17 posts tagged doctor who
I’ll be live tweeting/live blogging the awesome happenings at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles this weekend. This convention is one of the largest Doctor Who specific cons in America. count.
Follow our Twitter and track the hashtag #TDHNGally1Diary. These posts will be a fan’s eye view at the panels, special guests, cosplay, and other events. Keep checking our site for long form posts as well. If you’re going to be at Gally and you want to find me, leave a message in the general ask box.
Fans who missed tonight’s Doctor Who Christmas Special on BBC America are missing much more than usual. This special introduced the new companion Clara, portrayed by Jenna Louise-Coleman. [Photo courtesy of BBC America]
The episode starts with the Doctor continuing his mission to stay off the grid. He camps out in Victorian era London, enlisting the help of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax to keep everyone wanting his help away. Meanwhile, an alien consciousness occupies a human host and creates snowmen to attack the citizens of London. Clara, an incredibly curious governess knows about the Doctor and wants him to save the day.
In many instances, the plot plays a secondary role to characterization in this episode. Several references to the Doctor’s identity myth, Sherlock Holmes, and Game of Thrones serve to frame the Doctor’s battle between the part of him who wants to get involved and the one who wants to avoid the pain of getting attached to people. Strax, Jenny, and Madame Vastra move from being one-off sidekicks to allies of the Doctor with interesting backstories and more fleshed out personalities.
Clara’s official introduction made a very good impression on me. She is not afraid of danger, and she’s incredibly curious. She isn’t afraid to question, flirt with, or answer back the Doctor. Like previous companions, she believes very strongly in the Doctor’s ability to save the world from alien harm. Her sassiness reminds me a lot of Donna. A lot of what fans found endearing in Oswin is also present in Clara.
Christmas specials rarely end in a cliffhanger, but this one leaves the biggest questions unanswered. We know Oswin from Asylum of the Daleks and Clara are the same person but we don’t know how it’s possible. The episode mentioned the Ponds but made no mention at all of River and how the Doctor currently views their marriage. Coming up with theories to explain it all will keep fans very busy during the hiatus.
Overall, this Christmas special is quickly becoming my favorite of them all. It had the pacing and gravity of a regular episode but with the benefit of extra time. Clara was defnitely the best part of this episode for me, and I’m looking forward to the rest of Series 7.
Fans expected The Angels Take Manhattan to have a depressing ending, but we never never knew how. [Don’t worry, this post will not spoil exactly what happens.] My heart was breaking while I watched. Fans are going to miss Amy and Rory in a huge way, and here’s the top 5 reasons why:
1) We’ll Miss Rory’s Quiet Strength:
Rory started out on the show as Amy’s awkward boyfriend. People laughed at him being a nurse. Deep inside though, there was a Roman Centurion ready to fight. Once he got used to the awkwardness of traveling with Amy and the Doctor, he brought this side out. He didn’t need to say that he was a tough guy, he just did it. The beginning of A Good Man Goes To War was the best example of this.
2) We’ll Miss Amy’s Silly Yet Serious Sassyness:
Amy always had a witty response for every time Eleven acted the fool. She wasn’t afraid to flirt to get good results in tricky situations. When things got rough, Amy was able to turn off the goofy but keep the attitude. Her interactions with Riddell and Nerfetiti in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is an excellent example of Amy’s ability to balance this element.
3) Amy and Rory’s Timey Wimey Fairy Tale Romance:
Amy and Rory are a perfect ship to support. There was no maybes or “will they won’t they” about their relationship. The dream wedding was inevitable. [Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of BBC America] Amy and Rory were willing to make huge sacrifices for each other in Asylum of the Daleks, and this is what makes their relationship so special. River was the result of their enduring love for each other. Giving the Doctor another companion to keep his emotions in check also shows that he plays an important part in their relationship.
4) We’ll Miss Amy’s Character Development:
We watched Amy grow up through the last two and a half seasons. She started out as an emotionally insecure 12 year old and became become a stoic wife and mother. Both “old Amy” and “young Amy” in The Girl Who Waited showed a woman who was struggling with conflicting emotions in a powerful way. Even the choices she made in the season finale showed incredible maturity compared to the beginning of series 5. If Amy had more adventures with the Doctor, we would be able to see her grow as a person even more.
5) We’ll Miss Rory’s Loyalty
Having a devoted partner like Rory is every person’s dream. Rory waited 2,000 years for Amy to get out of the Pandorica. Who else can say they were willing to do that for the one they loved? His loyalty wasn’t exclusively reserved for Amy. He supported the Doctor, River, and all that was good in the universe as well.
The Doctor is rarely patient enough to stay in one place for an extended period of time. [Picture courtesy of BBC America] Mysterious black cubes appearing on Earth makes him change his mind. Chris Chibnall uses this episode to develop even further the themes introduced in Pond Life.
