Eve of the Daleks & Legend of the Sea Devils

So following the epic Flux and preparing for the equally epic finale we get two standalone episodes and with the first we go for a staple of Doctor Who and a base under siege story with Daleks and timeloops, Having just 2 guest characters is also good after the large cast of Flux.

To be honest I am surprised its taken this long to do a whole Groundhog Day style story. I really enjoyed this story, this era has used the Daleks well and they do feel chilling and relentless in this story as they should always be. Sarah and Nick are nice characters though Nick definitely comes across a bit stalkerish but Sarah is a fantastic character that feels well rounded. Jodie is as wonderful as always and again gets to show herself being Doctorish as she works everything out under pressure (how people can say she isn’t with a straight face is beyond me), There’s still time for some good character interactions between The Doctor and Yaz with Dan making them face up to their feelings and I like that there is a clear close friendship between Yaz and Dan from their 4 years together in Flux. It was good just to have a standalone story again and it’s become one of my favourites of this era.

Then we come onto Legend of the Sea Devils which I had high hopes for as this era has done well with all its returning monsters and I liked Chris Chibnall’s Silurian story too, also the historical setting is something this era has excelled at so all the stars seemed in alignment. Obviously this became the extra episode when the BBC asked for Jodie’s finale to be part of their centenary celebrations and it does show a little sadly, one way is this should have an epic scale but dosen’t (presumably covid meant they couldn’t have too many actors or locations needing an over reliance on cgi that dosen’t always work)

The Sea Devils look impressive, their look is tweaked but hasn’t strayed too far away though they certainly look better out of the string vests. Though think they missed a trick not naming the sea monster Myrka, they’re suitably aggressive and like the “land parasite” line. Madame Ching feels a little under developed compared to other historical figures we have met before and maybe this is where the story would have benefited from a slightly longer running time. The story goes a bit all over the place towards the end and feels rushed once we get to The Sea Devils plan to flood Earth but it at least rattles along at a good pace. Though this at least gives us time at the end for Yaz and The Doctor to have their talk, this is a lovely scene and it feels right and earnt by now making you feel for both of them, the lonely timelord in all ways clearly burnt by losing so many people

So Eve was fantastic and Legends was a fun romp. These episodes and Flux being made against the covid backdrop was amazing and the team should be applauded for it. Jodie is really an excellent Doctor and watching these stories knowing we’re near the end is sad.


Series 13: Flux

First up how amazing is it that the production team managed to make a series in the midst of a pandemic and one so epic when the easier option would have been smaller scale base under siege type stories,and  yes as others have noted there is more cgi than normal but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff and let’s face it that’s a grand tradition in Doctor Who anyway (a homage to 1970’s CSO overloads!! )

And in an era that has always felt a little more like classic era Who than others we are also getting a 6 parter  with cracking cliffhangers, consequently this makes Episode 1 a packed episode full of set up as we meet all the different characters. Dan is instantly likeable and his reactions to everything feel natural and he has a good rapport with Yaz , It’s also good to see the Divison plotline is being continued, know I may be in a minority but I think all this has opened up a lot of potential going forward and it certainly dosen’t contradict what we know about Gallifrey and the Time Lords already (I don’t understand people saying it breaks continuity -to me it fits in perfectly) , it was good to see The Fugitive Doctor again too and understand what led to her going on the run. It was just a shame we didn’t see more of her and her group (I can imagine in a full series freed of covid restrictions this would have been a more Fugitive Doctor heavy episode). It was good to see The Doctor confront Tecteun though it feels a shame and shortsighted to kill her so offhandly soon after.

The Doctor and Yaz make a good team and its good to see that clear bond they have, it feels like a good combination and clearly a lot of time has passed since the last story so in later episodes the sorrow Yaz has at their being split up for years feels real too. How anyone can dislike this pair is beyond me

Swarm and Azure are a good pair of villains , they are suitably creepy and the actors perform the roles wonderfully, a truly great addition to the mythos though sadly they are dispensed with almost as an afterthought. The Sontarans are back too and are excellent, they are amusing but threatening too in equal measure, It’s good to see them used as a threat not just comic relief so it feels right that they are a Galactic empire, they also fit the period setting really well and The Doctor’s confrontation with the Sontaran is wonderful (“I wanted to ride a horse” makes me chuckle every time), It’s also good to see them threaded throughout the whole story and being in control showing their strategic prowess and using flux to their advantage

