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REVIEW: Doctor Who – Doom Coalition 4

dw8ddc04_slipcase_1417sq_cover_largeI feel like I liked the premise of this box set more than I liked the box set itself. But, that’s not to say Doom Coalition 4 wasn’t good – because it was – it just wasn’t quite as good as I’d have liked. Written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 4 picks up exactly where Doom Coalition 3 ended: Padrac (Robert Bathurst) has trapped the Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker), and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) inside a time escape pod and launched them into the future of the destroyed universe. Meanwhile, Padrac still has River Song (Alex Kingston) in his sights, yet she seems to be on his side. Just what game is she playing and how will it play out? Will the Doctor be able to escape and thwart Padrac’s ultimate plan to destroy the universe in order to save Gallifrey? And what about the Eleven (Mark Bonnar) and Caleera (Emma Cunniffe)? Whose side are they really on and how far will they go to achieve their goals. (Spoilers ahead)  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who – Doom Coalition 3

dw8ddc03_slipcase_1417sq_cover_largeFinally! This is the kind of box set I’ve been wanting from this series the whole time! The stories are all interconnected, especially the latter three. and on top of that, they’re all superb stories, too! Written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 3 picks up shortly after the events of the previous box set with the Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker), and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) continuing to travel throughout space and time. Naturally, wherever the Doctor goes, trouble always follows, and this is no exception as the Doctor uncovers mysterious pieces of a clock rumored to be the Doomsday Chronometer, a clock built by a Time Lord known only as The Clocksmith (Nicholas Woodeson). Can the Doctor stop the Clocksmith from bringing about the end of the universe? And how does that mysterious nun (Alex Kingston as River Song) factor into things? (Spoilers ahead.)

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REVIEW: Doctor Who – Doom Coalition 1

20160302145717dw8ddc01_slipcase_1417sq_cover_largeNot to be rude to Dark Eyes, but man I am in love with the premise Doom Coalition. Partially because I just really love anything to do with the Time Lords and Gallifrey, and since the Eleven (Mark Bonar) is a really messed up Time Lord, he’s far more up my alley than the array of Daleks that Dark Eyes featured. Unfortunately, however, the box set really fails to live up to the high expectations its premise (and first episode) set for it. Written by Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Marc Platt, and Edward Collier and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 1 follows the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) as they track down an escaped Time Lord criminal known as the Eleven, a Time Lord with some kind of genetic defect that causes him to retain the personalities of all eleven of his bodies. Their journey takes them through time and space as they must stop the Eleven from succeeding in his evil plan. (Spoilers follow.)  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who – Classic Doctors, New Monsters (Volume 2)

bfpdwnewmon02_classic_doctors_new_monsters_slipcase_sq_cover_largeBig Finish has returned with another installment in their Classic Doctors, New Monsters range. This time featuring the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Doctors, Classic Doctors, New Monsters (Volume 2) features four stand-alone stories with the Doctors facing the Vashta Nerada, the Racnoss, and the Carrionites. What’s unique about this box set is that the Fourth Doctor story and the Eighth Doctor story are loosely linked, both featuring the Vashta Nerada as villains. This is a clever idea, especially bookending the set with these two stories, and they prove to be my favorite stories of the bunch, not to suggest that any of the stories are bad. On the contrary, I really enjoyed all of them and it saddens me that Big Finish sees this as being the last of these box sets for the imminent future. (Spoilers ahead)  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who – Dark Eyes 4

DW8DDE04_slipcase_1688x1500We’ve reached the final box set in the Dark Eyes series, and everything comes to a head as the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) make their final stand against the Daleks and the Dalek Time Controller. Dark Eyes 4, written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley, picks up shortly after the end of Dark Eyes 3. Molly has been returned to her own timeline by the Time Lords – or so the Doctor thinks. He’s landed in post-war England in search of Molly but stumbles his way into a new mystery that may end in destruction. Bringing together the Daleks, the Eminence, the Sontarans, and the Master (Alex Macqueen), Dark Eyes 4 brings the Dark Eyes series to an explosive finale to a strong series from Big Finish. (There are spoilers ahead!)  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who – Dark Eyes 3

