Category Archives: The Doctor 101- Doctor Who

A collection of posts about Doctor Who for newcomers to the show

Doctor Who Season 9 Expectations

With less than two months to go until Doctor Who Season 9 begins airing, I have begun to think more and more about what I am hoping for in these next few stories. I had mixed feelings about how we left off last season, I didn’t particularly like “Dark Water” or “Death in Heaven.” I did enjoy the Christmas special, though. In any case, I am excited to see where this next season takes us. I am mostly interested in the growth of Capaldi as the Doctor and Clara as his companion, and of course we will be seeing Missy again. I haven’t read a lot of rumor or theories about what is going to happen in the next season, and that is probably on purpose. I want to go in fresh, as fresh as I can, and maybe be surprised a little. That being said, I still have a few expectations of what we might see in the upcoming series. Here are my top three:

Clara Finally Gets a Good Run

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I like Clara Oswald. I think she is smart and witty and exactly what the Doctor needs for a companion. I have had a really hard time with her at times, though. I don’t see it as here fault, however. I think the stories and the writers are to blame for most of my issues with Clara. I am fully expecting that to change this season. We shouldn’t have the distraction of finding out what she really is, like we did in the second half of season 7. It was built up all season long that she was the impossible girl who kept dying and kept showing up, and then we found out she wasn’t really anything special, she just fell into the Doctor’s time stream, and as a result got to see and help every version of the Doctor. A fact she seems to have forgotten when 11 regenerates and she just can’t recognize Capaldi as the Doctor. I mean, this point still bugs me. Out of all the companions, she should have understood the whole regeneration process, that he is still the Doctor, just a different face, but she can’t grasp that fact in “Deep Breath.” Sorry, slight tangent there. We also should have no awkward love triangle this season. Danny Pink is dead, and for the sake of Clara and the Doctor, and frankly, myself, let’s hope he stays dead. Without the two distractions mentioned above, Clara should be set to have a good run this season as the Doctor’s companion. I am expecting that, hoping for that. She deserves it.

Missy Won’t be a Major Factor Throughout the Season

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I think we have all heard by now that Missy isn’t going to stay dead in season 9. She will be back, and that has been confirmed. I am expecting, though, that she will not play a major role in season 9 like she did in season 8. Maybe I should classify this as a hope, rather than an expectation. I don’t mind the Missy character, but I feel like we did that last season, and I don’t know why we need to bring her back. I would like to see Capaldi’s Doctor move past the events of last season and see some fresh new stories. The character has proven to be one of the more popular aspects of last season, so I could be completely wrong with this expectation. Michelle Gomez also appeared with Capaldi and Jenna Coleman at San Diego Comic Con, hinting that the three of them may become a trio of traveling buddies on the show. This could lead to a different, awkward love triangle. Whenever the Master/Mistress is involved, you never know what could happen.

Capaldi Will Not be Getting a Haircut

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We saw his hair start to get longer throughout the season last year, then it got shorter again in the finale, then longer again for the Christmas special. The look in the Christmas special came after he had been traveling for a bit on his own. It is a wilder, less restrained look, and it appears to be what we will be seeing for season 9. I think we will be getting much more of this Doctor’s character, and I think he will be getting wilder and less restrained. I think his confidence is going to go up. Gone will be the days of him wondering whether he is a good man, feeling unsure of himself. He will be confident. We see it in the season 9 trailer when he says “I’m the Doctor and I save people.” I think that line combined with the quick scene we get of the Doctor putting on a pair of RayBans epitomize a shift in the Doctor’s outlook. He is believes in himself as a hero and he can do anything. I think that sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to see it play out. I got a little bored last year with all the indecision and self-doubt. That is not who the Doctor typically is. It looks like, starting with this next season, that’s not who he will be either.

There you have it, three of my expectations or hopes for this upcoming season. Whatever happens, I can’t wait for September 19. It will be another great season. What about you? What are you hoping to see in the upcoming season? Let me know in the comments, or you can email me at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com. And in case you haven’t seen the trailer for the upcoming season, check it out here:

 

A Letter to my Non-Whovian Family and Friends

 

To Whom it May Concern:

Maybe that’s too formal a greeting for this letter, but it’s too late now, it’s there, and we’re going to roll with it. I am addressing you, all of you, whom I may know, who do not like Doctor Who. Yes, you folks who simply roll you eyes when I mention the series, or make a disgusted face, or refuse to understand my constant references to the show. This letter is for you. Not to win you over, because the truth is, i don’t really care if you like Doctor Who or not. To be fair, and to give full disclosure, while I am not bothered by whether you like the series, please know that behind your back I am secretly judging you because you do not like the series. I just want this post to be honest…

Sorry, tangent.

The point of this letter is for you to be informed about why I like Doctor Who. I don’t know if you’ll ever get the series, but I want you to get why i like the series. In this letter I am going to explain three reasons why I like Doctor Who: The history and mythos that has been created around the character, the Doctor himself, and simply because it is good, clean fun. Hopefully, at the end of the letter, you can at least understand why I like Doctor Who.

The History and Mythos of the Show

One of my favorite things I hear from you non-Whovian types is this: “Oh, I tried Doctor Who once, and I just didn’t get it, so I don’t watch it.” Doctor Who has been delivering classic stories and entertaining fans around the world for over 50 years. While the series was “rebooted” in 2005, the reboot was a continuation of the original series, feeding off the history that had been built since 1963. There are hundreds of episodes of Doctor Who, hundreds of stories. In fact, there are so many stories that we don’t even know where some of them are. The original tapes have been lost, or are secretly being kept hidden from us, depending on who you believe (the truth is probably somewhere in the middle). The Doctor we see on TV today is the same character we watched in 1963, and by we, I mean other people who were actually alive back in 1963. There have been thirteenish incarnations of the Doctor, and each one has been different and unique, some I have liked more than others. The point is, there is a lot of Doctor Who out there. So much Doctor Who, I would say it is almost impossible to decide whether you like the show based on just trying it once.