Amy and Rory start to make plans for the future that do not involve traveling with the Doctor. Amy accepts a job as a travel writer and agrees to be a bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding several months away. Rory wants to become a full time nurse again. Although both are looking forward to settling into normal life, the element of surprise is always there.
Although the cubes at first appear to do nothing, they begin to act in suspicious ways. The Doctor and Ponds team up with U.N.I.T to investigate where the cubes came from and what their objective is. While U.N.I.T studies the cubes’ movement, agents of the villains are inside Rory’s hospital. Eventually the cubes emit signals that cause everyone to go into cardiac arrest around the world. The Zygons believe that humans deserve to die because they are inferior compared to other advanced races.
Fans will notice many parallels with the second series Christmas special. Both The Power of Three and Christmas Invasion involve a plot where aliens use mysterious population control methods to disable/kill at least a third of the entire human population. The Atraxi used blood types while the Zygons used the heart’s electrical impulses. Even with these similarities, the episode does not feel like a rehash.
Classic Doctor Who fans will enjoy the reappearance of the Zygons. Although the Zygons were mostly out of view until the Doctor and Ponds confront them, they still posed a serious threat. Even though I may not have seen the original serials, I appreciate the homages to episodes in the distant past.
Old and new school fans will also love Kate Stewart, the current leader of U.N.I.T. She is the daughter of the beloved Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who was played by the deceased Nicholas Briggs. Not only is she another fitting tribute to the Brig, she also shifts U.N.I.T back towards an anti alien invasion military agency allied with the Doctor. This apprerance is much more in line with how Classic Who used U.N.I.T. Previous New Who episodes show the agency as either somewhat antagonistic or completely opposed to the Doctor.
The friendship between the Ponds and the Doctor is hard to break, and this episode does a wonderful job of showing it. Unfortunately this is the second to last appearance of the Ponds. Next week’s midseason finale will be sure to conclude their story in epic fashion.
The entire episode is built upon the crossover dreams of a nine year old (or adult nerds at heart). Photo courtesy of BBC America On the surface, the premise seems outlandish, but this is exactly what makes this episode a fun departure from the high stakes drama of Asylum of the Daleks.
Silurians looking for a new planet to live on filled a spaceship with dinosaurs and other precious ancient rarities. Solomon, an unethical collector of rare items, infiltrated the ship attempting to steal everything. He defeated the Silurians but ended up stuck on board. The ship is now on a crash course towards Earth, and the Doctor must avert disaster..
He recieves the distress call and assembles a gang to investigate. Queen Nerfetiti, an Indiana Jones-eque wild game hunter named John Ridell, and the Ponds answer the Doctor’s call. Rory’s father Brian is swept up into the action by accident.
Sherlock BBC fans will definitely appreciate this episode. Rupert Graves (Lestrade) guest plays John Ridell. Graves does a great job with portraying a character who undergoes a serious change in attitude. He thinks that he can act like a jerk towards Nerfetiti and Amy and get away with it, but Nerfetiti threatens to break him in two. Over the course of the episode he gets a serious lesson in how to respect women.
Queen Nerfetiti steals the spotlight. The episode begins with her actively hitting on the Doctor and wishing for a change of pace from her life in the Egyptian court. The writers turned her disaapearance from history 14 years into her husband’s reign into a plot worth watching. She is fiercely protective of her ability to make her own decisions, and this rubs off on Amy. Nerfetiti is not afraid to use weapons and other means to defend herself. Her interactions with Ridell are the most interesting portions of the episode.
Continuing on the themes from the prequel and last week, Rory and Amy are still struggling to settle into domesticity. The Doctor’s overwhelming presence in their lives comforts them yet scares them at the same time. Brian finds out about their adventures in the worst way possible, which only adds to their stress. However, Rory uses the trip as a chance to bond with his father, which adds to his character development considerably.
The Doctor tries to keep a low profile, but he can’t avoid it the universe’s spotlight. He is glad that the ship’s computers do not recognize his existence. At the same time, he also has some pent up emotions waiting to be released on the next opponent who crosses his path. I believe the ethical issues that arise from his dealings with Solomon will be an important clue in how the rest of the season plays out.
Check back next week for a review of next week’s aliens versus cowboys episode!
Series 7 of Doctor Who is starting with a bang. [Photo courtesy of BBC America.] The Pond Life prequel webisodes gives the audience more insight into the lives of Amy and Rory. They set the stage for their exit from the show. Asylum of the Daleks keeps the momentum going by rewriting the story on the Doctor’s oldest enemy.
Pond Life was penned by veteran Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall. While the first four are moments of hilarity, the last one was a punch in the gut. Overall, Amy and Rory can never have completely normal lives after they leave the TARDIS. Bits of life outside of planet Earth invade their home repeatedly. The Doctor is wandering the universe, trying not to draw attention from his numerous enemies. A companionless Doctor is an emotionally unstable one. This point will most likely form a portion of the series 7 overall arc.
