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Doctor Who Series 10: Thin Ice Review

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With it being slightly frosty this week, yesterday’s episode was very appropriate for the weather. Regardless of weather, this episode still continues the trend of fantastic stories from Series 10. I’m serious, if these early episodes are supposed to be the “weaker” ones, then I just can’t wait for the upcoming ones.

One of the best things about this episode is how it’s completely different from last week. We’ve gone from a sci-fi mystery with robots and lasers to a Regency-era costume drama with a big fish/snake thing. It’s this kind of juxtaposition that I love from Doctor Who, and this is probably the biggest contrast for consecutive episodes since Rings of Akhaten/Cold War.

The character work was superb this week, as both regulars got huge amounts of development. Sarah Dollard really knows how to write the Twelfth Doctor and he gets one of his best outings in a while, with his characteristic snarking, humour and cynicism mixed with humanity and warmth. The highlights are when he punched Sutcliffe for his treatment of Bill (I’ve seen people complain about this, but trust me, the Doctor is NOT a pacifist. Just watch any Jon Pertwee or Colin Baker story) and his speech about human progress.

Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age, that’s… what defines a species.

There’s also the continued development of Bill, and this episode once again shows what Moffat and co should have done with Clara in Series 7- show that travelling with the Doctor was not always fun. In this story, she sees a child die (pretty dark considering Doctor Who is a family show) and is understandably upset about it. There were hints of this in Cold War when Skaldak was killing the redshirts, but Clara never had a moment to reflect on what she saw. By having Bill realise the darker side of the Doctor and respond in a realistic way, it makes her more human and relatable. There are plenty of fantastic scenes between them and all three episodes so far have essentially been just her and the Doctor learning about each other. I feel like beginning from Knock Knock, the stories will get larger and more plot based.

I really liked the villain, Lord Sutcliffe, and he was basically exactly what I wanted after two weeks with no villains. I said I liked him when it’s really more “love to hate”, as in he’s so evil and careless that I just couldn’t help but like him and hate him at the same time. He’s essentially a villain from the Jon Pertwee era and as a massive fan of that era, I appreciated the return the stingy, metaphorically moustache twirling, condescending, obnoxious figure of high power that just irritates the Doctor and the audience. He’s so evil that his death is immensely satisfying. It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent human villain on Doctor Who, and Sutcliffe is probably the best since Solomon from Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. I’d have liked to see more of him though and have his plan expanded.

I’d love to see this guy spar with Edmund Blackadder, considering he was also in Regency London. I’d call the episode Fish and Finality. I reckon Sutcliffe would not be able to stand a chance against Blackadder.

There’s so much more to love about this story. One of the best aspects was how it handled the racism of 1814 and taught the children watching that it is never appropriate to be racist, regardless of what time period someone’s from (just because nearly everyone in 1814 was racist doesn’t excuse it). Whilst I love the Shakespeare Code, it didn’t really deal with the obvious issues that Martha would be dealing with in the 16th century. Thin Ice deals with the issue of Bill facing racism in the past a lot better, even if it was just by the Doctor knocking Sutcliffe unconscious in anger. Part of Doctor Who’s original goal was to educate the kids, and this was a good way to do it. Throwing in a real historical event and giving it a Doctor Who twist also makes the historical aspect of the show stand out more than just stories which happen to be in the past (what did the Vikings and Stuart settings add to the Ashildr stories last season?)

Another interesting element was the lack of aliens (again). It’s never really confirmed whether the sea serpent is from Earth or not and I like it that way. Whilst it is yet another misunderstood creature, the presence of Sutcliffe means there was an actual villain, although I really want the monsters this week to be the “we will kill you all” kind. Comparisons to The Beast Below are obvious as well as the Torchwood episode Meat (I’ve only recently gotten into Torchwood and I’ve been watching the good ones with my dad). There were also elements of Kill the Moon (companion makes a choice that revolves around a moral dilemma) but it’s handled better here because there weren’t any one sided dilemmas and no giant flying moon babies.

Ice to meet you (I know, I know, puns are terrible. Eye won’t make any more)

Overall, we have yet another strong episode. I feel like I’m in the minority when I say Smile is my favourite of this opening trilogy (its sci-fi aspects, clever twists and great dialogue sell it for me) but Thin Ice comes a very close second. As one of my most anticipated episodes pre broadcast it didn’t disappoint. There wasn’t much about the story arc, but we got a hint towards what’s in the vault (my Master theory is getting stronger) and it appears that Nardole will become a regular from next week.