Any series that has been on the air for any length of time has had its ups and downs. Not every season is the same in caliber or quality. Look at a show like The Office that was on for like eight or nine seasons. Overall, the series was pretty good, but there were some stretches in there that were pretty sketchy. It only makes sense that there would be runs of Doctor Who that were the same. If all your basing it on is some very old reruns you saw on PBS, I implore you to give it more than just one try. You may find a Doctor you like, or you may find a story you like, something that might draw you in. As pointed out, there is a lot of material, so there is probably something for everyone.

The fact that there is so much history behind the show is something that I love. I don’t get sick of learning about Doctor Who, because there is so much and I will never learn it all. While to most of you, my non-Whovian friends, I may seem like I know a lot or that i am obsessed, let me just say that compared to a lot of other folks out there, i know nothing. It is so intriguing to look back at the history of the show and the characters and there is just so much. As a history buff, I love it. It is a back story and history that is as intriguing as Star Trek’s or Star Wars’. I know, it seems like with this latest surge in popularity for the show that it’s all about the fangirls, I promise there is much more depth there.

The Doctor Himself

Last Christmas, written by Steven Moffat

 

To be clear, his name is simply the Doctor. Well, that’s not actually true. We don’t really know his name. Doctor is the name he chose for himself. In any case, it’s not “Doctor Who.” In reality, the name of the show is really kind of a running joke throughout. Whenever the Doctor introduces himself as the Doctor, it’s almost always followed up with, “Doctor? Doctor Who?” That’s really not the point here, though. The second reason I really like the show is the main character, the Doctor himself. I know that when I write this next part, it might be confusing to you. I think the Doctor is easy to identify with. Wait…Easy to identify with? He is an alien, time traveller who is currently over 1000 years old. How is that easy to identify with? He is also a generally good guy, but he’s not perfect. He has had to make decisions and choices that he’s not proud of, but he somehow finds a way to keep going and generally tries to make the universe a better place. Don’t we all think of ourselves as the heroes of our own stories? And don’t we all make mistakes? The Doctor reminds me of myself, in some small way, in that I am always trying to move forward and make the best of whatever situation I might find myself in. Like the Doctor, I have the hardest time forgiving myself. Like the Doctor, I would like to think I am generally a good person. Like the Doctor, I have an almost magical blue box that can travel throughout space and time…oh wait…I guess two out of three then.

I also really like that in a world that almost worships violence, the Doctor uses his brain to get out of trouble. He never carries a gun, and his weapon of choice is his sonic screwdriver (or spoon). Do you know what a screwdriver does? It fixes things, usually without making other things or people dead. The Doctor is a fun example for my kids of someone who is not afraid to stand up to a bully, but does it without violence. He uses words and reason instead. I think we need more heroes like that in the world today.

It’s Good Clean Fun

That actually leads into my last point. Doctor Who is fun, entertaining series, that I can watch, and I don’t get nervous when my kids are in the room. The stories keep me entertained, and some are even a little creepy, but I don’t worry about the language or the sex or the violence. In fact, I am tempted to just have my kids watch nothing but Doctor Who and see what happens. i think they we would be nicer to each other, instead of always beating each other up. Seriously, some days it’s like the Thunder Dome at my house. Doctor Who was originally a kids’ show, and it hasn’t totally lost its roots. It is still family friendly, but they have made it more appealing for adults. Or maybe, we as adults are just more open-minded to this kind of entertainment than previous generations were. In any case, the show is good clean fun, and we need more of it in TV today.

That’s it, my friends, three reasons why i like Doctor Who. No I turn it over to you. What questions might you non-Whovians have about Doctor Who? Let me know in the comments, or email me at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com. I would love to hear from you.

For my fellow Whovians, please feel free to share this with your non-Whovian friends through Facebook of Twitter or Google +. Also, feel free to let me know why you love Doctor Who. Everyone has their reasons, and yours may be totally different from mine.

I can say this, i do believe Doctor Who could be for everyone, if everyone gave it a chance, and everyone should.

Geekily Yours,

Jake Dietz, the geeky mormon

 

New Who at 10: The Girl in The Fireplace

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We are finally back with some more New Who at 10. This time, the fan favorite episode we are revisiting is “The Girl in the Fireplace.” Not a surprise that this is a fan favorite, since it was written by the Moffat. Of course, again, this is pre show runner Moffat, so it was before we blamed him for every nit picky thing we don’t like about the series, and just enjoyed his normally complex stories. It seems like most of his work during the RTD days was far and away the best writing on the show. His episodes seem a little darker, a little more serious. Plus, he gives us some great “monsters.” This time, the monsters are some clockwork robots who are trying to piece together their ship so they can get home. The one thing their missing is a “brain” for their ship, and since their ship is the Madame de Pompadour, they need her brain, the original Madame de Pompadour’s brain, when she reaches the right age that is. This means they have created a portal to her time through her fireplace, and this is what the Doctor discovers and is able to talk to her first as a little girl, and then as she gets older, since time is passing more quickly on the other side of the fireplace. In the end, the Doctor has to take a one way trip to her time to save her from the robots. He’s ok with that, because he wouldn’t mind spending the rest of his time with her. However, in classic Doctor Who and Moffat fashion, the time travel rule just barely established is broken, and the Doctor is able to return to his TARDIS. When he goes back to get Madame de Pompadour, it is too late, she has already passed away.

