doctor who

50th Anniversary of Doctor Who Special

I’ll be honest, I don’t like to do reviews RIGHT after watching something. I like to get into conversations, watch it a few times, read more about it and then commit my final definitive thoughts in review form. Well…Im just too excited to wait! I watched “The Day of the Doctor” with over 100 people in Cleveland as part of a really cool watch party and it just multiplied the excitement. More on that experience here.

Like many of my Doctor Who reviews, it’s easier for me to break up the special into different small sections based on what moved me the most. These thoughts might not be totally linear but, like I said, I just want to get these thoughts out there so I can be part of the discussion. This is almost ALL SPOILERS. You’ve been warned! Let’s start with…

All Fifty Years Celebrated

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There were so many teasers and call backs to classic Doctor Who in this special! I admit to have not seen every episode of classic Who (yet) so I am sure I missed a ton of references but the ones I caught were magic. I’ve been excited about the premiere of “An Adventure in Space and Time” so I have re-watched some of the William Hartnell era episodes recently (thanks Netflix!).The episode opening with the first doctor’s intro proves to me that this is a total embrace and celebration of the classic and modern. Having Clara work at the same school as original companions Ian and Barbra was both a natural evolution to Clara’s character as it was a perfect ode to the beginning of the series. One of the best quotes from The Day of the Doctor is in the Tardis – “I love the round things!”. Quotes like this really pay you back for being a fan of Classic Doctor Who

Why Companions Are Important

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Seeing Clara embrace her life and strive towards her potential has been gratifying. She knows who she is and she loves it! The bit of fun where she drive her motorcycle into the Tardis and shows off how adjusted she has become to traveling with the Doctor really nails how fun this life can be. Ultimately, Clara saves the day. Her humanity saves Gallifrey by confronting the Doctor. She has saved the Doctor physically throughout all space and time and now she has found a way to heal him emotionally as well as the lives of millions of Time Lords. She may be the most important companion ever.

Differences Between the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors

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When the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors meet they are separated by over four hundred years. That’s over half the age of Ten! How has time made a difference on Eleven? He is much less haunted by the Time War because he has spent so long forcing himself to not think about it. That’s why he comes off much lighter than Ten and certainly less haunted. Seeing them together really typifies just how different they were from each other.

U.N.I.T.

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The granddaughter of the Brigadier now has the fourth Doctor’s scarf. Before I ever watched Doctor Who, all I knew of the character was Tom Baker. That scarf was the defining visual trait that told me that was him. I didn’t know about regenerations or that there were even different actors who played the character until years later. Seeing that scarf that often in the episode put a smile on my face because, even though Tom Baker wasn’t “My Doctor” he’s the first one I had been exposed to and to me will always be the quintessential Doctor.
Besides showing lineage with the third Lethbridge-Stewart at U.N.I.T we’re treated with their involvement being important to both this story and thus showing you how important they’ve been to the Doctor’s past. Hearing Eleven tell Clara that he had a job reminds you of all the great stories from the past especially those of the Third doctor.

The Time War

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There’s no way they could compete with what was in my head. Like, Star Wars’ Clone Wars, fans have thought about what this must have looked like for years before ever getting to see it. I was disappointed by how conventional it looked. This could have been any war in space and didn’t look like what I thought a “Time War” would look like. I had pictured battles all over the galaxy at all points of time simultaneously. Sometimes seeing something isn’t as good as imagining it.

Weapon With A Conscience

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What a perfect Doctor Who story device! Nothing evokes the best of the Tenth Doctor’s reign better than “Bad Wolf” and this special utilized it perfectly. For those fans who have not seen the adventure of David Tennant’s take on Doctor Who, this was probably the most confusing portion of the show. That said, a 50th Anniversary Special is hardly the stuff of new fandom so they’re just going to have to relax.

Elizabeth The First

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I’ve wanted to know why Elizabeth has had such a distain for the Doctor in the new series. Now we know why. The idea that the Doctor was (is?) technically the King of England better come up again. Including the queen ties up a loose plot line while also including one of my favorite aspects of Doctor Who – historical cameos. She was tough and never backed down…she’d make an interesting companion!

War Doctor, Voice of a Generation

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John Hurt’s War Doctor was the voice of many old school Whovians. Everything about his future selves annoyed him! The youth of his future selves coupled with their mannerisms comes off as a dead-on description of what I’ve read many times on message boards. Perhaps, this is an indication of how the Twelfth Doctor will be returning to the “roots” of the character.

Three Doctors Working Together

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With three different versions of the same person in a room, you’d think it could get pretty redundant. It turns out each of these versions of the Doctor are in such vastly different places that it’s almost like three different characters interacting. I say almost because when everything is on the line, you see what makes him special in all incarnations shine at once. When a problem is too big for the biggest brain in the universe only three of that brain can win. Remembering that there are hundreds of years worth of experiences separating these versions is something that truly defines what makes Ten and Eleven so different. I believe The War Doctor is affected differently by his exposure to Ten and Eleven. He is shaken by just how haunted Ten is while angry at how Eleven forced himself to forget the tragedy of the Time War.

Peter Capaldi!