Speaking of next week, we have a mysterious landlord, a haunted house, tree dudes and things in the wall. It feels like Ghost Light and the SJA story The Eternity Trap combined. Before that though, I’ll be reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.

Smile review: All is forgiven Frank

Well, another week, another Doctor Who. After the fast paced frenzy of last week and the introduction of a great new companion, this week took a much slower pace with an episode that evoked Classic Who, in particular The Ark in Space and The Happiness Patrol.

As I said in my Series 10 hype post, this was the episode I was the most worried about, considering Frank Cottrell Boyce’s only other Doctor Who script was In the Forest of the Night. Fortunately, Smile was a lot better, and I enjoyed it even more than The Pilot.

A big part of this was because of the Doctor and Bill’s interactions, with Nardole completely disappearing from the episode in the first scene. The episode played out like a Part One of Classic Who, where the characters explore the setting by themselves. This was especially important as we needed to know how this new TARDIS team functioned and how Bill adjusted to life in the TARDIS. Having no real action or supporting characters meant the story could have been dull, but due to the interactions and continued character development I was entertained throughout.

My thoughts on the episode in a nutshell.

I love the structure of this story, with the pieces slowly being unravelled and the plot slowly fitting together to form a very enticing mystery. Each plot point made sense and felt necessary, with every aspect of the story slotting into place by the end. I’ll admit the ending was a bit weak, with the Doctor essentially rebooting the robots with his sonic screwdriver, but the resolution still ultimately left me satisfied due to the great build up.

The emojibots worked well in my opinion. They weren’t particularly scary but I don’t think they were meant to be, especially considering the whole story was just a misunderstanding between the Vardis and the humans. It was quite brave to have a story with no real villain (The Edge of Destruction, Listen and to an extent Gridlock all show how a story with no villain can work, as does Smile) and I appreciated the small scale nature of the story and due to the lack of a real antagonist the emojibots served their purpose well as a physical threat to keep the story from being too boring. This is the second story in a row with no actual villain, so I’m hoping this week we see the return of the evil, slightly hammy doomsday villain, because sometimes that’s good.

This frowny face is hilarious and is basically my reaction to there being yet another election I can’t vote in.

I found the Doctor’s characterisation in this episode spot on. It’s so refreshing to have the Doctor not know what’s going on and he has to solve everything by slowly investigating the situation and putting the pieces together. Something even rarer was the Doctor making a massive mistake and almost blowing up the cryogenic chambers. The Doctor rarely makes mistakes and seeing him make one was very refreshing, especially in comparison to the know-it-all persona that Steven Moffat loves. The balance between the gruff Doctor of Series 8 and the more quirky Doctor in Series 9 has been very well balanced, so it’s once again a shame that this is Peter Capaldi’s final series. I call it Peter Davison syndrome, where a Doctor only really comes into his own in his final series.

The story had a very William Hartnell vibe, from the slow pace to the Doctor miscalculating to the awesome link to Thin Ice at the end. Much like a William Hartnell story, we have a story which is more about the characters and the setting than the alien threat. The supporting characters however weren’t the best, and they only really popped up in the final third. This is where the story dips slightly, as In the Forest of the Night syndrome hits and we get some forced moralising, albeit more subtly. I wish the story developed the misunderstanding more and delved more deeply into the ideas of emotion and grief, which was the instigator of the whole story. The more I think about it, the more Smile is really just a more macarbe Inside Out.

I love the contrast between the clean city and dirty spaceship. This whole set looks like something out of the Tom Baker era.

 

SMILE OR DIE!

However, these are just a few flaws in what is a very enjoyable story. Bill continues to be great (in a few episodes time she may end up being my second favourite New Who companion, if not number one) and if the quality remains this good, we could have the best New Who series, surpassing even Series 4 and 5. Considering Smile had the most potential out of all the episodes to be bad, the fact that it’s good bodes very well for the episodes that looked great from the start.

Such as this week, featuring elephants and a frozen Thames. I cannot wait for this Saturday.

