Doctor Who: Series 14, Episode 00 – Eve of the Daleks

“We’ve gone back in time. Dalek incoming. Two people in this building about to die unless we stop it.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Star Trek has done it. The X Files has done it. Person of Interest has done it. Heck, even Doctor Who has done it before (Heaven Sent). But for the non-nerds in the hungover New Year’s Day audience, Dan Lewis spelled it out in a way that pretty much everyone should know – “It’s Groundhog Day”.

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Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 6 – Flux: Chapter Six: The Vanquishers

“There’s a balance to the universe. It exists that way for a reason.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Well. Let me get this out of the way right at the beginning, because I’m struggling to contain myself from saying it. That was the biggest load of overcomplicated, incoherent, unmitigated garbage I’ve ever seen masquerading as the resolution for a story. Frenetic running around in place of explanations, with so many deus ex machinas cropping up out of the blue that I’m actually looking forward to the return of RTD who usually sticks to just one a season.

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Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 3 – Flux: Chapter Three: Once, Upon Time

“Time is playing games with us all.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

OK, let’s see if I’ve got this straight. There’s a planet, called Time. And all the time in the universe comes from there. And upsetting the Mouri, the priests who run it, can destroy time itself, and that’s what’s happening. Have I got this right? Uhh… ok.

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Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 1 – Flux: Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse

“The end of the universe. I always wondered what it would feel like.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

The Doctor is back, and the universe is ending. Again. I must admit to a feeling of déjà vu about this; the universe has been at stake in stories as varied as Logopolis, Terminus and most Russell T Davies season finales, and it’s still there. Experience suggests that saving the universe is not something the Doctor will have a problem with.

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Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 0 – Revolution of the Daleks

“I was in prison for being me – right at the point I wasn’t sure what that meant.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

The Timeless Children was a bit of a game changer (and I realise that, for various reasons, I haven’t written about it yet – I will get to it). Controversially rewriting the whole of Who continuity (again), it had a lot of fans up in arms, and left many, many unanswered questions. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 13, Episode 0 – Revolution of the Daleks”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 9 – Ascension of the Cybermen

“The Cybermen were defeated. The victims of a billion battles, broken. An empire of might and terror, fallen. Their weaknesses exploited, their armies outfought. Every empire has its time, and every empire falls. But that which is dead can live again – in the hands of a believer.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

The Cybermen are made up of parts. Spare parts, human and machine. So it’s apt that almost every latterday story about them has itself been made up of parts of other Cyber stories – and this was no exception. However, that didn’t stop it being a very, very good Doctor Who episode in a season that has been unexpectedly good after last year’s rather lacklustre effort. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 9 – Ascension of the Cybermen”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 8 – The Haunting of Villa Diodati

“How about writing the most gruesome, spine-chilling ghost story of all time?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It was a dark and stormy night…

How many classic ghost stories begin with that one line? Just maybe, it has its origins in the famous night visited by the Doctor and his companions in this week’s suitably spooky episode – the fevered, intense gathering by Lake Geneva of the early 19th century’s most notorious literary talents. In June 1816, in Villa Diodati, on the shores of the lake, George Gordon (better known as Lord Byron), his current lover Clair Clairmont, Percy Bysshe Shelley and his common law wife Mary Godwin (better known as Mary Shelley) gathered together with their friend Dr John Polidori for a party that would be remembered in the annals of literature for centuries to come. From that party came one of the best known tales of terror in history – Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 8 – The Haunting of Villa Diodati”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 7 – Can You Hear Me?

“You’re wrong about humans. They’re not pathetic. They’re magnificent. They live with their fears, doubts, guilts, they face them down every day, and they prevail! That’s not weakness. It’s strength.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Ostensibly a stab at one of the horror stories Doctor Who has traditionally done so well, Can You Hear Me? was another divisive ep in the way it took on another Big Issue. This time it was mental health, a topic the show has dealt with before (rather more effectively in my opinion) in 2010’s Vincent and the Doctor. The difference here is that rather than showing us a historical figure beset by his personal demons, this time it was the TARDIS crew who were revealed to have fears and anxieties of their own. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 7 – Can You Hear Me?”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 6 – Praxeus

“An alien bacteria has come to this planet – and it found a feast.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Gotta admit, I didn’t take to Pete McTighe’s last script for Doctor Who. Kerblam! (for such was its title, exclamation mark and all) was a fluffy romp that made a misjudged attempt at a Big Message. Trouble was, the Big Message seemed to go against the very ethos of Doctor Who – that big corporations like Amazon were cuddly and caring, while anti-capitalists who try to disrupt their profiteering are terrorists. It didn’t sit well with the show’s previous depictions of such scenarios. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 6 – Praxeus”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 4 – Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror

“Nikola Tesla – you’re going to change the world. But first, you’re gonna save it.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After last week’s uncoordinated mess of an episode, it was rather a relief to come back to what’s admittedly become a formulaic story for Doctor Who since 2005 – the ep centred around a well-known historical figure. Since The Unquiet Dead, these have been a staple of the show; but often the story ends up playing second fiddle to the fannish exaltation of whichever historical figure is on centre stage. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 4 – Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror”