Category Archives: The Doctor 101- Doctor Who

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

New Who at 10: The Girl in The Fireplace

GirlintheFireplace2

 

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.

6a00e00980ab4f883300e54f3ed2178834-800wi

 

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.

tv DOCTOR WHO

 

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.

 

 

 

Smith

 

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.

TwoDoctorWhoShirts

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.

6a00e00980ab4f883300e54f3ed2178834-800wi

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.

tv DOCTOR WHO

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.

Smith

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?

Series-8-TV-launch-trailer-32

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.

We Need More 8!- The Doctor 101

The original Doctor Who television series ran from 1963 to 1989, ending with Sylvester McCoy playing the Doctor in his 7th form. The show simply was not resonating anymore with its target audiences, so it was canceled. 26 years is a pretty good run for any show, but it is a stellar run for a show that wasn’t even supposed to last a year. Doctor Who had endured, and its fans were a big reason why. There was devastation when the series was canceled, and this ushered in a dark age where the Doctor was lost from the television airwaves for 15 years, until 2004 when Christopher Eccleston took up the mantle and successfully brought the Doctor back into our homes. He didn’t just bring the show back, but he laid the foundation for it to reach heights it never had before. Those 15 years were hard for any long time Doctor Who fan. They were all hoping that Eccleston could be the Doctor to bring the show back. They had reason to be concerned, because the Eccleston/Davies reboot was not the first attempt to bring the show back.

8th-doctor-4In 1996, Paul McGann became the chosen actor to pick up the role of the Doctor and hopefully relaunch the series. He was young, hot actor, and seemed like a great choice. And he was. However, the attempted reboot was an utter failure. It was supposed to begin with what is now called the Doctor Who Television Movie, and then lead into a weekly serial. It only made it as far as the movie. Why? Well, it wasn’t McGann’s fault. If you have never seen the movie, please find a way to watch it, and treat yourself to some amazingly bad cinema. The story was just so out of the norm for Doctor Who, that it just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of canon. In the first few minutes of the film, the Doctor gets gunned down by a gang member in San Francisco. He gets shot! Really? He has faced Cybermen and Daleks and all sorts of big baddies, and then some low life gang member with a gun gets him? It was bizarre, and only got more so as the story goes on. The whole story takes place in San Francisco, in an attempt to attract more of an American crowd. The Master is supposedly dead, although we know that never quite works out, and he comes back possesses some guys body, so he’s now an American. The weirdest part, is we discover, at least according to this movie that the Doctor may be half human. What!? The whole thing was just strange, including the appearance of the Doctor. Sylvester McCoy regenerates into Paul McGann, who finds himself naked in the hospital morgue. Somehow, the clothes he finds are the very modern looking clothes he is wearing in the above picture. If the goal was to connect to the younger, American crowd of 1996, dressing him like that was not the answer. As I mentioned before, all of this led to this being the only appearance of the 8th Doctor on-screen, leading into 9 more years of total Doctor darkness.

But it wasn’t McGann’s fault. They got the right actor to play the role, they just didn’t know what to do with them, or the character or any of it. McGann would go on to develop his Doctor character through Big Finish audio recordings, much to the acclaim of fans everywhere. He became a fan favorite through those recordings, making many wonder what a series with him as the Doctor would have been like. When the new relaunch was announced in 2004, it was announced that Christopher Eccleston would be taking the role. He would be the 9th Doctor, and would go on to successfully re-establish the character for younger audiences. It looked like McGann would never see the screen again as the Doctor. Until Moffat gave us all a treat just before the release of the 50th anniversary episode. He gave us a mini-episode called “Night of the Doctor” and it featured McGann as the 8th Doctor and he got to regenerate on-screen. And he looked awesome:

PaulMcGannNightoftheDoctor1

 

I have a feeling if he had looked like this in 1996, the show may have gotten off the ground. Not only did he look awesome, he was awesome. If you have never seen it, here it is in its entirety:

Since I saw this mini-episode, I have been obsessed with the idea of seeing a series with McGann as the Doctor. This would be a fantastic spinoff, and the time is ripe for a spinoff like this. We could see the Doctor at the beginning of the Time War, see how it breaks out and how he was involved, even before the War Doctor that we saw in Day of the Doctor. We could see how he came to the point that he was on this ship with Cass, alone, without a companion. It would be very different form the Doctor Who we know and love now, and it could be awesome. Plus, it would give McGann the opportunity to really work this character over and show the world his Doctor.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is ever going to happen. There are always rumors swirling around that it could happen, or that they are in talks to make it happen, but they all turn out to be just rumors. At Salt Lake Comic Con last September, Paul McGann was one of the guests, along with Colin Baker. He was asked if any of those rumors were true, and he said that none of them were to his knowledge. That’s too bad.

Whenever I am in San francisco, I think of that made for TV movie, and then I think of Night of the Doctor, and I wonder what could have been. I think of what could be. I would love to see it happen, but for now, I just need to get my hands on some of these Big Finish recordings and get to know 8 better that way. Any suggestions for where to start on those?