My favourite Sarah Jane Adventures stories

This week sees the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who spin off Class. To celebrate, I thought I would look back on the show that I arguably loved even more than Doctor Who- The Sarah Jane Adventures.

the_sarah_jane_adventures_intro

The beloved companion of the Third and Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane was so popular she returned in the new series in one of my absolute favourite Doctor Who stories ever- School Reunion. Following this, a whole spin off was commissioned, aiming to be a more kid-friendly series than Doctor Who. However, at points Sarah Jane Adventures was more mature than Doctor Who. I cannot explain how awesome it was when this show crossed over with Doctor Who and Torchwood (I had no idea who the characters apart from Jack were but my dad explained) in the Series 4 finale. The show continued until 2011, when Elisabeth Sladen unfortunately passed away. I was 10 years old and I can’t remember exactly how I reacted, but I did miss the show, and watching Sarah Jane’s original Doctor Who stories has solidified her as my favourite companion. It helped that she was in some of my favourite Classic stories- Planet of the Spiders, The Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, Terror of the Zygons, The Brain of Morbius and the Seeds of Doom. I’ve yet to reach the Time Warrior on my Classic Series marathon, but I look forward to it a lot.

So with all that aside, let’s dive into this brilliant show with a look at my favourite stories, in chronological order-

  • Warriors of Kudlak

warriors-of-kudlak

I love the concept of this one a lot- training kids to fight for a galactic war using a Laser Quest style game to lure them in, with the best warriors being kidnapped for the Uvodni war (incidentally, I love the Uvodni-they were mentioned in the Pandorica Opens but I’d love to see them appear in the show properly). Where this one gets really good is the second half with the concept of The Mistress, the battle computer, hiding the peace treaty from Kudlak to continue the war as she thinks peace does not compute. It’s a dark concept for a kid’s show and proves that this is a show for all ages. This story also continues the friendship between Luke and Clyde, my favourite SJA character other than Sarah Jane and I really hope he becomes a companion one day.

  • All three Trickster storiesthe-wedding-of-sarah-jane-smith-27

Cheating yes, but I find all three stories featuring the Trickster, Sarah Jane’s ultimate foe, to be outstanding. The Trickster himself is probably my favourite villain in the whole Whoniverse, and his design is simple yet utterly terrifying. The stories themselves are brilliant. Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? is a great introduction to the character and serves as the Sarah Jane lite story, where the Trickster causes Sarah Jane to fall off a pier when she was young and her friend Andrea being saved and living at 13 Bannerman Road. The Trickster aims to cause the world to be destroyed by a meteorite which Sarah Jane could easily stop, so the Trickster changes history to cause chaos. It’s a great character driven story. Incidentally, the events in the Doctor Who episode Turn Left are linked with this story.

The next Trickster story, The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith, is my favourite of the bunch. It incorporates time travel into the show and addresses themes common in Doctor Who, namely the idea of changing the past with dire consequences. In this case, Sarah Jane is given the opportunity to save her parents from a car accident that happened when she was a baby. Timey-wimey occurs, and once again the Trickster is behind everything and Sarah Jane’s parents are forced to sacrifice themselves to save the world. Hard to believe this is seen as the Doctor Who spin off for kids.

The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith features a guest appearance from David Tennant (!) and is amazing, as is the course for a Trickster story. It starts off comical and light hearted with Sarah Jane preparing to get married, then the Doctor appears as the cliffhanger and things get really, really dark. David Tennant is awesome here, and his confrontation with the Trickster is one of the highlights of the story (with foreshadowing to The End of Time, clever). This is also a great story for Clyde as he gets to zap the Trickster with artron energy. Awesome! Overall, these three stories to me represent the height of the series.

  • Day of the Clown

oddbob-the-clown

One of my favourites when I was younger, this story did creep me out when I was younger, even if I’m not scared of clowns. Some of the imagery is pretty disturbing for a “kids” show, especially the scene in the toilet where Oddbob almost takes Clyde. The clown has great music and commands the screen whenever he’s on screen and while there, is of course, a sci-fi explanation, it doesn’t explain everything and leaves some details to the imagination, which is great. This story introduces Rani, who would become a permanent fixture of the show from this story onwards. Sarah Jane also has some great development here, as she has to confront her fear of clowns to take down Oddbob (she should be glad she wasn’t in Greatest Show in the Galaxy). Overall a pretty simple one, but one of the creepiest.

  • Enemy of the Bane

enemy-of-the-bane

Probably one of my most rewatched stories ever, this one is my favourite season finale of the show, tying together many ideas and characters previously established. Mrs Wormwood from Invasion of the Bane is back, Kaagh from the Last Sontaran is back and most importantly, the Brigadier is back! Oh yeah! Throughout Series 2 themes of family had been addressed, from Rani’s family to Clyde’s dad to Sarah Jane’s dilemma involving her parents, and in this story Luke is forced through the dilemma. He was created as a weapon for the Bane in their initial invasion but turned on them, and in this story Mrs Wormwood, the leader of the Bane and technically Luke’s mother, returns and forces Luke to make a choice. Great stuff, and anything with the Brigadier has my seal of approval.