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Our future doctor made his fist cameo appearance in Doctor Who which was something I did not expect. I’m still a little unsure about how John Hurt’s War Doctor impacts the naming conventions. Will Capaldi be the Thirteenth Doctor? Has he reached his regeneration limit? I hope these are answered quickly during his run. He did look scary though, didn’t he?

Regeneration

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We finally get to see the regeneration that happens before Christopher Eccleston’s Nineth Doctor. Turns out the War Doctor’s final words are the same as the final words of the First Doctor – “This Body Is Wearing A Little Thin”. Speaking of final words, David Tennant uses the phrase “ I don’t want to go” before he gets in his Tardis. Turns out, those will be his last words eventually too.

Tom Baker, The Curator

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At first, my brain was trying to comprehend just how the Fourth Doctor could be in his personal future and have also aged. Was it a shape shifter? Another Time Lord who eventually will have been freed by the Doctor? Was his past or his future? Well, like most things with Moffat, if you really want to stress out about the specific physics of something, you’ll just get angry. I’m so glad my heart kicked in and shut up my brain and just let me enjoy this hint dropping confusing but above all perfect meeting between two beloved versions of the Doctor. I thought all we’d get was the scarf to remember Tom Baker by but we got so much more from this scene. Watch how he literally walks into the light at the end of this exchange. There were a few moments that MAY have brought a tear to my eye in this special but this is the only one I’ll admit.

Hope

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I continue to have discussions on why, overall, I wasn’t happy with Man of Steel. My biggest problem is because of the theme of hope and how central it is to the character. In the end, Superman chooses the pragmatic solution instead of finding “another way”. This is has been the central problem, for me, of the Time War. It so defines the modern era of Doctor Who because when we meet him again it’s after he has given in to pragmatism and lost sight of his greatest attribute: hope. Sure he shows gives it to others in dozens of examples but his record had been forever tarnished. He is known as “The Coming Storm” and many other dark titles throughout the galaxy which works in many dramatic ways but it’s not really who he is. I think we need a character in genre fiction who always finds another way again because so many other characters have adopted realism or idealism. Maybe this reversal of the War Doctor’s decision will usher in a new era of hope.

“The Warrior, The Hero, And You”

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You know that Moffat device where everything seems hopeless with no way out and then a Deus Ex Machina appears out of nowhere because it feels emotionally satisfying? Well, you either hate or love that moment in his writing. Personally, I look forward to them because it’s about the triumph of spirit and ingenuity over darkness. I love those scenes in his writing and Clara provided one at just the right time here.
Clara: “We’ve got enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.”
Eleventh Doctor: “Then what do I do?”
Clara: “What you’ve always done.” “Be a doctor.” “You told me the name you chose was a promise. What was the promise?”
Tenth Doctor: “Never cruel nor cowardly.”
War Doctor: “Never give up. Never give in.”

Everything You’d Want From Doctor Who

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This story had monsters in rubber suits (of a sort), complicated paradoxical time travel, a companion saying just the right thing at the right time, U.N.I.T., a threat averted through diplomacy, humor, nail biting drama, Daleks, a regeneration, sonic screw driver(s) and more heart than any show on TV. The components of what makes Doctor Who special were all in this Doctor Who Special. Well done, BBC!

Still Not Ginger!

Like many of you, we watched the live BBC special announcing that Peter Capaldi would take over after Matt Smith as the 12th Doctor on Doctor Who during the Christmas Special later this year. Has there ever been a live global announcement of a new actor coming on to a TV show before? It felt just so epic! How about those montages with Matt Smith? FEELINGS you guys!!

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Initial reactions are all over the place. Most who have followed Peter Capaldi’s work are extremely happy because he is a very capable actor with a ton of range. Lots of conversations are taking place on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook about gender, age, and skin color. The conversations continue but we want to remind you about a different conversation…one that took place a few months ago when we discussed why we love Doctor Who.Rewind

Check out this episode of Doctor Who as Nick, Adam and decades long Whovian, Jake discuss why Doctor Who matters and why you should care about regenerations, companions, and aliens in rubber suits.

Listen or Download Here

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Good day! Time to get your Fix!

 Heroclix:

It’s been a week off, and I had to take a break from this article series because of a few things, my fiance’s birthday was last week, she was also finishing her final exams for college this year, Doctor Who Season Finale and finally the last month of No Man’s Land for Heroclix was last Tuesday. It was quite a busy week for everyone to say the least! So let’s do some thinking.

 

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The last month of No Man’s Land had the most glorious prizes, the Joker and Harley Quinn duo was number 1 on my fiance’s birthday list, and so we had to go home with it last week. I created a plan, a secret training regimen and included 2 extra ringers onto my ‘team.’ After spending a few weeks on the ‘Amusement Park Map’ me and the others were confident with the 4 of us, the brick of boosters to draw our draft from we would be taking the prizes by storm.

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I was the only person to go undefeated and because I played a bit too relaxed in the first round I didn’t have enough points to break my tie breaker for 2nd, so I got third (for the 2nd time in a row for NML! lol). Luckily we rolled for the random prize and got to go home with the duo. The tournament was very fun and we all had a great time! I was even more excited when Starfire won me the last game of the night by taking down Headcase! Truth be told I was very glad no one pulled Super Boy Prime in sealed, and surprised no one at our LGS has seen Blackfire yet.