DE3-FlatI really dig the format of the Big Finish Doctor Who box sets. It’s nice to have these serialized box sets where the story is spread over four hour long episodes (instead of their usual format that mirrors the classic series with four 25 minute episodes). Plus I just really like Paul McGann’s Doctor, so it’s time for the next box set in the Dark Eyes series. Written by Matt Fitton and directed by Ken Bentley, Dark Eyes 3 picks up shortly after the conclusion of Dark Eyes 2 with a kidnapped Molly O’Sullivan (Ruth Bradley) traveling with the Master (Alex Macqueen) and Dr. Sally Armstrong (Natalie Burt). From the Big Finish website: “In his quest for universal domination, the Master plans to exploit the terrifying Infinite Warriors of the mysterious Eminence. The Doctor’s friend, Molly, is key to that plan’s execution, and now, aided by corrupted genius Sally Armstrong, the Master is close to success. Paranoid and perplexed after his recent experience, the Doctor skirts the fringes of the fifty-year conflict between humanity and the Infinite Armies. Wary of changing the course of history, he fears that to fight the Eminence would be to do the Daleks’ bidding. But when Time Lord CIA agent Narvin (Sean Carlsen) provides the impetus for the Doctor to act, Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) joins him in a desperate race to save their friend and stop the Master. As the Doctor goes head to head with his oldest and deadliest rival, this war is about to get very personal indeed…” (As always, there will be spoilers ahead.)  (more…)

Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor!

JODIE WHITTAKERIt’s just been announced that the 13th Doctor will be played by Jodie Whittaker, making this the first time in Doctor Who’s 54 year history that the role of the Time Lord has been played by a woman. Jodie Whittaker, amongst other things, is known for her role as Beth Latimer in ITV’s Broadchurch (coincidentally also written by the new showrunner for Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall). I am beyond excited by her casting! It’s about time the show did something besides cast another white male as the Doctor and Whittaker is a brilliant choice as the first female Doctor. She’s a superb actress and I really adored her performance in Broadchurch – the only thing to date that I’ve seen her in.

The little teaser video they announced her in was lots of fun too, and I know that the costume she was wearing in the video is almost definitely not her final costume, but I adore it anyway. It’s a nice blend of Twelve’s outfits – which I adore, possibly more than any other Doctor’s costume – and something new. Sure, the Doctor is now a woman, but she’s still the same character she’s always been and visually they should show that. While all the Doctors costumes have been radically different from each other, they’ve all also sort of looked similar enough, and the costume Whittaker wore in the video followed along the same lines. It’s similar to how they handled Missy’s costume when that character became a woman. It was different but also still in line with what came before.

I’m rambling about her costume now. Point is: she looks great, the teaser video was great, and I am excited. Also, all of you should watch Broadchurch. Just do it. It’s got David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, David Bradley, Arthur Darville, and Jodie Whittaker in it (plus more) and it’s just really good and it’ll give you a good sense of Chris Chibnall’s writing and Jodie Whittaker’s acting.

PS: Here’s the official press release:  (more…)

Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up! (Doctor Who S10E11-12, “World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls” review)

Doctor-Who-s10-finale-part-one-image-2017Better late than never, I guess. So, series 10 of Doctor Who has come to an end, and boy, what an ending it was. There were Cybermen, explosions, black holes, spaceships, two Masters, and the beginning of the end of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. It’s one hell of a two-part finale and the perfect icing on the cake that was this past series of the show. Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls follows the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie), and Nardole (Matt Lucas) as they arrive on a 400 mile long spaceship heading towards/away from a black hole (it’s sorta confusing). They’ve answered a distress signal the ship sent out and the Doctor has decided that this would be a great time for Missy (Michelle Gomez) to prove that she really has changed. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan at all. (There will be spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the two episodes, now is your chance to turn back. Also worth noting, this review is kind of all over the place. There’s a lot of elements to try and cover, so I’ll be jumping around quite a bit.)  (more…)