  • The Eternity Trap

the-eternity-trap

Along with Waters of Mars, this story was one of the few Whoniverse stories to genuinely scare me and still scare me now. A much better version of Hide from Series 7 of Doctor Who, this creepy haunted house story is one I’ll be popping in this Halloween (because if you can’t beat them, join them). A great mystery tale with a fantastic villain, The Eternity Trap combines ghosts, red eyed monsters and science fiction to create one of the most unique stories in the series, with character development taking a backseat to atmosphere and scares. The attic isn’t in this one, neither is Mr Smith or Luke, so the focus is on Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani trying to solve the mystery of Erasmus Darkening. It’s a prototype to Series 4 in a way, and it’s one of my personal favourites.

  • Death of the Doctor

death-of-the-doctor

And I thought the Brigadier and the Tenth Doctor was the pinnacle of Who crossovers with The Sarah Jane Adventures, but no, my favourite Doctor teams up with not only Sarah Jane but Jo Grant, who I’m currently watching in my Classic Series marathon. This story has everything: UNIT, alien vulture undertakers, blue Graske (or Groske) and continuity overload! The scene where the Doctor tells Sarah Jane and Jo to remember their memories of travelling with him to overload the memory weave is one of my favourite scenes ever. Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Drashigs, Axons, Davros, Sea Devils, Krynoids, Morbius, Omega, Daleks, Eldrad, the Wirrn- clips from the Classic Series which make me squee with delight. It made me squee then and, due to my new found passion for Classic Who, will definitely make me squee more. In short, my reaction throughout the story is this-

So those were my favourite Sarah Jane Adventures stories. I’ve mainly gone for ones I have watched the most, as most of these aren’t necessarily the best, but they’re certainly the most enjoyable- to me anyway.

5 wishes for Doctor Who Series 10

Tonight’s episode of Doctor Who, Face the Raven, is going to be a very important one. At the Doctor Who Festival last week the writers and actors all discussed Face the Raven as a game changer. So naturally, I’m hyped. But one thing is certain; by the end of Series 9, Clara will be gone, almost certainly dead. Series 10 will hopefully see the return of a darker Doctor, one who has lost his companion and who is angry at the universe, which should hopefully change the style of storytelling.

I thought about writing this article after the series had finished, but I thought before tonight’s episode will do, given its importance. Any of the wishes I say here could happen by the end of the series. So here goes, 5 wishes I have for Series 10.

  • An interesting and new companion

face the raven

With Clara leaving, the new companion is of course going to appear soon. Now my hopes for a new companion is for someone completely different from the other New Series companions. Part of the reason I love companions like Romana and Jack are that they are so unique from all the others. I hope the new companion is either a male companion who travels independently with the Doctor (a Second Doctor/Jamie dynamic could be established) or an alien companion. Someone from the Earth’s past could be interesting as well. While I haven’t hated any New Series companion, they are all pretty similar in origins and there are several similarities between them. I love Donna because she was a break from the RTD era mould, so the third companion of the Moffat era should be a break from this era’s mould (a feisty girl with a mystery around them).

Clara’s departure should not impact the new companion either. Part of the problem I have with Series 3 is that the Tenth Doctor just wouldn’t shut up about losing Rose, meaning Martha’s introduction was like “new companion, yeah, but the old one is better”. This is partly why I find the Series 4 dynamic of The Doctor/Donna much more satisfying. I understand that Clara’s departure will be devastating for the Doctor (and the audience) but he shouldn’t be mourning for a whole series. Clara’s introduction worked because the Doctor got over Amy and Rory’s departure and accepted Clara, so the audience automatically did. The companion is the surrogate for the audience, so it is important the Doctor treats them with respect. Yes, Series 10 has to have an angry and upset Doctor, but the new companion needs to be treated as their own character, not just as a replacement for Clara.

  • Bring back more old monsters and have better new ones

zygon

Series 10 needs to be braver when it comes to reviving older monsters. This year, the Zygons returned with a bang after only two appearances (one of which wasn’t focused on them) and Davros returned after seven years. This was much more refreshing than just the Daleks, Cybermen or the Master, although two out of three of them have already appeared. I love the Daleks and the Cybermen, but they need a break to make their appearances have more impact. The show needs to revive older monsters, preferably ones who haven’t appeared for a while.

