Tag Archives: Episode Review

Bill – the Doctor’s New Companion (and an episode review of ‘The Pilot’)

SPOILERS SWEETIE!

Pearl-Mackie-Bill-Potts-Doctor-Who

Pearl Mackie plays Bill Potts, the Doctor’s new Companion.

I like Bill. She is her own woman, and she will NEVER fall in love with the Doctor. She likes him for himself, even when she finds out he is an alien. Pearl Mackie seems to have hit the right note and is off and running as the new Companion. Did you little nod to Ace, in the sense that the Doctor is her Professor? She reminds me of Ace in that she is a fighter, and not a screamer or a whiner.

Throwing the book

There are a few reasons Bill reminds of Ace. When we first meet Ace, she is a waitress. The Seventh Doctor took a special interest in Ace’s education, and Twelve has shown a similar interest in Bill’s education. There was an ongoing rumour that Ace was a lesbian (her relationship with Karra), which an overt part of Bill’s characterization. Ace favoured jackets with patches, and so does Bill. Like Ace, Bill isn’t overawed by the Doctor, with my favourite quote  from this episode being,  “You run like a penguin with its arse on fire.”

Ace

Ace, the Last Companion in the original series.

Bill aside, I was very taken with the Doctor’s study, and the photos on his desk in particular.

Dear, darling River and his granddaughter, Susan, featured prominently on the desk. For me, seeing those photos was a high-point of the episode, as it showed who was still important to this Doctor’s hearts (two photos for two hearts, geddit?). Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have an day or three exploring the contents of that study. What are the books on those shelves? What are the knickknacks – and their significance? Why the stuffed owl? It is an owl or an alien?

 

Bill and Helen

Bill and Heather

I’m sorry if the plot of the episode seems incidental to meeting Bill and seeing the study. It was a basic ‘monster of the week’ story, with several huge plot-holes. What kind of civilised beings use a conscious fuel for their spaceships? And – for a man who knows the universe – how did the Doctor know so little about the fuel (or those aliens)?

Seriously … Daleks? I couldn’t really see any proper reason for the inclusion of the Daleks.

I did sorry for poor Heather. Incidentally, I have found out that William (Bill) Hartnell’s wife was Heather McIntyre. We all know there is never any coincidences in Doctor Who, so I am sure those names were deliberate choices.

A new Doctor Who episode …AT LAST! I hope Nardole gets the chance to do a little more snarking in the next episode. And I want a macaroon dispenser.

Twelve

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Filed under Companion, Doctor Who, Pop Culture, Review, Uncategorized

The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016

first-look-at-the-doctor-who-christmas-special

Finally! A new Doctor Who episode and it was everything I had hoped for. Be aware, SPOILERS SWEETIE! Please watch the episode before reading this review, or I can’t be held responsible to ruining some great moments.

the-return-of-doctor-mysterio-promo-cast-image

The Christmas episodes are usually in a category by themselves, and The Return of Doctor Mysterio was no exception. I was particularly impressed with the way the writers linked this episode to The Husbands of River Song, and the perfection of the casting choices. And – again – London was in danger of an alien invasion and yet didn’t TURN UP on screen. Instead, the setting was New York.

For a comic book themed episode, New York is the perfect choice. It is an open secret that New York was and is the main inspiration of the Metropolis of the Superman comics. As well, it was the setting for the Watchmen graphic novel written by the famed comics writer, Alan Moore, illustrated by artist, Dave Gibbons, and given life by the colourist, John Higgins. Both these comics heavily influenced the look, the plot, and the story line of  The Return of Doctor Mysterio. 

pk-mysterio-preview

The Ghost, who has Superman’s powers, but his costume resembles a modernistic Batman. In personality, he reminds me of Nite Owl from Watchmen, well meaning and trying to do the right thing. He does have the classic comic book characteristic of unrequited love for Lucy.

