The BBC announced today that the eleventh season of Doctor Who is scheduled to premiere on Sunday, October 7. Yes, Doctor Who now lives on Sunday nights, and that has a lot of people worried. Doctor Who was aired on Sundays back in the 80s when the BBC was actively trying to kill the show, so naturally people are worried the same thing is happening again. Apparently Sundays aren’t the best nights for broadcasts. On the other hand, Once Upon a Time lived on Sundays for six of its seven seasons, and it did all right. I guess time will tell if it’s a bad move for Doctor Who.
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Honestly…I found this underwhelming and disappointing. It was really nothing more than the new companions eating, and the Doctor’s new powers were more confusing than they were intriguing. The more I hear about the new season, the more I worry Chris Chibnall doesn’t know what he’s doing, and the show will suffer for it. I really hope the ComiCon trailer scheduled for release later this week is better.
I originally hadn’t planned on writing a review of this 1979 serial, but it surprised me by going in an entirely different direction than I had expected. Featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana, and David Brierly as the voice of K-9, “Nightmare of Eden” starts off with a standard ships-in-space-are-in-trouble motif but ends with inter-dimensional portals and drug smuggling. It’s been lambasted a bit for certain scenes coming off as cheap pantomime, but I didn’t really notice anything I would describe like that. Yes, there were some silly moments, but that’s often been the case with Doctor Who, especially with the Fourth Doctor.
Speaking of silly, the monster-of-the-week Mandrels have been criticized as well for not being scary–and they weren’t–but I really liked the idea that the powder into which they crumbled after death was the new source for the deadly Vraxoin drug. In a sense, I think that should qualify them for being scary, that their dead bodies produced a substance capable of destroying entire planets.
I also liked the inter-dimensional aspects that came into play with the Continual Event Transmuter. The technology was a bit like what the primitive Time Lords used (at least, that’s the impression I got from the Doctor and Romana), so in a way it was kind of like watching the development of Time Lord technology, albeit in the hands of a human who didn’t fully understand what he was working with.
Final verdict: it’s not the best Fourth Doctor outing, but it went down some paths I hadn’t expected and so turned out to be pretty enjoyable. This is one of those take-it-or-leave-it stories–you may enjoy it, but you won’t necessarily miss out on anything if you choose to skip it.
I realized that this year will officially be ten years since I read The Phantom of the Opera for the first time. And considering the number of times Erik has managed to pop up on my blog, it clearly made an impact on me. Well, even though it’s been ten years since I read the book, it wasn’t the first time I heard about it. No, the first time I heard about Phantom was through the TV show Wishbone.
To be perfectly honest, the Phantom in this episode straight-up terrified my four-year-old self–especially the unmasking scene; it looked as though he had peeled his face off. I never imagined it would become one of my favorite books.
As an adult, Erik is far less terrifying to me now. But I never would have known him at all if it hadn’t been for Wishbone.
The good news is that we finally have an idea of when Thirteen will be crashing onto our screens. The bad news is that it’s not until October.
We also got a glimpse of the new logo today. It’s nice and shiny, but at the same time I feel as if it’s missing something. I’m not sure what that something is yet; I just have the strangest feeling that the logo is missing something.
One thing’s for sure–October will definitely be an interesting month.
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.
Christmas is little over a month away, and that means the departure of the thoroughly epic Peter Capaldi as the irascible Twelfth Doctor, which makes me thoroughly sad. But then the BBC released this preview clip of the Christmas special “Twice Upon a Time”, and I forgot my sorrow. We’ll see the Twelfth Doctor have one last hurrah in what promises to be the adventure of his lives–yes, lives, as he joins forces with the one and only First Doctor. This Christmas I’ll get two of my favorite Doctors in the TARDIS together. Though I hate to say goodbye, at least we’ll be saying goodbye in style.
Well, there’s a few false starts, but you get there in the end.
I will totally miss Twelve and his (lack of) modesty.