Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016 – The Return of Doctor Mysterio

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

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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”

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

“ ‘They are not all successes, Watson,’ said he. ‘But there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife….’ “ – From the journals of Dr John H Watson MD, The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

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It’s not quite a festive tradition as entrenched as the Doctor Who Christmas special, but it’s becoming a pattern that, every couple of years or so, Steven Moffat will deign to present us with a new episode of the sporadic Sherlock on New Year’s Day. Last time this happened, it felt for me like the series’ first major misstep, as Moffat tried to have his cake and eat it by spending half the episode playing with the fans’ anticipated explanations for Sherlock’s survival then never actually explaining it. As if to smirkingly revel further in that sleight of hand, a glancing reference to it here seemed to give a true explanation, but who knows? Continue reading “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”

Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 13 – The Husbands of River Song

“Are you acquainted with the criminal River Song?”

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So, she’s back. After a period in the middle of the Matt Smith era where Doctor Who appeared to be becoming The River Song Show, I’d thought I’d be annoyed to see her again, despite Alex Kingston’s scenery chewing antics. But actually it turns out a break can be good, and it was genuinely nice to see River back. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 13 – The Husbands of River Song”

Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 12 – Hell Bent

“Nothing’s sad till it’s over. Then everything is.”

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After last week’s exemplary step into experimental drama, I have to say I wasn’t overly surprised to find this week’s series finale of Doctor Who was very much back to business as usual for Steven Moffat. As ever,we had a script brimming over with fantastic ideas, many of which were never properly developed. As ever, we had a tricksy, non-linear narrative which gradually gave up the answers. As ever, there were fan-pleasing references everywhere. And as ever, the death of a major character turned out not to be so permanent after all. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 12 – Hell Bent”

Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 11 – Heaven Sent

“How many seconds in eternity?”

 

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Well, that was a thing of dark beauty. It was a bold move to have an episode that was, to all intents and purposes, a one man show; but with Steven Moffat’s writing, Rachel Talalay’s direction and, above all, Peter Capaldi’s acting, Heaven Sent turned out to be one of the strongest episodes this year. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 11 – Heaven Sent”

Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 10 – Face the Raven

“There’s no nice way to say you’re going to die.”

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And finally, all those series-long hints paid off this week. Clara Oswald is dead. Or is she? In one sense, it’s an audacious thing to do for Steven Moffat; this is the first time a companion has actually died since Adric in 1982. And definitely the first time a companion has left by dying since the show’s revival. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 10 – Face the Raven”

Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 5 – The Girl Who Died

“We’re time travellers. We tread softly. It’s ok to make ripples, but not tidal waves.”

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With the fifth episode of this much-improved series of Doctor Who, we’ve finally reached the episode with the much-trumpeted casting of Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams. As a stalwart of probably the most successful show right now, Williams’ casting generated much in the way of headlines; she’s certainly a talented actor, having shown herself to be more than capable of matching the likes of Charles Dance in a scene of heavy dialogue. And the ep was written by Jamie Mathieson (with some nudges form one Steven Moffat), who wrote two of my favourites last year, Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 5 – The Girl Who Died”