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November 22, 2014

Doctor Who Series 8

Man, time flies. So some verdicts on the recently-ended season of Doctor Who. Spoilers, naturally:

  • Deep Breath
    A strong start to the season, though by no means the best debut episode for a Doctor, worked well enough. The actual plot, that of the half-face man and his fellow robots cannibalizing humans, really took a back seat to Clara trying to come to terms with the Doctor having regenerated. There were bits I thought were a bit self-indulgent and could have been cut, but overall, not bad.
  • Into the Dalek
    Definitely one of the better episodes of the season, even if it did retread some of the plot elements of 2005's episode "Dalek". Journey Blue was a great character, who might have made a good companion, if only it wasn't for the Doctor's recently acquired dislike of soldiers. Rusty, it appears, was originally intended to destroy himself to blow up the Dalek ship at the end, so maybe they're intending to bring him back.
  • Robot of Sherwood
    Unlike many, I liked this episode. The bit at the end with the gold arrow was silly, but every scene with the Doctor and Robin Hood bickering was fun. It's a pity the beheading sequence at the end had to be cut for broadcast, though to be fair, it does appear to make the Doctor and Clara unwitting accomplices to murder, so perhaps it was for the best.
  • Listen
    Another great episode, and for once left to the viewer to make up their own mind what was going on. The bait and switch at the end was clever, though perhaps more of a peek than we should have had.
  • Time Heist
    The most original series story of the season, with lots of running in corridors and improbably large ventilation ducts. A fun romp with two great guest companions who I hope return at some point. I'm not sure if I'd ever do business with a bank which got out the flamethrowers if you got you pin wrong though.
  • The Caretaker
    Mostly to further the Clara/Danny Pink relationship, and once again the alien plot is more of a subplot. It works very nicely, and it's always great to see the Doctor trying to cope with regular human life, with varying degrees of success.
  • Kill the Moon
    I would like this episode more if it wasn't for the somewhat outrageous science. The premise that the moon has suddenly increased in mass because it's going to hatch soon is in variance with how eggs work. Still, the atmosphere of the episode is nicely built up.
  • Mummy on the Orient Express
    I enjoyed this episode a lot. The space-bound Orient Express echoes the spaceship Titanic from earlier in the show, and the main plot of the Mummy attacking people on the train is well played, especially the Doctor's burst of deductive reasoning as he resolves the plot. Was it Missy who was behind getting him on the train? Frank Skinner was excellent, while Foxes' cameo seemed really unnecessary.
  • Flatline
    The best of the series. While not a unique concept, the 3D 2D people looked great, and the TARDIS shrinking because they were leaching the dimensional energies from it was well realized. Rigsy's another great character I wouldn't mind seeing back again.
  • In the Forest of the Night
    Oh dear. Instantly-growing fireproof trees saving the Earth from solar flares. They did their best to represent London overgrown by trees, but a lot of the time, it just seemed like a forest with lamp posts stuck in it. Some good moments, nonetheless.
  • Dark Water
    Finally getting back to the series arc. When Danny dies, the Doctor and Clara go looking for him, and yes, it turns out that Missy is the Master and has been turning Earth's dead into Cybermen. For all the fuss about "the three words", I don't think we're ever actually told what they are.
  • Death in Heaven
    I jokingly suggested to a friend before this episode aired that UNIT would turn up and solve everything in five minutes by shooting the Cybermen. As it turned out, UNIT did turn up, though everything wasn't resolved quite that well. I was most annoyed about them killing off Osgood, though Cyberbrig was a close second for sheer silliness. I don't think the plot hung together all that well, but it was worth it for the ending. Except the very final scene, which I could have done without.

So series 8. Overall, I think it came out rather well. Besides a few missteps, an above average season! Looking towards the Christmas special now with some measure of trepidation, but we'll see what they come up with.

Posted at 4:45 PM | Comments (2)

January 30, 2012

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

I admit to being outstandingly late with this review. I have nothing but my own laziness to blame.

Having watched it again when it screened on Prime, I'm better disposed towards The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe. It's still not as good as A Christmas Carol - I felt it wasn't quite as polished as the previous Christmas special, but it's at least a great watch, and what more do you need on Christmas? Yes, Steven Moffat apparently wrote this in the middle of the year, but it still manages to be appropriately Christmasy. The fact that it borrows heavily from the Narnia stories is so blatantly telegraphed by the title means I don't feel like I can really complain about it. I knew what I was getting into, after all.

Overall rating: 6 out of ten. More spoilery discussion (at this stage, who hasn't seen it yet?) after the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe"

Posted at 4:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2011

Doctor Who: Closing Time and The Wedding of River Song

All too quickly, Doctor Who series 6 comes to an end. With it being split in two, it actually felt like it was on for less time than it actually was. I wonder if Steve Moffat has been happy with the results. This time we have...

"Closing Time", which, well, if you enjoy watching the Doctor and Craig interact, this episode is for you. If not, skip to about ten minutes before the end and you've missed nothing.