The Doctor’s decision making and timing in Part 5 could not be any worse. He leaves the Ponds a voicemail all about his adventures, but he decides to erase it. In the meantime, Amy and Rory are heading for splitsville. They’re arguing, yelling at each other, and Rory walks out of their house with his things in a bag. Amy is on the verge of tears, wishing that the Raggedy Man could come and save the day.
Asylum of the Daleks starts where Pond Life ends. Rory serves Amy divorce papers while she is on a fashion shoot. The Daleks interrupt their plans by teleporting them to the Asylum. They are reunited with the Doctor who tried and failed to keep a low profile in the universe. Amy, Rory, and the Doctor are commanded by the Daleks to help them.
Steven Moffat has successfully turned the Dalek storyline around. They are no longer a running joke, but scary villains that will endanger the universe. The Asylum keeps the broken and rejected Daleks away from everyone else. They have unlimited reserves of pure hatred, but nothing to do with it. Broken zombie Daleks choking while saying “Exterminate” add to the horror of the Asylum. On the Asylum, the Daleks have created the ability to convert others into Daleks. Although this ability seems to be taken from the Cybermen modus operandi, this raises their villain profile considerably.
Jenna Louise Coleman (who was casted as the new companion Clara), makes her first official appearance in this episode. She plays Oswin, a human who was on a spaceship that is stranded on the Asylum. She has been fighting the assimilation for over a year, long after the rest of the survivors perished. She guides the Doctor and Ponds through their journey in the Asylum. Oswin is a very likable character. She’s playful, sassy but is also troubled by her fight against the Daleks. It was easy for me to root for her despite the odds. Although it is unclear how Oswin will become Clara, the emotional groundwork in the eyes of fans has been set.
Despite the Doctor’s efforts, Amy loses her protection from Dalek assimilation, and begins to lose her human emotions. Rory believing that he loves Amy more than the other way around gives her his anti Dalek protection. This heartbreaking moment allows the Ponds to talk out their problems and fight assimilation together. Amy manages to keep the Daleks from stripping her humanity away, but Oswin is desperate for a way out but the Daleks have gotten to her mind as well.
The Doctor defeats the Daleks in a move that completely overturns 49 years of Doctor Who history. He ends the Asylum by erasing the collective memories of the Daleks inside. 3485823490 Daleks chanting “Doctor, Who?” over and over again drive the point of the Doctor’s desire not to make ripples in the universe. Amy and Rory at the end of the episode have also healed the cracks in their relationship.
Although the end of the Ponds will be sad to see play out, Doctor Who series 7 is off to a great start. This episode had a good balance of emotional impact, action, and character development, and I hope this trend continues. Check back next week for another Doctor Who review.
The best part of last Saturday’s screening was the invitation to BBC America’s press room. I sat in a reporter’s roundtable with Matt Smith, Karen Gillian, and executive producer Caroline Skinner.
All of the interviews contain information on what to expect from this upcoming season, their opinions on the end of the Ponds, their experiences while The Angels Take Manhattan on location, and a lot more! Special thanks to my coworker Kristina for editing and uploading these videos.
Listen around 2:45 for my question to Caroline Skinner:
Check back tonight for my review of Asylum of the Daleks!
The mood inside of the theater after the screening of Asylum of the Daleks was electric. Although many were raising their hands or lining up at the microphones, only a select few were able to share their thoughts.
An official recording will be released in the near future. For now, here are some of the Q&A highlights:
- The Pond Life webisodes released this week will allow the audience to see what happens in between random adventures in space and time.
- Blushing and flustered discussion of Arthur Darvill’s kissing skills.
- Discussion of how unstable the Doctor is when he is travelling on his own.
- The Daleks evolving from punchline to worst nightmare.
- Karen’s eagerness to star as Lady MacBeth if she got the chance to perform Shakespeare.
- Composer Murray Gold making a surprise appearance.
- A kid asking why Amy gets into so much trouble.
Hundreds of people were waiting for the Doctor Who cast to pull up in front of Manhattan’s Ziegfield Theatre.
On one side of 54th street was a very long barricade of fans waiting outside for their chance to get an autograph. On the other side was the standby line as well as the press area. Before the arrival, Chris Hardwick came to the front of the theater to greet fans and the press.
Event staff told us photographers the cast would arrive in 2 Deloreans. The fans who didn’t know ahead of time were in shock as they pulled up. Everyone started chanting “DOCTOR WHO! DOCTOR WHO”. Matt Smith got out of the first car.
Karen Gillan and executive producer Caroline Skinner got out of the second car.
Chris Hardwick excitedly greeted the cast, followed by posing for press photos.
After posing for photographs, the cast greeted fans on the other side of the street before going inside.
After the cast went inside, I took some photos of the Deloreans:
Check out the Facebook album for even more arrival photos! Check back tonight and tomorrow for even more inside scoop!
I obtained a press pass from the nice folks at BBC America for tonight’s screening at the Ziegfield! Keep checking back here Whovians for more exciting updates!