.

As usual, this will contain spoilers, so definitely watch the episode first before reading.

Compared with the Bells of St John (which is a stupider title let’s be honest) this is a much more subtle affair. There’s no massive mystery surrounding Bill and the action is subdued for the first half. It’s more comparable to Rose or Partners in Crime, where the dynamic between the Doctor and the companion take centre stage over the alien plot.

I’ve complained in the past how many Capaldi era villains (Skovox Blitzer, moon spiders, Fisher King, Lenny the Lion and to an extent the Veil) have had no impact on the plot, been sidelined or are underwhelming. Here, I’m willing to let the lacklustre villain aside as there was a clear focus on reintroducing the world of Doctor Who and introducing the new companion. I will not be so kind on this week’s Emojibots if they end up being as stupid as some people think they will be.

So what about the rest of the story? Well, obviously this is Bill’s first story and in 50 minutes I already like her more than Clara. To be fair, I liked Nardole in one Christmas Special more than Clara and it’s pretty easy for me to like a companion more than Clara. Bill is the complete opposite of Clara, who was incredibly unrelatable as time went on and essentially became the Doctor by Series 9. Here however, we have a companion who is completely normal with a normal life and with no big mystery surrounding her, which is great. She’s a combination of Donna and Ace (my two favourite companions after Sarah Jane) and I like the fact that the Doctor acts like a father figure to her like the First, Third and Seventh Doctors were to their companions. This is the dynamic we should have gotten with Clara, and it’s a shame Peter Capaldi is leaving this year so this dynamic may be lost (depends who the new Doctor is).

This scene is awesome and it’s the best “companion enters the TARDIS” scene in my opinion.

Nardole returns yet again, and once again proves that a bit of comedy is never a bad thing. He and the Twelfth Doctor have very good physical comedy and character beats that remind me of the Second Doctor and Jamie. It’s clear from this episode that Nardole now acts as the Doctor’s conscience, as shown when he tells Bill “He doesn’t see the tears”. He doesn’t appear to be in the next one, so I can only assume he’s staying behind at the university to guard the vault, which seems to be the story arc of the series. Many people, including myself I’ll admit, were hesitant about Nardole’s presence in the series, but from his two stories as a companion I’m very happy with what I’ve seen. I loved the call back to Robots of Death when he explains the TARDIS dimensions to Bill and his “Wa-hay” when Bill says the famous line that all companions say when they first see the TARDIS.

What’s in the vault? My money’s on John Simm’s Master.

Another great thing about this story is that I actually got scared. Whilst the monster isn’t the most original concept (the Flood and the Midnight Entity come to mind as similar concepts) the scene where Bill is trying to figure out who’s in her house and she sees an eye in the shower plug was genuinely creepy and I had my knees up to hid the screen. My mum thought it was too scary, but that’s the point of Doctor Who in a way. As someone with fond memories of being scared of the werewolf, the faceless granny, the Empty Child, Weeping Angels, the Flood and the Silence, I think it’s great that a new generation have their own behind the sofa moments.

I’ll admit that I think the chase portion of the episode was the weakest aspect. We have a random trip to (CGI) Australia, a BBC quarr- I mean an alien planet and a war between the Daleks and Movellans (Steven Moffat has just outdone the Macra in Gridlock with “random Classic Who” villain returning. What next? The Malus?). This aspect of the episode is entertaining, it’s just a bit random and I wish the whole episode was in the university where the dark lighting could have kept the creepy tone throughout. On the subject of the Daleks, I think this confirms the popular belief that the Daleks have to be used every year otherwise the BBC use the rights (they appeared in the LEGO Batman Movie though so maybe the BBC do own them). Their appearance is very brief, even briefer than their cameos in Waters of Mars and Wedding of River Song, and are just there to add another scene to the plot. That said, I’d rather have a brief cameo than a rushed Dalek story taking up a slot in the series. I just hope Chris Chibnall uses them well.

I actually rewatched Into the Dalek thinking the Daleks would be important. How wrong I was.

Despite all this, the story was not the focus for this episode, and what it focused on worked very well. The new TARDIS team is great, the story arc is intriguing (how Missy, the Monks, the John Simm Master, the Mondasian Cybermen and possibly the Landlord fit into all this I don’t know) and it’s just great that Doctor Who is finally back on consistent schedule (I say consistent but this week’s episode may be delayed due to football. If that happens heads will roll). Introductory stories are never the best, but they’ve all been good, and The Pilot continues that trend.

Onto Smile, the episode with the Emoji Bots. Let’s hope it’s better than In the Forest of the Night…

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Doctor Who Series 10- Let the hype begin

Hasn’t this year gone quickly? It’s already April and the new Doctor Who series is on the horizon. So, like with the past two series, I’ll be going through the series and looking at which episodes I’m looking forward to the most.

