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 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 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.
So my complete rewatch ends with the first Peter Capaldi season. As will become evident I love the 12th Doctor and I’m hoping for a lengthy run.
Deep Breath kicks things off in style and we get the Vastra gang back which I suppose makes sense to give those viewers missing Matt something familiar while they acclimatise to a less user friendly Doctor. The story itself is a good one with some lovely scenes especially the clara holding her breath scene. Not quite sure why Clara has a problem with him regenerating seeing as she’s been in his timeline meeting them all. Also it’s very believable he’s forgot parts of his past and is less human following his hundreds of years isolation in Time of the Doctor.
Into the Dalek is another excellent episode, nice to have a different spin on the Daleks and we get more examples of a Doctor more intrested in the big picture and less with people. The “top layer if you want to say a few words” line is one of my favourites. The soldiers are good characters and The Doctor’s immediate dislike of soldiers seem a little out of place, maybe another aftereffect of his time on Tenzalore and obviously to set up the Danny Pink subplot. It’s refreshing to see the whole of a relationship from start to finish.
Robots of Sherwood is next and I know a lot moan about it but I think it’s a lovely glorious fun story. The show needs variety in tone and style or it just becomes boring. The Sheriff is wonderfully camp and the merry men are entertaining.
Listen is a story that has polarised fans but I love it, the idea of a invisible presence always with us is a excellent one, Moffat is slowly ticking off all our childhood fears. Also we meet a future Pink stuck at the end of the universe and little boy Pink completely linked to Clara, I enjoyed the slow burn nature of their relationship being played out too. The last scene is the one that gets all the Moffat haters foaming at the mouth as Clara appears to imprint on a young Doctor. At the time I wondered if it was actually The Master she was talking to and as it’s never been explicitly stated who the boy was, suppose it still could be but even if it was The Doctor I don’t mind the scene.
Time Heist is next and it’s another fun romp, a good central story with a good mystery and clever resolution. Keely Hawkes gives a good performance too and I like the two thief characters, this series is giving us some good supporting characters.
The Caretaker comes up next with The Doctor going undercover at a school and meeting Danny with the pair disliking each other. Danny’s reactions to discovering this feel very real and his observations on The Doctor aren’t far off the mark.
Kill the Moon is another that polarises fans, I do agree that the ending is a bit silly but the first part is good, the creatures are effective as is the threat and even the schoolgirl character isn’t annoying.
Mummy on the Orient Express is a highlight of the series, a very classic era feel to it and again a credible threat with a good resolution. Someone on twitter observed about Frank Skinner’s characters that only The Doctor aknowledges or talks to him (only exception is The Captain but that’s only when he’s also seeing the mummy) leading to the possibility that he was behind it and will be back soon.
Flatline follows and is another good story, again a good concept that’s creepy and well realised. The Boneless are a good new foe and the scenes of them are effective.
Forest of the Night is another people dislike but it’s a sweet story and again I like the concept behind it. The kids are a bit annoying but they’re meant to be. We also get some nice character moments for Clara and Danny.
The series concludes with Death in Heaven two parter and it’s so nice to have a longer story again. It’s a excellent story and a natural progression for The Cybermen to learn how to convert the dead with a little Tinelord help. Missy is revealed to be The Master and I must admit I love her character, it’s such a fun interpretation of the character and actually feels the closest to Delgado’s performances. They share that glee with killing and goading both their victims and their friend. She also has great chemistry with Capaldi.
Danny’s sacrifice at the end is the perfect end to his story as he proves all his points about The Doctor. As for the CyberBrig ending, yes it feels a bit crass but he was dead and it feels very Brigadierish that he would break the conditioning to save his daughter and kill the enemy who plagued him for years.
I’m including Last Christmas in with this blog as watching it feels like the epilogue of the Clara/ Danny story. The dream creatures are a good threat and even Santa makes sense once explained (must admit I groaned when the post credit scene appeared at the end of series 8 ) Again we have a good group of supporting characters. Clara’s story feels done, how sad and fitting would it have been if the elderly Clara scenes had been their final ones.
So the complete rewatch is up to date and we head into uncharted waters with Series 9.