Tag Archives: Mark Gatiss

Doctor Who Review: Twice Upon a Time *Contains Spoilers*

Well, here we are folks, the final Doctor Who review of 2017…and the final time I’ll be reviewing Capaldi’s irascible, incorrigible Twelfth Doctor. I’ll tell you what, though–there’s a part of me that feels as though he hasn’t stopped being the Doctor. I know Jodie Whittaker has officially taken over the role now, but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It still feels that in some corner of the universe, Twelve is still roaming around time and space making wisecracks about pudding brains and playing riffs on his guitar.

Maybe it’s because his stubbornness from “The Doctor Falls” is a holdover of sorts, and we got a double dose of it in the form of the First Doctor (portrayed here by David Bradley). Both Doctors are refusing to change; both Doctors insist they have the right to die as they are. And this stubborn insistence is creating a paradox and interfering with the normal flow of time, which is part of how Captain Archibald Lethbridge-Stewart (none other than the Brigadier’s father and Kate’s grandfather) finds himself involved in their escapade. An organization known as the Testimony extracted Archibald from his timeline temporarily in order to harvest information about his life before he died, and when they tried to return him, the regeneration paradox caused them to accidentally strand him at the South Pole. The Testimony offers the Twelfth Doctor a deal–return the Captain to them, and they will return Bill to the TARDIS. But is it really Bill? And what exactly is the Testimony’s motive?

This wasn’t a loud, bombastic, edge-of-your-seat episode; it was quiet and understated, and that mood really seemed to fit the story. It allowed the focus to be more on Twelve and his final days, and it also served as a farewell tour for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who has been both a writer and an actor on the show since the 2005 revival; here he portrays the Brigadier’s father Archibald). It was a fan’s farewell to the show, from the inclusion of the First Doctor to Rusty’s return to allowing Twelve to say goodbye to Clara and Nardole. There was passion and enthusiasm and genuine love…and Twelve’s final words are the most heartbreaking yet.

It’s difficult for me to give my impressions on Thirteen yet because, well, she didn’t really do very much. She saw her new appearance in the console screen, pushed a button, and triggered something in the TARDIS that results in her sliding out of the console room and plummeting to the world below. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed they’re going with the whole “The Doctor just regenerated, and now the TARDIS is wildly out of control” theme again–they’ve been doing this since Tennant, and it’s getting old! Do something different already!

It’s been a wild ride, and I will miss every moment of Capaldi’s tenure. Following his powerhouse performance will be no easy feat, and I wish Jodie Whittaker the best of luck. I hope for her sake that Thirteen isn’t an unlucky number.

I have to admit, though, that a part of my heart will always belong to Twelve. I could never choose a favorite; I loved them all…but Twelve, now and forever, is my Doctor.

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Doctor Who Review: Sleep No More *Contains Spoilers*

For supposedly the most terrifying Doctor Who episode ever, “Sleep No More” didn’t terrify me in the least. I mean, the ending with Rasmussen was kind of creepy, but it was creepy in a cool kind of way. Other than that, I wasn’t feeling the terror. Then again, I am notoriously difficult to scare.

Even if I was disappointed with the scare factor, I did like the premise of the Sandmen–sentient dust particles that devour you if you don’t sleep is definitely a classic case of Doctor Who taking something innocuous like statues or wifi and turning it into something that eats your face. Having the dust just plain watching you is something that I know resonated with audiences everywhere (even me a little bit). There were definitely some clever twists, too, about where we got the footage when no one had helmet cameras and why Rasmussen was collecting the footage in the first place. I can definitely see some Whovians losing sleep over this one.

Next week, Rigsy returns! And sooner or later, everyone must face the raven…

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“Sherlock” Recaps and Reviews

Series 3 of Sherlock has come and gone, and once more the interminable wait between seasons commences. I’m starting to appreciate the wait, believe it or not, because I know it means that the writers are trying to give us some of the best television possible, a case of quality vs. quantity–although if quantity could be boosted a little without sacrifice quality, I wouldn’t be complaining.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do mini-reviews for the episodes in season 3 for no other reason than because I could. That’s one of the beauteous things of having a blog; you can do things just because it’s possible.

  1. The Empty Hearse: Mark Gatiss kicks us off in fine style by showing us how Sherlock faked his Reichenbach fall…before showing us two other scenarios as well. Which is correct? They’ll never tell. But it’s not all bad news; John’s managed to move on–he’s even got himself a fiancee now, the charming Mary Morstan–and he thinks he’s finally ready to finish the Sherlock-related chapter of his life. Of course, Sherlock himself returns as alive as ever, permanently lambasting John’s plans of learning to live without his best friend and turning his life upside-down once more. John is naturally upset that Sherlock never sent word that he was still alive after all, yet he can’t find it in him to turn down the offer of another mad adventure. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are together again, and all is right with the world.
  2. The Sign of Three: Steve Thompson, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss all contribute to the biggest episode of the series. Forget Prince William and Kate Middleton; the Watson/Morstan affair is the real Wedding of the Century! Yes, John and Mary are tying the knot, and Sherlock’s giving the best man speech. Considering the sensitive soul and impeccable social skills of the world’s only consulting detective, nothing can possibly go wrong, right? Just throw a murder or two into the mix, and you’ve got a wedding that’s more explosive than the Doctor and River’s. Some people have complained about this episode, but personally I liked it since it worked as a nice tribute to what makes Sherlock such a great show and why we love it so much.
  3. His Last Vow: Steven Moffat ushers us out of season 3 with an episode that provides twists, turns, and shocks galore. It’s Sherlock and John’s biggest case yet as they face off with master blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnussen, a man with his fingers in many pies. His influence extends over most of the known world…and strikes much closer to home than either Sherlock or John ever expected.  Nothing in their lives will ever be the same again.

There’s no denying that season 3 is one for the record books. On to season 4! (Whenever that may come.)

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Sherlock Returns…Are You Ready?

Yes, yes, technically he already returned on BBC One, but tomorrow he’s returning to America via PBS. And may I say that it has been far too long a wait for new episodes. Fortunately, I’ve heard that the BBC is pushing Sherlock co-producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to have series 4 ready by early 2015–or maybe even a Christmas special for Christmas 2014!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. PBS airs the series 3 premiere “The Empty Hearse” tomorrow night at 9:58 pm, and you can watch the prequel “Many Happy Returns” to get all hepped up for the big event.

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