  • The Pilot

So what’s with that title? I know Steven Moffat wants to have it feel like a brand new show, but that title’s weird. Anyway, this is the opening episode, which are never my most anticipated, but nonetheless this one is important as it’ll introduce Bill. From what I’ve read the Doctor is stuck on Earth like Jon Pertwee was and is doing lectures at Bill’s university. You’ve also got Nardole coming back as the second companion (I loved him in the Christmas Special and look forward to seeing more of him) and the Daleks returning. Again. This will be the second series in a row with a Dalek opener and I hope this isn’t a trend. Whilst the rest of the series sounds more exciting, this is the most important, as new viewers will be introduced to the Whoniverse and viewers who have gone off the show will want to be reminded why this show is awesome.

  • Smile

Out of all the episodes this series, this is the one I’m approaching with the most caution. While the idea of emoji robots is a silly concept, this show has done the Kandyman and superheroes so I’m fine with the idea. The switching faces remind me of the Smilers from The Beast Below (very underrated story may I add). The main reason I’m approaching this one carefully is the writer, Frank Cottrel Boyce, wrote the unmatched genius of In the Forest of the Night (it’s hard to be sarcastic while typing) and I don’t want a repeat of “We’re going to phone everyone on Earth and tell them to leave the trees alone”. The off world story is very important to new viewers as they need to see the diverse nature of the Whoniverse and End of the World, Gridlock, Planet of the Ood, Beast Below and The Rings of Akhaten are all great stories which showcase just how creative the show can be with alien planets and cultures. I just hope this episode matches up to them.

  • Thin Ice

Now we’re talking. The pseudo historical is my favourite genre of Doctor Who, and this one set in 1814 (Regency Period, the same as Blackadder III) is right up my alley. It once again has stiff competition in the “first trip companion has to the past” department against The Unquiet Dead, The Shakespeare Code, The Fires of Pompeii and Cold War (I really liked this one on a rewatch) but considering Sarah Dollard wrote Face the Raven we should be in for good things. This is set in the last Frost Fair and is rumoured to be about a giant snake in the Thames. Much like the off world story, the historical story needs to show viewers the variety of the show and demonstrate the BBC’s massive costume department. This is one of my most anticipated of the series, and it seems to be a standalone story with everything I want from an episode, especially the giant snake. Incidentally, I really hope the monsters this year are scarier and more intimidating that Lenny the Lion and walking sleep dust.

  • Knock Knock

I really hope that picture matches the episode. Not much is known about this one except for the fact it introduces the Landlord (played by one of my mum’s favourite actors David Suchet), who may or not be a Time Lord. This is written by Mike Bartlett in his first Who script, so we should expect ideas outside of the norm. Rumoured to be one of the scariest of the series, this story will supposedly answer why the floorboards creak. Giant woodlice are also supposed to be involved, so I’m hoping for the Tractators from the great Peter Davison story Frontios to return. How the wood people tie into all this is a mystery, but I hope they don’t have a connection to that terrible Christmas special which I can’t be bothered to type out because it’s too long (the one with the trees. Doctor Who and trees don’t get along well). I’m expecting this to be tied to the story arc in some way due to the Landlord being a heavly promoted character.

  • Oxygen

Again, really hope that picture matches. We once again have a story where we don’t know much, however I love what we do know. It’s set on a spaceship and appears to be similar to a Troughton base under siege and the underrated Series 3 story 42. It’s written by Jamie Mathieson who wrote the brilliant Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline in Series 8 and co wrote the slightly less awesome but still fun Girl Who Died in Series 9. This appears to be another scary one and the clips of the Doctor and Bill in space appear to be from this story. I’m hoping that this turns out to be one of the best, as this also seems very standalone and character based. There’s no monster I can much to this episode, so maybe they’re too scary to put in the trailer like the Foretold was or they’re being hidden. It’s been ages since I’ve been scared by Doctor Who (it’s not the fact I’m older, as Waters of Mars still terrifies me) so hopefully this will truly be behind the sofa stuff.

  • Extremis/The Pyramid at the End of the World/The Lie of the Land

This is where things start to get really interesting, as there is a three part epic right in the middle of the series. This is my most anticipated of the series for many reasons. My favourite Master is returning, there’s some awesome looking new villains and it’s a three parter, which is very rare for the New Series. Whether this is going to be a full on three parter or a trilogy of linked like the Black Guardian trilogy or E-Space trilogy from Classic Who we don’t know. There’s three different writers, so my money’s on the second option. Part 1 is by Steven Moffat (mostly reliable), Part 2 is by Peter Harness (as long as he writes something like the Zygon Inversion and not Kill the Egg we should be fine) and Part 3 is by my favourite Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse, so at least one part of this story will be awesome. Having a story this big in the middle of the series should be great as it will build momentum rather than lose momentum as a series often does, so let’s hope this story deserves a quarter of the series.

