Thursday, May 23, 2013

DOCTOR WOT?!?!?!?!!?

I've given myself a few days to decompress from this season (series) ending episode and took the time to read a few other reviews of “The Name of the Doctor” and I am starting to wonder if I watched the same show.

I am not sure whether it was the heightened anticipation for this episode or that going into it that it would be the last for 6 long months (knowing that filming on it is already done doesn't help any) or the story itself, or that it's only Part 1 and that the story isn't finished yet, but I find myself really disappointed by this episode.

In a change of pace, I am going to start out with what I didn't like . . . . . . .

I think that Stephen Moffat tries to get too cute with "concepts" too often.  I know that this is the 50th anniversary year of Doctor Who and that he's maybe trying to top the past, but maybe he needs to dial it back a bit.

Jenny, a Victorian Lady's Maid knows what a “desktop” is???   Maybe she picked up the concept during other “Conference Calls” to which we, obviously, have not been privy.  It would have been nice if we had known about the concept of the “Conference Calls” previously, even with a passing comment but this is a new one Moffatt pulled out on us.

Never has a regenerated Doctor appeared in the last seconds of an episode and they break the 4th wall, so to speak and put “Introducing so and so as The Doctor”, it's always in the closing credits, but no, Moffat and Company felt it necessary to throw a huge “Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor” at the very end.

On top of that, Hurt's reveal followed this bit of dialogue:

Hurt: What I did, I did without choice.
Smith: I know
Hurt: in the name of peace and sanity.
Smith: But not in the name of The Doctor

After just saying that he acted not in the name of The Doctor, the credits come up calling Hurt The Doctor. To kind of quote River, what in the name of sanity is that?

River, after The Doctor and Clara land Trenzalor, reconnects with Clara, having somehow kept the “Conference Call” open.

We had yet another “The stars are going out moment” after The Great Intelligence went into The Doctor's time line. I was waiting for another “Amy pulls an entire universe out of her arse” moment.  Evidently it was Clara going  into The Doctor's timeline, since The Victorian Gang were all back.  And Clara's simply going in killed off the Great Intelligence??  I mean I never thought he lived up to his name, but I also didn't think he was that much of a woosie.

That Moffat finally decided to say goodbye to the character of River (I'll miss her) in her Library persona, which, quite frankly, made no sense to me. It was a nice touch in this particular episode, but we all knew that River “died” on the Library planet and that The Doctor had more or less saved a copy of her there. I guess it worked in getting her to Trenzalor. Which of course brings up the following:

All of a sudden he can see her, The Doctor doesn't see her in the grave yard, doesn't see her in the catacombs, but “he always sees her.”?????? Yes, it was a nice, romantic send off, even I squeed a bit over that kiss, but I think it would have been cooler had she turned up in an "alive" persona as the wife of some alien tribal chief dragged in to help her husband one last time, with her kissing him off at the end.  And I guess we'll never actually see where she forced him to tell her his name.  I mean she could come back, but this seemed like kind of a final send off to the character.  Whosoever Moffatt createth, so Moffat can killeth off.

And when did she force his name out of him?!?!?!?!

Um . . . . wasn't it established in "The Doctor's Wife" that the TARDIS had stolen The Doctor??  Moffat pretty much killed that by having Clara direct The Doctor to another TARDIS, unless of course The TARDIS put it in Clara's head to redirect The Doctor to that fabled Type 40.

Yes, I liked a few things and here they are:

I liked the sequence where The Doctor had decided to rescue the Victorian Gang and The TARDIS was having none of it.  Then the release of the anti-grav - nice effects, the cooling down of the TARDIS exterior and the broken glass were nice touches.

The opening, showing Clara at various times in The Doctor's life, that was cute, though at a couple of points it didn't make much sense (Troughton in his fur coat running on what looked like a beach in the Los Angeles area while no one reacts to him), at least to me, but it was cool.

Blind Man's Bluff - that was a little silly, but cool.  1000 years old and The Doctor is still fooled by a couple of kids.

Scottish Straax!  If there's one group in the UK that will one day become the Sontarans it's probably the Scots!

Souffle Girl explained!  I knew it had to do something with the "Default Clara" so to speak, but obviously we'd never been told why she was so hot for them.  In hindsight, her making disastrous soufflés in the Dalek Asylum and then recording messages for her (dead) mother makes that opening to season 7 all that more poignant.

