Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 5 – Oxygen

“The end point of capitalism – a bottom line where human life has no value at all. We’re fighting an algorithm. A spreadsheet. Like every worker everywhere – we’re fighting the suits.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

Thirty years ago, at the height of Reagan and Thatcher’s monetarism mania, Mel Brooks’ classic Star Wars parody Spaceballs showed us a world that had exhausted its air – but you could buy expensive cans of it (amusingly labelled ‘Perri-Aire’). At the time, it seemed an absurdist, hyperbolic take on the contemporary free market ideology that was coming to dominate the world. In today’s world, where ‘the market’ is worshipped like a god and the only value that counts is monetary, the idea of privatising the very air we breathe seems like a frighteningly believable prospect. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 5 – Oxygen”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 4 – Knock Knock

“You came here. You signed the contract. And now it’s time to pay.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

After a trip to the future and a trip to the past, this week Doctor Who was back on contemporary Earth for one of the classic story styles it usually does rather well – the tried-and-trusted haunted house tale. The show’s been here before, notably with 1989’s Ghost Light and 2013’s Hide, and the results are usually atmospheric if not always comprehensible (I’m looking at you, Ghost Light). Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 4 – Knock Knock”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 3 – Thin Ice

“Conjecture – there’s something frozen under the Thames and it’s eating people. Proposal – we need to get a closer look at it. Plan – let’s get eaten.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

As with Martha Jones before her, and Rose Tyler before her, Bill Potts’ second trip in the TARDIS took her to the past of her own planet – and what a marvellously unusual area of the past it was. February 1814, the last of the great London Frost Fairs. These were a fairly regular thing from the 17th to the 19th century, in a period known as the Little Ice Age, when Europe’s winter temperatures were much lower, and the Thames was regularly frozen over with ice up to a foot thick. The Doctor’s even been here before, though we didn’t see it; no sign of River Song being serenaded by Stevie Wonder this week though! Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 3 – Thin Ice”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 2 – Smile

“They want to help you. Killing you is just a side effect.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

A couple of years ago, acclaimed writer Frank Cottrell Boyce penned his first script for Doctor Who, In the Forest of the Night.

I didn’t like it.

Not because it wasn’t interesting, or imaginative; it was both. But what it wasn’t was a Doctor Who story. As a deconstruction of classic fairy tales, it would have stood a far better chance as a story unencumbered by the rules of the Doctor Who universe (such as they are), and the stranglehold of the Doctor/Clara/Danny angst fest that dominated that season. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 2 – Smile”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 1 – The Pilot

“What, in the end, are any of us looking for? Someone who’s looking for us.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Yes, I’ve been very lazy about writing on this blog for the last few months.  The second half of The Walking Dead’s most recent season left me largely indifferent, though I may return to look at it some time. Meanwhile, the world seems to be plunging into a new Dark Age in which the American public have knowingly handed the keys to their nuclear arsenal to a dangerous man-child whose every petulant utterance is demonstrably untrue, and yet is still considered fit to occupy the Oval Office. Which has been just too depressing to write about. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 1 – The Pilot”

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016 – The Return of Doctor Mysterio

“The gemstone is giving you what it thinks you want. You’re a superhero!”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It was inevitable, I suppose. Given the current domination of the big (and increasingly, small) screen by muscly men in spandex and rubber (the ones who aren’t in gay porn), it was only a matter of time until an honest to goodness superhero made his way onto Doctor Who. In a Christmas special only tangentially connected to Christmas (thank goodness), Steven Moffat managed to bring off this clash of styles with The Return of Doctor Mysterio, which managed to be both an enjoyable (if light) Doctor Who episode as well as a fond homage to comics superheroes in general. Continue reading “Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016 – The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

Class: Series 1, Episodes 3 and 4

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Episode 3 – Night Visiting

One of the real strengths of Patrick Ness’ writing for Class is its emphasis on character. Yes, each week’s central menace is whatever alien nasty has plunged through the Hellmouth Rift to Shoreditch this week; but each time, the plot is driven by how these developing characters, with continually developing back-stories, deal with it. After ep2’s focus on traumatised jock Ram, this week focused on Tanya, and her still-unresolved grief over the death of her father, established last time. Continue reading “Class: Series 1, Episodes 3 and 4”