We also get The Weeping Angels back and they’re also used effectively for the first time since Series 5. Setting them in an isolated setting works well for them as they’re the ultimate “base under siege” monster and they give Jodie some great moments to be Doctorish and also it gives us one of the best cliffhangers in the shows history- seeing The Doctor become an angel is a shock on first viewing but is still a spectacular moment on rewatching

Bel and Vinder’s story adds some colour allowing us to see the effect of the flux on the universe as they search for each other, the story could continue fine without them but their addition is good as it gives some human context to the big story. We also get Claire and Jericho as another pair and they feel far more rounded and essential to the story, Jericho in particular is wonderful and makes a good trio with Yaz and Dan so it was disappointing to see him die though perfectly in keeping with his character

Also good to see UNIT back and it explains why they stopped being part of the show after Capaldi’s era, showing their history was good too as was hearing that snippet of The Brigadier (again no continuity error here- he was clearly undercover for UNIT during Web of Fear) . The Grand Serpent taking control is a good idea and he’s suitably menacing and it’s good to see Kate show her mettle going up against him and The Sontarans

The Sontarans being the main big threat taking advantage of the flux showing their intelligence and ability for war strategy is welcome as its good to see them as a real threat and not purely as comic relief, they work best with a fine balance between their threat and absurdity, hope they continue to be used like this in the future. The end of the flux seems quick and rushed and its unclear if the universe is still mostly dead and empty. Also good to see The Doctor now can get her Division memories back if she wants amd hopefully this happens.

I really enjoyed Flux, it was great to have a long form story and more of it worked than didn’t, it was full of great characters and restored The Sontarans and The Weeping Angels into credible threats, Jodie got lots of good moments and her Doctor is easily one of my favourites

Ncuti Gatwa -The 14th Doctor

So today I have been working and got home about half hour ago so I didn’t find out about Ncuti as many probably did, I sat down for a coffee this afternoon and noticed a text from my daughter saying “I met the new Doctor at a house party during freshers week” , so definitely a strange way to discover the new Doctor’s identity!

I must admit I was hoping for another female Doctor but this news genuinely has me excited, he feels like an excellent choice and among the tweets I have saw tonight one that stuck in my mind was a big Jodie fan saying she will be sorry not to be represented by The Doctor anymore but is so happy other people will now feel represented by their show instead and this can only be a good thing, also it will remove all the NMD lot who will dislike a black man being The Doctor as much as they did it being a woman as they will finally have to admit to their sexism/racism- good riddance I say.

I will miss Jodie, she has been a fantastic Doctor but the future is bright and exciting too

Revolution of the Daleks

The Daleks return along with Captain Jack and Jack Robinson, The Doctor is in prison and its the swansong of Graham and Ryan so this story has a lot to do and in just an hour. This era is fast becoming a favourite of mine, I know some don’t like the new design Daleks but they make logical sense as a relation to the one self-made Dalek from the last specail and I honestly think they don’t look too bad and ai like the colour scheme.

Robinson returning is good too as it felt like there was more that could be done with him and if the plot calls for a shady businessman then may as well use one the audience know, His continual selfishness is unsurprising and its good to see just like in the real world that he thrives and comes out on top by the conclusion, hopefully we get a third appearance before Jodie’s time is up

The Doctor’s imprisonment isn’t immediately resolved and the prison looks suitably bleak and Jodie conveys how low it brings The Doctor over a few decades, The other prisoners glimpsed are a nice touch. This leads to Captain Jack’s return and fortunately he isn’t as cheesy as last time though there is no real character advancement but again like Robinson he fills a plot role and at least gets a few nice scenes particularly with Yaz as they discuss life with The Doctor and their feelings for them,

The other regulars have also moved on which helps make sense of Ryan’s decision later, Yaz’s devotion to The Doctor and reluctance to accept her death continues her path to becoming subsumed by the Doctor lifestyle. However its good to see Ryan more happy to be home and a far more mature person than the one The Doctor first met but still wanting to help protect it. Graham is still the everyman character that still feels real in his reactions, the departure of Ryan and Graham feel natural and its nice to finally have companies just leave rather than be part of an epic universe changing reason, it’s good to just see then acknowledge they have loved their time but they’re ready to go back to their lives, I also like the idea of Ryan and Graham being the latest in a line of Doctor influenced humans now actively protecting Earth