The Zygons have already been successfully revived, so I think it is time for the Rutans, the Mara, the Ice Warriors or the Autons to have a revival. The Rutans and Mara haven’t appeared in the New Series yet, and they have plenty of potential, while the Ice Warriors and Autons are monsters who have appeared but can be used better than how they were. Cold War was a very rushed re-introduction to the Ice Warriors who deserve a two parter (as I write I’m listening to a Sixth Doctor audio featuring them), and the Autons haven’t been used since 2010, when they are a fascinating threat. On that note, why didn’t Closing Time use them? It’s set in a shop! Even the Sontarans haven’t had a story focused on them since 2008.

More monsters I would like to see include the Terileptils, Sil, the Mandragora Helix, the Fendahl and Omega. If the Macra can re- appear, then I see no reason why he can’t.

omega

Omega versus the Third and Second Doctor. I still have a long way to wait for this story in my viewing marathon but I can’t wait to watch it.

However, Series 10 needs cool new threats as well. In the whole Capaldi era, only the Teller, the Foretold and the Boneless have had a huge impact from Series 8, while Series 9 has lacked an awesome new alien. The ghosts were great, but the Fisher King should have been better than he was, and the other new monsters have barely made an impact. Christopher Eccleston had the Slitheen and the Empty Child, David Tennant had the Ood, Weeping Angels, Judoon and Vashta Nerada, while Matt Smith had the Silence. Capaldi’s era needs a truly iconic and terrifying threat. Series 9 could potentially have the weakest rogues gallery of the revival after Series 7, which barely had villains at all.

  • More focus on story

I have loved the new focus on character and emotion recently, and the idea to make nearly every story a two parter is great. However, often the story gets lost in the muddle. The plot, villains and action of a story is just as important as the character and emotion in my eyes. Stories like Kill the Moon have suffered because it forgot the plot and became a talky episode about killing a moon baby (facepalm) and while the Woman Who Lived was significantly better, the plot still got sidelined to the point where the villain literally exploded for no reason.

Episodes like The Waters of Mars, Mummy on the Orient Express, Vincent and the Doctor and The Satan Pit are all great examples of a story has an equal balance of character drama and emotion and also having a great story and threat. Yes, the Krafygis wasn’t needed in Vincent and the Doctor, but it still functioned in the plot and didn’t feel sidelined, to me at least.

Other examples include The Waters of Mars, which is both a great base under siege story and a powerful character drama while Human Nature is a basic plot made into a story full of strong themes and ideas, with the threat still intact and the story in place.

 

underthelake

Under the Lake is another great example from recent memory with an equal balance of story and character.

In short, the story telling needs to be written alongside the character work, not written separatly and bunched together.

  • The Doctor needs to have a consistent costume
doctor-who-12-doctor-who-series-8-6-reasons-why-it-ll-rule

This awesome promo picture is on my wall and is how I want the Twelfth Doctor to look.

A bit minor, but still an issue I want to address. When Capaldi was introduced, he had that awesome buttoned jacket and plain white shirt. Simple, but effective. So why does it keep changing? I don’t mind costume changes, as Pertwee changed costume all the time, but all his costumes were regal and posh. Capaldi has worn hoodies, boring jumpers and loose white shirts. It doesn’t really scream “Lord of Time” when the main character has a polka dot shirt, hoodie or baggy trousers. Yes, I know Troughton wore baggy trousers but that was in character with his Doctor. Capaldi is a harsh and uncompromising Doctor, so it really doesn’t suit him.

Imagine being a Dalek and confronting the Doctor when he is dressed like this. Not very intimidating, is it?

Thankfully, tonight’s episode has got the Doctor wearing a gorgeous purple velvet coat, similar to his original one.

purple coat

This evokes class and is reminiscent of Pertwee. I love it.

This screams “Lord of Time” and I think he should coordinate between this one and his original coat. It’s a minor point, but I fail to see why the Twelfth Doctor has so many stories where he looks so un-Doctorly. Why is he wearing a baggy white shirt with a pink one underneath when confronting Davros, his archenemy? Into the Dalek, Flatline, Death in Heaven and now Face the Raven have had Twelve at his most regal and impressive, like he should be. Although the First Doctor esque costume in Mummy on the Orient Express was great.