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Wierd!

Doctor Who:

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!WARNING! M-Fing Spoilers ahead!

Ok! As someone who is a fan of Doctor Who I have a few feelings with the last half of the latest season of New Who. First of all I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOO tired of Mr. Matt Smith as the Doctor. His personality doesn’t fit the scripts that they’re writing for him in this season. He’s gotten too many lighthearted bits that he’s not pulling off. Like in the Moon Theme Park episode he’s jumping around in front of kids and trying to do his best “funny child-man” bit and it’s just DYING! Matt Smith doesn’t have the same kind of charisma that he started his run on who with. At first he was played as a “stuck-up genius, who thought he was smarter and better than anyone” and Amy was his foil, she had a great chemistry bringing Smith down, and it worked. The newly added Companion Clara now basically just exists to kiss the Doctors ass and be a somewhat carbon-copy of the adventurous aspects of the Doctor. It’s made the show very tedious. Yes, her ‘backstory’ revealed in the finale was….tight…as tight as it could be after they just made up the whole bit about the Doctor’s Grave having his ‘body’ which is all his memories which people can just walk into and CHANGE his life!!  Yeah that sounds…safe.

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Honestly I don’t hate Clara, I like her I just think her character is completely unnecessary from a narrative standpoint, when there’s just a malign sexual tension between the Doctor and Clara and not much else it’s really boring to see them run around an agree about stuff.

cult-doctor-who-s07-e02-the-rings-of-akhaten-3 Don’t get me wrong there was some great parts of episodes of this half of the season! The “Time Squad” the Victorian Era group of Extra-Terrestrial Aliens who fight threats in their time, was SWEET! Anytime they showed up it was a great episode. This season was not the best for sure, maybe even the worst of new Doctor Who, however the finale revealed that there might be a heavy focus on NOT MATT SMITH and the Sealing of the Time War in the next season! Awesome!

Series 33 Episode 6 / Season 7 Episode 6

Every Dr Who episode has a lot to live up to. There aren’t many other TV series whose fan base can match the time-(wink)-tested level of fervor that Whovians are capable of. But a season premiere (okay, HALF season premiere) that is the first regular episode appearance (kinda) of a new regular companion? That carries some extra expectations. Did “The Bells of St John” live up to ‘em? Maybe not, but who cares?

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I enjoyed this episode. It felt like a throwback to the one-off adventures from the David Tennant/Russel T Davies era like “Fear Her” or “The Idiot’s Lantern.”  It also made me think of other new companion debuts, like Donna Noble’s “Partners in Crime” or Martha Jones’s “Smith & Jones.” Dr Who stories can be divided into 2 categories: stand-alone adventures like these, and episodes that are part of the larger mythos and involve a lot of continuity. If you feel like “The Bells of St John” didn’t have enough of the numerous plot threads that we had to juggle through most of the Amy & Rory Pond era, I say that we were due for some relief. This episode cleaned the palate. Besides, before long we’ll be hip deep in Moffat-style brain twisters as the Doctor begins to unravel Clara’s origins.

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Matt Smith was in reliable form – we got to see him be clever and a bit fierce, which he is so good at, even tho’ the fierce bit was courtesy of his doppleganger.  The appearance of someone that was a hold-over from the Christmas Special (other than Clara) was a neat surprise and something the show doesn’t often do, so I thought that was refreshing and I look forward to seeing more of him, it? As to the quantum-charged-chronological-matrix-paradox in the room, the question of whether or not Jenna Louise Coleman works as the Doctor’s companion? The question of whether or not she’ll stand up to the long list of beloved companions in the show’s history? Well, there are a lot of traits to tick off on the Good Companion checklist, and she meets a lot of them. She’s not annoying (I’m gonna allow for a little extra coyness in the getting-to-know-you episode). She’s not useless or TOO smart. It’s tricky, cause making her too much like Amy would be a mistake, but too far from the Amy mold might wreck Matt Smith’s performance. A good job was done, walking a tightrope between those two missteps. In a few years, we might look back and say that Clara was to Amy as Martha or Donna was to Rose. But what I expect is that the Mystery of Clara will lessen that comparison and much of how we feel about Clara will lie in her secret.

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What was your favorite moment, if you had one? Mine was the ceremony that was given to the new bow tie. That was wonderful. The fact that the Doctor didn’t have to share that moment with anyone else on screen was a smart move. It was just for him and us. Although, I wanted some reasoning given onscreen as to why the change in wardrobe. I was hoping it would be used to inform us a little more about his attitude since the Ponds’ departure. Least favorite mo’? Asking Clara to repeat, “Doctor who?” A little too cutesy and too beat into the ground. We’ve seen that word-play before and it worked then, but it already feels dated, as if it’s from another era in the Doctor’s life.  But these minor nit-picks are the most I could find to complain about while I’m already chomping at the bit for another new episode this week and Whovians don’t always get to say that!

Seasons Geekings

Santa is coming to visit all the good boys and girls once again. Geeks typically have a Christmas list longer than anyone. This season, especially, has more items than ever for fanboys and girls. Why is that? One of the main reasons is that there are so many HUGE movies out this year. That all said, I’ve chosen Ultimate Collection versions of a Movie Series, TV Show, Comic Book, and Gaming Console as four BIG presents that I think would make any Grinch embrace the season (as long as he/she is a geek).