The Dalek surviving through a single cell seems obvious but a good idea and as normal for the show all down to human stupidity and greed-poor leo! The clone farm is also a suitably creepy idea. I like seeing the Dalek mutants as threats outside their casings, it’s nice to see something a bit different and good to see their cunning and intelligence is as high as normal keeping themselves one step ahead of The Doctor and the humans. Good to see both the intelligent side of them alongside the mass extermination. The return of the bronze Daleks is satisfying to see and their wiping out of the impure is a good solution making complete sense (also good to see a bit of my local town on screen in the bridge scene) and the solution of the bronze Daleks being lured onto the spare tardis which is then destroyed feels a neat end untill you realise the show has always shown the tardis as being alive which isn’t addressed

Overall this is another fantastic episode, this era does the returning monsters and villains well. Moving the specials away from Christmas and the need to theme them seems to have freed them to instead be fabulous stories.

Series 12: The Timeless Children

So we come to the end of Series 12 with what must rank as the most polarising story since The Deadly Assassin (there are still fans that don’t like its decision to make the timelords very beauracratic and corrupt), I like the Timeless child stuff but even without that I think it’s a pretty good 2 parter. The Cybermen seem genuinely threatening and relentless despite the flying heads looking absurd and you do feel that humanity has been worn down by this unstoppable foe and are on their last legs. Once Graham and Yaz are separated from The Doctor there is a genuine sense that they may not survive especially once on the Cyber ship, I did wonder if we were going to see The Cybermen claim another companion’s life. I like the warrior class Cyber design too, a lovely blend of old and new, The idea of the human hiding in Cyber suits is a good one too and gives us Cybergraham! Jodie again gets a good confrontation with the Lone Cybermen, she is always good at channelling The Doctor’s righteous anger, it’s such a shame that after being the main villain he’s got rid of almost as an afterthought in Part 2, He’s such a good concept and I wish he had escaped to fight another day

The first episode Irish detour does jar on first watch as you try to work out the connection but it makes a nice contrast to the Cyber story and on rewatch it gels with what we learn about the Timeless child and is explained in Part 2 as The Master’s doing though it could maybe have been made clearer that The Doctor was seeing it too, intresting that even before The Doctor became the Doctor we know they had to be brainwashed, maybe underlining that the morality of the character was always there

The Master reappearing is a good thing, Sacha is such a good Master bringing the right mixture of insanity, ruthlessness and charm. I know some fans think he can’t be after Missy because of her change of heart before her end but clearly learning about the Timeless child tipped them back over the edge and like The Doctor regeneration changed their persona so maybe Missy wouldn’t have reacted quite the same. Whilst I don’t like the way he gets rid of such a good villain in Lone Cybermen his mad idea of Cyber-Timelords is suitably bonkers and very Masterish and obviously without his death there wouldn’t be the death particle solution for The Doctor to carry out though it seems The Master escaped as always.

The Timeless Child/Tectaun/Division stuff isn’t as terrible concept as some think, It adds not subtracts from the mythos and adds some mystery back, It also isn’t disrespectful to William Hartnell as many suggest, he is still the first actor to play The Doctor and guarantee the success of the show, this reveal just adds more fiction to the character and to be fair only follows up on what we saw in 1976 when it was first mooted there were Doctors before Hartnell (go and watch Brain of Morbius- no way are those faces anyone else but The Doctor’s). Doctor Who has never had one creator’s vision or a show bible like many others- it has always been a relay race between creative people doing what they wanted, to me that is its charm. The Timelords being started in a corrupt manner rather than natural fits in with what we know about them and The Doctor being the timeless child makes sense of why they’re not like other Timelords to me, their morality and sense of justice makes them stand out from all others we have met so now we have a reason and the mystery of who The Doctor really is is back in a way it hasn’t been since 1969, also for everyone complaining the story hasn’t been fully resolved yet so at least wait. As you may be able to tell I love it and hope it isn’t overwritten. The Division also feels a natural Timelord organisation and the thought of multiple unknown Doctors is exciting, so good to see Jo Martin’s Doctor and the big flashback scene is lovely, I know some didn’t like Jodie being trapped and explained to but it felt necessary to convey the information but she wins and shows strength to break free and defeat The Master.