I went into "The Wedding of River Song" not being quite sure what to expect, and I'm still not quite sure what I got. I'll go into more spoilery stuff under the cut, but I thought that it worked well in wrapping up some of the plot arcs of this season, and was even fun. Moffat did far better with last year's wrap-up though, and there was such a lot to cover I wish that it had been a two-parter, which might have helped it. The problem with that being that then it and "Let's Kill Hitler" would have meant a full half of the episodes in this half of the season would have been arc episodes.

More spoilers under the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: Closing Time and The Wedding of River Song"

Posted at 7:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2011

Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex

I'm a little bit behind, since "Closing Time" screened here last Thursday, but NEVER MIND.

"The Girl Who Waited" is perhaps the best episode of the season. This half of the season certainly. Though not without one of two moments of fridge logic, it manages to do a lot with a few sets and some make up. Why is it often the simplest plots which come out the best. Karen Gillan as an older Amy was perfect.

Meanwhile "The God Complex" starts off brilliantly, is atmospheric, and a great concept, but then when the time for explanations come, it sort of falls apart and become silly. Potentially this could have been my favourite episode this year, but that ending... What the heck was that?

Further discussion and spoilers below the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex"

Posted at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2011

Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler and Night Terrors

Doctor Who is back, finally! And... yes.

"Let's Kill Hitler" is an episode which seems to be aiming for light entertainment. As a follow up to "A Good Man Goes to War", it's a little unsatisfying. We get some explanation as far as River Song is concerned, and a concept ripped off from a movie which bombed magnificently at the box office.

"Night Terrors", on the other hand, is played dark. Luckily, unlike "Let's Kill Hitler", it's not bogged down by having to be part of a larger series arc, and is more of a standalone story. That said, I can see how it would fit better as part of the first half of the season (ISTR it was swapped with "The Curse of the Black Spot").

More under the cut! Because there's spoilers!

Continue reading "Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler and Night Terrors"

Posted at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2011

Doctor Who: And the rest!

Because I was lazy last weekend, and because we're only getting half a season, because the BBC hates us, here's my coverage of the remaining episodes of this half season!

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Posted at 5:00 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2011

Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot/The Doctor's Wife

Following on from the season opener are two self-contained stories: The One with the Pirates and The One Written by Neil Gaiman.

"The Curse of the Black Spot", or "Doctor Who in a Bit of Running About on a Boat" lacks a bit of something in that the pirates don't really feel very piratey. It's possible we've been spoiled by Disney and Hollywood in general, but it seems like there should have been a lot more yo ho hoing. Henry Avery, played by Hugh Bonneville, is supposed to be a fearsome pirate captain, and we're told he's killed many men, but he just seems too nice. More about this story and "The Doctor's Wife" under the cut...

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Posted at 6:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2011

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

Before I begin, and on a related note, Paul Scoones sent me some updates a while back for Another Time and Space, which are now online.

So, "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" is the two-parter opening series 6, and they screened on Prime here in the last couple of weeks. Steven Moffat appears to have decided to do away with the Russell T. Davies series plan, and is now doing his own thing, which is good. However as a season opening, I thought the story lacked something. It seemed to spend half its time busily setting things up for later in the series, so the story had less time to develop its own plot. The first ten minutes of "The Impossible Astronaut" are taken up with a diversion which fails to be resolved by the rest of the story, and in the end we're left with far more questions than answers.

But I guess that's how we get hooked. Spoilers beyond the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon"

Posted at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 11-13

A tremendous end to an awesome series.

Continue reading "Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 11-13"

Posted at 4:41 PM | Comments (1)

June 12, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 8-10

This series is, so far, the best the new show's managed. That said, the latest three episodes have been variable...

Continue reading "Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 8-10"

Posted at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 4-7

Yes, I'm slow about posting these. I blame RTD for sapping my interest in Doctor Who. Moffat is slowly winning it back, episode by episode, but it's a long, uphill struggle.

As usual, spoilers abound.

Continue reading "Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 4-7"

Posted at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 1-3

A very lightweight start to the season. More comments after the cut to avoid spoilering anyone who might not have watched it.

Continue reading "Doctor Who, Series 5, episodes 1-3"

Posted at 9:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2010

The End of Time, Part 2

Like part 1, I pretty much knew what to expect, as it was typical of just about every Davies finale thus far. Despite it having many good moments, it felt ultimately like a bit of a let down. This was Davies' last chance to write a finale, and instead he more or less repeats himself.

Continue reading "The End of Time, Part 2"

Posted at 8:48 AM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2009

The End of Time, Part 1

To summarise in advance: The End of Time, Part 1 is an example of a typical first part of a Russell T Davies finale. If you're seen his previous finales, you'll know what to expect.

Right, from here on, spoiler warning apply.

Continue reading "The End of Time, Part 1"

Posted at 8:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2009

Doctor Who: Waters of Mars, in a nutshell

Helpfully under the cut, in case you're one of the few people left who hasn't seen it. Spoilers included, obviously.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: Waters of Mars, in a nutshell"

Posted at 6:15 PM | Comments (3)

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