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My personal favorite movie of the year and one of my new favorite super hero movies of all-time, The Dark Knight Rises is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. I’m mostly focused on the ultimate versions of releases for Christmas. This means you’re not going to see the word “DVD” again. This movie is a movie to own…plain and simple. The re-watchability of this film is very evident. There are a few different versions of the trilogy available. The 3-disc and 5-disc versions are available now with The Dark Knight Trilogy Ultimate Collector’s Edition coming some time in 2013. I have the 5 disc Blu-ray and it’s great. The little art book is cool but nothing special. The extra features are all pretty good except the Batmobile doc which is exceptional! The hour long doc on the history of the Batmobiles is worth it’s own release it’s so thorough. If you want to REALLY get the ultimate experience, check out the Bat Cowl edition. It’s basically the same thing with a crazy head sculpture of the mask. It makes for an impressive gift.

AvX Hardcover

x-men cyclops marvel collectionI’m not going to talk too much about the story because we have at length before. To hear my feelings on the whole story, check out Episode #27 of the Short Box Podcast or if you want to hear what we thought of the first 6 issues, check out Episode #6. Suffice to say, I enjoyed this series as far as mega crossovers go. It had it’s ups and downs but, like Civil War, this one had me choosing sides and held my interests with some great twists. I’m going out on a limb and saying this is probably one of the biggest collected editions on people’s Christmas List this year. It is currently the only way this series has been collected (that won’t last long but no one likes to wait). Another reason people are going to want it is for it’s completeness.

Now sure, this book doesn’t contain EVERY AvX story. How could it? The book crossed over with over 60 books. What it does contain is the entire 13 issue run of the main miniseries, all 6 issues of the forgettable and redundant companion Versus series, the Point One story with Nova (It’s Coming), and (for the first time ever in print) the Infinite Comics. The Infinite Comics REALLY suffer from the format change. Marvel knows this too because they make mention of it. What is pretty cool is that they include the digital code for these digitally optimized Infinite stories with the hardcover. In addition to that digital experience, all the Marvel AR codes are right where they were on the original books.

The biggest misses are with the binding, the expense, and lack of full page versions of the variant covers. This 568 book is bound by glue and not sewn. With as many double page spread as this story had, a lot is missed in translation. With a $75 price tag, this book should get the Omnibus treatment. That said,  you can get this book for $47 on Amazon new and $37 used. If you are looking for as definitive as you’ll probably ever see edition of this story, this is it for you. If you are just looking for the core, wait for the trade.

 Wii U

mario zeldaA controversial pick, I know. Full disclosure: I bought one. I’m a big Nintendo fan and not what you would call a “hardcore gamer”. Many of my friends are either the World of Warcraft or Call of Duty types. I’m neither. That’s not to say I don’t like those style games…I do! I just don’t have the time or the skills I use to when I was a bigger gamer. What I am looking for in a console is entertaining escapism without the mega commitment. The Wii offered me that for the past few years. The last year was probably my slowest gaming year of my entire life. I bought just one console game while mostly gaming on my iPhone and iTouch. That game was Zelda Skyward Sword (which I never beat). It felt like time to look at a new console just when the Wii U came out. I am not someone whose thinks graphics is the end all be all either. That’s why the Wii U’s backwards compatibility was a big part of my decision to be the system.

After using the new controller at a Best Buy demo, I found it much more ergonomic that I had ever thought it could be. I didn’t JUST buy the system for the new Mario but it sure helped. The first game I bought was Nintendo Land which really trains you on this system. You can see the potential of what it has to offer through fun mini games. You can also start using the Wiiverse which is kind of like integrating a social network and message board into every part of the onscreen interface and games. The apps run much better through the Wii U than the Wii including Netflix, Hulu, and the others that are sure to come. Like the Wii, this is set up for casual gaming, playing with friends, parties, and for lovers of retro gaming.

Doctor Who Ultimate DVD Box Set

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Do you have friends who have asked you: “Where should I start to get into this whole Doctor Who thing?”? Well, this is where you start…with all of the modern Doctor Who in once place! This 41 disc mega set contains Seasons 1-6, The Complete Specials (from David Tennant’s run), bonus art, the recent 3 mini-documentaries (for the first time on DVD, and the 11th’s Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver. If you want to know why people LOVE Doctor Who, check out our New To Who Podcast episode.

If you don’t already own these episodes, this is a cost effective way to have these VERY re-watchable episodes together. I catch re-runs here and there on BBC America but I often go back to my DVDs and watch episodes so I can say that, without a doubt, I get a lot of value from mine.

This has been an incredible year for Doctor Who fans. The globalization of fans is on an unprecedented rise and this is all leading up to the 50th anniversary celebration of 2013. Watch them all in order at your leisure with this HUGE set.

 

Goodbye Ponds

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This is goodbye to Rory and Amy. Amy had to choose one final time. In fact, she had to choose to be with Rory twice this episode. Thematically this episode covers a lot of old ground without covering anything new. The first half of this episode feels like a very typical time travel mystery with Rory and Amy as secondary characters. With all the hype surrounding this episode, expectations of some final revelation about these characters was expected but, dare I say it, not delivered. I wish I could tear out the last page and write my own ending.