Series 12: The Haunting of Villa Diodati

So here comes the latest historical story and these are among my favourites of Jodie’s era, This time we get to meet Mary Shelly, Perry Shelly and Lord Byron and also get a haunted house story at least in the first half of the episode. The scene is set well giving us time with the guest characters before the regulars turn up, these scenes immediately drew me in and I could have happily watched more. The regulars acting as historical tourists is fun and what I imagine them happily doing between adventures. Like the last few stories the regulars are split among the guest cast which again gives both more depth, Graham is so endearing amd I do like the feeling he may have actually met ghosts, The Doctor dealing with Byron’s flirting and 19th century attitudes to her is intresting and Jodie is given lots of Doctorish scenes. The house folding in on itself and trapping everyone is also a great concept and The Doctor working out about the illusion because of the sleepwalker feels good, Jodie’s Doctor is certainly not passive here amd gets to show all the different sides to her Doctor and keeping her in line with the character we have known for as long as we have been watching.

The arrival of The Lone Cyberman changes the story from the ghost story of the first half (another story this year I would have liked to see as a 2 parter), I like the look of him though, for a concept so rooted in body horror it dosen’t get touched on in many Cyberman stories and is very effective here. This is easily the best Cyber story of the 21st century series. Again Jodie gets a good confrontation scene against The Cyberman once more proving she is every bit The Doctor. The Cyberium is also a concept I really like and it being hid away to stop The Cybermen and the dilemma it puts the regulars in and the arguments of one life vs billions and rewriting history is a good scene and shows us the dark side of The Doctor and how lonely she is making hard choices first to save Percy then to give The Cyberium away.

I really liked this story, the characters felt real and their reactions to the events felt real. Jodie was given much to do and led the story as she should. Maxine Alderton is a writer I hope writes many more stories in the future.

Series 12: Can You Hear Me?

So onto another episode that seems to have polarised the fans but again I enjoyed it and again it gives some development to the regulars. Also I didn’t realise that I missed not having the pre credits teaser untill we got one here, It certainly works well.

It’s good to see the regulars catching up with the lives they are missing and it’s definitely good to see Yaz get some development.¬† I loved that The Doctor’s initial idea was to just hop to the next day instead of waiting for them, a very Doctorish move instead going off to 13th century Syria, I also love that she has to resort to talking to herself without her friends

The main villains are suitably spooky and the movable fingers is definitely something different, the concept of controlling and harnessing¬† nightmares is a good one, It’s a pity this wasn’t a two parter as I think there could have been a lovely creepy Part 1 just with that concept. I also liked thet they tricked The Doctor by playing on her sense of right and wrong. I like the idea put forward of all the Immortal beings just doing stuff to relive their boredom (nice tying together of previously seen Immortal characters, that is beauty of a nearly 60 year show in that we get lines of dialogue us old timers can squeal in delight at whilst new viewers just think it’s a nice line to give depth) , they’re defeated so bit too easy but I like The Doctor’s speech about humanity overcoming it’s fears.

Some moaned about the animated section but clearly the budget wouldn’t run to showing it so the other option would have been a few minutes of talking heads (which the same people would also have moaned was boring)¬† so I think that was a good and unique way to convey the information. The other part that many hated was the scene between The Doctor and Graham about the possibility of his cancer returning with many feeling she wasn’t compassionate or supportive enough to him, to me it felt like she was listening to him and not wanting to give him empty platitudes and importantly he dosen’t take offence at her. Others didn’t like the tackling of mental health particularly in regards to men but again this is a current problem and the show has always reflected the world it was made in and with many male viewers young and old it feels the right place to do it (and in a story about fears being made real it would feel odd not to)

So another great story, This era is really shaping up as one of my favourites

Series 12: Praxeus

Praxeus continues Doctor Who’s long history of environmental concerns (despite what some detractors say) wrapped up in a cool story. Doctor Who has always told stories reflecting the worries and big stories of the time it is made and this shouldn’t be any different in 2020.

