It was 52 years ago today that a programme called Doctor Who debuted on BBC1 as two teachers followed a mysterious pupil home to a junkyard and were kidnapped by her grandfather in a time machine disguised as a police box and helped teach him to be a hero and stand against the evil in the universe, a show not expected to run for very long by anyone except for it’s main star.
Here we are 13 wonderful Doctors and 823 episodes later and whilst not every episode is going to be loved by everyone there is always something to enjoy in each one and what one fan dislikes another will love. To me that’s part of the beauty of this quirky and brilliant show.
Here’s to at least another 52 years,
Happy Birthday Doctor Who
So we come to what I think is one of my favourite stories since the show returned, this series is really hitting the high notes and I really can’t understand why some fans are disliking it (apart from a desire to dislike it regardless)
We start with a quick recap of the Zygon subplot from the 50th anniversary and it’s nice to see it done slightly more inventively than a simple “Previously On” then we rattle straight into the story with poor old Osgood getting cornered.
It’s good to see the show doing a political thriller type story and the Zygon are perfect alien race for this story and it feels like a natural extension from their last two stories, the parallels between the Zygon and the real life scenario of extremism our world faces aren’t subtle but then they’re clearly not meant to be, the scenes with the Zygon turned against his will who just wanted a normal life is particularly effective and his subsequent suicide is a surprisingly adult moment for a family show.
Jenna Coleman puts in another great performance especially as Bonnie where she is able to convey some subtle differences. Sadly yet again Jemma Redgrave is still relatively underused but makes great contributions when necessary but I hope she gets a spotlight episode next year. Osgood is always good to watch as the character we’d all be in her position but personally I’m looking forward to her sixth Doctor cosplay!
Peter Capaldi started great back in Deep Breath and has continued to get better and better with each episode, anyone in doubt just watch that final ten minute scene with him lamenting war and remembering the effect it had on him, it’s so well written but could’ve gone so bad in the hands of a lesser actor.
I’ve rewatched the story twice already and it’s going to be considered a classic in the future I’m sure.
So I’ve just finished watching the much delayed dvd of The Underwater Menace which barring any miracle discoveries looks like it will be the final old story release.
I’ve missed the dvd releases and realised that counting the video releases I’ve been collecting since the early nineties (bar those few presents I recieved during childhood )
Underwater Menace was gloriously camp and crazy full of great ideas not quite realised fully so in many ways the perfect Doctor Who story 🙂
It was so lovely to finally see Part 2 after only listening to it before. I always think that Troughton’s Doctor benefits enormously from being seen as so much of his performance is unspoken. Sadly it noe means bar one of those miracle discoveries I’ve now seen every existing episode again.
I also wanted to blog about the Restoration Team who’ve worked wonders restoring the stories. Just compare them to the ropey copies we had on video or even other old tv shows on dvd. Such care and love clearly put into the range.
In addition we have such a wonderful range of commentaries and documentaries with every major behind the scenes story covered and often talked about honestly and frankly by those involved. Unlike many other dvds (particularly new tv or movies) I often rewatch these along with the stpry when I pluck one of the shelf. I still hope that maybe in another ten or twenty years when enough time has passed we’ll get the 9th-12th Doctor’s stories treated in the same manner.
So with no more dvd’s to come perhaps I’ll turn my attention to the Big Finish cd’s, my need to collect has resurfaced.
So we reach the third story of the series although to be honest it feels like two stories with the same recurring character. Both are fun romps with some nice character moments. Peter Capaldi is clearly having fun in the role and it’s infectious.
Masie Williams also gives a great performance particularly in the second episode where she has more to do.
The Mire are forgettable but reasonably effective in the role they need to perform, it was sad that Brian Blessed didn’t end up playing the leader as his replacement didn’t really work and the less said about the Monty Python Odin in the sky scene the better!
The reason for The Doctor choosing his face is a good enough one but maybe the real reason isn’t revealed yet. Maybe it was to remind him he can’t save everyone especially as it seems saving Ashlider is going to come back and cause him trouble. The flashback to Donna and Tennant was a nice moment, we forget the relaunch has been running for long enough to have it’s own sense of history.
The second episode is also a good romp but has a bit more depth to it particularly in the scenes between Capaldi and Williams looking at the downside of living forever and why The Doctor dosen’t travel alone, it’s a theme that’s been touched upon before both by RTD and Moffat and I have a feeling we’ll be coming back to it.