I have more problems with this episode than any I’ve had so far this season. Why? It has a lot of live up to. Finales need to end leaving you feeling SOMETHING. This is the end result of the journey years in the making and it felt rushed. I wish last week’s episode was their final episode because it at least gave Rory and Amy a potential emotional ending.

Because I have more problems than praise, I’m going to start with the problems…

1. Rory’s Farewell. Rory’s final end didn’t do anything for the character. He seems just like a device of Amy’s. When he disappears, he leaves on a note of confusion. Not the most heroic end. His jump was heroic and felt like a good ending but then he comes back and…he appears to just disappear. In fact, the Doctor tried to convince Amy to just leave Rory and come with him in the Tardis (that’s how LITTLE the Doctor cares about Rory and for their relationship…in my opinion). I felt like his character got short changed but I’ve felt that way most of this season and off and on through his tenure. I feel terrible for his father Brian because this was just the sort of thing he feared would happen. I am just going to assume the first thing the Doctor does is tell him and then Amy’s parents. Maybe even pop in to Rory’s job and tell them he is never coming back… oh, and Amy’s friends.

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2. The way they went out. This was like a fireworks show where, after the finale, there are a few small explosions that leave you wanting more. The rooftop scene was done so well (albeit a little fast) that the graveyard (Back to the Future like gravestone scene) exit felt unnecessary and weird. How did the Angels know where to find them? Did the paradox not work? Are they stuck in one room for 60 years? If so, that’ s like a prison sentence!

3. Never to be parents. After hints this year I really thought that they would get to go back and raise River as a child before she regenerated and became their childhood friend. With as much attention this season on Amy and Rory wanting to be parents…why was it just dropped?

4. Choosing to save the world. Last episode took me to a place I didn’t think I would go after the beginning of this season. I was back on with the idea that Rory and Amy SHOULD be with the Doctor on his adventures. The problem was…I knew that this was their final episode. To me, that meant a lot had to be covered for the reversal to happen so quickly. it made it feel like last week’s resolution didn’t matter.

5. Mortality vs. the Doctor. A lot of hints were given this year on aging and the Doctor. This episode was rife with them! Between wrinkles, reading glasses, River’s warning to Amy about growing old, and Rory seen as an old man…what were we suppose to take from that? The Doctor never gets to see these two grow old. That is totally unresolved. The same goes for River. We know she is fated to never grow old. What were we suppose to take from that?

6. The Doctor can never go back to 1938. This reminds me of when the Doctor could never go to the dimension Rose got trapped on. THAT felt a little bit more permanent than this copy of an idea. What we are left with is the feeling that time is fixed…when it fits where they want to take the story. It’ s not fixed when they want to break it. I wanted there to be an emotional reason that they separated not a fakey science fiction reason.

I hate being negative but this had a lot of live up to. Rory and Amy are two of my favorite Doctor Who characters of all-time now and I had really high hopes for a finale AT LEAST as important or profound as the others of Moffat’s run. This didn’t feel like a finale. This felt like a quick and dirty ending to something that was forced to happen.

What I Liked:

1. 1930s Noir. The movie genre of the week concept done this season was fun! It’s something I love about the possibilities of Doctor Who. He go from the Old West, to a spaceship to 1930s New York and you love him for it. This private investigator novel angel was a great plot device that worked perfectly in a time travel story (even though reading a book to find the answers has been done by Moffat before). The opening to this setting really put me in that world and was expertly crafted.

2. The Weaping Angels. I felt like they redeemed in this last episode as true monsters important to the Doctor Who mythos. They will forever be on the Doctor’s radar now. In fact, he has more of an axe to grind with them now than the Daleks.

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3. River Song. The return of River makes a lot of sense with her parents leaving the show. She was around before Amy and Rory and, it seems, will be around after. When she watched Amy go towards the Angel…THAT was powerful.

4. Closure. I didn’t like how we got there and the implications but the scenes between Amy and Rory on the top of the building and then with Amy and the Doctor in the graveyard…POWERFUL. I wish those scenes were a bit more earned and meaningful in the grand scheme of the world and universe but they were really great moments between those characters. We got to see Amy choose possible death over life without Rory…one more time.

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My favorite quotes:

The Doctor: I always rip out the last page of a book. That way it doesn’t ave to end. I hate endings.

 

Doctor: Weren’t you the person who killed The Doctor?
River Song: Doctor Who?

 

Amy: Together or not at all.

 

River Song: One psychopath per Tardis, don’t you think?

 

River: Never let him see the damage. And never ever let him see you age. He doesn’t like endings.

I’ll end this from the episode where River died because I think it says a lot about this episode that came years later:

“”When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it’ll never end. But however hard you try you can’t run forever. Everybody knows that everybody dies and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever for one moment, accepts it. Everybody knows that everybody dies. But not every day. Not today. Some days are special. Some days are so, so blessed. Some days, nobody dies at all. Now and then, every once in a very long while, every day in a million days, when the wind stands fair, and the Doctor comes to call… everybody lives.”

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I HATE Being Patient! Patience is for wimps!