  • The Empress of Mars (WHAT a title)

As I’ve mentioned, I liked Cold War a lot more when I rewatched it a month ago. I didn’t like it when it first aired but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a pretty good, if slightly rushed Ice Warrior story with an awesome setting and Matt Smith is great in it. The Ice Warriors are a very complex species so hopefully we will see good Ice Warriors, the awesome Ice Lord and the Grand Marshall in this episode. I like most of Mark Gatiss’s episodes and hopefully this one won’t slip under the radar due to its placement in the series. This one will be set on Mars (a potential return for the Flood?) and will also somehow have Zulu warriors. I’m looking forward to this one a lot more having rewatched both Cold War and watching their Classic Who stories (The Seeds of Death is really really fun and Curse of Peladon is one of my favourite Jon Pertwee stories). The Ice Warrior seen in the trailer appears to be the Empress of the Ice Warriors. This isn’t one of my most anticipated, but I think it’ll end up being one of my favourites.

  • The Eaters of Light

The first story in the New Series to be written by a Classic Who writer, Rona Monroe. She wrote the fantastic final story of Classic Who, Survival, which I highly recommend to anybody interested in checking out Classic Who as it’s very similar to Russel T Davies’s take on the show. Not much has been revealed apart from the title, but it appears to be set in ancient times (Romans are involved so probably the Roman conquest) and is said to be set in Scotland. Here’s hoping Peter Capaldi channels Sylvester McCoy in this one. This may end up being a pure historical, but judging by the title it’s probably not. As it’s the story before the finale, it needs to keep the momentum of the show going as Fear Her, In the Forest of the Night and Sleep No More all killed the momentum of the series which it needed before the finale. It may end up connecting to the finale like Utopia or Turn Left, but seeing how we don’t know anything about the arc it’s only speculation at this stage.

  • Episode 11 & 12

The original Cybermen from the Tenth Planet are back for what should hopefully be a fantastic finale. Steven Moffat’s track record with finales is patchy (Series 5, 7 and 8 have amazing finales, Series 6’s is meh and the less said about Hell Bent the better) but as this is his final one I’m expecting good things. We have Cybermen from the Tenth Planet as well as the new ones and the Cybus ones returning, so all we need are the Tomb of the Cybermen ones, the Invasion ones and the Exxxcellent ones from the 80’s. Missy is also returning, which is great as there’s always room for more Missy, and everything indicates that this will be one of the best finales of New Who. The Cybermen are my favourite monster and I’ve been longing for a finale in which they take centre stage, so I was so happy when I heard the news. Before this finale, watch the Tenth Planet and listen to the Big Finish audio Spare Parts for background on the Mondasian Cybermen. They’re so creepy with the cloth faces and sing-song voice and I hope Steven Moffat does them justice.

All in all, I am obviously very excited about Series 10. Unlike most of the other seasons, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious filler or cheap episodes, which is fantastic. We’ve got great writers, fantastic sounding episodes and a wide variety of monsters old and new. Add on top of that a new companion and a Doctor at the height of his powers and we should be in for what I hope is the first truly perfect series of New Who, because a perfect series is possible. Peter Capaldi deserves to go out on a high.

Here are my rankings from most to least anticipated-

  1. The Missy/Monk three parter
  2. Oxygen
  3. Thin Ice
  4. The finale
  5. Knock Knock
  6. The Eaters of Light
  7. The Pilot
  8. The Empress of Mars
  9. Smile

Into the Dalek review (Spoilers)

Two episodes in, and the Twelfth Doctor is shaping up to be epic. How does his first proper story hold up against the opener? But before we get going…

That stare of the Doctor.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Synopsis

As the episode title shows, this episode shows the Doctor and Clara venturing inside a Dalek, sort of like the Fourth Doctor story The Invisible Enemy. The Doctor finds himself caught in a fight between human soldiers and a fleet of Daleks. The humans have a weapon a Dalek which, according to the Doctor, is “so damaged it became good”. He offers to help go inside the Dalek as he believes that if he can fix this Dalek so that it stays good, he can make the rest of them good. He picks up Clara from her job and they proceed to enter the Dalek…

The main thing to note about this episode is the Doctor. He’s first seen in the episode inside the Tardis, having rescued one of the soldiers from the fight and holding a tray of coffee (the same coffee Clara asked for at the end of last episode). This scene has lots of clever dialogue, as the Doctor literally makes the soldier ask him to take her back to her ship. It’s a great way to show that the Doctor, whatever incarnation, will always try to use non-violence first.

