And we are rolling right along with our season 11 Doctor Who reviews. Having made no secret of my disdain for “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”, does “The Ghost Monument” fare any better? Spoilers await all who continue past this point!
The long and the short of it is…the writing was definitely better, and I think the new title sequence is the best thing about the new season. The pacing for this episode was much better–as was the lighting; it was glorious to actually be able to see what was going on–and I loved how the mysterious Ghost Monument around which an alien had built a grueling race was really the long-lost TARDIS. But Whittaker…I’m sorry, Whittaker is still not very convincing as the Doctor. When I heard early reviews comparing her to Matt Smith, I was hesitant because, in my opinion, Smith struggled a lot in his early days as the Doctor; he had trouble projecting the Doctor’s authority and really feeling as if he was control of the situation. I see many of the same problems in Whittaker’s performance–no real projection of authority or command of the situation. A lot of times it just seems as if she’s pleading with her companions to like her, which is very off-putting.
We got our first look at the new TARDIS today, and I have to say I am not impressed. It’s very sterile and depressing. And those weird crystal pillars just look freaky; there’s nothing warm or inviting about it at all. Perhaps it will go through another redesign like Eleven’s interior did.
Next week’s “Rosa” sees the Doctor et al. visiting 1955 Alabama and ensuring no one interferes with Rosa Parks’ role in history. Who could possibly be stopping her? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
And just so you don’t think I’m completely negative about the new season, I’m sharing the new title sequence. I don’t much care for the new composer’s work yet, but I do like his arrangement of the theme.
Did you really think I would let season 11 go by without posting my weekly review? Never fear; I am here to the bitter end–or unless I get totally fed up with what Chris Chibnall has done to the show and throw my hands up in frustration. As indicated in the title, spoilers await anyone who ventures beyond this point.
Still here? Okay, here we go.
It. Was. Awful. I can see why BBC America didn’t air any of Capaldi’s episodes directly before this; it would have made the lack of quality blatantly obvious. I was of the “wait and see” opinion when Jodie Whittaker was announced as the Doctor, and after waiting and seeing, I’m not impressed. Nothing really jumped out as being particularly Doctorish about her; it all felt like an empty copy.
The episode itself was SO SLOW! I was starting to wonder if there was even a plot! There was nothing exciting or attention-grabbing; it just plodded along at a snail’s pace. It was a stark contrast to the high stakes plots of “The Christmas Invasion” and “The Eleventh Hour” or the intense cerebral games of “Deep Breath”. It was a pretty standard “alien hunter comes to Earth, targets human, gets stopped by the Doctor” although we did have a new alien species, so that part at least was interesting. What little I heard of the new theme doesn’t sound bad, but it seems a bit odd to call it “new” when it mostly seems like the 1960s theme.
Overall impression: worst regeneration episode ever (and I’ve seen all of them, so I have lots of basis for comparison). If this is the best Chibnall can do, I’m severely disappointed. It no longer felt like Doctor Who; it felt like an empty shell. Here’s hoping “The Ghost Monument” next week is massively better.
Those of you who are familiar with my blog know of my great love of The Phantom of the Opera, which is what prompted me to post this video. When Universal re-edited their 1925 version of Phantom and re-released it in 1929, one of the new features was a technicolor sequence for the masquerade scene. It was one of the earliest movies to use technicolor, and it’s quite impressive.
I’ve never really liked the changes the 1929 version implemented, but this was one change I didn’t mind.
October 3 is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux (in the old calendar, anyway), so I figured I’d share this nice little song.
A couple of days ago, the BBC released a preview of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”, the first episode of season 11. This clip was actually part of a leak several months ago, but it was quickly scrubbed, so this is my first time getting to see her in action.
I don’t feel quite as skeptical after that clip, but I find it very suspicious that the BBC America Doctor Who marathon is not showing any of Peter Capaldi’s episodes directly before her debut, not even “Twice Upon a Time”, which leads directly into “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”.
First of all, it’s September 22, so it wouldn’t be right to let it pass without wishing Bilbo and Frodo Baggins a very happy birthday.
And as for our final song, I have selected Clamavi de Profundis’s rendition of “The Fall of Gil-Galad”, the tale of the Elf king who marched alongside Elendil to free Middle-Earth from Sauron’s rule.
And that wraps up this year’s Tolkien Week celebrations! See you all next year!
We’re approaching the end of Tolkien Week, yet there’s still time for great music. Today’s pick is “The Lament for the Rohirrim”, a stirring rendition of the funeral dirge for the fallen Riders of Rohan.