 

FanX 2015 Brings us The Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience

Geeks are a funny breed of human.  One thing that defines us is our passion.  We don’t just like our fandoms, but we love our fandoms with an undying devotion and passion.  It is the reason why all across Utah, Whovians were glued to their Facebook and Twitter feeds this morning.  Salt Lake Comic Con had teased that they might be breaking the internet with an announcement today, and left just a picture of the TARDIS.

10897130_844043348990211_3169619681741552800_n

This picture appeared from Bryan Brandenburg to the Salt Lake Comic Con page on Facebook, driving Whovians throughout Utah into a frenzy.

 

That was all.  That was enough.  Whovians throughout Utah could not wait to see what today would hold  for them.  The anticipation was so much for some that they couldn’t sleep. I literally saw someone post that they could not sleep last night in anticipation for this announcement.  I predicted that maybe we would get a two for one announcement, and they would announce both Karen Gillan and Matt Smith.  I knew that Bryan had teased before that maybe Karen would be back, which would be big news, but not break the internet big.  I figured the only way they would do that was by announcing both.  I think most of the fans out there thought the same thing.  I am not a particularly smart person, so I am sure other people figured out the clues.

Then there was panic on a Salt Lake Comic Con group page.  Someone had found out that Karen Gillan and Matt Smith were already scheduled for the 31st at Walker Stalker Con in San Francisco. This caused some to assume the worst. If they were already scheduled to be at one con that weekend, how could they make both. A few were a bit calmer about it and were able to talk them away from the ledge. San Francisco is not that far away from Salt Lake. It takes less than 2 hours to get there on a plane (trust me, I fly that all the time), which means it was still possible that the 2 of them could come here on Thursday and Friday and then fly to San Francisco on Saturday. Celebrities do stuff like that all the time. In fact last year, when Karen came, she came the first day straight from the airport. It is not that strange.

This, then led to each of us checking our Facebook pages every hour to see what Salt Lake Comic Con was posting, since they post at the top of each hour. 9:00 brought some Doctor Who facts, but no announcement. 10 am gave us an ugly DeLorean, which my eyes cannot un-see. This left us with the obvious theory that they would announce Matt Smith at 11 am, since he was number 11. Nope.  They announced Karen instead.  People were excited, but this just fueled the idea that maybe, just maybe both were going to be here. I thought maybe they were waiting until noon, since he was technically the 12th Doctor now (thanks, Moffat). However, they threw us a curve ball by announcing him first on TV. Once that happened, word spread like wildfire throughout Facebook that it had been announced, they were bringing us the Doctor and Amy.  I do want to point out that the Facebook announcement did hit shortly before noon, so maybe I was right.

Of course, almost lost in all of this was the fact that we already had a pretty solid Doctor Who guest previously announced. Billie Piper was already announced as a guest.  So now, that means we have two of the most popular modern companions and Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor coming.  There had to be some kind of major panel announcement, right? Similar to the Star Trek TNG experience last year.  How could they pass up such a great opportunity?  Within hours, they announced that there would be the Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience. Which should be pretty epic.  Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Billie Piper. It will be pretty amazing, but will it be ultimate? I think it might be.

Lat year, as they announced all the Star Trek folks coming, there was one face missing from the crowd.  Patrick Stewart, and everyone was hoping that he would make it.  He didn’t for the panel on Thursday night, but at the panel, it was announced that he would be there on Saturday only. I don’t think they knew for sure until right before the panel that he was coming for the one day. These folks are super busy, and even if they want to be there, sometimes they are not sure if or when they can make it. Behind the scenes, even though the con had begun people were still working on getting another big name guest, and their handwork paid off.

Why do I bring that up?  I think they are still working behind the scenes to bring in number 10. I think they want this experience to really be the ultimate experience, and David Tennant would make it that, even more than it already is. I would buy my tickets now (I actually already did), because they will sell out, and you might be kicking yourself when they announce that Tennant will be there.  That’s all speculation on my part. I don’t have any kind of inside source, but that is my guess. Salt Lake Comic Con posted their video of Billie Piper, as a reminder that she would be there too, and then said there was possibly more coming, they may have something else up their sleeve. Some think it was the Ultimate Xperience, but I think that was a foregone conclusion. I think they are working on getting David here, and they might just make it happen. Have faith, my fellow geeks, they can and will deliver.  Today was a big day, but we still have 20 more days until the con itself.

After everything was announced, I just wanted to find a corner and another Whovian or 2, and just sit and geek out. It’s what we do. We get excited, and then we want to share that excitement with other people who are equally excited. I wanted to do this so much, that I spent a few minutes inside an FYE by my house. They normally carry quite a bit of Doctor Who stuff, and it happened to be right across the street from where my daughter’s girl scouts meet, and I was early and had some time to kill. I wasn’t the only one. I walked by a couple walking through the store, and the gentleman was in full on 11th Doctor cosplay. It was awesome. There was another young geek there who was just out of his mind excited about Doctor Who and everything Doctor Who. It was great. We were all out, celebrating today. It reminded me of the opening scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when all the magical folks are out in the open in the muggle world. That is what my trip to FYE was like. It made me happy to be a Whovian, in Utah, a place that didn’t even exist on most geeky maps until recently, and is quickly becoming the geek capital of the world. Go us.