The Doctor

The Doctor in this episode is cold and dark. It’s obvious that he’s still unsure about who he is (hence the “Am I a good man?” scene), but he understands the situation which they’re in. One stand out scene is when he’s inside the Dalek and he tricks a soldier into eating a tracking pill and having him be killed by the Dalek antibodies, allowing him, Clara and the other soldiers a chance to escape the antibodies themselves. This kind of behaviour is definitely not something the Eleventh or Tenth Doctor would have done, making the Twelfth a stark contrast to his predecessors.

What makes the Doctor interesting in this episode though is the fact that despite the fact he is not particularly pleasant in this story, he still has a strong belief that he can make the Daleks good and still has good intentions. When the Dalek turns evil though, he is genuinely upset and even gets slapped by Clara (Capaldi’s lucky, the amount of times Tennant was smacked is a lot more). Despite now being caught in a death machine, he’s still desperate to complete this plan and now aims to make the Dalek good, even if it is just one. However, in the end, the Dalek exterminates all the other Daleks on the ship and remarks to the Doctor “You are a good Dalek”.

Thus, several questions are raised. One: did the Doctor succeed in turning the Dalek good? It exterminated the other Daleks, but that is still wrong. And the second question is all about the final remark the Dalek makes. Both the Doctor and this Dalek have destroyed countless other Daleks in the past, so what makes them different? It’s a great dynamic which should make this Doctor interesting to watch.

The Daleks

The Daleks in this episode are at their coolest. Not only do they actually exterminate people in this episode, but they seem genuinely threatening and have a genuine presence.

The design of the inside of the Dalek is interesting and fun, and the action is a lot more fast paced than last week. The music is also really good and I’m starting to enjoy the new theme now. It has a Classic Who feel to it. This musical track is a stand out-

The episode also shows more of Clara’s life away from the Doctor and also introduces Danny Pink, who will be a major supporting character through the series. However, the beginning and the end of the episode which focuses on him feel strange and don’t link in with the episode. It does raise the fact that he’s a soldier and seeing how the Doctor hates soldiers it would be interesting to see how they will interact in Episode 4.

This leads me to the new segment called “The Top 5 Twelfth Doctor lines in the episode!”. First, the runners-up:

“Don’t be lasagna”

“She cares so I don’t have to”

“He was dead already, I was saving us”

“He’s on the top layer if you want a few words”

And the winner is:

Conclusion (I need to stop using that word it makes the review sound like a test paper)- 9/10 again. There are scenes which didn’t need to be here, but overall it is an interesting look at the Doctor and the Daleks. Onto next week, where I’ll explode in excitement that the Doctor is in medieval England-

 

Why are the Daleks so popular?

The new Doctor Who episode Into the Dalek will be shown tomorrow and I am excited! Why shouldn’t I be? It’s Doctor Who! But many people have stated that it is too early to introduce the Daleks to Capaldi’s Doctor two episodes into the series. I’m optimistic though, after all, every single Doctor (except the Eighth) have faced the Daleks on screen, and the trailer for the episode looks tense and dramatic (which apparently the episode is).

But why ARE the Daleks so popular? What makes them so iconic, so interesting, and so cool?

But first, a bit of history…

History of the Daleks: since 1963

Daleks Three by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/54459164@N00/2623728853"> Johnson Cameraface</a> by Flickr.

Daleks Three by Johnson Cameraface by Flickr.

The Daleks first appeared in 1963 in the story called The Daleks (original, right?). They were the first proper aliens to fight the Doctor and were created by writer Terry Nation, who wrote a story where the Daleks waged war against another race called the Thals.

BBC designer Raymond Cusick came up with the iconic design and thus a sci-fi icon was made. The Daleks originally angered Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman, who wanted the show to be semi-educational and didn’t want any bug eyed monsters.

However, the Daleks were so popular that the historical aspect of the show moved into the background and the sci fi alien aspects took the foreground, with the Daleks appearing in over 20 stories since and making cameo appearances in many other stories.

Over 50 years, the Daleks were given a cohesive back-story within the show. So, for those who are tired of background exposition, here’s the origins of Daleks in pictures (if you already know and want to get to the point of the article, just skip the pictures) –

Davros, a scientist, creates machines to help his race the Kaleds win a war against the Thals. By doing so he removes all emotion from the Kaled soldiers and turns them into weapons the Daleks.

