Tag Archives: The Doctor

“Doctor Who – The Bells of Saint John” review

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“I’ve never seen a Jammie Dodger so scrumptiously perfect”

It usually takes me a couple of viewings to make my mind up about the episode which heralds the return of “Doctor Who” and I suspect that “The Bells of Saint John” is no exception.

For some reason – wanting to ease the wider audience back into the rhythms of the show, to introduce new characters, to just have fun with the premise – it always seems to me as if the opening salvo of each series is a little lighter and somehow less substantial than the episodes which come to follow.  Not that this is bad or ill-advised, per se, but I never quite feel that the Tardis is fully firing on all cylinders until episode two or three (Technically, of course, this is episode seven of series seven, so my misgivings shouldn’t apply).

The story dealt with a very contemporary fear – the extent to which technology enters our everyday lives and encroaches on our freedom via our inability to deal with it, which is a notion that I’m sure strikes a rueful note for any brave soul ever charged with the dire responsibility of providing technical support for computer-averse friends and family.  The villain of the piece this time utilised dear old endlessly useful wireless internet signals and used them to…do nefarious stuff.

I’ll not go deeply into spoilers, but the methodology of the Big Bad in this episode didn’t quite ring true for me on this first viewing – it smacked a bit of that notion ‘because…science?‘, which probably plays quite well with folks who view their modem and router as terrifying technology daemons which inhabit their living rooms and blink malevolently at them several times a second for no good reason.

The villain was, it may come as no surprise at all to you, hardly a match for The Doctor but the bad guy’s machinations did give Matt Smith‘s big kid in funky Edwardian clobber a chance to meet cute again with Clara – a charmingly sparky and energetic Jenna Louise Coleman – who we last saw in the Christmas special, having just died for the second time.

Clearly, her nature and repeated appearances in vastly different times and galactic locales will constitute an ongoing mystery and its to current “Who” show-runner and gigantic brainy overlord Steven Moffat‘s credit that you do want to know what her deal is and how she’ll come to affect the Doctor’s in the rest of the season.  I’ve read one theory to the effect that Clara constitutes a kind of Moorcockian ‘Eternal Companion’ and it would be interesting to know just what Moffat would do with that idea, were it to be an accurate assessment of just how the expiry-prone Clara fits into his master plan.

"Computers - how do they work?"

“Let me update my status…”

The story rattled along nicely, sure enough, but it didn’t seem to add up to much on first viewing – save for a last-minute appearance by a malevolent character we saw quite recently, albeit in somewhat different form than the last time that we encountered them (vague enough for you?), this was essentially stand-alone, monster-of-the-week stuff.   I suppose it’s daft to feel that the Doctor is ever really going to be truly challenged by the menaces he encounters, but this was somewhat a case of the Doctor waving his Sonic about, loudly asserting his intellectual dominion and then saving the day because he’s The Doctor and that’s his gig.  No real sense of the day not being saved – and so not much dramatic tension as a result.  First episode syndrome, and no mistake.

I don’t do ratings – meaningless things, be they numeric or arbitrary and letter-based – but if I did, I’d probably say this was a solid B-plus, perhaps an A-minus.    Extra marks for Clara rushing into the fray still carrying her cup of tea.  A nation salutes you, fine miss.

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Timey Wimey Bikey Likey?

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Doctor Who” returns on Saturday March 30th on BBC 1 with new adventure, “The Bells of St John”.  And boasts totally legit, motorcycle-surfing-down-the-side-of-a-skyscraper shenanigans to hopefully distract us all, momentarily, from Clara, The Question and other matters which monopolise the thought processes of Whovians large and small alike.

Just a few weeks to go, fellow fans of awesome Tardis-based nerdery…

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Snowmen? Snow worries!

A raggedy man and his avowedly not-a-Dalek companion take to the skies…

There’s no need to worry – Doctor Who will be back to save your Christmas Day schedule from sub-standard seasonal TV:  would it even be the festive season without another jaunt with Gallifrey‘s last son?

As you can see, the BBC have been busy with pitching this year’s episode as a movie-style romp, replete with artwork which positively screams Drew Struzan at you, which is no bad thing.

The official site has more lovely images like the one above, and a high-quality look at those absolutely unpleasant snowmen from the “Children in Need” teaser trailer, which brilliantly represent the kind of jump behind the sofa, nightmare fuel fodder that distinguishes “Doctor Who” from all the family pitched fantasy dramas that have come and gone over the years.

Go on and click the teaser trailer again– ’tis the season to be reduced to a quivering pool of jelly merely by homicidal meteorological phenomena…

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“Doctor Who” goes to the movies…

In a bid to remind us that there’s a new series of “Doctor Who” imminent – oh really, I hadn’t noticed – dear old Beeb’s publicity ninja monkeys have posted a series of movie-style posters for this first run of episodes.

This one, for episode five – “The Angels Take Manhattan – is my favourite…

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Nifty, huh?  No impending dread or sense that Everything Will Be Going Wrong Quite Soon there, then…

Den of Geek has the full collection here.

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“Doctor Who” season 7 premiere pics mess with your head.

 

"Roads, Pond?  Where we're going, we don't need...roads"

Photo of Matt Smith & Karen Gillan via The Mary Sue, taken by Jill Pantozzi

Yes, your nerd senses are tingling – with joy and/or delicious, delicious confusion.

BBC America stoked the nervous anticipation of global Whovians for the imminent first part of Season Seven Doctor Who by holding a splashy premiere of episode one in New York at the weekend and had Mr Smith, Ms Gillan and related peeps emerge from…DeLoreans, in tribute to both “Back to the Future” and awesome nerdery alike.

If you reside in the UK or US, you can see “Asylum of the Daleks this weekend or via the (whisper it quietly) torrent of your choice if you’re elsewhere on this blue and green marble that I call home and can’t be bothered to wait for it to show up in your neck of the multiverse.

More pictures are available at the always fantastic and thought-provoking The Mary Sue.

 

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“Doctor Who” – 50 years of change…

Hats are cool. I wear hats now.

Industrious YouTubist Babel Colour has updated their 2008 video and now includes clips from every (available) “Who” story from 1963 to the present day.   Enjoy 9 minutes and 26 seconds of awesome Time Lord adventures with questionable effects, curiously insubstantial scenery and more imagination than you thought possible.

Also, Jon Pertwee is super cool, but you knew that…

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