That’s the summary of the episode. A couple of thoughts I had this time around. This was really a last-ditch effort by the show runners to give the Doctor a romance life outside of Rose, and somehow sever those romantic ties. They already brought Mickey back, but it was too late. The romance was what everyone was expecting, and they couldn’t hide from it. The whole time, as I was watching this, I felt like the Doctor was cheating on Rose. I think that may have been a common feeling among fans, so what should have been a nice, yet gif romance felt wrong somehow. I really struggled with this because it almost makes the Doctor out to be a player (do the kids still use that term?), when I don’t think he is. Personally, I like when the Doctor has no romantic connections, to his companions or anyone else. I have enjoyed Capaldi’s Doctor for that reason, until the whole weird Clara-Doctor-Danny Pink love triangle, then it was ruined. I think at this point, there was nothing that could stop the romance between Rose and the Doctor, so this last effort was doomed to be a failure.

The other thought I had was how similar this story was to Amy’s first story, minus the fish fingers and custard. The Doctor meets Madame de Pompadour when she is a little girl, finds her in danger and promises to be right back, comes back years later. In “The Eleventh Hour,” the Doctor shows up and meets Amy as a little girl, Amelia, actually, she is danger, he wants to help and promises to be right back, comes back years later. Both Amy and Madame de Pompadour believe he was an imaginary friend from their childhood, only to find out as adults that he was in fact real. Madame de Pompadour was, in fact, the original girl who waited. Just a little thought I had.

I really enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I loved that Madame de Pompadour was equal to the Doctor in almost every way, which is probably why he was so attracted to her. Plus, I enjoyed the interaction between Mickey and Rose. The blatant disobeying the Doctor to go look for the robot on the ship is why we love his companions. He always tells them to not run off, and of course they do. Plus the robots, the clockwork robots, were really cool monsters. It was cool to see them return in “Deep Breath.” But my favorite part of this episode, by far, is the horse. The horse on the spaceship, and the Doctor breaking through the horse to rescue Madame de Pompadour. That is a classic Doctor Who moment, and for me, one of the most memorable moments from this episode. This is another example of Moffat at his best, and a prime example of why he took over as the show runner for the series.

I would definitely recommend this episode. It is one of my favorite Rose episodes, probably because she plays such a minor role in the story. This is also where I start really feeling bad for Mickey, because this is where he starts realizing that he is losing Rose, and he’ll never really have her back. And, apparently, she is tough to get over because in the end, he choses to stay in an alternate reality where she doesn’t exist, instead of going home where she does, just to get away from her. Talk about being over dramatic.

What did you think of this episode? Is it one of your favorites from the 10th Doctor, or is it average at best? Let us know in the comments. Our next New Who at 10 will take a look at “The Fires of Pompeii.” This of course is Peter Capaldi’s first appearance in Doctor Who. What will the tie end up being between this episode and the current Doctor? Who knows. It will probably end up being something lame in the end.

New Who at 10: Blink

It seems like whenever there is a discussion about the best Doctor Who episodes, “Blink” always enters the discussion. It was no surprise then, as I asked for some favorite New Who episodes on Facebook, that multiple people mentioned “Blink.” After watching it again, I can really see why. Sometimes, when you really get into a fandom, you feel this pressure to not go with the popular choice when you pick your favorite episode. You rematch those super well-known episodes and try to find ways that they are overrated, because it’s just not cool to like what everyone else likes, and now that you’re a super-fan, you should be above that. That was kind of the attitude I had while watching Blink this time. I admit, that’s probably snooty of me, and I’m not proud of that. The point is, I totally failed. I watched this for probably the 10th time, and I love it just as much as I did when I watched it the first time. There is a reason why so many people recommend this for first time Doctor Who viewers.

“Blink is such a well written episode. If you get nit-picky enough, you could probably find holes in the story, because every story has holes, but if you refrain from that, the story flows well, and highlights some great, classic time travel material. The whole story is intriguing as we follow Sally Sparrow who is trying to figure out what is happening in the Western Drummonds, or the Scooby-Doo House, as Larry calls it. The mystery really begins with her discovering a message under the wrapping paper in the house. And it really gets interesting when the message is addressed to her personally. The whole thing is classic, as her friend, Kathy, gets sent back to 1920, where she lives out the rest of her life. Sally finds out about this when Kathy’s grandson shows up at this deserted house with a letter his grandma had given him some 20 years ago. The letter explains what happened to Kathy. It all seems really unbelievable for Sally. When she finally accepts it, she goes to meet Larry, Kathy’s brother, and he introduces her to the Easter eggs on 17 DVDs. Well, one Easter egg, which is the Doctor speaking one half of a conversation. She also meets a police officer who gets sent back to 1969, meets the Doctor, and contacts Sally again, right before he dies, and helps her realize what the 17 DVDs are. They are the only 17 DVDs Sally owns. She and Larry go back to the abandoned house, and re-watch the Easter egg, this time with Sally filling in the missing half of the conversation. Then they get attacked by the Angels, one of the greatest Doctor Who monsters ever. The get Sally and Larry down to the basement where the Angels have the phone box. Sally has the key, so they are able to get into the TARDIS, and send it on its way back to the Doctor, and when it disappears, it traps the 4 angels, as they are frozen looking at each other. A short while later, Sally realizes that the Doctor got all of this information directly from her. She realizes this when she sees him out on the street, and she delivers all of her notes to him.

That’s a rundown of the story, which is superbly done. This is Moffat at his best. It is during RTD’s time as show runner, but Moffat wrote the story, and it is easily one of his best. Everything just moves along at a great pace, not too fast, not too slow. It keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the episode, and I always find that I am surprised at how quickly we get to the end. The plot is solid, the actors do superb, and it would be hard for the story to be anymore entertaining.

