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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Confession #116: I Dig the New TARDIS Team

Nov
08

In the past week or so, several (shall we say) less-than-awesome things have been making news in Whovian circles (e.g., Nicholas Pegg getting fired from DWM, the public revelation that someone well-known in the US con community is a sexual predator, and the death of Dudley Simpson). It made me glad I had some happier news to discuss here. Sometimes it pays to be late to the game...

I'm referring, of course, to the two-and-a-half-week-old news that there will once again be a crowded TARDIS when Thirteen begins her tenure at the controls. In a press release on the official website, the BBC announced that there would be three regular cast members accompanying the Doctor on her travels (as well as someone in a "returning [recurring] role").

Even putting aside the fact that I think a larger cast can make for more interesting character interactions, and thus better stories overall, I love the way that it recalls TARDIS crews of old. When we first met the Doctor fifty-odd years ago, he traveled with his granddaughter and two humans who eventually became friends; Susan, Ian, and Barbara remain one of my favorite TARDIS teams.

Similarly, I know a lot of folks who became fans during the Fifth Doctor's run. He, too, traveled with a posse (Nyssa, Tegan, and Adric). I can't help but think that reminding those fans of their favorite era by stuffing the TARDIS with a variety of friends for the Doctor might tempt them to give this new version of the show a try, even if they've been more reluctant of late.

Of course, as someone who has been wholeheartedly on board these past three seasons anyway, I'm probably not the right person to ask about how to bring back disgruntled older-era fans. Instead, I'm going to look ahead to the coming changes and celebrate them, because I think we've got some really exciting possibilities in the works.

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