OK, heads up. Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 8:00 last night, you’ll know that some MAJOR stuff happens in Fugitive of the Judoon. It’s impossible to discuss the episode without discussing the two major twists and as a result I will be spoiling EVERYTHING. So watch the episode then come back. Seriously.
So… the past seven days have been a bit of a mess when this fandom is concerned as Orphan 55 pretty much became the most toxic thing the show has done since… well, since at least Hell Bent. It got so ridiculous people were actually using The Twin Dilemma as an example as to why Chibnall’s Who is the worst thing ever but have those people actually seen The Twin Dilemma? Because I have, and let me tell you Orphan 55 is not as bad as that. So to say that Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror had some big shoes to fill with regards to uniting the fandom and making discussing the show a joy rather than a chore is a bit of an understatement.You can, in a way, compare this to Mummy on the Orient Express, which similarly followed a divisive episode. Well, I’m safe to say that Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror, which for the sake of sanity I’ll refer to as “the episode” from now on, is a fun, exciting and great episode that HAS united the fandom again. It seems Orphan 55 is a fluke, because Series 12 is on the up.
I may be in the minority when it came to last season in that I really enjoyed it despite its flaws, but wow.
If Spyfall is any indication, Series 12 will blow Series 11 out of the water. Sure, I don’t think anything will top It Takes You Away as my favourite Thirteen story but this two hour epic wasted no time in establishing a return to the show we know and love. Not since Matt Smith left have I been this excited and invested in where the series is heading. I LOVED this story, even with the silly title. Where do we even begin?
As you probably all know, last night Doctor Who returned. Whilst I absolutely do have thoughts on Spyfall (still, even after broadcast, a stupid name) as it’s a two parter I’ll be reviewing the story as a whole sometime next week. But for now, a really, really, insane theory/speculation for the series arc. Why am I doing this after only one episode? Because I need to vent my theory somewhere, I’ve spent the past week working on university essays and I need a brief moment to just go crazy with this random idea. But in order to do this I’m going to need to completely spoil Spyfall Part 1 so SPOILER ALERT AND DO NOT CLICK OR SCROLL DOWN PAST THE IMAGE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE YET…
A new series of Doctor Who is on the corner but rather than speculate about things we don’t know to be true let’s do something a bit different. Throughout its long, illustrious history the show has had a brilliant array of guest stars, and Series 12 is seeing a number of high profile actors join the Who guest star pantheon. So let’s take a look at some of the best guest performances from the shows past. Most of these will be from the revival because the original run didn’t focus as much on guest stars and actors from outside the Who sphere but when they did, they were great, as you’ll see. Also, just because I like the actor doesn’t mean I like the story, so not every story here is one I love- I just love the performance. There are also lots of great actors such as Nick Frost who were wasted with scripts that gave them nothing to do or actors like Ian McKellen who are great… at voicing a snowglobe. So not every guest actor I like is here. With that said, let’s not waste anymore time and dive straight in-
Whilst there’s no series of Doctor Who this year, Chris Chibnall and his team are busy working on a fantastic somophore season for Jodie Whittaker and the Thirteenth Doctor for 2020. Whilst her first season wasn’t perfect (I’m looking at you Tsuranga Conundrum) it was a great series overall and the viewing figures have spoken- Doctor Who is a household name again and is dominating the pop culture discussion once again. It is a great time to be a Doctor Who fan, as for the first time in years the average person on the street might know what you’re talking about and the quality of stories have reflected the level of attention the series is now getting (not you Pting). Chibnall’s all-new writing team were great and actually better than the man himself- I wouldn’t mind any of them returning, which leads me to this post. Here are twelve writers I would love to see write for Series 12 and make the next season as good as possible-
Would I really say no to the writer of my favourite Doctor Who story returning? Toby Whithouse is a Who veteran, first contributing the amazing Series 2 story School Reunion which still holds up as the strongest story from that series. His main contributions were to the Eleventh Doctor era, where his vision of the Doctor as a dark, mythical figure cropped up first in the underrated Vampires of Venice and then the magnum opus of the entire show, The God Complex, which masterfully deconstructed then reconstructed who the Doctor is. A Town Called Mercy and the Fisher King two parter are both great too, and whilst Lie of the Land was incredibly… not good I can’t really blame that entirely on him due to the difficult behind the scenes circumstances surrounding that arc. In short, any season without Whithouse is poorer off without him and his idea of the Doctor is one that I support 100%. I would have preferably wanted him as showrunner but if that’s not the case, another story would do just fine. Whithouse is a master of genre storytelling and is one of the finest writers this show has had and Lie of the Land is such a poor way to end a fantastic collection of stories.
In case you missed the heading, this review will contain HUGE spoilers for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special, Resolution. If you haven’t seen the episode yet then watch it before coming back. Trust me- it’s more satisfying.
Do you know why I love Doctor Who? The ideas. Over 55 years this show has always striven to be the most imaginative, daring and bold television show on the planet. Stories that focus entirely on ideas are among my favourites- Tom Baker’s Warrior’s Gate is a wonderful piece of science fiction, Kinda and Enlightenment are my two favourite Peter Davison stories, The God Complex dissects the Doctor’s character by forcing him to battle the very idea of narrative and Ghost Light, the infamously complex and divisive story from the original run’s final season, is one of my all time favourite stories in anything ever. Whilst Series 11 has so far been strong on character and stories, in terms of pure ideas it’s been a bit behind. Until tonight. It Takes You Away (I assume the title refers to how the episode blows your mind) is not only the best episode of the series by a long shot (and remember, I consider both Rosa and Demons of the Punjab to be masterpieces and like everything else barring Tsuranga Conundrum) but one of the most original, bonkers, crazy, delightful, imaginative, complex and heartfelt stories the show has done in a looooong time, perhaps ever. Ed Hime, take a bow.
Whoops, I missed a week. Events such as college, college and college prevented me from writing a Kerblam! review but in short: loved it, most fun episode since The Crimson Horror, bring Twirly back as a companion, Pete McTighe needs to write more episodes and it should have been episode 5. Now onto this week’s episode, The Witchfinders, which I’ve been anticipating for a while. I love historical episodes and the witch trials are a fascinating period of English history. With a female Doctor this premise promised great things and the episode even secured probably the biggest guest star since John Hurt with Alan Cumming (known to nerds like me as Nightcrawler from X-Men 2) as King James I & VI (it’s complicated). Fortunately this episode lived up to the hype by being a return to traditional Who- monsters, history and horror combining in a gloriously entertaining episode with one amazing guest role. Chris Chibnall may be an excellent showrunner, but he should really leave the majority of the writing to guest writers. Joy Wilkinson gets Who.
Question- what did we do to deserve this series? Seriously, we were lucky to have one era-defining historical story but to have two? The conspiracy theorist thinks Chibnall made last week deliberately “meh” in order to make us savour something with substance, and something with substance we got. Demons of the Punjab is a wonderful episode that encapsulates everything brilliant about this show and deals with a difficult subject matter with skill and precision. I dare say it’s even better than Rosa, but I’ll need to rewatch it. Rather than stick an alien invasion plot in the middle of a controversial period of history, Vinay Patel takes a complex, multi layered look at war, remembrance and religion.