Whenever I watch this episode, I always have the same thought. I would like to see more of Sally Sparrow. She was just such a great character. She was inquisitive and clever, which is why she stuck with the adventure until she had figured out what was going on. She would have made a great companion. She would have really done well traveling with the Doctor. Larry would have been great to have along as well. He was likable, and given time, he probably would have become lovable. In fact, when I watch it, I see a little bit of Amy and Rory in Sally and Larry, and I wonder if they somehow served as an inspiration for Amy and Rory. In any case, with a team up name like Sparrow and Nightingale, the two would have even done well as a spinoff. They could continue to operate their DVD store together, but on the side, they could be solving mysteries. I think it could have worked.

I also always wonder what adventure Martha and the Doctor were on at the end of the episode. The Doctor doesn’t carry weapons very often, so it would be interesting to see that story that involved him using a bow and arrow, and the things that Martha keeps mentioning are hatching. What were they? it would be interesting to see what they were and the whole story.

In any case, for those of you who recommend this for first time viewers, I would say, keep doing it. It is one of the best TV stories I have ever seen, Doctor Who or otherwise. It isn’t a traditional episode as the Doctor does not play a huge active role throughout the story, so from that aspect, I recommend people start with a few other episodes first, and then move on to this one. In anywise, it is hard to argue that this isn’t one of the better New Who episodes.

What did you think of “Blink”? Was it as good as everyone says, or is it overrated? Let me know in the comments. We always love to hear from you. We will continue looking at New Who at 10, as we watch the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

New Who at 10: The Parting of the Ways

The Parting of the Ways was the final episode of Eccleston’s time as the Doctor. This was the episode that wrapped up the whole Bad Wolf story line, and gave us our first glimpse of David Tenant as the Doctor. It was also an epic showdown between the Doctor and the Daleks, who just never seem to stay dead. This is also the origin of Jack’s not dying problem. Mainly, though, this was a pretty entertaining episode that I hadn’t watched in a while, so it was fun to revisit it.

The Daleks in this episode were a little strange as far as Daleks go. They were super religious, believing their creator Dalek was the god of the Daleks. This was a new wrinkle to the Daleks in general, and it was just kind of weird and added to their creepiness. The “god” Dalek was massive compared to the others and had a much deeper voice. He was clearly the big bad guy, and when he and the Doctor conversed, it was an attempt at the classic hero-villain dialogue. It wasn’t a great attempt, as the Doctor was clearly much more clever than the Dalek.

As the Doctor and Jack and Rose find themselves on the Dalek mothership, they gather as much information as they can from the Daleks before escaping back to Satellite 5, which will be the scene of the climactic Dalek-Doctor showdown. The Doctor sends Rose away, tricking her into getting in the TARDIS. While she is gone, we realize that the Doctor’s plan won’t just kill the Daleks, but all of the people on the satellite and on Earth. This sequence, for me, was much more powerful after seeing The Day of the Doctor. Connecting that story, of the War Doctor having to make the choice to destroy all of his people in order to destroy the Daleks, makes this sequence more powerful. The Doctor, in The Parting of the Ways, mentions that all of his people had died during the Time War, but they had taken the Daleks with them, or so they had thought. Now that they were back, it made the sacrifice not worth it. In his mind he is remembering that sacrifice, and how he is remembering it, he was the one who pulled the trigger. He was the one who made the sacrifice, that now, all of a sudden, wasn’t worth it. Then he finds himself in the same position. He must decide this time if he is willing to sacrifice earth in order to save the whole universe. Knowing his past, you would think this would be a harder decision, but he does what he feels like he has to. It was just kind of interesting to think about it in context with The Day of the Doctor.

While Rose is back on Earth, and her mom is trying to cheer her up with fish and chips, we get one of the most awkward exchanges between the two. It occurs when they are in the TARDIS and she starts going off about how Dad wouldn’t want her to give up and she knows because she met him. This whole conversation was just weird. What a weird time to bring it up, and why did it make her mom so angry? The way Rose is telling her, though, it’s like she is trying to make her mom angry, like she could finish the whole thing with a big raspberry. Whatever the conversation was, it works, because Jackie leaves and comes back with a giant tow truck to try to get the TARDIS open. Also while Rose is back on Earth, she realizes that her park is covered in the infamous “Bad Wolf” graffiti. This is the beginning of the answer to the Bad Wolf question, as she realizes it was a message she sent to herself.

I love it when she becomes the Bad Wolf after looking into the time vortex. It always reminded me of when Jean Grey becomes Phoenix. She is ultra powerful and has power to just split all the Daleks apart on the atomic level. She also has the power to bring Jack back to life. The Doctor realizes that this power is going to kill her, so he does what any responsible Time Lord would do. He kisses her, which allows him to soak in the time vortex and save Rose. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save him. It leads to his regeneration.

I love when he regenerates, because he does it in a way that only he could pull off. I love when he tells Rose that she was Fantastic, and then follows it up with “So was I.” He really was fantastic, and in this episode we really get to see all of it. We see him take charge of the situation and be in control, in a way only 9 would ever pull off. We see him have to make the tough decisions, and we see him do it all with his big dopey smile on his face the whole time. I have to admit, when I watched through these episodes the first time, I really was sad when he regenerated. I loved Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and would have loved to see one more season. I just think his Doctor was so confident and so cool. However, since there is only the one season, it does help me to appreciate his time a little bit more because it was so brief.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. Not as good as The Empty Child, but it was still a lot of fun. I think the Doctor really shines in the episode and I feel like it wrapped up his time quite nicely. Rose and 9 had a good chemistry together, and I think I can stand to watch their time together more than I can stand her with 10. I think one thing I have enjoyed with Capaldi’s Doctor is that some of that confidence is back. It seemed like 10 and 11 didn’t have the same confidence, almost arrogance that 9 had, but 12 does, and I guess I’ve missed it.