This ends Season 7 - so far - I will have 2 more postings coming up - I am spacing them out a bit because of the 6 month lay-off between now and the 23rd of November.  They will cover speculations on what Doctor John Hurt is actually playing - I have my thoughts on this and some of those thoughts are out there - and an overall review of Season 7.
No Pictures this time, I need to take some time to actually learn to set things up in BlogSpot while on Windows - Season 8 should be better in that regard :-)



Thursday, May 16, 2013

They call me .. . ..Porridge!

Neil Gaiman, writer of one of the most beloved episodes since The Doctor's return, “The Doctor's Wife”, is back by popular demand to once again show us his love for the series with his take on the iconic Cybermen and, in the local American parlance, he's hit it out of the park.

The run-up to the 50th Anniversary of “Doctor Who” has seen a nice mix of old school enemies coming back. The Daleks, the Ice Warriors, the Great Intelligence and now the Cybermen and with advances in television technology, these foes, some going back to 1963 (the Daleks), have been given new and incredible looking new life.

It is interesting that, in this episode, that the Cybermen go through yet another transformation, almost, if you're cynical, yet another “upgrade”. Over the years since the Cybermen appeared first in 1965 in “The Tenth Planet” as the residents of the Earth mirror planet of Mondas, the Cybermen have been redesigned and redesigned and re-re- re-designed, having gone through various upgrades.

In the Eccleston era, all 1 season of it, the Cybermen were referred to in the episode “Dalek” (the best of his run), when in the alien museum The Doctor and Rose saw an old school version of a Cyberman head on display, a version last seen in the Sylvester McCoy era, nice continuity.

Then The Doctor and Rose saw the re-birth of the Cybermen in the new series with the creation of the Cybex Cybermen in the alternative universe, which in hindsight, seems a bit nonsense. I mean the Cybermen have a history of “upgrading” based on their changing appearance, they could have just as easily re-introduced them as an upgrade. Oh well, as they say, hindsight is 20-20.

OK, enough of that, onto . . . . .

Neil Gaiman's back and he's all fanboyish, which is cool.

An interesting redesign of the Cybermen, more alien and more human at the same time (not gonna get into the whole looking like Iron Man thing). The rounded face, the spine in the back, the less obtrusive head handles.

The inclusion of children in the story. Doctor Who is a kids' show after all, and it was nice to see some actual “hide behind the couch” moments with this episode. I have to a admit that I jumped when the Chess playing Cyberman grabbed Mister Webley by the wrists and Cybermyted him into an upgrade.


Nice shoutout to the past with the reference to gold screwing with Cyber technology, which.

I think that not since “Rose's Theme” have I liked a companion's accompanying music, but I like “Clara's Theme” a lot. And speaking of music, this episode seemed to be very orchestral in its background music. To me it actually stood out, and in this episode it was a good thing.

Gaiman borrowed heavily from Stare Trek: The Next Generation for this eposide, which was something I feared might be the case. Simply seeing The Doctor in the previews with that piece of Cyber Technology on his face was reminiscent of seeing Captain Picard in the ST:TNG episode “The Best of Both Worlds” when he was assimilated into the Borg Collective and renamed Locutus.

Also, the new (to us, as evidently this “new” version has been around for about 1000 years when The Doctor and crew stumble across them) Cybermen's ability to “upgrade” is pretty much the same as the Borg's ability to adapt to pretty much any situation and do it quickly. This is very evident when the gun that usually destroys them suddenly doesn't.

Angie was quite the annoying tween. She gets a ride in the TARDIS, ends up on another planet and acts like she's being dragged to some lame amusement park (OK as amusement parks go, it was pretty lame, aside from it being on a different planet, in a different galaxy, a kabillion years in the future).

It seems as if the Make-up Department are having a really bad time hiding the forehead scar on Matt Smith, and given the picture that I saw of his American movie debut character, that scare is seriously nasty.

That this is the penultimate episode for this season, and this is my BIGGEST complaint about Doctor Who, that we're given 13 episodes per season (or series as the Brits call them for some reason), it would be nice to have them all at one time, all in a row. Short season American shows seem to get it right, 13 episodes in a row and done until next year. We could live with that. On the SyFy Channel (an abominable name), they've actually nailed it on Warehouse 13 with their 13 episodes and a Christmas Special. They probably stole the concept from from Doctor Who in that the last Christmas special had to do with time travel (that and having a Christmas Special to begin with). Split seasons do nothing but annoy the fans and they are not the ones you want to annoy, they tend to go away when you mess with them (ya hear me Moffatt and the BBC?!!?)


