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Final Countdown!

It’s March 15, and you know what that means–it’s officially one month until Doctor Who returns! And look at what we have to look forward to!

Ice Warriors! Mondasian Cybermen! A trip to Egypt! The Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver! David Suchet!

Allons-y!

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Mauve Alert! Peter Capaldi Announces He’s LEAVING DOCTOR WHO!

Peter Capaldi announced today that the 2017 Christmas special will be his last appearance as the Doctor. He will be regenerating to make way for a new Doctor in 2018, which will also be seeing Chris Chibnall taking over as showrunner from Steven Moffat.

I am not taking this well. I feel as if he’s being forced out of the show because all the nuWho fangirls hated that he was older and not a pretty boy. The Doctor was never supposed to be your boyfriend! Watch some classic Who and get an education!

And if they use his departure as an excuse/opportunity to cast a woman as the Doctor because something something diversity, something something open-mindedness, I will be so done with the modern series. So. Done.

On the other hand, I suppose I could try looking at it as another opportunity for my dream-casting of Hugh Laurie as the Doctor. But…drat it all, we just got Capaldi! I’m not ready to let go yet!

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Doctor Who Review: The Return of Doctor Mysterio *Contains Spoilers*

Considering this was the only new episode of Doctor Who we could expect to see this year, writing a review of it was kind of a no-brainer. I did miss having new episodes to review each week, so I looked forward to having a chance to write down my thoughts on the 2016 Christmas special. It’s been exactly one year since our last new episode–was it worth the wait?

“The Return of Doctor Mysterio” sees, well, the return of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with Matt Lucas reprising his role of Nardole from last year’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song” (yes, there is an explanation as to why he is back in one piece after he was beheaded last year). After his twenty-four-year night with River on Darillium, the Doctor reattached Nardole’s head to his body and offered him a place aboard the TARDIS–with both Clara and River gone, he didn’t want to travel alone (although he denies this reason). They turn up in New York City investigating Harmony Shoal, suspecting it’s a front for alien activity. Their investigation leads them to cross paths with Lucy Fletcher, a journalist trying to get background information on Harmony Shoal’s real purpose, and the Ghost, a masked superhero who has made it his mission to protect the city from all threats. Plot twist–the Doctor and the Ghost have met before. Twenty-four years ago, there was a little boy named Grant who had a conversation with a madman on a roof, and during the course of the conversation, he accidentally swallowed a Hazandra gemstone. Known as the “Ghost of Love and Wishes”, this gemstone has the ability to grant any wish–to a young boy with a love of comic books, it gives him super powers. The Doctor made Grant promise never to use his powers, but Grant saw an opportunity to help people, and he took it.

This wasn’t the best of the Christmas specials, but it was very good, nonetheless. There was much poking of fun at common superhero clichés and wry commentary. What I noticed, though, is that Moffat seemed to have toned down his writing this time; it seemed less frantic and manic than previous specials. Frankly, I think the story benefitted from that change of pace–when Moffat slows down and takes the time to work out the plot, his writing is much better. Also, I hope we get to see Grant and Lucy again in the future; they were fun characters. They started as parodies of Superman and Lois Lane but turned into characters I genuinely cared about.

Something else that struck me was a change in Nardole’s character–he seemed wiser, somehow, and seemed to have a good understanding of the Doctor. I’m not sure if that wisdom came from having a drastic perspective shift from being beheaded or if it came from many previous travels, but he definitely understands the Doctor’s pain and wants to help him heal. The Doctor certainly trusts him, or else I don’t imagine he would have taught him how to fly the TARDIS. But Nardole is showing he can be more than an inept bumbler, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in season 10.

And speaking of season 10…

Allons-y!

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“Doctor Who” 2016 Christmas Special: We Have a Title!

Although the wait for new Doctor Who has seemed interminable, hope is on the horizon! We have a look at the upcoming Christmas special, titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”. It’s more of a behind-the-scenes look than a true trailer, but, hey, it’s still the newest episode.

What’s interesting is that Doctor Mysterio is how the show is known in Spanish-speaking countries, and Capaldi has previously stated that he thinks Doctor Mysterio is an awesome title. Will it be the alias the Doctor adopts in the latest special? Time will tell, I guess.