What did you think of The Parting of the Ways? Did you enjoy? Is it one of your favorites from this season? let me know in the comments. You can also check out my review of The Empty Child here. Next Wednesday, we will be reviewing Blink, so come back next week to find out what I thought about this episode.

New Who at 10: The Empty Child

Easily the most liked of the 9th Doctor’s adventures, “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” is a classic episode. This episode has always held a special spot in my second heart. This was the episode where I officially got on board with this whole Doctor Who thing. When I started watching, I had people suggest that I start with “Blink,” but I am a completist, so I had to start at the beginning, or some kind of beginning, so I started with “Rose” and worked my through the first season. The first few episodes were ok, but kind of weird. This was the episode, though, that really sucked me in and kept me coming back through the rest of Eccleston’s time. It has everything I think you need to get to know your Doctor. In fact, if I were introducing someone to Doctor Who, this would be the episode I would tell the to start with, to maybe start with “Rose” and then skip to this two-part story.

Watching this again (and it was the first time in a while), it was interesting to see what stood out to me. I think the first time I watched it, I was focused on how creepy it was. The empty child was really pretty scary. I have a sister-in-law who watched the beginning of Doctor Who, but stopped at this story. I don’t think she even watched the second part, she was too creeped out. That is probably pretty extreme, but I can say I always felt like this was kind of on the scary side. Not horrifying, but I admit I was checking around corners and stuff afterward. Watching it this time, though, the creepiness factor was gone. I knew what Jamie was, I knew how it was going to end. As a result, I noticed other things that really make this story stand out.

One thing that really stood out to me was how the Doctor interacted with the kids, Nancy specifically, but all the kids too. He was friendly and warm to them, and comforting. He applauded them for being so bright as to steal food during the air raids. It was really kind of nice. I think, watching the episodes leading up to this one, we don’t see that side of the Doctor much, so it is nice to see it here. I like how he encourages Nancy to keep going and talks about how Britain and her people were so brave to stand up to Hitler, and how amazing they were. I love that kind of stuff. It really was an amazing thing that the British did stand up, alone, against Hitler for so long. The story of the Air Blitz on Britain is pretty incredible, historically speaking.

I also really liked the Doctor’s interaction with Dr. Constantine. This gives a glimpse of the Doctor’s character, who he was and what he’s been through. When Constantine says that at the beginning of the war he was both a father and a grandfather, but now he was neither, but he was still a doctor, and then the Doctor says “Yeah, I know what you mean.” We begin to get a glimpse of what the Doctor has lost, and part of why he is always running. Maybe not running away, but always to something, somewhere where he can help.

For me, the one down side, and I am ready for the negative responses, is this is the first appearance of Captain Jack. One of my least favorite “companions” of the Doctor. I just always felt slimy when he was on the show. Like he was always working something, and that bothers me. I know he is supposed to be a scoundrel, like Han Solo, but his character never hits that mark for me. It didn’t help to rematch it this time and seeing Arrow, where he plays Malcolm Merlin, who is always trying to pull a fast one. Unfortunately, that’s all I can see with Jack. I know that I am really in the minority here, and that’s ok. I get that people like him, and this is nothing against the actor, John Barrowman is a fantastic performer, and from what I’ve heard, a decent human being. I just don’t like Jack.

My favorite part of this episode, however, is the very end, when the Doctor shouts out “Everybody Lives, Rose, everybody lives!” This was the first moment in new Who, I think, when we see the Doctor as a hero. We have that doubt, since the first episode when Rose seeks out the computer guy who has been searching for the Doctor and tells her that death and despair follow him around. This is the moment I always think of when it comes into question whether the Doctor is a good man. I think of this moment every time, and think, “Yeah, he is a good man.”

What were your thoughts of “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”? Is it a classic, or is it just simply the best of a mediocre season? What were some of your favorite parts? Let me know in the comments.

The next episode I will be taking a look at, as chosen by our Facebook followers, it “The Parting of the Ways.” That should appear next Wednesday.

 

New Who Turns 10!

On Thursday, March 26, the new Doctor Who series hit it’s 10 anniversary. I know it all ties together with the old, but it is pretty impressive that not only were they able to bring Doctor Who back from the dead, they were able to turn it into a worldwide phenomenon. It is huge today, and not just in the niche culture, it is spreading throughout mainstream culture as well.

Since the year makes the 10th anniversary of the re-boot, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the favorite episodes of each Doctor so far. I also thought it would be fun to get your input as well. I opened this up last week to my Facebook followers. I asked them to let me know their favorite episode  for each of the new Doctor-9-12. It was pretty interesting to see the results. Let me break them down by individual Doctor and his results.

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The 9th Doctor 

This one was almost unanimous. By far the favorite episode was “The Empty Child,” which didn’t surprise me all that much. That is my personal favorite from this season as well. I am assuming most people meant both “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” as they are just two parts of the same story. There was only one other vote for a different episode. That episode was “The Parting of the Ways.” I think there were a couple of things that contribute to this result. I think the two biggest factors is the fact the 9’s time was so short and the series was still new so everyone was getting their feet wet. Whatever the reason, Empty Child is an overwhelming favorite from 9’s time.

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The 10th Doctor

it was the exact opposite for 10. There were quite a few episodes mentioned, and none of them had a huge number of votes. Surprisingly, “Blink” was not the number 1. Instead, it was “The Girl in the Fireplace,” by 1 vote. There were a total of 8 episodes mentioned for 10, as wells as quite a few people saying they couldn’t pick one. Interesting the difference between our shortest tenured Doctor and our longest.