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Let’s get into the second to last episode with the Ponds as companions with “The Power of Three”. The Power of Three refers to both the combination of the Doctor, Rory, and Amy but also a cube. This episode has a lot of cubes. This time around I’m just going to take on the episode from beginning to end….kind of a commentary if you will. Here’s my blow by blow:

The intro scenes are getting weirder! This time it was less subtle. Yes they have been getting darker (foreboding?) but this time the time vortex really messes up the Tardis.

Once again, Rory’s dad, Brian, is so much fun. He just commends your attention. You find out that Amy and Rory have jobs when they aren’t with the Doctor. Amy writes travel articles for Magazines (influenced by her journeys through space and time no doubt) and Rory “heals the sick”. One travels and the other heals people like a “Doctor”…hmm. Amy also reveals that Rory and Amy’s journeys with the Doctor have taken up 10 years of their lives (on and off). This gives authors the ability to write novels and comics about their adventures during these other adventures for years! Also, it shows just how important the Ponds are to the Doctor.

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Sooooo….U.N.I.T. shows up. Don’t know who Unit is? That’s OK. U.N.I.T. hasn’t really been a part of Doctor Who since Steven Moffat took over and Matt Smith first showed up with a bow tie as the 11th Doctor. Suffice to say, Unit and the Doctor have a long running relationship that has changed over the years. In fact, one of the most important characters in the classic Who mythos was the leader of U.N.I.T. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart who we find out had a daughter, Kate, who is now in charge. If you want to know more about U.N.I.T., check out their Wikipedia entry here.

What is new is that U.N.I.T. is being run by their science division now as oppose to a strictly military operation. To me, this means they will be a true ally that the Doctor can get behind. Another fact that is unusual about U.N.I.T. is that this is a rare example of someone from the Doctor’s past who remembers him.

The cubes. Well, obviously I want one! I have a Tardis on my desk, a sonic screwdriver with me at all times in my backpack, and a fez in my comic book room (I know!)…and now I need one of these cubes. I’ll wait to get the official ones, though. Showing how people put them everywhere is just great! They would instantly become a part of our every day life if they just showed up. This was a great way to show how odd human behavior can be.

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I really enjoying seeing the Doctor try to sit still. Before the revelation to Amy of why he does what he does, I really felt that he just can’t sit still because he is incapable to sticking with anything for too long. He’s terminally impatient. He is always running from one disaster to the next monster never staying in place. That’s a lot of what this episode is about. Staying in place vs. endlessly jumping from one thing to the next. It’s why companions are temporary and the Doctor never changes his MO…they just aren’t built for the way he lives. The explanation of why the Doctor goes on his adventures and why he keeps coming back to Amy was easily my favorite part of the episode. It was exposition with heart. For all the cynical reasons people think that the Doctor does what he does here is the truth: he is an explorer!

I’ve been sensing that Amy and Ryan have become more and more distant from the Doctor. You get to see some of the reasons why in this episode. Amy’s friends can’t count on her and Rory’s colleges want a commitment from him for full-time service. It looks like they are finally going to have a normal life without him until the Doctor gives them an anniversary gift. Brian and the Doctor’s short exchange upon their return that is really telling. It made me really worry for the Ponds’ last episode next week.

The random things that the cubes do are brilliant. The fact that one plays the chicken dance loudly on a loop and has to be kept in a vault is something you would only see on Doctor Who. Eventually the plot is revealed. The Shackri serve: “The Tally”. They consider themselves the pest control of the universe. They have the ability to travel in time so they come back to Earth before they learn how to leave their solar system and attempt to wipe them out. The Doctor figures out how to fix everything quickly and they move on. The “Year of the Slow Invasion” ironically ended very quickly. It did seem to set up a larger story with this alien race’s intentions with humanity and I am sure we haven’t seen the last of them.

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The next episode doesn’t feel like the right way for Amy and Rory to go out. Everything was building to a head this season to determine how Amy and Rory would leave the show. This episode took the “out” they were building to and removed it. Strange. Well, next week is the last new Doctor Who Episode until Christmas. I can’t believe the wait is about to begin again!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The cubes gathered every bit of information on humankind in the most elaborate way possible just to find out that our hearts are how you take us down?
  • The Doctor’s heart…crashing? What was that? He seemed somewhat find except of a pain and then the defibrillator brings him back? What was with him saying it wouldn’t work because he is a Timelord and then it just magically worked?
  • One of 7 places on earth with access to the alien ship just happens to be the hospital Rory works at. Really?
  • The system’s interface looked like a cross between Davos and the Emperor from Star Wars. He was far too 1 dimensional.
  • The way The Doctor solves the problem was terrible! He fixes everything in 20 seconds. It was very anti-climatic.
  • This should have been two parts. The story of the cube and the story of their real life didn’t merge together too well for me.
  • The immediate about face of everything Amy and Rory had been talking about due to Brian’s words at the end. It just felt rushed. They saved the world dozens of times before. How was this so much different?

Quotes:

Rory: What do you think we do when we are not with you?

The Doctor: I imagine mostly kissing.

 

Rory: I’ve got my job.

The Doctor: Oh yes, Rory, the universe is awaiting but you’ve got a little job to do.

Rory: It’s not little. It’s important to me. Look. What you do isn’t all there is.

 

Rory: Did real life just get started?