Again the villan is secondary to the story but is effective enough and looks good with a touch of Thrail about him and maybe the amulet opening to new dimensions is a way to bring Gallifrey back.
All in all whilst these episodes are slighter than the previous ones they’re still great and this series has yet to put a foot wrong.
So the second story of Series 9 is another two parter and I may as well confess straight away that I loved it so if you didn’t then maybe stop reading now!
As I think I’ve said before 90 minutes just seems like the right length for a Who story. It was also nice to see a adventure where The Doctor and Clara just turn up and get involved.
The idea of ghosts is good and gives us some great spooky scenes and the end explanation for them makes sense once explained. The logic of the story holds up with its various time paradoxes especially on repeat viewings.
The base crew are a good group of characters and nice to see the show using a character with a disability in a positive way and the scene with her being followed by the ghost is horror storytelling by the numbers but is effective even if it made her seem like Daredevil with their choice of visualisation.
The Fisher King is effective enough and they’ve given him a good voice and made him look reasonably impressive, The confrontation with The Doctor is good too. Capaldi does these scenes so well and he’s easily becoming the best of the new series Doctor’s.
The resolution was very guessable in Part 1 but it was a great ride getting there and how wonderful that no one said that awful phrase “timey-wimey” when explaining the paradox.
Also as an aside I quite liked the guitar rockier theme, just felt more right for Capaldi’s Doctor.
So that’s four out of four excellent episodes. Such a shame that some fans are too wrapped up in their Moffat hate to watch with a open mind. Maybe once the production team changes they may give these a fairer chance and reevaluate them similar to what’s happened with the stories from the late 80’s.
So with my blog about the opening Series 9 story since last Christmas I have watched all 815 episodes (or nearly watched in the case of the sixties recons) spanning 254 stories and I’m pleased to say it was a mostly pleasurable experience, there were a few stories I didn’t care for but even in those stories there was always something to enjoy even if it was a piece of dialogue or a actors performance.
Doctor Who is a unique show in that it’s not one I normally rewatch in chronological order. I just pick a story at random normally and will switch Doctor’s depending on my mood and if you’ve not done so before I do recommend doing it at least once.
I found my opinions on certain stories changed particularly when the show kept to a style for a run of stories. For example Mind of Evil is a big favourite of mine but after 29 previous unit episodes I was hankering for a alien planet and didn’t enjoy it quite as much as normal, On the other hand Colony in Space has never been a big favourite and I still don’t think it’s wonderful but I just loved getting onto a alien planet.
In closing I’m pleased to say Doctor Who is still my favourite show with each era having its high points and even bad Who is better than a lot of other stuff they put on the television.
So after rewatching all 253 stories I now have a brand new one and it’s a cracker of a story. So if you’re one of the vocal minority who keeps banging on about how the show is failing and Moffat must go then I’d stop reading now!
Series 8 was wonderful and Peter Capaldi is a fantastic Doctor who I really love. In these episodes he’s just as excellent. I didn’t even mind his entrance which on paper does sound a bit cringey.
The story starts with a typical Doctor saving a boy on a battlefield scene with those great hand things (brings back memories of the Trial 13 cliffhanger) untill he discovers it’s Davros and abandons him, we then spend the next 90 minutes sure that The Doctor is going to go back and kill him untill Moffat pulls that rug out from under us and proves the Capaldi Doctor is as compassionate as any of his predecessors.
We also get the return of the wonderful Missy, easily one of my favourite additions to the Who mythos. Her interactions with Clara are wonderful particularly in the second half and just when you thought she may be mellowing she’ll do something nasty and I do like those comic moments as they don’t feel forced ( according to her online q &a the Dalek tickle was her improvising so perhaps that’s why)
The other main character is Davros at the end of his life and wow what a great performance. Seemingly at the end of his life he evokes sympathy and just as you watch thinking how sad and pathetic he’s become he shows his true colours proving it was all a act to lull both us and The Doctor in to prolonging his life and giving The Daleks more power.
Also love the idea of the geriatric Dalek mutants shoved in the sewers, Hope the Tories weren’t watching might give them ideas!
So all in all I loved the start of the series, it’s nice to have longer stories. I’ve always thought 90 minutes is the perfect length for a Who story and I’m glad we will be getting a few this year.