 

 

 

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The 11th Doctor

There were only a couple of repeats for number 11 in the voting. One was “Vincent and the Doctor,” a personal favorite, and the other was “Christmas Carol,” the rest was a wide variety, but almost all of them were feel good episodes. Apparently, 11 was our feel good Doctor. Which just seems to fit with his goofy, yet lovable personality. He was always looking for a happy ending, it seemed like, and more often than not, his episodes ended that way.

Last Christmas, written by Steven Moffat

 

The 12th Doctor

We had quite a variety for our newest Doctor, which I  found surprising, just because there were only 12 or so episodes to choose from, yet 5 were mentioned. That’s pretty interesting. 3 had multiple votes, including “Robot of Sherwood,” “Death in Heaven,” and our frontrunner, “Flatline.” I was surprised that Robot and Heaven had multiple votes, since I didn’t care for either one the first time around. It will be interesting for me to see what i think when I watch them again.

“The Day of the Doctor” also got some mentions, but I didn’t count it with any one Doctor since there were 3 Doctors in it, primarily (13 all together). This was a great special, and I still felt like I wanted to revisit it with the rest of the episodes mentioned by the readers.

So what happens next? Well, starting next week, I will begin reviewing each of these episodes as I revisit them, meaning I will watch them again. i think it will be a fun way to pass the time between now and when new Doctor Who episodes will be starting again. I will let everyone know which ones I will be reviewing each week so you can follow along at home, if you’d like. I think it will be loads of fun. The first one we will be revisiting will be “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.” That review should be published next Wednesday.

Please let me know as we go if there are any favorites you want added to the list, and I will be sure to add them.

The Doctor 101: My Problem with Missy

The revelation that Missy was actually the Mistress, a female regeneration of the Master was a big shock to most people. I had heard some rumblings on the internet about it being a possibility, but I thought those folks were crazy, and then I ignored them. I thought it was more likely that Missy was a regeneration of River or something along those lines, so I was obviously surprised when I found out the truth. I was surprised, and then I was really turned off. The whole thing didn’t sit well with me, and I had a hard time taking it seriously. I know this whole post is somewhat late to the party, but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about this whole thing, or if I wanted to say anything and just let it all go. Except now, Missy is coming back for series 9, so I wanted to weigh in with my thoughts.

Last Christmas, written by Steven MoffatI had a lot of high hopes for series 8, and maybe they were too high. I really liked the look of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and I was excited to see where he was going to take the character. I wasn’t totally disappointed with it. Yes, there were some shaky moments in the series, especially toward the beginning, and there were times where his Doctor simply made me feel uncomfortable. By the end of the series, however, I was really enjoying 12.

I was also excited about Clara coming back. Here, I was totally and utterly disappointed. From a Clara standpoint, I wish series 8 had never happened, or at least that Danny had never happened. In any case, he did and it did, so I have to accept that and move on. I am hoping Clara’s character gets the full season she deserves with series 9, and I can move on from series 8. Although, truth be told, my inability to move on from series 8 as far as Clara is concerned is really my issue that i need to get over.

Series 8 had its moments of greatness and its moments of mediocrity, like every series of Doctor Who, so that’s fine. Overall, the series was perfectly alright. That is, if you don’t count the series finale. I didn’t feel like it was groundbreaking or Earth shattering or anything like that. I’ll tell what I thought when I saw the last two episodes:

That’s right. I felt like the show jumped the shark. I really felt like changing the Master’s gender was simply a gimmick and nothing more. It was Moffat basically doing it because he can, and that’s it. I don’t have a problem with strong female characters, whether antagonists or protagonists. That doesn’t bother me at all, but i don’t feel like that is what Moffat was doing here. He wasn’t introducing a strong, original female character. He was just reintroducing a strong male character as a female, which is totally different. I know the whole thing is supposed to be so different and so groundbreaking, and only Moffat would dare to do it. That’s simply not true. Every time the Doctor has regenerated since the reboot, there have been a ton of people wanting him to regenerate into a woman. Of course, there have been a lot of people who have been against the idea. The point is, the idea of a Time Lord regenerating not a Time Lady is not new, and it’s not Moffat’s.

What it really comes down to, what it really felt like to me was that Moffat was saying that he couldn’t come up with anything new and shocking, so he turned to a gimmick instead. And it was in typical Moffat fashion. Oh, everyone wants the Doctor to regenerate into a woman, well, I’m not going to give them that, because they want it. Instead, I’m going to give them almost that and just randomly throw it in for no reason.

To me, turning to gimmicks says that the fancies isn’t intelligent enough to realize that’s what’s happened, that they won’t get that it was just a gimmick, and they don’t need anything new or smart. They’ll be just fine with whatever. It’s almost like giving a fan base the finger, and then laughing about it. Of course, he can be laughing about it because it all went over so well with the fans. A lot of people embraced Missy, enough that they just happen to be bringing her back for series 9. Yay! (he says with sarcasm).

The really great news with all of this is that Moffat is on board for all of series 9, so we get to see what gimmick he has up his sleeve for the finale at the end of 9. Maybe it is all just a big set up for the big gimmick, having the Doctor regenerate into a Time Lady. That has to be the direction all of it is going, right? Can it be too far away at this point? I don’t think so.

Let’s hope that’s not the case, at least not doing just as a trick to get people to watch. I think when you get to the point that all you have left is easy little gimmicks like this, maybe it’s time to move on, and let someone else step in and take over. Just a thought to throw out there.

What were your thoughts about Missy being the Master? Did you think it was bold new move? Or did you feel like I did? Let us know in the comments.

 

Who’s Your Doctor?