REVIEW: Doctor Who – “The Green Death”

I’ve been watching a lot of Classic Doctor Who lately in an effort to try and consume as much of the show’s history as possible, and I just finished the last serial of the 10th season of the show, The Green Death. I’m not sure if I’m gonna make reviewing Classic Who episodes a regular thing, but I had to review this one mostly as it contains the first time the Doctor really seems to get all melancholy about the departure of a companion. We’ll get to that later, though, because of spoilers. Written by Robert Sloman and directed by Michael Briant, The Green Death follows the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo Grant (his companion, played by Katy Manning), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), and the rest of UNIT as they investigate a series of mining accidents at the site of Global Chemicals as they attempt to implement their plan to drill for more oil. As a mysterious virus breaks out and infects the miners and an array of odd and large maggots appear throughout the mine, it’s up to the Doctor and his friends to solve the mystery and avoid total disaster.

I can see why The Green Death tends to be considered one of the best Third Doctor stories. While the plotline itself is a bit rubbish, the way it’s executed is what makes it stand out. Much of the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the end, but it’s an incredibly fun journey and leads to some interesting character moments for both the Doctor and Jo. The serial begins with Jo finally standing up for what she wants and believes in, a theme that’s carried over from the ending of Planet of the Daleks, with her wanting to join a Professor Jones (Stewart Bevan) in protesting Global Chemicals’ latest drilling disaster. It’s this act of independence from Jo that begins the arc of her departure at the end of the serial. During this scene, the audience is shown the Doctor’s reaction. First, he doesn’t take her seriously. Second, he seems confused. Third, he quietly and sadly lets her do as she pleases. This happens a few times throughout the serial as Jo is allowed to make her own decisions (for once) repeatedly.

It culminates in the scene at the end of the serial where Jo and Professor Jones announce their intention to get married to the Doctor. The Doctor is happy for Jo, but he’s also sad. It’s bittersweet for him. Companions come and go, but for some reason, this is the first time that the Doctor has really shown a whole lot of emotion about the departure of a companion. Perhaps he really did view Jo as an equal. Perhaps he knows he’ll miss having her around. Perhaps, since she was the first companion he was really able to travel in the TARDIS with after being exiled to Earth, he has a special attachment to her and mourns the fact that it has to end. After all, the Doctor hates endings.

More than anything else, it’s this plot thread that made me want to review the episode. I don’t have much to say about the rest of it all. It’s a bit too long, the plot is forgettable, the motivations of the antagonist are never fully explored, etc. But it’s still really enjoyable. Michael Briant manages to create and maintain a really palpable atmosphere of dread, creepiness, and suspense. Add in the whole espionage element with Yates having infiltrated the company. And, finally, sprinkle on top the fun 70s style pro-environmental message poorly hidden in interesting science fiction. With all those ingredients, you have yourself an enjoyable, if somewhat forgettable and nonsensical, story. It’s a pretty good one for the Third Doctor. One of my favorites.

I give it three and a half out of five wands.

A Light in the Dark (Doctor Who S10E10 “The Eaters of Light” Review)

The Eaters of LightThe early previews for this episode made it sound a lot worse than it actually was. Is it the greatest episode of Doctor Who ever? No. But there is quite a bit to like, and on the whole, it’s rather good. Not the best episode this season, but still a very good one. In The Eaters of Light, written by Rona Munro and directed by Charles Palmer, A hunt for the lost Ninth Roman Legion leads the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole into the middle of an ancient battle that could cast humanity into the dark forever. What is inside the cairn? And how far will they have to go defeat the terrifying alien Eaters of Light? (As always, this review will contain spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the episode, don’t read this until you have.)  (more…)