Doctor Who has been very frustrating lately for well, lots of folks. We miss having solid story, more substance and less pizzazz (or lots of pizzazz as long as the substance is there too) and characters we can relate to. The days when companions were our guide into this world and not just ciphers who’s existence revolves around the Doctor. I’m down with total full out silliness, I just need structure, characters, something solid to guide us through the weird.
[**note: Noelle Stevenson @gingerhazing occasionally tweets brilliant criticisms of Doctor Who that are so spot on it hurts. She’s great. Follow her.]
I loved this show, I want to keep loving this show. After watching the first two episodes of season 8, I actually quite like Capaldi, and I’m finding myself more interested in Clara now that she’s playing off him, and Danny Pink and even Journey Blue. Continue reading
If you’ve come looking for a review full of effusive praise for the episode, I’m sorry, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not here to tear it down either. There were a lot of things in Day of the Doctor that worked for me, some that didn’t, and some ideas that may take a second viewing to sink in. I’m going to attempt to breakdown my personal experience of the episode, which to me makes the most sense since Doctor Who, perhaps more than any other show, becomes such a personal thing to people. I hope you also share with my your experience in the comments. Continue reading
I quite enjoyed “The God Complex”; it was a perfectly wonderful and a bit scary, a “mad man in a box” type episode that stands alone from the complex confusion of the main. It was a wacky adventure in a strange alien place that is also a lot like home. Something strange is happening and it’s killing off the small group of survivors one by one until the Doctor saves them, it’s an oft used structure for Who and it works so well.
The reason the “God Complex” was so strong is not only because the weird occurrence story was so compelling, and the supporting characters so interesting, but because it tied in strong character development in a way that wouldn’t confuse new viewers and didn’t get tied up in the mess of the overarching plot. Continue reading
I really enjoyed Doctor Who’s mid-season return, “Let’s Kill Hitler”. I absolutely loved Doctor Who’s two part season opener with “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”, yet following that I found the season to be a bit uneven, a mix of excellent episodes with some that weren’t bad, but quite match up to the season opener and episodes like “The Doctor’s Wife” penned by Neil Gaiman.
I know H & J also have mixed feelings about the newer, more convoluted stories put forth by Moffet-Who and don’t share the same kind of dedicated optimism that I have towards the series. Perhaps they’ll chime in on the subject when they get around to catching up with this episode.
I think what made this episode of Doctor Who fantastic was the balance between the characters, the many moving pieces that all worked together (and not scattered apart) to tell the story, and that the questions left hanging by “A Good Man Goes to War” were answered in a way that made sense for the story and provided a jumping off point for the rest of the season.
Now the review after the jump, beware sweeties, spoilers! Continue reading
Demons Run When A Good Man Goes to War
“A Good Man Goes to War” was one of those episodes of Doctor Who that I was really looking forward to more than usual. I was excited to see him call on his friends, to see Rory be a hero, to find out what was happening with Amy, and to learn more about the mysterious River Song. I was also counting on this episode to make the last few rather weak episodes really count for something, justifying them in a way so long as they satisfied the greater whole with this one.
“A Good Man” was a peculiar episode of Who where nothing really happened, but the premise and the hype called for massive movement. The set up in the episode seemed quite grand but when it came down to the action not much really went on. At first glance the episode is exciting but great deal less impressive upon a second look and further discussion. It’s like Moffet got caught up in the timey-whimy fun and the misdirection and let the point runaway from him.
I want so much to love everything about Doctor Who, I was as optimistic as possible after last week’s let down in “The Rebel Flesh” that this week “The Almost People” would pick up the pieces and spin the story into something great. I was once again let down. At least this story actually picked up on some of the seasonal clues we’ve been following albeit at the last minute. I was glad to finally be offered a direction and a link back to the AMAZING two part season opener “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Day of the Moon”.
Telling a story of the creation of sentient life is no easy task. The story of the resistance of the enslaved creatures and the humans that created them is a complex tale and felt rushed and confused over the two episodes given over the past couple weeks.
"Trust Me, I'm the Doctor"
Not all was lost in “The Almost People”, there were some really fantastic comedic notes hit perfectly by Matt Smith playing opposite himself, as the cocky cool Doctor these moments were hilarious and spot on for eleven’s personality. Matt Smith gave us a treat interpreting several Doctors’ past in his wacky transformation scene. I can’t help but think that this episode could have risen to a much higher level of wacky hilarity instead of a strange confused morality take had the two Doctors been allowed to play off each other for a greater portion of the story.
I was sadly disappointed with this week’s installment of Doctor Who with “The Rebel Flesh”, keeping in mind this is only part one of two, I’ll try to keep this recap brief and hold most of my thoughts until after I’ve seen the second hour. Either way this is television and we’re only seeing one hour at a time. This is something that should be kept in mind by the creators. Please, make each hour entertaining on its own, even if the story carries over two weeks.
Matt Smith as the Doctor in "The Rebel Flesh"
I can’t wait until next week where I’ll take a look at what I’ve written here and hope to see that the show will have proved me wrong. I love the ideas, and where they’re coming from but I’m finding the execution to be lacking. I can’t pinpoint just what it is, either that it was slow, or The Doctor seemed oddly useless not only to the situation but to the story.
The Io9 review of “The Rebel Flesh” written by Charlie Jane Anders says The Doctor himself seemed to actually detract from the first hour of the story and only becoming significant in the final moments. I agree with this assessment. We better get major payoff for this wait next week.
We’re in for a special treat this week with “The Doctor’s Wife” penned by none other than Neil Gaiman He does an amazing job of weaving in Doctor Who’s mythology into a new and fresh episode that helps new viewers understand what’s going on (as much as anyone can) as well as nodding back to the series’ past for old fans.
For new viewers so much of the Doctor mythology was explained right off the bat. The Doctor is a Time Lord, travels through time with human companions in his sentient space/time machine, the TARDIS. Using the distress-call by Time Lord Mail we understand that he’s from another culture, an extinct culture. And without getting into the nitty-gritty angsty details characteristic of Tennant’s Doctor, we learn that he is the last of his kind, and he feels extreme guilt because the extinction of his race was his fault.
Leading up to the season 6 premiere I could hardly contain my excitement to have the man in the blue box fall out of the sky and back onto my TV for another set of adventures with the 11th Doctor played by Matt Smith. Matt Smith had my love almost instantly when he appeared last season crash landing in the backyard of Amelia (Amy) Pond. Joined by the amazing Amy (Karen Gillian) and her now husband Rory (Arthur Darvill) the new, more hip, less angsty era of Doctor Who took hold. Now entering the sixth season in the USA the show feels like it’s entered territory more more foreign than ever before.
I wear a stetson now. Stetson’s are cool.
“The Impossible Astronaut” & “The Day of the Moon” do an amazing job of quickly re-familiarizing us with our characters while catapulting us into the crazy timey-whimyness characteristic of Moffett-Style Who and setting up a story that lasts more than the two episodes but sets up the season long arc of mysteries.
A brief disclaimer; I love timey-whimey Who – try not to think too hard about the logic of it all, you’ll strain yourself, I don’t know if even the mind of a Time Lord could quite get it all straight. Love the characters, fear the villains and know that it will probably all be okay (sort of) because the Doctor will save us one way or another, it’s about the ride.
The first two episodes were such a ride; this will be more of a smattering of thoughts on the goings on and I will promise to try and bring you much more coherent recaps and analysis in the coming weeks.