Archive for the ‘ Episode Review ’ Category

50th Anniversary Retrospective: “The Day of the Doctor”

Doctor “I could retire and be the curator of this place.”
Curator “You know, I really think you might.”
Doctor “I never forget a face.”
Curator “I know you don’t. And in years to come you might find yourself…revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?”

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Whenever I watch Doctor Who, it has almost entirely been from the sofa of whichever house I happened to be living in at the time, although I do have memories of my childhood viewing technique of lying down on the floor, elbows under my head, with chin perched on my hands. Most of the time, viewing was a solitary experience. My parents, to this day, don’t really get it, and my brother was never a fan. I married in 2002 (during the wilderness years), over a year before the show’s triumphant return was even announced and nearly three years before “Rose” was broadcast. My wife had no idea what she was getting into, but she has enough taste in good television to sit and enjoy the new show with me. Having said that, I’m still not sure I could convince her to sit down and watch “Image of the Fendahl” or “The Romans” or somesuch. Given all this, it was beyond my comprehension to think that I would be watching the 50th anniversary special by leaving the “Official 50th Celebration” at the Excel with a bunch of other fans, many of whom were in Doctor Who costume, getting a cable car across the River Thames to the O2 arena, where we would watch the episode with 775 other fans on a screen 22-metres wide in glorious 3D. Not only that, there were more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide showing the same thing at the same time as it was simulcast in 94 countries and dubbed or subtitled into 15 other languages, watched by nigh-on 13 million people in the UK and who knows how many elsewhere. Not bad for kid’s show. But what to make of it all? The brief was not exactly a simple one: write an episode of the greatest television show that the world has ever seen that celebrates its dazzling, fifty-year heritage; that impresses dedicated fans of all ages as the centrepiece of the anniversary celebrations; that appeals to a large slice of an audience who have a take it or leave attitude to the show (the fools!); and paves the way to securing another half-century of Whovian goodness. It would not have been many people’s first response to this challenge, which had indeed been laid at the feet of Steven Moffat, to say, “Right. Let’s bring back the Zygons”. Continue reading

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Doctor Who Official 50th Anniversary Celebration -Day One

So, day one at the event of the millennium and here is a quick summary and hints and tips for those coming on Saturday or  Sunday. There’ll be more news in the comments when I think about them and over the course of the weekend. Follow me on Twitter to ask any questions (@fazzinchi)……

  1. Queues at the start were very long. I was in Ice Warrior stream so was asked to queue from the east. There were a few Weeping Angels over that side too and they were in a tiny queue. Not sure if that could be a bit of a cheat to shortcut the long queue as they might fix it by tomorrow.
  2. This queue vanished rapidly when tickets were scanned and lanyards distributed. Then the Celebration was yours to explore…. Unless you were an Ice Warrior, who then got corralled in to an aircraft hanger type space and made to wait for the SFX show. I’d recommend just dipping out after you get your lanyard if you have other WA events that you have tickets for.
  3. Screening Rooms and Classic Lounges were popular but the ones that I was in were 95% occupied. Very quick entry. Guest artists at these were happy to sign stuff and have pics taken for free afterwards.
  4. Autos. I queued for about 10 minutes to get Jenna’s sig first up. Cribbins later on was about 40 minutes. Multiple autos in one session were pretty straightforward too: just joining Mimi-queues in the auto area. it was a shame to see companions and other guests with no-one in their queues, but the staff wouldn’t let me pop over and get a cheeky auto without coughing up £15 at the Official Show Merchandise stand (Despite my winningest smile and charm)
  5. Loads of famous Whovians milling around and all more than happy to chat, sign, and have pics taken
  6. The retail area is awesome….. If anyone can give me 4 or 5 grand I might just be able to buy everything I wanted. Special word of praise to Big Finish for having special guests all day. Rubber toe, DWFiguirines, Big chief  all excellent? Peter Davison on hand at the Royal Mail stamp stand in the afternoon for getting your picture with him on a stamp.
  7. Grab a Show Planner early on and get your bearings. Knowing where you are rushing to is a big help.
  8. The official show brochure is £15 but v gorgeous
  9. The prop display section was packed all day until about 6pm at which time it was almost empty
  10. The BBC Shop had a huge queue all day long as did the Tardis console photo op (Didn’t see the set for this one)

“The Name of the Doctor” – Review: Redux

War Doctor “What I did, I did without choice.”
The Doctor “I know.”
War Doctor “In the name of peace and sanity.”
The Doctor “But not in the name of the Doctor.”