My favourite bits were the interaction between the Doctor and Nardole. Matt Lucas is a genius when it comes to making likeable characters out of unpromising material. Nardole, originally as a character, was rather sweet and clueless, but he has grown into a lovely person with a real fondness for the Doctor. His best line: Yes, yes, go save the planet. You always do that when the conversation turns serious. I may be misquoting this, but that is the general gist of Nardole’s comment. He isn’t clueless so much as single minded. As a companion, he is probably the best ever at understanding who the Doctor really is and what his motivations are.

sushi

Lucy, our intrepid girl reporter, is more than the vapid love interest – though she does end up in need of rescue. She is less a damsel, and much more a dragon lady. And she is a single mother, happy to leave her child with a male nanny.  She has the Doctor dancing to her tune by the middle of the episode. 

However, I also enjoyed the Doctor eating sushi while spying on the alien invaders. (As a big fan of sushi myself.) The humour in seeing the Doctor snacking it what should have been a serious and tense moment was physical humour at its best in Doctor Who. There were many moments of both physical humour and witty dialogue, as it should be in a Christmas episode.

This episode did a fine job of deconstructing the stereotype of the comic book superhero, as well as adding a wistful epilogue to the previous Christmas episode. My husband didn’t like this episode, but he didn’t read comic books as a child and doesn’t particularly enjoy graphic novels (Nobody is perfect). As a fan of both comics and Doctor Who, I enjoyed this episode both intellectually and it was satisfying emotionally. You can’t ask for more than that!

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Comic Book Genre, Doctor Who, Review, The Watchmen, Uncategorized

Flatline: a Doctor Who Episode Review.

Spoilers Sweetie!

Peter Capaldi

If I was to name this episode in the style of the old series novels, this would have been Doctor Who and the 2D Zombies. This was a ‘Monster of the Week’ episode, but it was done very well, it had a lot of humour, a shrinking TARDIS, and best of all, Clara got to show off her chops as a Doctor Clara. As an added bonus – Missy has turned up! There is so much to cover this week, that I will devote a full paragraph to each of these topics.

Doctor Who Series 8 (episode 9)

Monster of the Week: In 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott (that second Abbott isn’t a mistake) wrote a clever commentary on Victorian culture in Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. This episode was a direct descendant of this novella, so I’m calling it a Steampunk genre episode. This was lampshaded by the Steampunk goggles the Doctor wore near the start of the episode, as seen in the above image. The monsters were reanimated people by 2D dimensional aliens – so they were actually zombies! There was a clever built up to the point Clara and the Doctor make this realization, made even more linguistically & visually interesting by the use of PC Forrest being converted into an ‘Psychedelic 1970s artwork’ of a nervous-system forest. The use of the Banksy-inspired Rigsy character was sheer genius; of course a graffiti artist would be the perfect hero to understand and defeat the residents of Flatland! Twenty-first century rebel overcomes the imperialism of the 19th century, as represented by the 2D zombies.

Humour: My, my, my, so much fun was created by the dilemma of the shrinking TARDIS. The special effects of the Doctor’s face and hands and fingers poking out of the too-small TARDIS door were both well-done and extremely amusing. My favourite … the Doctor’s fingers labouring to drag the TARDIS off the train tracks. As well, I was extremely amused  by the horribleness of the psychedelic interior of the flat where PC Forrest met her doom, making the perfect match of setting to plot. As well, there was some clever banter between Doctor Clara and the nasty government man (with no imagination).

Doctor Clara: Sometimes, I think I am the only person I know who likes Clara. Then again, I liked River, and so many people seemed to dislike her. Clara gained a real insight into why the Doctor is the way he is, which also illuminated her character as well. I liked her moment of awesome with Rigsy and the hairband, and her moment of awesome with No Imagination Man. My theory is that people don’t like the Doctor’s companions to be too clever.

Missy: We finally learn that Missy’s focus isn’t the Doctor…  I do hope that we stop getting teaser snippets of Missy and cut to the chase soon. This season is nearly over!

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Filed under Doctor Who, Review, Steampunk