Captain: Natty Longshoe's Comical Castle
Clara: Real castle? Drawbridge? Moat?
Captain: Yes, but comical.

Sorry, that was funny.

LASTLY . . . . . . .

The Clara Conundrum - I am sticking with my theory that she is a clone that has been seeded throughout The Doctor's life, but I am still not sure who did it.  I think that she was there for the benefit of The Doctor, but given his obvious regenerations, not always at the right time, since she never got him out of trouble during those regenerations.  I guess we'll find out next Saturday . . . . . .

This Cheery Fellow - great (a bunch of times)
Grandfather of the guys below.
9 Runs Into an
"Old Friend"

"'ello just dropped by from an alternate Universe"
"Want to play a game?"


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Attack of the Supermodels!!

OK – this was the 3rd, in my opinion, most anticipated episode of the season in that it meant the return of our Victorian era heroes, Madame Vastra, her lover Jenny and Straxx, the amazing Sontaran and they did not disappoint.

For me, this had to be the funniest episode of Doctor Who in quite a while and there was one scene that had me laughing out loud for at least 5 minutes, simply because of the “wrongness” of it.   More on that later.

There was a nice shout out to Peter Davison's 5th Doctor as The Doctor and Clara arrived in Yorkshire and how he had so much trouble getting an Australian stewardess back to Heathrow Airport . . . . . . 
That Diana Rigg was chosen to be in this episode. For a woman to have an acting career last as long as hers, over 50 years, is an amazing achievement.   Best known for her role as Emma Peel in the 60's series "The Avengers" (she was their Leela in that she added a bit of sexual tension), Ms Rigg has been in an amazing number of productions, including the current "Game of Thrones".

Also cool was that Doctor Who brought Dame Diana and her daughter, Rachel Stirling, together for the first time ever, Stirling playing the blinded daughter Ada.

Jenny and Vastra were back and kickin' some butt, especially Jenny (yummy in her Victorian Catsuit - Maybe that was Victoria's Secret!)

Just an aside here, but we know that Vastra wears a black veil when travelling the streets of Victorian London, but is no one actually able to at least get a glimpse or a hint as to her actual face??  We had "fainting guy" and Mr Penny Dreadful shocked at her appearance when we can see that she is obviously not human.   Hmmmmmmmmm  . . . . .

Even though this was a Doctor and companion light episode, I have to give Matt Smith high praise for his performance in this episode, maybe it's a little Matt Smith crush, but his playing as "Ada's Monster" was great.

That Ada got her vengeance at the end.

Straxx - the worst shot in the Sontarran army, yet he came through at the end.  Sontar Hai!
Actually, there wasn't much I didn't like in this episode, other than maybe the very ending, where Clara's charges, Artie and Angie had found images of Clara in the past.  I mean what would they have been studying to have come across her in those two distinctly different times and places?  Had they stumbled across a website set up something along the lines by a group who had noticed Clara and her popping up in different places - along the lines of those who had been looking for The Doctor in "Love and Monsters" (another Doctor and companion light episode)?  We might have to wait until next week to find that answer out.

The Clara Conundrum (This week's title for the Clara Mystery)
I guess I could just repeat what I just wrote above, but, there's more.  One of the pictures of Clara was obviously of the dead Clara Oswin Osgood, Victorian era nanny, known to Vastra, Jenny and Straxx.

I am going to stick to my theory that Clara Oswin Osgood and Oswin Osgood of the Alaska are clones of the present day Clara.  If the Doctor pops in at the beginning of the next episode as Clara is pulling a soufflé out of the oven and the TARDIS vibrations make it fall, I'll be convinced and I guess we'll find out who's actually behind her cloning during the last episode of this run, "The Name of the Doctor".
Sorry for the lack of pictures and video this week, but it was not for lack of trying.  Evidently I need practice with this new computer and BLOGSPOT on formatting things.  Inserting pictures and videos within the text have been a mess - so I left them for the end :-)

MRS PEEL (definitely hotter)

'ello Luv!

The Sonic Gives The Doctor Away!
Hello  . . . . erm  . . . Sweety
My Monster!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Pretty Cool Appliance

First off, apologies to those who read my quirky little reviews. I've had a bit of computer problems over the past few weeks, but now I'm up and running with a brand new kick butt set-up. Not sure if it will improve my reviewing skills, but things move a lot quicker these days, and the new 27” HD screen doesn't hurt either.

Among Season 7's episodes I think this one, “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” ranks among the top 2 in audience anticipation, the other being the upcoming Neil Gaiman penned episode, you can quibble over which holds the top anticipation spot.