Amy: I like it.

Rory: So do I.

 

Brian: What happened to the other people who traveled with you?

Doctor: Some left me. Some got left behind. And some…not many but…some died.

 

Doctor: Whatever you are. This planet…these people are precious to me and I will defend them to my last breath.

 

Kate Stewart: Science leads, he always told me. He said he learned that…from an old friend.

Doctor: We don’t let him down. We don’t let this planet down.

 

Doctor: I’m not running away. But this is one corner of one country on one continent on one planet that’s the corner of a galaxy that’s the corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying and never staying the same for even a millisecond and there is so much SO MUCH to see, Amy. Because it goes so fast….I’m not running away from things. I’m running to them…before they flare and fade forever.

Amy: But why do you keep coming back for us?

Doctor: Because you were the first. The first face this face saw…and you were seared on to my hearts.

 

Shackri: Before The Closure comes The Tally. The Shackri serve The Tally.

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“This Is What Happens When You Travel Alone For Too Long”

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Season 7 continues to be the season of overly fun locales and fantastic premises. What it also continues to be a continuation of certain themes. A quick overview of the premise of the episode:

A woman tells the story of “a man who fell from the stars”. This is meant to lead you to believe she is talking about the Doctor and yet it starts off with the story of who this story is really about…The Gunslinger. The gunslinger is the name given by the the towns folk to an alien cyborg bent on revenge in this episode that is all things Old West (with a Doctor Who spin). As the cyborg dispatches his prey you are teased with his next intended target: The Doctor (another great misdirect).

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The story takes us away from the alien landscape it began on and next to the Doctor, Amy, and Rory in the Old West to…a town called Mercy. They are greeted with signs that say “Keep Out” as well as a curious population of 80 crossed out and the number 81 written over it. The Doctor starts adding up all the things wrong with this city (Keep Out Signs, Electric Lamps before they are invented, and aggressive stares) and he decides to investigate further. The Doctor eventually determines that an alien genius has set up shop and is helping this town.

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Garrick Hagon (Biggs from Star Wars) as the Undertaker of Mercy

He eventually finds out that this alien (who calls himself…”The Doctor” as well) committed atrocities in a war before fleeing to Earth. He took unwitting citizens and turned them into cyborg death machines and other wartime evil. This is the heart of the story and where the parallels of these two doctors begin. Watching our Doctor realize what the other alien did was disturbing. His anger was so strong and overwhelming that it eventually resulted in one of the angriest I have ever seen this typically controlled character. His anger in the middle of this episode speaks to one of the chief reasons, I believe, the companions are necessary to the Doctor in the modern Doctor Who. He has almost limitless power and influence and because of this he needs to be grounded at all times. Those he inspires, at times, need to inspire him with his own words.

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The ending of this was both tragic and redeeming for the two aliens of the story. Central to the plot of this story was the question that if things done in war can be judged in times of peace. It made me thing of President Truman’s decision to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan. More specific to Doctor Who, it then made me think about the Doctor’s decision to end the Time War by killing the Daleks and the Time Lords. This choice, in a time of war, still haunts the Doctor and you could tell it was exactly what he was thinking and where his anger came from (although it’s not often that THIS version of the doctor has sooken on the subject directly).

Murray Gold’s score to this episode is spot on! It’s a perfect mixture of Doctor Who and a Western. The Western tropes were well utilized in this episodes. The point where the Doctor becomes the Marshal and the showdown at high noon…it’s the stuff of pure fun.

Season 7 has shown a more removed and colder Doctor. His time apart from the Ponds has changed him and Amy can tell. I don’t believe Rory cares too much about the Doctor at this point. He seems to just be going along for the ride. Amy also seems…tired of these adventures. Her disinterest in being part of the Doctor’s life has done a lot for me to be more willing to let them go. I think they both want to get on with their lives and gradually I’ve come to want the same for them. Speaking of the Doctor’s chilly behavior, lets look at the last three episode’s uncharacteristic behaviors:

  • Episode 1 – He kills Daleks by blowing them up…with no remorse.
  • Episode 2 – Needlessly kills Solomon by sending missiles after him.
  • Episode 3 – Is about to kill Jex in a fit of anger.

In addition to the fact that no one recognizes the Doctor, his growing coldness, there is also the theme of the Ponds wanting time away from the Doctor. This third theme seems to be central to the next episode. The Ponds are almost off the show. Will they make it out alive? In addition, each episode has had something egg-like involved (the Dalek “eggs”, the dinosaur eggs, and an egg-shaped spaceship). There has also been a few references to the Doctor’s Christmas List (a lead in to the Christmas episode?).

This episode had lots of amazing quotes. Here are a few:

The Preacher: His name is Joshua. It’s from the Bible. It means “The Deliverer”.
The Doctor: No it isn’t. I speak horse. His name is Susan and he wants you to respect his life choices.

Jex: Looking at you, Doctor, is like looking into a mirror. Almost. There’s rage there…like me. Guilt…like me. Solitude. Everything but the nerve to do what needs to be done. Thanks the gods my people weren’t relying on you to save them.

Amy: This is not how we roll and you know it. What’s happened Doctor? When did killing someone become an option?