This is a question that you here all the time as a Whovian. It is almost a standard greeting when you meet another Whovian for the first time. I ran into a group of Mormon missionaries the other day at the airport, a common occurrence here in Salt Lake City, and one of them noticed my super cool Doctor Who shirt. When she saw the shirt, her first question was which Doctor was my favorite. Before I could think too hard about it, I blurted out that the 12th is my favorite Doctor. At first, I thought about retracting that statement, but then I didn’t. I felt justified in saying it, and hopefully this post will help explain why.

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That’s me, and I am wearing my super cool Doctor Who shirt that I mentioned in the post. My wife’s shirt is pretty awesome too.

Growing up, I was not into Doctor Who. That’s the honest truth. I am not a lifelong fan. I openly admit that I am a recent convert to the Doctor Who mythos. That doesn’t mean that I am less passionate than others. I love the show and the mythos and everything about Doctor Who, and I have tried to study up, not just on current Who, but classic Who as well. None of that changes the fact that I am a latecomer to the game. As a child, all I knew about Doctor Who was that it was some old show that aired late on Saturday night on PBS. Somehow, I was convinced that if it was on PBS, it probably was either boring or educational, so I just wasn’t interested. I knew he had a big floppy hat and a really long scarf, but that was it. I didn’t even know that there were multiple Doctors. I just knew about Tom Baker.

I heard about the reboot of the Doctor Who series as it was being launched, but again, I wasn’t interested. This came at a time when I was trying to hide my inner geek. I am not proud of that, but there was a space of a few years where I tried to not be a geek for a while. My wife was the one who convinced me to let my inner geek out, so I did. And as i did, I kept hearing about this Doctor Who show, and I was intrigued. I felt like it was something I could maybe get into and throw myself into as I was embracing my inner geek.

I didn’t know where to start at first. I am usually someone who likes to start something at the beginning and watch everything or read everything sequentially. As I studied up on Doctor Who and the series, I began to realize that it would be quite a bit to get caught up on. So I decided that I would start with the reboot. I wasn’t sure how to start, but I had heard that the series was on Netflix. My love of Doctor Who is tied to Netflix. We didn’t have Netflix at the time that I was wanting to start watching the show, so I started a subscription for us. Doctor Who is the reason we have Netflix. I had a job at the time where I worked the graveyard shift, and because it was slow, we had the opportunity to catch up on our Netflix viewing. This is when and where I met the Doctor for the first time.

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9, in all his glory.

A lot of the people I knew who were familiar with the show told me to start with “Blink,” but I couldn’t do that. As I mentioned before, I like to start things at the beginning and work my way through sequentially. I had to start with “Rose.” I started with number 9. He was not what i was expecting at first. There he was, dressed all hip in his T-shirt and leather jacket. Where was the big hat and the scarf? And he was so cool. He was laid back and tough all at the same time. I’ll admit, though, it was hard to look past some of the special effects of that first season. i still felt like this was some kind of low budget SciFi, that wasn’t quite up to snuff. I had a hard time getting into as a result. I just wasn’t sure what I thought about this quirky little British show. Then I watched an episode called “The Empty Child,” and the follow-up “The Doctor Dances.” I was hooked. The very end of the story, when everyone is healed, and the Doctor is celebrating and saying, “Everybody lives, Rose, Everybody lives!” For me, that’s when I realized who the Doctor is. That’s when I was on board for the long haul. I really enjoyed the rest of the first series, and really loved the whole “Bad Wolf” storyline. And then, something cruel happened. My Doctor died. I really loved 9 and felt like he was my Doctor, and then he was gone. In his place was some lumpy, goofy looking guy who…wait a second, is that Barty Crouch, Jr.? This is too much. I don’t think I can keep watching.

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10, looking all serious.

That was exactly how I felt as I watched “The Christmas Invasion.” This new guy, he wasn’t the Doctor. I didn’t like him at all. At least Rose was on my side. I think we both wanted 9 back at that time. I stuck with it, though, hoping that maybe he would be alright. He would never take 9’s place, but maybe he would do ok. I can’t pinpoint the exact episode or moment he became “my Doctor,” but it happened. It might have been “Blink,” which was really not very Doctor-centric, as far as episodes go. Maybe it was when he met up again with Donna Noble and they battled the Adipose. He and Donna were great together, some great moments and classic episodes. It was definitely solidified in “Waters of Mars,” when he declared himself the Time Lord Victorious. In any case, at the end of his time as the Doctor, I was convinced he was the greatest Doctor ever. No one could take his place. Of course, his time came to an end, in the worst last episode ever, and he had to go, even thought he didn’t want to. And I had to prepare myself for another adjustment.

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Bow ties certainly are cool.

Enter number 11. And I thought 10 was goofy. Have you seen this guy? He spends the first 20 minutes ransacking this little girl’s house for food, and finally settle on fish fingers and custard. How ridiculous. Except, it wasn’t that ridiculous. Somehow it was endearing, as were his floppy hair and exaggerated movements. All of it together just seemed to work. The moment, though, for me came in the first episode, toward the end, when he stood up to the police force that was looking for the escaped prisoner. When they scanned him and went through all the faces of the previous Doctors, and he walks through and announces that he is the Doctor. He was the Doctor from that moment on. He holds a special place at our house, because he was the one my wife and kids really got into. He had so many classic stories and moments, and as it came down to the end, I was feeling the same thing I had felt when I got to the end of 10’s time. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t want it to come. How could 12 top what 11 had done?

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Look at those eyebrows.