The birds are a nice spooky touch as is the effect of the infection on people, I also like that we join the story with The Doctor and her friends already investigating all the various strands, this is good as it enables us to meet the guest cast as they do and the guest characters Gabriela, Adam and Jake feel well formed, Suki feels less well formed but keeping her in background is I assume deliberate before the reveal about her. It also means the regulars get some decent screen time being split and some good scenes where we get a bit more insight for example Yaz feels like she is becoming the latest companion to attempt to emulate The Doctor and become more reckless, The beach scene with Graham and Jake is also nice, Bradley Walsh is so good at the subtle moments.It’s nice to see The Doctor alone with strangers and she is suitably Doctorish being both scatty and authorities in equal measure.

As the enemy is a plastic eating bacteria it denies us a big confrontation to end the episode so it feels like it peters out a bit and Suki isn’t a good substitute though I like the idea of alien scientists using Earth as a giant laboratory and choosing it because of the state we have made of Earth. Instead we get a traditional end where it looks like a character has to die to save the Earth until the last moment.

Overall though it was an enjoyable episode that kept me invested and was a good contrast to the big showy previous episode, Also like all of this era it looks gorgeous and is rewatchable.

Series 12: Fugitive of the Judoon

So many fans don’t like the secrecy and lack of spoilers in the Jodie era of the show but if that secrecy gives us moments like the reveals in this episode then I personally think that is good, also clever of Chris Chibnall to make us think The Judoon were the major part so no one looked beyond that.

We start thinking that this is just a normal episode and is going to be another Earth Invasion type story with the locals caught up in the action similar to The Judoon’s first appearance but fortunately the plot takes a quick twist.The Judoon are a great monster, threatening and funny in equal measure.

We also get the return of Jack Harkness which isn’t a bad thing but he feels a very one note character in the main show and is just here to info dump but his not realising The Doctor is now female but his delight at the thought is great. Graham’s interaction with him is also fun.

The whole Fugitive Doctor and Division plot line is a wonderful one, The Doctor hiding out with her faithful companion protecting her is completely in character and there is a clear line between the coldness of The Fugitive Doctor and Hartnell’s Doctor when we first meet him so to me this dosen’t contradict anything we know. I love the reveal of Jodie uncovering Ruth’s TARDIS (and to answer the continuity of it being pre-Hartnell but a police box that some have my thought is that it exists outside time so changes to be recognisable to the older Doctor in same way that 10’s control room changes to the 11th’s during Day of the Doctor) The interaction between Doctor’s is wonderful and channels the Troughton-Pertwee interactions and whilst I like the current interior the Fugitive TARDIS interior is wonderful and my favourite of all the modern series. I really like the Division plot line and think it could be really interesting and I hope we see The Fugitive Doctor again.

Overall a cracking episode full of intrigue and with much to get the braincells firing, I keep saying that I do feel this era will be looked back on as truly great once its removed from being current and we can ignore the people determined to hate a female doctor regardless of content.

Series 12: Nikola Telsa’s Night of Terror

So we get the first historical of the series and I loved the series 11 historicals so before first viewing I was really looking forward to it and happily it didn’t disappoint. The main character of Nikola is wonderful, he feels a more fully rounded character than any of the ones in Orphan 55 and its good to meet him before he encounters the madness of The Doctor and her world. It works well to make the viewer invested in Nikola and the world he inhabits. The joy of inventions and mutual respect shared between The Doctor and Nikola is great to see as is her initial combative relationship with Edison who is also realised well and not just as a one note arrogant man which could easily have happened. It’s also good to see all the regulars get something to do as they all interact with various main characters, It still feels refreshing to me that they feel like ordinary people who have just been caught up in The Doctor’s world so they still feel like our eyes and ears into the story.

The Skithra are a good race of aliens and suitably creepy at first using the projected human form. The initial scene of them scuttling inside their Spaceship is also a good reveal and The Skithra Queen is a good character too, the interplay between her and The Doctor is good, again I don’t understand people who say Jodie isn’t Doctorish as here she slips between playful angry and mournful lulling her oponents into misjudging her. I like the concept of the skithra as a race just scavenging, killing and looting instead of inventing making them an intresting opposite to Nikola and Edison, it would be greeat to see then pop up again.

As much as this was a fantastic story I would love to see a pure historical- the show keeps coming close and with great characters like Nikola (or Rosa last series) I do think it’s something that could be done and done well.