They destroy the Thals but unfortunately for him betray him and supposedly kill him* leaving them to go rogue and try to destroy the galaxy. *All of this text plus the Davros text is revealed in Genesis of the Daleks, one of the best Classic Series stories. Even though you know what happens now, it’s still essential Who viewing.

Lego Daleks by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lostcarpark/4976206209">James Shields</a> via Flickr.

Lego Daleks by James Shields via Flickr.

After scattered groups of surviving Daleks brawl Doctors 9 & 10, they trick the Eleventh Doctor into giving them the DNA code needed for the reconstruction of their race*, creating a new Dalek Parliament as seen in Asylum of the Daleks.

*As seen in Victory of the Daleks, aka the Skittles episode.

Why are the Daleks so popular?

And that’s where we’re at in terms of the shows continuity. I could just end this post now and re-name this Dalek 101, but I want to be different and analyse why the Daleks are so popular.

The first reason is probably their appearance. By now the Daleks are so iconic and so well-known you can see a Dalek silhouette and know exactly what it is. There’s just something about the design that is so simple yet so ominous and menacing. What’s my favourite Dalek design? Well, to be honest, it is the gold-plated New Series Daleks. Unoriginal I know, but the truth.

The Daleks - image by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/54459164@N00/5669445634">Johnson Cameraface</a> via Flickr.

The Daleks – image by Johnson Cameraface via Flickr.

The second reason is the fact that they appeal to everyone. When I was younger (David Tennant era), I remember loving the Daleks and now, 8 years on, I still like them. Adults can appreciate the idea of a man (or alien) being turned into a machine and respect the darker parts of the Dalek mythos. There’s a reason Doctor Who Series 1 has a 12 rating well, apart from the Unquiet Dead and The Empty Child, it also has Dalek, a dark and gritty take on the Doctor and Dalek relationship.

Dalek Civil War by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/54459164@N00/5195880804">Johnson Cameraface </a> via Flickr.

Dalek Civil War by Johnson Cameraface via Flickr.

But the most logical explanation as to why the Daleks are so popular, or at least the reason I think they’re so popular, is because they represent real life. Back in 1963 the people of Britain were still recovering from the war. The images of Nazis and war-torn places were still in people’s minds.

The Daleks were used to show the Nazis and people like them, and how evil they were. Both Hitler and Davros hated anything that isn’t them. I can’t be sure, but I think this is what the writers had in mind when they made the Daleks, as a metaphor for evil.

boomSo those are three reasons why I think the Daleks were, and still are, one of the most iconic sci-fi monsters of all time. Get ready with your anti Dalek spray tomorrow at 7: 30!

Where are we going?

Into darkness… 

My Doctor Who Series 8 anticipation

Ladies and gentlemen, it is 10 days until Series 8 airs, and all around the world Whovians are counting the days until Capaldi’s Doctor brings his own take to the Doctor. But how much do we know about the series? Well, unlike last year where returning monsters and plots were revealed months in advance, this series has done a great job of keeping everything from storylines to monsters to episode titles away from the public. So what DO we know? We know it’s going to be darker, more character driven and more intense and scary. But as for episodes, well, here’s all the information I have gathered so far about all the episodes.

Doctor-Who-Capaldi-feature-220x220

As I have not read the leaked scripts or seen the Cardiff premier of episode 1, there are no spoilers, just information made by the BBC. But if you want to remain completely spoiler-free, I recommend waiting until the series starts. But for those who want to stay, here’s the official trailer for Episode 1 to start off…

  • Episode 1

Well this one we DO know a lot about, because it’s the first episode. The episode is called Deep Breath (no, I have no idea why it’s called that. Maybe the villain steals people’s lungs or something). Being a regeneration episode, this 75 minute long opener needs to establish the new Doctor’s personality and quirks, which I felt was masterfully handled in the Eleventh Hour. It also needs to establish the story arcs and running themes through the series. Not to mention, it has a T-Rex.

The episode will take place in Victorian London and judging from the trailers has an exploding T-Rex and a Jack the Ripper like character. It looks amazing, and the early reviews from the Cardiff premiere have been positive. 10 days to go!

  • Episode 2

With the rumored title of Into a Dalek, this episode sounds pretty interesting. This episode sounds like the episode where the metallic voice in all the series teasers come from, which makes me think this will have the Doctor question his own personality (which might link in with the “Am I a good man” idea this series seems to be going for) as well as providing awesome Dalek action, as the episode is apparently set in a Dalek-human war. I’m excited for this one, but not as much as…

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  • Episode 3

HOLY COW! This episode sounds great. Why? It’s the Doctor… meets Robin Hood! This episode is set in medieval England with swordplay, archery and robots! Rumoured title: Robots of Sherwood. I have a feeling this will go down like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, in which the episode is just so fun and action-packed that you can’t find any flaws. Did I mention the Doctor meets ROBIN HOOD?