  • Alien worlds

I can’t stress this enough, but I am really tired of Earth in Doctor Who. I understand the budget may not be able to accommodate an alien world every week, but if the Classic Series can have unique worlds and planets every series, then I fail to see why the New Series can’t.

krop tor

Krop Tor from the Impossible Planet is one of my favourite alien worlds in the show.

Capaldi has had two stories fully set on alien planets (Time Heist and The Witch’s Familiar) while Tennant and Smith has had plenty of interesting ones. The Doctor Who universe is so huge and vast, so quite why Earth is always visited baffles me. I won’t even mind a space station or a space ship, but Earth is really getting dull as a story location, especially London. If Earth stories are going to be the norm, then they should be set somewhere like Japan, Australia (the only story ever set there is the Enemy of the World) or Chandler’s Ford to shake things up a bit (OK, maybe not that last place). I understand location filming is expensive, but locations can be mocked up, and for the benefit of an interesting story I want a more diverse set of locations next year away from Earth.

Sydney opera house

I think I speak for all Australian Whovians when I say that a story set there would be awesome, and I’m not even Australian.

So those are my five wishes for Series 10. There are still three weeks to go of Series 9 so some of this may become outdated but I think now is a good time to say what I would like from the show next series.

Oh, and a theme tune change. I want awesome time travelling, not strangled cats. The variation from Before the Flood is what Capaldi’s Doctor needs every week-

Until then, it’s time to Face the Raven…

Comedy: The sequel

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?

Top 5 favourite Doctors

I know normally this is the time for the Doctor Who episode review, but I still need time to think the latest episode over. Still, I thought it was really, really, really, really good, but the reason why the review is not here is because I need time to analyse it. Yes, that’s right, analysis! It’s THAT good.

So, it gives me an opportunity to do a post I’ve always wanted to do. So, with 13 Doctors, which ones are my favourites? If you know me you should know my favourite, but there are other Doctors who are equally as awesome. Let’s start off with the adventurer…

The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant

“Allons-y!”

 

Yes, it’s everyone’s favourite Doctor kicking off the list. One of the many reasons I like the Tenth is that he can go through so much without saying a word. The image above is from The Family of Blood, and without words you can see that he is angry. But he’s also fun loving (especially in Series 2) and caring, willing to give even people like Davros and the Master a chance to redeem themselves.

Despite losing so many people, with Rose permanently trapped in a parallel dimension, Martha leaving to look after her family and Donna having her memory wiped, the Doctor still remained optimistic and adventurous, throwing himself into adventures always with a cheeky grin on his face and mumbling science mumbo-jumbo in rapid succession. My favourite stories from his era include Silence in The Library/Forest of the Dead, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Waters of Mars, School Reunion and The Fires of Pompeii.

And now, it’s time for the time travelling eccentric…

The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker

“Would you like a jelly baby?”

would you like a jelly baby

 

Before Tennant, Baker was arguably the most iconic Doctor (Well, why else would he be the only Classic Doctor Who actor to appear in the 50th?). His obvious alien nature, his quirky dress sense and his ability to change emotions in the space of a sentence truly makes the Fourth Doctor one of my favourites. He’s just impossible to dislike, as he would bounce up and down like a child and save the day before the villains even knew what had happened. This Doctor was always an outsider, as even when he was on Gallifrey he would stand out.

He too was subject to moments of darkness, but his bursts of rage contrasts his bubbly outer persona so well it never seems out of place. He was equally delighted in being held at gunpoint as he was sitting in the Tardis playing chess with K9. I’m currently having a marathon through his era with my Dad, so I’ve seen nearly all of his stories, with my favourites being Genesis of the Daleks, The Seeds of Doom, The Deadly Assasin, Image of the Fendhal and City of Death.

And now, it’s time to move onto the James Bond of Doctors…

The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee

“Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow”

you sir are a nitwit

 

Stuck on Earth for the majority of his era, the Third Doctor was unlike any other incarnation, driving around in his car Bessie with a cloak billowing behind his back, ready to use Venusian Aikido on anyone standing in his way. Arguably the most violent incarnation (though the War Doctor might have topped that position), this Doctor was also armed with UNIT, a lab and a mouthful of sarcastic quips.

More like an Earth scientist than a Time Lord, his attitude is one of annoyance at being stuck on Earth, though as he gains re-control of the Tardis he loosens up and begins to accept Earth as a home. In fact, I like to believe the Doctor’s current love of Earth steams from his time working for UNIT. Oh, and the Third Doctor can’t be mentioned without mentioning the Master, whose rivalry with each other remains unmatched in Who history. My favourite Third Doctor stories include the Curse of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders, The Sea Devils, Terror of the Autons and The Green Death.