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Following a couple of duff episodes and, if I’m being brutally frank, a below-par Series 7b in general, one could be forgiven for thinking that all of everyone’s attention behind the scenes had been so drawn to the impending 50th Anniversary that some of the other episodes may not have got the attention they deserved. However, “The Name of the Doctor” was everything I could ever have wanted it to be. That is despite the fact that it didn’t really have much of a plot of which to speak. Essentially what happened was that the Paternoster Road gang were kidnapped by the Great Intelligence (and his Whispermen henchmen) and taken to the much mentioned Trenzalore, luring the Doctor and Clara to follow them against the Doctor’s better judgement. The reason being that Trenzalore is the location of the time-traveller’s grave amd time travellers should never, ever visit their own graves (Obviously?!). Once there, the Richard E Grant character jumps into the Doctor’s timeline (they don’t have bodies) to disrupt the Doctor’s history, and Clara jumps in afterwards to put it all right again. As if that wasn’t enough, the Doctor then completes the hat-trick by jumping in as well to rescue Clara. Continue reading

“Nightmare in Silver” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Don’t wander off! Now I’m not just saying, “Don’t wander off.” I mean it. Otherwise you’ll wander off. And the next thing you know, somebody’s going to have to start rescuing somebody.”

Nightmar in Silver

The penultimate review. It’s been one helluva journey over the last 101 days to reproduce (or in many cases, write new) blog reviews of all the twenty-first century Doctor Who episodes. And after this one, there is only “The Name of the Doctor” left to complete. It goes without saying that my Doctor Who excitement levels are currently stratospheric and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Planning for the Official 50th Celebration on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Excel in Docklands area of London, not to mention the 3D screening of “The Day of the Doctor” on Saturday. Once it’s all over, the blog will hopefully be replete with reviews and commentaries on the biggest Golden Anniversary of them all. In the meantime, I was forced into watching “Nightmare in Silver” again. Over the course of the last 100 reviews, only 4 episodes have managed to achieve the Demon’s Run Rating of 20 out of 20. One of them was Neil Gaiman’s “The Doctor’s Wife”: a beautiful love letter to the fans. However, it is unfortunate to report that ‘nightmare’ is a pretty appropriate word. Continue reading

“The Crimson Horror” – Review

Madame Vastra “I was in fact speaking to Jenny.”
Strax “Jenny?! If this weak and fleshy boy is to represent us, I strongly advise the issuing of scissor grenades, limbo vapour and triple-blast brain spitters.”
Madame Vastra “What for?”
Strax “Just generally. Remember, we are going to the north.”

Crimson Horror

Following “The Snowmen” at Christmas, “The Crimson Horror” takes us back to Victorian England and the chance to meet up with Team Vastra again. Having left the Doctor babbling about the ‘impossible girl’ in the graveyard at the conclusion of the annual festive outing, the team from Paternoster Road had no idea that another Clara had been found… again. However, it was quite some way into the episode before we got to meet up with the Doctor and his newest companion. Before that the news of the Crimson Horror had been relayed to Vastra along with the fact that there was suspicion around the Sweetville community. Confusingly, Mr Thursday (the man who contacted Vastra and kept fainting) was supposed to be the brother of the first victim, however, they were both played by the same actor, which left me bewildered on first viewing. Continue reading

“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” – Review: Redux

Doctor “I met you at the Dalek Asylum. There was a girl in a ship wreck and she died saving my life. And she was you!”

Clara “She really wasn’t.” 

Doctor “Victorian London. There was a governess who was really a barmaid and we fought the Great Intelligence together. She died and it was my fault. And she was you!”

Clara “You’re scaring me.”

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

There was a sinking feeling that I had, when I heard that there would be an episode called “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” because it sounded for all the world like one of the those episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, just as it was about to jump the shark. You can imagine Journey to the Centre of the Enterprise taking place (as I type these words, and without looking at Google, I’m actually quite sure that this a premise that was in fact used), but it all just seemed so… unnecessary. Even in the pre-title sequence we had contrivance layered upon contrivance as the impregnable, impossible time machine had all its defences taken down for the first time in 1200 years of travel, just as a salvage team needed the defences taken down. Continue reading

“Hide” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Listen, all I need to do is dive into another dimension, find the time-traveller, help her escape the monster, get home before the entire dimension collapses and Bob’s your uncle”

Doctor Who - Series 7B

When you think about ghost stories in Doctor Who, which ones do you think about? For me it’s always the creepiness of “The Horror of Fang Rock” and “Ghostlight” that spring to mind but there is an intrinsic problem with supernatural tales. The show has it’s basis in science. Not in any real world, educational way: it’s not generally the kind of science that you can learn anything from. Unless, of course, you found yourself watching Professor Brian Cox’s lecture “The Science of Doctor Who” last week, in which the aforementioned professor and star of “The Power of Three”, proved that the Eye of Harmony was sort of real. No, the science in this programme is the kind of science that assumes a rational, scientific-sounding explanation for any odd goings on. So when you get a ‘ghost’ you already know that it is not the disembodied spirit of some deceased person, so it’s not as scary as it should be. Continue reading