  • Episode 4

While Episode 3 is my most anticipated episode, this episode comes a close second. How awesome of an episode does the rumored title Listen sound? Let’s not forget a truly intriguing plot point: When you talk to yourself, what happens if the person you’re talking to isn’t really you? This sounds fascinating, and coupled with the fact the Doctor will allegedly have a mental breakdown makes me yearning to see this one.

  • Episode 5

Time Heist. Just repeat that. Aliens jumping through time and stealing artifacts. That… is almost unbelievably awesome. While the episode hasn’t got a synopsis, the fact that it has been confirmed as a heist episode and the fact that the rumored title is indeed Time Heist makes me excited to see where this goes. Could the villains capture the Tardis and use it as a weapon? I can’t wait to see this one.

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  • Episode 6

Rumored to be called The Caretaker, this episode will take place in Coach Hill School (the place where the First Doctor’s granddaughter was in the first ever episode) and have a robot (my money’s on the owl robot seen in the trailer). This one will be funny with dramatic moments, and will be similar to the Lodger, which I think is a very underrated episode. This could be good, but let’s find out.

  • Episode 7

What’s this? Kill the Moon? What a weird title. Anyway, this episode has been described as intense, scary, dramatic but most importantly of all packed with ideas. My favourite Doctor Who episode dealt with strong ideas and complex themes, as do my favourite movies. This episode will remind us that the Doctor isn’t a hero every day, which makes me desperate to find out more about this episode.

  • Episode 8

Okay, take out your time machine. This episode will feature a callback to Matt Smith’s first series, with the rumored title being Mummy on the Orient Express (seriously, they should keep these titles). I am anticipating this one, not only because the setting would be visually unique but because it has the Doctor brawling a Mummy (not his mummy, an Egyptian mummy)

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  • Episode 9

Reportedly one of the scariest episodes this series, this story is rumored to be called Flatline and has people going missing, graffiti appearing on the wall and the Tardis shrinking. This episodes monster is apparently so scary the trailer couldn’t put it in.  Okay, prepare to have nightmares. This sounds great, and this could end up being one of the best episodes.

  • Episode 10

Heavily rumored to be the Doctor-lite episode (Blink, Turn Left), this episode features child actors and was the last to be filmed. The episode has a great main visual idea to it and is beautiful and poetic. There have been rumors of a musical episode this series; could this be it? Episode 10’s are great (most of the time) so this one seems interesting.

  • Episode 11/12

A two-parter? Finally! The epic finale has UNIT versus Cybermen, a Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere and has a spectacular cliffhanger to round things off. The Cybermen are some of my favourite villains in Doctor Wh0  and to see them invade Earth will be stunning to behold.

Well, that’s it. 12 episodes, each one sounding unique. I’m glad we’re finally getting a medieval episode and the rest of the episodes seem great. Get your hype counters at the ready!

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Day of the Doctor review- sort of

When I mean sort of, it’s because I need to say something very very awesome about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. To do that, I’ll need to issue a spoiler warning and advise anyone who hasn’t seen the episode to watch it then come back here.

OK? Right, avert your eyes if you haven’t seen the episode…

OK?

OK?

Watch the episode first…

Honestly.

Massive spoiler.

OK, let’s move on.

THOSE EYES!

LOOKTHETWELFTHDOCTORMADEACAMEOTHOSEEYESARESOCOOLIKNOWIT’SONLYFORASECONDBUTTHATISSOCOOl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE TWELFTH DOCTOR APPEARED! WHO EXPECTED THAT!?

But anyway, that aside, how was the rest of the episode?

I’m not going to explain the plot. It’s REALLY complicated. Zygons are invading via paintings, Rose hologram tells the War Doctor about his future lives, David Tennant marries Elizabeth I and there are the MOST…REFERENCES…EVER!

While the plot is complex, it’s easy to get through because of the drama and characters. The issue about Gallifrey is really well addressed and all three Doctors are amazing (even the Tenth Doctor. Normally he’s broody and soapy, but David Tennant is allowed to stretch his comedic muscles instead of being sad all the time). Some of the funniest lines in recent Who memory comes because of the three Doctor interactions.  But there are great moments of drama with them and some really clever moments, like a great moment with the sonic screwdriver. And some truly epic moments…

zap

I want that on my wall to frame. That is so cool.