At last, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

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The Little Grey Cells Team up with the Big Blue Box in Doctor Who’s Tenth Season

The BBC recently confirmed that renowned actor David Suchet, whom most people might know as Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, will be appearing in Doctor Who‘s tenth season in 2017. Little is known about his character other than he is referred to as the Landlord (a Time Lord title, perhaps?), but considering how awesome Suchet was as Poirot, this mysterious character is sure to be a welcome addition to the Whoniverse.

http://www.doctorwho.tv/whats-new/article/acting-legend-david-suchet-joins-the-guest-cast-of-doctor-who-series-10

Season 10 may be shaping up to be well worth the wait. I hate that we have to wait so long, but it looks as though we may be well rewarded.

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Sherlock is Finally Returning, and It’s Not a Game Anymore

At Comic-Con last week, this shiny new trailer for the fourth season of Sherlock was released into the wild.

They also released the traditional three clues to give the fans a hint about which stories they will be adapting for the new season. The three clues they released were, “Thatcher. Smith. Sherrinford.” We already know that Smith is Culverton Smith, the villain of “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”, and we already know this because Moffat and Gatiss have told us that (unless they were lying…again). Sherrinford is believed to be a reference to the third Holmes brother, who isn’t actually a character in any of Doyle’s original stories but instead appeared in the non-canonical Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. (I don’t know how Sherlock and Mycroft could have an older brother when Sherlock stated in the original stories that Mycroft was his only sibling, but details, details). No one’s quite sure who or what Thatcher is supposed to be (a reference to Margaret Thatcher? Someone who thatches roofs?), but it’s bound to be just as intriguing as the rest of the clues.

Between a fresh season of Doctor Who and shiny new episodes of Sherlock, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

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Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who: Paradise Towers”

Late 80’s Doctor Who is a curious creature. It’s full of stories that had good premises but didn’t always have the execution to back it up. Part of it was due to the budget restrictions that always plagued the show (Colin Baker once commented that the special effects budget for one Star Wars movie would have paid for an entire season’s worth of special effects for Doctor Who), but it’s important to remember that this was a time when the BBC was actively trying to kill the show. So when watching some of the 80’s serials, you have to try to avoid being too critical with them; you usually have to look past the flaws in production and/or acting and see what they were trying to do with the story.

This is the case with “Paradise Towers”, a serial from 1987 starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel. Mel fancies going for a swim, and as the Doctor has jettisoned the TARDIS swimming pool, he offers to take Mel to Paradise Towers, which is supposed to have one of the nicest pools around. When they arrive, however, they find a broken-down, gang-ridden apartment complex instead of the luxurious Towers they were expecting. The Towers are run by the Nazi-like Caretakers (the Chief Caretaker even sports a little Hitler-style mustache); the Kangs (the all-girl gangs) try to stay one step ahead of them, and the Rezzies (the residents, which include a couple of cannibalistic old ladies) are often caught in the middle of their struggles. But a new threat is arising and threatening all of them, and the Doctor and Mel must convince these three warring classes to put aside their differences and work together for the preservation of the Towers…

…which, in theory, sounds like an intriguing premise. If the infamous “Vengeance on Varos” proved anything, it’s that Doctor Who could still do depressing, dystopian futures really well in spite of all of the other problems the show was facing. However, the heavy 80’s feel to it, especially with the Kangs’ hair, fashion, and slang, seemed a bit embarrassing for the show. I understood the culture they were trying to portray, but it came across a bit contrived.

I couldn’t do a post on “Paradise Towers” without mentioning Pex, the once-cowardly soldier who gave his life to protect the other inhabitants of the Towers. One of the things the Doctor always likes to do is to take someone who thinks he is a nobody and prove that he is really a somebody, and I think Pex’s story arc reflects that aspect very well. Pex never would have died a hero if the Doctor and Mel hadn’t believed in him and given him confidence, and I like to think that ties in with the fact that the Doctor and his companions, whoever they are, spread hope wherever they travel.

Final conclusion: you may have to look past the 80’s–erhm–specialness of this one, folks, but if you manage that, you’ll find an enjoyable installment of classic Who.

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