And now, make way for the mysterious manipulator of Time…

The Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy

“Unlimited rice pudding, etc, etc?”

 

 

I’ll admit, the Seventh Doctor is probably the first Doctor I remember seeing (Remembrance of the Daleks I think I saw). Even though my love for this Doctor stems from his final season, I understand that many people dislike the Seventh due to his first season. However, he is one of my favourites simply because he seems so Doctorly. He treats every mistake as a lesson, and rather than using violence uses words and cunning manipulation to trick people. When he walks into a room, he already has everything planned out, and uses his vulnerability to fool his opponents.

People describe this Doctor as the chess master Doctor, which is a perfect description. He plans all his moves and will convert any uncontrollable situation into one which he has total control over. He hated violence (a stark contrast to the Third) and will use any means to achieve his own gain, even manipulating his companion Ace to figure out the mystery behind her, in what was one of the biggest story arcs in the Classic Series. Because the series was cancelled during the Seventh’s era, he didn’t have as many stories as the others on this list, but my favourites are Remembrance of the Daleks, Battlefield, The Curse of Fenric, Ghost Light and Survival, the latter four all consisted of his final season.

And now, my favourite. It’s time for the madman in a box…

The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith

“Geronimo!”

hello i'm the doctor

 

My favourite Doctor is also the era which made me a mad Who fan. Sure, I had seen David Tennant, but it wasn’t until Matt Smith where I truly became MAD about Doctor Who. Without him, I would never had been interested in Classic Who as much as I am now. Everything about the Eleventh Doctor seems made to suit me; his off beat manner, his optimism, his humorous comments, his manner of moving and speaking all come together into a Doctor which is just perfect to me. His personality truly changed during his run.

He started off as a madman who would hide his brilliance underneath a playful image, but during Series 6 and with the loss of Amy and Rory, he became a man tired of playing around and aimed to become a defender of the universe however bad it was. He stopped being a child inside a man’s body and turned into an old man inside a young body, who had seen so much evil yet hid it. His era was truly brilliant, and many of my all time favourite stories are from his era, including Vincent and the Doctor, The Doctor’s Wife, The Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon, The Doctor trilogy and of course, The God Complex.

So, those are my five favourites. What are yours? Coming soon: KILL THE MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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…

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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!

History: The TV Show

Mum and I were in the car yesterday listening to Shakespeare (we were going somewhere, we weren’t just sitting in the car), and she asked “What episode of history is this play based on?” This led me to think of a TV show where every episode is based off an important event in history. So here we go…

Series 1- Box set title- Lots of murder

Episode 1 – 1066 Part 1 Edward the Confessor dies and names Harold his heir (Main titles). The rest of the episode focuses on all three main characters, Harold the Saxon, William the Norman and Harald the Viking, focusing on why each character wants the throne. The episode ends with the Battle of Stamford Bridge and Harold preparing to take on William

Harold dead bayeux tapestry
Episode 2 – 1066 Part 2 The first half of the episode is a huge fight for the English throne, aka The Battle of Hastings. The second half focuses on William building castles and setting up the Domesday Book, before it ends with William II getting shot in the eye and the throne passing over to Henry I. The episode then focuses on Stephen and Matilda, which leads into…

Episode 3 – Matilda 3: Matildas United

Yes, during King Stephen’s reign there were three Matildas- his mother, his wife and his cousin, who is trying to seize the English throne as she has a claim to it. They fight and the country is split in half. Matilda proclaims herself Queen but Stephen gets it back, causing Matilda to leave. Unfortunately, Matilda’s son Henry arrives on the English shore, and he becomes King after Stephen’s death, which leads to…

Episode 4 – Thomas Becket

Henry gets into religious arguments with Becket, his Archbishop of Canterbury, and their friendship falls apart. After Becket seizes control of the Church, Henry gets angry and four knights proceed to kill him. The second half is about Henry’s wife and children betraying him and Richard seizing the throne of England.

Episode 5 – Poor Old John

Richard the Lionheart, King of England, is killed in battle, leaving his brother John in charge and being King of England. With John giving money to barons and making many people angry, a war starts and John is forced to sign the Magna Carta, a document which gives more power and freedom to the people. The reign of absolute power is over…

Phew, history is complicated. Let’s take a short break and wait for Part 2…

What a 13-year-old would like to watch

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So, I’ve casually referenced about how I feel current television is at the moment. Now it’s time for the actual post.