Speaking of the scenes on Gallifrey, they’re very well done. The Daleks make their awesomest appearance since well, Dalek, and this is the best story since Dalek with them in (I know, it’s sad that it took 8 years to get a good Dalek story). I also like the way they weren’t in the episode that much, yet when they do appear, it’s amazing. Now the fleet is destroyed, the Daleks should get a year off… oh. They’re in the Christmas special. WHY?!

The other villains, the Zygons, were also great. The way they were defeated was ingenious and their introduction was hilarious and creepy. Their plan is very good and if it was the whole episode, it would have been great anyway. But for the screen time they had, it was fantastic.

There were two brilliant cameos. The first one was the Twelfth Doctor, and the second was the Fourth Doctor. Or was he? When he appeared, I just thought that he was a random person. But, the dialogue indicated that he WAS the Doctor. There’s been speculation, but I just think it’s a future Doctor revisiting his past self.

In short, it was awesome. Because this is technically linked with Name of the Doctor, I’m allowed to put this two-part story as the fifth best story ever. Let’s look back on my list…

1. The God Complex

2.Planet of the Spiders

3.The Deadly Assasin

4.Kinda

5. Name/Day of the Doctor

6. Vincent and the Doctor/Human Nature & the Family of Blood

7. The Curse of Fenric

8. Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon

9. Image of the Fendhal

10. A Christmas Carol (You can tell I love the Eleventh Doctor)

So, 50 years of Who sorted. Now let’s wait for Christmas and see… those eyes… The Twelfth Doctor is going to be amazing.

Those stupid tow trucks- A Doctor Who review

You may remember my my Series 1 Doctor Who review post where I said one episode ruined a great series. That episode was Parting of the Blargh (sorry, I can’t say its real name), so today I’m going to look more in depth as to why this is my least favourite finale EVER!

(Just a little note, this is a single episode. Part 1 of this story, Bad Wolf, is very good. This episode just ruins it though.)

OK, so the immediate opening and the first few minutes are actually pretty cool. The Daleks have Rose and the Doctor and Jack are going to rescue her. But then, the Emperor Dalek shows up…

So the biggest flaw with this whole episode is the ‘plot’. There are so many things which don’t make sense. If the Emperor’s ship fell through a wormhole with only a few Daleks, how can they build an entire fleet, get Dalek casings for the kidnapped humans AND fully equip the ships with weapons?

Also, it’s revealed in Bad Wolf that the Doctor defeating the Jagrafess in the Long Game caused humanity to be set back, allowing the Daleks to invade. But, if the Jagrafess was defeated, then surely the humans would re-establish themselves? Was it the Dalek’s plan to let the Jagrafess be defeated so they could set up the Game Station? So if so, WHY HAVE THE JAGRAFESS PLAN IN THE FIRST PLACE?! I find it hilarious how one episode can make two others worse than they should be!

AND, if it couldn’t GET ANY STUPIDER, it does. The Emperor’s big speech about the evil plan takes about three minutes and it’s just the Emperor talking. This is a weakness which many critics call ‘show, don’t tell’, where exposition should be revealed in an interesting way, like the opening of Thor or Up (the latter didn’t even have any talking). If the Emperor was talking with images of the Time War playing, it would have made the scene cooler.

So the rest of the episode is just the Doctor and the people on the station fighting with machine guns.

R..E…A…L…L…Y??

dalek 787877878787

In the previous Dalek story, Dalek, and the classic series, Daleks were bulletproof. The Doctor knows this. WHY DOES HE GIVE PEOPLE NORMAL GUNS TO FIGHT BULLETPROOF CREATURES?!

There’s also some moments where the moral choices presented in Dalek show up, forcing the Doctor to decide if he should destroy mankind to kill the Daleks, but since so much screen time is spent with Rose on Earth, these themes about sacrifice, which were presented spectacularly in Dalek, are non-existent.

Oh yeah, I missed all the stupid stuff with Rose on Earth. After a scene in the TARDIS (which, I will admit, was lovely), we then have a scene with Rose EATING CHIPS! WHERE’S THE DRAMA?! WHERE’S THE THEMES OF SACRIFICE? WHERE’S THE AWESOME DALEK ACTION?!

But easily the worst part of the whole episode is when Jackie actually gets a tow truck to pull the heart of the TARDIS open.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT??????????????????????????????

The shots of the tow truck are after shots of Daleks killing people on the station. Talk about tonal changes! The truck scenes are so stupid, I can’t say anything about it. Apart from the question- WHERE’S THE FINALE?!

This can’t be the epic conclusion to an amazing series! Instead of deep emotions, themes and amazing action, we’re seeing people eating chips, tow trucks pulling open the TARDIS and so many inconsistencies they could fill a road with holes!