I don’t have all those answers yet. I have hope that it will happen though. I know for a lot of folks, this transition has been a rough one, and I get it, but for me, this time, it hasn’t been bad. I have actually enjoyed. I think a part of it is that I know now that I have cone through this twice before, and each time it worked out. i have confidence this time will too. I think I have just been enjoying getting to know this Doctor. Discovering his quirks and what makes him tick. It has been a good ride, so far, and I think it will get better in Series 9. I don’t know if he has had his moment yet where he has become “my Doctor,” but I am sure it is coming. I take that back. He did have his moment, at the end of “The Mummy on the Orient Express,” when Clara thought he didn’t value lives of those around him, and he demonstrated that there were few things that mattered more. Maybe that was his moment for me.

So, when someone asks me who my favorite Doctor is, I don’t think it is wrong for me to say the current one. I know if he’s not right now, he will be. It is how it has worked before. I have enjoyed each of them almost equally. Now, I am enjoying getting to know some of the classic Doctors, like watching some classic 4 or 6, or listening to the audio adventures of 8. Each version of the Doctor is just great and adds something to the overall story and Mythos, so it is hard for me to pick just one. I guess picking the current one is maybe the easy answer, the easy way out, but it might just be true, for now at least.

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor 101: Why Clara Needs to Stay

kinopoisk.ruA couple of months ago, I was very excited to hear that Jenna Coleman was going to be done with Doctor Who after the Christmas special. Series 8 had not been kind to Clara, and quite frankly, I thought it was time for her to go. I did not like how her character had interacted with Capaldi’s Doctor up to this point, and the love triangle story between her and Danny Pink and the Doctor was clunky and awkward at best. I couldn’t wait for a new companion. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Clara hater. I liked her with 11, and was excited that she was going to be back with 12. That just added to my wanting her to go. They had already all but ruined a character I liked quite a bit, so I didn’t want to see it get any worse.

61314Then something great happened. Less than two minutes into the first part of the season finale, Danny Pink died. I don’t mean for that to sound cruel. I liked Danny, just like I like Clara, but I didn’t like the way Clara was with the Doctor when she was with Danny. I didn’t like how the Doctor and Danny didn’t like each other, even though they were both pretty decent people. In the end, although a good man, Danny just wasn’t a good fit for the series. It was a good thing when he died. His death opened the door for Clara to possibly stick around unhindered. She wouldn’t be torn, she wouldn’t have to lie to Danny and the Doctor any more. She could just go with the Doctor, like she did before. And she needed to find a way to stay and go with the Doctor. She needed to stay because if she didn’t she was going to become the next Martha.

Martha_jonesLet me explain what I mean by that. Martha had the unenviable task of following a very popular companion. Everyone loved Rose, including, most importantly, the Doctor. Everyone wanted to see Rose somehow end up with 10, and it was heartbreaking when he had to leave her behind in another universe, never to see her again (I know, they saw each other again, but he didn’t know that). Now Martha is supposed to step in and take her place. She wasn’t Rose. I am probably way in the minority here, but I always like Martha more than Rose. I think she was very clever, very pretty and somehow more relatable for me. I get, however, that I am alone in that. The rest of the Whoniverse really did not like Martha. She would never be Rose, and everyone wanted Rose back, including the Doctor. As a result, Martha’s time in the TARDIS was short. She remains one of the least popular companions. And really, who’s companion was she? I mean she was only with 10, but no one really considers her to be 10’s companion, that would be Rose, or maybe Donna, but never Martha. That is what it means to be a Martha.

_57366021_drwhoSimilarly, Clara had to step in to the companion shoes left vacant by two very popular companions: The Ponds. They weren’t just companions, at the end of it all, they were family. Who didn’t love these two? Amy was fiery and always in charge. Rory was faithful to the end and as lovable as can be. The two of them with 11 was just awesome. Some of my favorite episodes involved that trio, and I cried when they left the show. It was just so sudden and so awesome, Amy following Rory back in time to live out the rest of their days together. It was kind of beautiful. Excuse me while I wipe down my keyboard from the tears. Then enters Clara. Like Martha, she had lots of spunk and personality, and then added to that, she was the impossible girl. Despite all of that, though, she wasn’t the ponds. She had chemistry with 11, but the Ponds will always be his companions, not Clara. It was Amy he saw at the very end, the face that face first saw. Amy always had the Doctor’s heart. It was good that their time together was short.

Series-8-TV-launch-trailer-32Enter Capaldi as 12. This was Clara’s opportunity to shine and become someone’s companion. Like, THE companion. And 12 could have become HER Doctor. Unfortunately, Danny Pink came along and was so anti- the Doctor and the TARDIS and everything, that it just made the whole rest of the season miserable any time he was involved. When it was rumored that she was leaving the show after the Christmas special, I was thrilled. She needed to go, because what had become of her was bringing the whole show down. That was sad that i felt that way. I was pulling for her to really shine during series 8, win over some of her detractors. Unfortunately, the writing prevented that from happening. I couldn’t wait to hear who would be stepping into her shoes and move on to the next companion. Clara would have just become the next Martha. A filler companion until the next good one came along. She deserved better.

Then Danny died, and the whole dynamic changed. Then the Christmas special happened. Right before it aired, it was announced that she would be back for at least one more season. I was upset. Then I watched the Christmas special, and I got to see what the Doctor and Clara could be like post Danny, and I loved it. It made me excited for what is going to happen next. She has nothing to hold her back now. She is all in, which means she won’t be holding the Doctor back, which means we will really get to see Capaldi settle into the role, and I think all of that will be great.

Clara needs this. She needs to become Capaldi’s companion. No one deserves to be the next Martha. Martha didn’t deserve that. Clara has been saved. Now let’s hope the writers and directors do something good with it. Let’s hope they don’t ruin it. The Doctor really cares for Clara, and Clara has realized now that even though he looks different, she really cares for the Doctor. Series 9 could be stellar for the pair of them. I hope it will be.