Confession #118: I'm Anxious About S11

Jan
10

Hope is a strange thing. It is simultaneously uplifting and crushing. Especially during this turbulent time in the world, I need something positive in my life, and yet even the possibility of my anticipation ending in disappointment looms like a specter over every potential bright spot. Perhaps that's why I'm feeling particularly apprehensive about the upcoming Series 11.

While I am among those who have been on board for a female-presenting incarnation of the Doctor for years, the pending (no—current!) reality fills me with Hope—that wonderful, terrible mix of potential for brilliance and anathema. It is encouraging that her first words reflected a delight at her new face, but it is not enough to assuage my fears completely. That will only come with consistently good writing.

The problem now is that we have ages to wait until we see her in action for real. (Yes, I know the break between Christmas and the following autumn is pretty standard. That doesn't change the fact that it's the better part of a year until the next new episode.) That's months for my brain to devise ideas about how it thinks she could/should be portrayed, building up all sorts of potential for disaster when things don't go as I've projected.

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Twice the Emotions

Dec
30

Review of Twice Upon a Time
Warning: This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.

I am at such a weird crossroads of emotions, I hardly know where to begin. Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor has become my all-time favorite (just edging out the Eighth—sorry, Paul! I still love you!), so watching his regeneration story was even more bittersweet than usual. On the other hand, I'm eager to see Whittaker take the reins. Add in the other ups and downs along the way, and I'm just a mess.

As is often the case at the end of a modern Doctor's tenure, Twelve's last hurrah was full of looking back as much (if not more) than forward. We knew going in that he'd be sharing the spotlight with his first (sort of) incarnation, and I was okay with that. I was also okay—more than okay!—with Bill Potts making a return.

I'll be honest, though; it wasn't a whole long time after the release of the trailer that revealed Bill's return that I started thinking about how it might be possible. I never came anywhere close to being right (par for the course, with a Moffat episode), but I had enough difficulty concocting my own hypothesis that the Doctor's suspicions (and later, opinions) about her presence echoed mine. As a result, it was difficult for me to be as delighted by having Bill back as I wanted to be.

I was also oddly ambivalent about having the First Doctor on board. I had quite enjoyed An Adventure in Space and Time, so was rather looking forward to David Bradley's rendition. However, I didn't get quite the vibe from him that I have come to associate with One; some of that was obviously down to the writing.

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It’s Happened Again

Dec
27

The Doctor is dead; long live the Doctor!

I have finally seen Twice Upon a Time, but am still busy digesting it (along with various Christmas goodies). Although by rights, my review should be up today, I’m treating my family time over the school holiday break as a priority. After the festivities die down, I’ll make time for my review, as I don’t want to post anything without giving it due thought.

So watch this space. You can expect my review in the next two or three days.

Thanks for reading, and may you have a happy holiday season!

Confession #117: I Don't Want Him to Go

Dec
13

With less than two weeks left of Peter Capaldi's official tenure as the Doctor, I'm shifting gears into full-scale denial mode. I know the cyclical process of getting used to the idea of a new Doctor, learning to love them, and mourning their impending departure is as natural as the whole "circle of life," but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I find my own reaction a bit odd, really. After all, I was as excited as anyone at the prospect of the Doctor's next regeneration presenting female when Jodie Whitaker's casting was announced. I'm still excited to see her in the role. But I think my apprehension about whether or not the writers will do her justice is adding to my already massive distress over losing an incarnation I love so dearly.

Change is hard, yo.

David Tennant's Doctor giving way to Matt Smith's was my first "real time" regeneration—the first I wasn't watching well after the fact, with an established Doctor waiting for me on the other side. Although I liked Eleven just fine (with the exception of his creepy obsession with his Companions' short skirts), he never resonated with me as deeply as certain other Regenerations. Thus, when it came time for him to relinquish the TARDIS key, I wasn't as distraught.

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Setting the Standard

Nov
22

Review of The Five Doctors (#129)
DVD Release Date: 05 Aug 08
Original Air Date: 25 Nov 1983
Doctors/Companions: Five, One, Two, Three, Four (cameo), Tegan, Turlough, Susan, the Brigadier, Sarah Jane, Romana II (cameo)
Stars: Peter Davison, Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, (Tom Baker), Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, (Lalla Ward)
Preceding Story: The King's Demons (Five, Tegan, Turlough, Kamelion)
Succeeding Story: Warriors of the Deep (Five, Tegan, Turlough)

With tomorrow's anniversary of the show's beginnings, I felt now would be an appropriate time to look back at a different celebration of its history. Though this year we mark fifty-four years since the show's inception, 1983 was merely twenty, and the Powers That Beeb decided they couldn't let such a large, round number go unnoticed.

Here in the post-fiftieth-anniversary era, we think of that celebration as having pulled out all the stops, but really, it was The Five Doctors that set the standard. And while, like Moffat, JNT didn't get everyone he wanted to participate, he nonetheless pulled together a remarkable cast, including—in a way—all five incarnations of the Doctor who had appeared up to that point.

While First Doctor William Hartnell had (just barely) managed perform a part in the tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors, he was already eight years dead by the time this next milestone rolled around. Rather than exclude his Doctor entirely, though, JNT simply recast Richard Hurndall in the role, much like David Bradley has taken over the same in the modern era. But much like Eccleston for the fiftieth, Tom Baker could not be convinced to reprise his own Fourth Doctor (reportedly because he thought it was too soon).

Undeterred, JNT simply used footage from the unaired story Shada (new release pending in January '18—watch this space for a review), and trapped Four and Companion Romana II in the time vortex, preventing them from joining the others in the adventure proper, without excluding them outright.

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