But Rose does get back to the station where the Daleks are about to kill the Doctor. Now, this could have been a fantastic moment for a deep, emotional moment where the Doctor is about to die and those themes about sacrifice and revenge shown in Dalek could pay off. But instead…

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT?!

If the episode wanted to focus on the Doctor and the Time War, then that should have been the focus. If it wanted to focus on Rose and her loyalty to the Doctor, then THAT should have been the focus. You can’t just put two ideas with great potential and cobble them together! If it had focused on either of the two elements in the story, got rid of the inconsistencies and stupid moments, then this episode could have been a masterpiece of television. But we’re left with a mash of ideas and themes filled in with ridiculous and stupid scenes.

This ending also has another huge problem: it’s a huge deus ex machina. This is a term critics use when a writer just sorts out a problem with a single scene or an incredibly easy solution. All the great themes are just destroyed by this one scene which comes out of nowhere JUST to round out the series plot threads. That’s more lazy than lazy!

So then, in case the story wasn’t trying to tug at our heartstrings enough, the Doctor regenerates. This also comes out of nowhere. If he had regenerated as a result of trying to kill the Daleks, that would have worked and could have made me cry. But since the rest of the episode (except that nice hologram scene, once again ruined by that stupid deus ex machina) was such a huge mess in terms of storytelling and character structure, then that means the regeneration is just pointless.

Oh Doctor Nine, you were awesome (and you’re going to be the villain in Thor 2). You just had to go in an episode worthy of your awesomeness.

My Doctor Who Series 8 Wishlist

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You may be aware that Doctor Who Series 8 is probably going to be shown in August next year, with a new Doctor. So, in preparation, I’m going to do a Top 5 Wishlist for Series 8.

5. Longer episodes

horrible story with a horrible ending

Let’s go back and watch Hide, one of the popular Series 7 episodes with Matt Smith. Please pay attention to the ending. THERE ISN’T ONE!!!!! The ending was basically, “Oh, the monster’s in love”. End credits. If the episode had been an hour long, an extra 15 minutes could have been added to improve the ending and tie up the loose ends. The episode would have been much more impressive.

akhaten

Also, let’s look back at the Rings of Akhaten episode. While I love almost everything about it, from the alien planet to the awesome speech at the end, I have to admit it had small quibbles. The Mummy and the Vigil had about five minutes of screen time only, and they were actually the most hyped-up villains of  the episode.  Also, when the planet exploded, the episode then cut straight to the TARDIS. I was wondering what had happened to the people singing in the stadium? An extra 15 minutes could have explained a bit more thoroughly. So, for Series 8, hour-long episodes would be much appreciated.

4. LEAVE EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!

other akhaten picture

OK, Series 7 has given us many alien planets, but we need MORE! In the first four seasons, hardly any episodes were on alien planets. The Rings of Akhaten was the best alien planet episode in a long time because there was no threat to Earth. It was just the Doctor arriving on a planet and encountering a threat that needed to be sorted there. We need more episodes on alien planets to show that the Doctor’s universe is actually huge, expansive and marvellous.

3. New writers

ikThe writer for one of my all time favourite episodes, Vincent & the Doctor, was a one-off writer who hasn’t written an episode since. (He also wrote Blackadder, how about that?) Not only do I want him to return to write another brilliant episode, but I also would like new writers to write and show off their talents. I want my personal favourite writers to write episodes, which means the new episodes WILL guarantee to be absolutely amazing!

2. Two parters

awesome scarecrow

What happened to two parters? Seriously, what? Another favourite of mine, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, worked successfully because it was a two parter. Part one set up the scene carefully, while part two was more focused on the main emotional aspect of the story (but I DIDN’T cry!) More of my favourites, Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords and The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, also followed a similar formula. The series 3-5 format of the two parters needs to be brought back so stories could breathe a bit more, and overall enhance the plot.

1. Daleks

dalek 2

When I mean Daleks, I mean no Daleks. Not that I don’t like them, but they’ve been WAYYYYYYYYY too overused. In Series 2, four Daleks were able to defeat hundreds of Cybermen. How is that fair? There have been seven Dalek stories since 2005, however, none of them were any good, except Asylum of the Daleks and Dalek. If we give the Daleks a well deserved break, it will allow the Cybermen, who’ve only had four stories to themselves so far, to have a finale to themselves and step into the spotlight for a few years and be the 12th Doctor’s biggest threat.

cyberman

(Oh, and no using those irritating parallel Earth Cybermen. The original Cybermen from the classic series are the TRUE Cybermen!)

I hope  the BBC will read this and improve the next series. Doctor Who has been my favourite TV program, and I really would like to see excellent stories every week.