The Doctor: They keep coming back, don’t you see? Every time I negotiate, I try to understand them…not today…no. Today, I honor the victims first. His, the Masters, the Daleks,…all the people who die because of MY MERCY.

Marshall: You’re both good men…you just forget it sometimes.

Doctor: Frightened PEOPLE… Give me a Dalek any day…

Check out the sneak peak at next week’s penultimate episode of the first half of the Season’s new episodes:

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

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Want an episode where you don’t need to know much about Doctor Who but is PURE fun? This episode is it!

This episode includes a larger ensemble then usual and I’m thankful for it. This is the kind of insane story you can only get from Doctor Who. Snakes on a Plane looks positively pedestrian compared to Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Right off the bat the story starts silly fun. Queen Nefertiti and the Doctor need to figure out why a ship the size of Canada is headed towards Earth before Earth defenses fire a missile at the ship. Typical dilemma for the Doctor but it gets so much crazier.

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Next stop…the Ponds! The Doctor picks them up and accidentally picks up Rory’ dad too. Rory’s dad steals the show in this episode! Played by actor Mark Williams (comedic actor from The Fast Show and Arthur Weasely from the Harry Potter movies), Brian’s attitude explains a lot about Rory. He finds himself in an impossible situation and adapts VERY quickly. You can understand how Rory was able to embrace his role in the insanity that is life with the Doctor.

The Doctor’s gang (he’s got a gang now!) are on a spaceship filled with dinosaurs AND robots voice by David Mitchell and Robert Webb. These two British comedians are two of my personal favorites. Between their Mitchell & Webb projects and Peep Show, these two voice robots that seem like they right out of a Douglas Adams story.

For all this to work dramatically, you need a villain. Well, we get a particular slimy one in the form of Solomon played by David Bradley (also of Harry Potter fame). He proves himself to be irredeemable, which is rare for a Doctor Who advisory. Every once in a while the Doctor shows us what happens when you do something terrible on his watch.

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The payoff for this episode is the last moments with Brian. It gave me a big smile to see him on his journeys and how his life was made more full by meeting the Doctor. I think the theme of this season has been revealed (I KNOW..it’s only been two episodes!). No one knows who the Doctor is and the big question “Doctor Who” keeps coming up. My prediction for the 50th anniversary: He forgets who he is some how and that’s the new status quo.

We’ll see what happens but this was a fun episode and next week’s old west “A Town Called Mercy” look equally fantastic.

Best moments:

Queen Nefertiti: Are you a queen? Amy: Yes, Yes I am.

- Reminiscent of Ghostbusters “Are you a God?”

Riddel: Egyptian Queen or not, I shall take you over my knee and spank you. Nefertitti: Try it and I will snap your neck in a heart beat.

- Flirting between a 14th century queen and a early 20th century big game hunter.

Doctor: “You don’t have any vegetable matter in your trousers; do you, Brian?” Brian: “Only my balls.” [Rory slaps his forehead in mortification.] Brian: “Golf balls. Grassy residue.”

Subtract Love. Add Anger.

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This is only for those who have already watched Doctor Who’ Season Seven premiere episode, “Asylum of the Daleks”. So navigate away if you are #newtoWho or haven’t watched your DVR or torrent yet!

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Ok, that lot is gone let’s dig in! Wow! What a interesting episode. There were twists and turns and misdirections the whole way through. Sure, the big reveal was forecasted throughout the entire episode it was still heart wrenching to SEE it. I am being honest…I saw it coming. The fact that the Daleks have this new ability to take human form was revealed twice before the reveal of Oswin. The only thing holding me back was the idea that she is suppose to be the next companion. She still can be, though, because nothing is simple with the Doctor and she certainly made an impression on him.

The new MO for the Doctor was brought up at the very beginning of this episode and made stronger at the end. If you remember the season six finale, everyone in the universe thinks the Doctor is dead now. After this, even the Daleks have never heard of him now. He has become a myth again and this is something I think will continue to be a problem for him to keep up.

So the reveal…did you see it coming? Here were the clues:

  • Soufflés need milk. Its the details that tip off the Doctor and this one was big for him.
  • She survived on a planet with just Daleks for almost a year.
  • She said Dalek tech was easy to hack.
  • Her windows to the outside world were all Dalek eye shaped.
  • No one can see her but she can see them.
  • The reveal that when you transform you see things that aren’t really there.
  • She knew the transformation happens by subtracting love and adding anger.

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Lots of clues, I know! Here is a list of my favorite parts of the episode:

  • The Doctor’s Dalek title: “The Predator”
  • The reason the Daleks have never killed the Doctor: The find hatred beautiful and his hatred of them is grand.
  • The new Dalek look (human sleeper agents) is far more scary than their bulky look.
  • Rory saying “We both know that I love you more than you love me”. Gut-wrenching!
  • The reveal that Rory wants children and now Amy can’t have them (because of Demon Run).
  • The fact that the Daleks have grown stronger over the years because they had to to fight the Doctor.
  • Now the Daleks have never heard of the Doctor.

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This was pretty unapproachable for people #newtoWho. Weird considering this big campaign to get people into the show. You had to really understand the Ponds, who the Doctor is, and who the Daleks are for this to work. Those who are initiated, however, probably had a great time. What did you think? Let me know on Twitter – @NickBorelli

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