About two years ago I woke up on Saturday mornings to watch TV. I still do that, but I mainly watch Doctor Who DVDs because, quite frankly, nothing good is on telly anymore. And with 4 months until Doctor Who Series 8, and over a year for Sherlock Series 4, I feel that people like me need good quality entertainment.
sherlock-holmes

With the exception of Doctor Who and to some extend Sherlock, most BBC programs are strictly for adults or aren’t my type of program. The heavy dramas, crime programs and all that. But as a 13 year old, I want programs, not necessarily about aliens or monsters, but programs which any person of any age can enjoy.

There are plenty of children channels, like CBBC and Cbeebies. Well, I used to love both but since Cbeebies is for very young children, I started to watch CBBC. Then the good programs stopped and now nothing is on telly.

So, how to make a good television program which appeals to everyone? Well, I have several points-

  1. Have stuff for both kids and adults. This is the kind of entertainment I love. A movie like Toy Story is primarily for kids, but has themes and messages for adults. Making something just for kids makes it seem stupid for everyone else, and having something which is just for adults means children can’t watch or understand it.
  2. Keep it simple. Having too much stuff going on will confuse younger children and maybe even adults. Have a simple story and write characters and ideas around it. For example…
    • The God Complex. The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrives in a strange hotel and have to escape while trying to avoid getting eaten by a minotaur. That’s a very simple idea, but the ideas, characters and themes in the episode make it great for people like me while still being entertaining for small children.
    • Vincent and the Doctor has quite possibly the simplest story that you could have: a monster is running around and the heroes have to stop it. That was enough to entertain me when I first saw it, but only now do I notice the deep emotional core of the story.

tyrannosaurus-rex

OK, that’s enough for Doctor Who. How about movies? In Jurassic Park, a billionaire clones dinosaurs and they break out. Up’s basic story is about an old man flying his house to South America. Star Wars is about people with brightly coloured sticks slashing at each other. All of those movies are entertaining enough, but they each have great characters, amazing themes and subtext, a wonderful script and fantastic dialogue which makes them good for all ages as there is something for everyone.

Lego Starwar

That’s how entertainment should be done. Have something for everyone and not just be for one basic audience, as those are the shows and films which sell. Why is Doctor Who one of the most iconic shows ever? Why were Star Wars and Jurassic Park the highest grossing movies of their time? Because they had things which appeal to everyone of every age. That’s what I want, and is probably what everyone wants, as those are the best kind of entertainment.

 

 

 

A word on game shows

Today I got back from my grandparents’ house where I stayed for a few days. I did lots of exciting things but the highlight was discovering the weird world of game shows.

You see, there was a time where channels like CBBC would show programs which can be enjoyed by younger and older children, such as The Sarah Jane Adventures (which is one of the best spin offs of Doctor Who ever). But ever since the show stopped, CBBC turned into CBeebies and started showing shows purely for the younger children, leaving a mature 13-year-old like me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to resort to game shows. But, to my surprise, they are some of the most entertaining yet silly types of show ever.

So what is a game show? Typically a host (someone who I’ve never heard of) gets 2-4 celebrities (who I haven’t heard of) or 2-4 random people (who of course I won’t know) and have them fight (metaphorically) their way to a cash prize to either a charity or to themselves in either general knowledge questions. So what is so inherently fun about them?

Well, it’s partly because I know a lot of the answers. Sports, music and most of science I have no idea but geography, history and film, yeah, I know quite a bit. I also learned a few things about general knowledge from them.

Which leads me to my second point: it’s so fun when you know something and the person being questioned doesn’t know it. Then you can laugh when they get kicked off the show for getting an answer wrong. I know I shouldn’t but it’s hilarious.

I counted 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game.

I counted 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game.

But there’s one thing which intrigued me was what happened in Golden Balls TV Show. The aim of the game is to get people out and then work with your partner to get money hidden in balls. But here’s the thing… the audience keeps on clapping. I mean it. Every time a number higher than £950 was mentioned, their was a huge round of applause. I counted around 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game. Seriously, it’s like in Blackadder III when Blackadder annoyed those two actors by saying Macbeth and they had to do a dance every time! Every time a high number was mentioned – clap clap clap clap clap!

What about you? Do you enjoy game shows?