I had started to write a long dissertation on my general feelings on where Doctor Who is going these days, but that's for later . . . . . . . on to . . . . . .

The Swimming Pool! Actually this was more or less a non-surprise. If we were going to take a tour of the TARDIS interior we were going to see the pool ever since The Doctor arrived in the garden of Amy's auntie, we knew someday we would see the TARDIS swimming pool. But to see it just through a door way was a bit of a disappointment.
Time for a dip . . . .
The History of the Time War” – I liked that touch – but if The Doctor locked the Daleks and Time Lords in a Time Lock, who wrote the book???? There were Gallifreyan markings on the book. Did The Doctor write the book in his wanderings after “destroying” both of those races??? Or did some third party write it? I seriously doubt that The Master, being the only other Time Lord to have escaped the Time War, wrote it. I guess his alter-ego Professor Yana could have written it and The Doctor grabbed it to keep it out of anyone's hands.

Kind of a bummer that Clara supposedly saw The Doctor's name in the Time War Book, which of course lays hints for the last episode of this season, "The Name of The Doctor" - perhaps this is a hint . . . . . . .

If they do actually name The Doctor, which I and pretty much all of Whoville hope never happens, I'll throw this out there, my guess at his name, Hieronymous Smith, there it is , you heard it here first LOL

The “voices form the past” that emanated from the TARDIS console when Bram started to dismantle it – they were hard to hear, but I distinctly heard the following: 

Ian Chesterton questioning how a Police Box in a junk yard could be traveling through time and space.
Susan Foreman explaining what TARDIS stand for for the first time ever.

The Doctor's 9th incarnation (Christopher Eccleston) telling amazed shop girl Rose Tyler that the doors of the TARDIS had withstood even the hordes of Ghengis Kahn.

And there was something from Tom Baker that I could not make out. I could hear his voice, just not what he said.


This is a bit of a knock on the set designers – the TARDIS and doors could have been from any spaceship – I know that heading into the 50th anniversary with the redesign of the Console Room they are going for a sleeker look, but some of the ambiance from the library and the attic rooms could have spilled out into the halls a bit.

We didn't see the TARDIS garage – maybe that's being saved for later.

Here in the US, we have an office supply chain called STAPLES and for a while they ran an advertising campaign featuring the “Easy Button”, all anyone had to do was push it and all of their office supply problems were solved. That's what the “Big Friendly Button” solution to this week's episode reminded me of . I get the concept and it was kind of cut, but between that quickie fix to the problem at hand and last week's out of nowhere solution, I guess I'm getting a little tired of the pat fixes to problems.

The Heart of the TARDIS has exploded.  OK - if that's the deal - how did the TARDIS do all it did to mess with the Doctor, Clara and Van Baalens???

OK – this episode REALLY messed with canon. How? The Eye of Harmony, that's how. The second that I saw the EYE OF HARMONY pop up on the TARDIS screen I let out a Tennant like “Wot????”


The Eye of Harmony has been described as quite a few things since it was first brought up in the Fourth Doctor episode “The Deadly Assassin” wherein the Eye of Harmony was described as the power source of the entire planet of Gallifrey, it was the nucleus of a Black Hole that was placed under the Citadel of the Time Lords. It wasn't until the 8th Doctor's time in the TARDIS that the eye of Harmony was described as a part of the TARDIS, which is a nice shoutout to the 8th Doctor, in this season of shoutouts to previous Doctors, but there's a problem.

It's been established in the current canon, that being 2005 to the present, that the TARDIS twice popped into Cardiff to refuel at the Rift there. If the Eye of Harmony is basically an eternal power source, why exactly were the refueling at the Rift needed??? Were they just top offs?? Kind of a refill for the anti-freeze? Sorry – that's kind of sloppy as far as the canon goes. 

Aside form The Doctor telling Clara all about her previous deaths and such, only for it to be wiped out by the Big Friendly Button, we've gotten nowhere as far as her mystery goes.  I get the feeling that it's all heading for the finale of this season, "The Name of the Doctor" as for explanations about who Clara actually is.

In watching the previews for next week, we have a bit of a return to the "Doctor and companion lite" episodes of seasons 2 and 3 ("Blink" and "Love and Monsters") where The Doctor and Clara don't figure to be the main players.  I actually like these episodes since they allow other actors to stretch their wings, so to speak.  And I LOVE Straxx :-)   For the old heads out there, pay attention, there's a reference to a previous Doctor and companion.

Feels good to be back :-)