Monday, November 24, 2014

The Sixth Doctor, The Redeemer? - I.D.

Feeling a little bit let down by the Cyberman trilogy, and neither series really satisfying my itch to get Doctor Who outside of the Pertwee/UNIT trappings, I decided to listen to another audio play. Rather than turn to the Companion Chronicles, I dived back into the main range, but with a carefully selected and targeted approach.

For this I chose the Sixth Doctor. I'm pretty sure this has come across already but I actually rather like the Sixth Doctor. Weird I know. But I think the fact I introduced myself to the Big Finish version the same time I was trying to cope with the TV version has helped him immensely. And this serial is another reason why.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Return to Audio - Cyberman 2?

With Capaldi's first season now wrapped up we have an idea of just who the Twelfth Doctor is. Which seems to be an amalgamation of Three and Six. So far I like him, but for some reason I'm not hundred percent sure yet. It certainly one of the most consistently good seasons we've ever seen from New Who though.

Now it's time to return to Classic Who, and I'm taking the opportunity to dive back to Hartnell and start a third march through Space and Time. However, the articles are only up to Pertwee, and I managed a bit of Baker the First and a lot more of McGann, so you've got that next week. But first, Big Finish's Cyberman 2?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gender bends and farewell - Dark Water and Death in Heaven

Well, that wasn't the most explosive finale we've had. Well, apart from the obvious... Sorry. Too soon?

One of the things about New Who has been trying to separate the Cybermen ever further from feeling like discount Daleks they became in later Classic Who. Russell T. Davies did it be introducing the body horror to the show, but Moffat takes that idea and goes even further, with not just body harvesting, but harvesting the dead.

Which is quite a big thing. Has this taken them too far for any future Cyber stories, or was this a one off deal because of the uploads? But anyway, we're getting away from the important stuff. The dark water and the Cybermen was a great concept, fantastically hinted at in vague terms before the reveal. Unfortunately it was completely ruined by promotional material, but that's a rant for another day. My flatmate barely watches any TV or follows stuff on the net, and he got to enjoy the Cybermen reveal in all it's glory, and it worked amazingly on him. I'm sorta jealous.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Case for the Coming and Going Companions

Since this week's episode was part 1 of the Season finale, I won't be posting a review of it. Yet. I'll be saving it and reviewing the both parts as one episode, just like the serials of yore. So this week I'm going to chat about the companions.

I stated early in Capaldi's run that I like how Moffat, and before him RTD, gave room for lots of adventures that we don't see on screen. Yet one of the complaints being thrown at Moffat by long standing Whovians is how he treats companions. I'm not talking about the raising of them to focus points of the show. Russell T Davies did that, Moffat just kept it going, and really it's what the show has to do to keep the interest of a modern TV audience.

No, the complaint is those companions that don't stay on the TARDIS, but merely treat it as something they can jump on occasionally when they fancy an adventure. Clara personifies this, having barely spent any time just living on board, but latter day Amy and Rory were just as guilty. But this is a symptom of a Doctor that has great control of his ship. Something that wasn't always the case.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Straight out of child's book - In the Forest of the Night

There's been a lot of talk this season of Doctor Who maybe starting to not be for kids any more. Mostly because of its later time slot. It's the sort of topic I'd avoid, it not really fitting into the whole narrative approach I'm interested in, except 'In the Forest of the Night' shuts all those critics up.

An episode about a forest springing up over night just to protect us, while also managing to fit in a missing sister and a bunch of escaped animals from the zoo is perfect kid fodder. Not to mention we set the whole thing up as a school trip. If there was ever a more kid-friendly episode of Who, I think we'd all be diabetics after it.

Besides Who’s reputation has always been scaring the bejesus out of kids and them watching behind a sofa.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clara plays at being the Doctor - Flatline

Again we've got another episode with the focus firmly on Clara. I had a friend moan to me about this recently, feeling that while Coleman is doing an amazing job, the show perhaps needs a bit more focus on the new Doctor. And I can certainly agree with that. Even after last week which was a Doctor heavy episode I don't feel like we've spent quite enough time with Capaldi as Moffat has a very clear idea of his Clara/Danny storyline.

That said, this episode was a great way to focus on the Clara without losing the Doctor. The Doctor stuck in the TARDIS while the companion has to do the work is one of those tropes that seems incredibly obvious but doesn't get trotted that often. The only other example I can think of is 'The Horns of Nimon' and the less we talk about that the better – partly because that review isn't out yet.

I think 'Flatline' is a spectacular concept. The 2D aliens is a great idea, and the visuals to accompany them were fantastic. The shrinking TARDIS was fun, and the Doctor's frustration at not understanding how someone could do that was well played, and his realisation worked brilliantly. I felt there was more talking to himself with impersonations too, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The community workers being those that needed saving was an interesting twist, and it was brave that one of the survivors was clearly the 'evil' one, and for the Doctor to quietly admit that maybe he shouldn't have.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Mummy only the victim can see! - Mummy on the Orient Express

A Mummy on the Orient Express. In Space. That's a concept only Doctor Who could get away with. But by embracing the very epitome of an Agatha Christie story (yet again), and having the train and its occupants act like they're in the twenties or thirties, this episode absolutely sings.

The use of a jazz version of Don't Stop Me Now alone is absolutely genius. It's one of those touches that settle it in the future, yet still have it feel like a time past, just like BioShock Infinite did with it's cover of Tears for Fears. But the song choice isn't a throwaway choice either. Don't Stop Me Now could almost be a rallying cry for this episode's endgame.