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REVIEW: Doctor Who S11E02 – “The Ghost Monument”

Doctor Who Series 11How do you follow up from an excellent season premiere of Doctor Who? With a dangerous romp across an alien planet and an excellent mystery, of course! Picking up pretty much where the previous episode ended, The Ghost Monument takes the 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her new friends, Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Yaz (Mandip Gill) to their first alien world together. Stranded without the TARDIS, will the team be able to survive their first foray on an alien planet? (THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW)

1102: The Ghost Monument (written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Mark Tonderai)
Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends stay alive long enough in a hostile alien environment to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom (Susan Lynch) and Epzo (Shaun Dooley)?

The Doctor and her new friends have barely had a chance to recover from their first adventure together before they are plunged into another – which will take Graham, Ryan and Yasmin on their first journey to an alien planet. The unlikely travelling companions are faced with a struggle for survival as they try to solve the mystery at the heart of this strange, dangerous new world.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who S11E01 – “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

episode 1 - grace, yasmin, thirteen, ryan, and grahamIt’s the first episode of the Thirteenth Doctor’s (Jodie Whittaker) run. It’s the first episode of Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner’s, era. It’s the first episode to feature new companions Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill), and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole). It’s the first episode featuring Segun Akinola, the new composer for the show. To say there’s a lot riding on this new episode would be an understatement. The big question is: does it deliver on all it sets out to? Does it work as a jumping on point for new viewers and a continuation of the show beloved by millions? How’s Jodie Whittaker’s performance as the first female Doctor? How’s Chris Chibnall’s first episode fully crafted by him (and not overseen by a separate showrunner)? Is it a good episode of TV? The short answer to that final question is: yes. (NOTE: There will be spoilers within this review!)

Episode 1101: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jaime Childs)
“We don’t get aliens in Sheffield.” In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien are about to have their lives changed forever as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky. Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?

Guest starring Sharon D. Clarke, Johnny Dixon and Samuel Oatley.

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REVIEW – “The Diary of River Song – Series 4”

drs04_slipcase_1417sq_coverI am really enjoying these Diary of River Song box sets from Big Finish Production. River Song is one of my favorite characters that Steven Moffat created for Doctor Who. I love how her story ended up in the show and I love getting to see (or hear) more from her via these box sets. It’s a lot of fun hearing her interact with Doctors from the classic era, and her interactions with the Fourth Doctor in The Diary of River Song – Series 4 is no exception. But before we get to hear her meet the Fourth Doctor, she must first travel through time and space to escape the Discordia – a race of time traveling aliens who look like the common image of the Devil and are bent on ruling all of time and space. So, basically another Tuesday for River Song.

When River Song (Alex Kingston) visits a place where time has vanished, a genie escapes its bottle… the Discordia are freed – nihilistic time pirates, in devilish form, altering the past to make sure they never lose.

This time, River may have met her match. And involving the Doctor (Tom Baker) can only make things worse…

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REVIEW: The Diary of River Song, Series 1-3

the-diary-of-river-songIn celebration of this week’s release of series 4 of Big Finish Productions’ The Diary of River Song, I figured it was about time I finally listened to the first three series. Starring Alex Kingston (reprising her role as River Song from Doctor Who), The Diary of River Song features the continuing adventures of our favorite archaeologist from the new series of Doctor Who. Each series features four new stories, all tied together by an overarching plotline, with River facing another dangerous threat, often with the help of one of her husband’s many different faces.

Alex Kingston reprises her hugely popular River Song character for Big Finish, starring in a new series of adventures in the Doctor Who universe…

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“Doctor Who” WOWS at Comic-Con With a New Trailer and Lots of Reveals

promo image 2Today’s the first official day of San Diego Comic-Con and Doctor Who was one of the first (and biggest) panels! Naturally, if you’re gonna go to Comic-Con, you’re gonna bring out the big guns, and that’s exactly what Chris Chibnall did at Doctor Who’s panel. Debuting new promo pictures, a look at the new Sonic Screwdriver, and even a brand-new trailer for the upcoming eleventh series, the Doctor Who Comic-Con panel was definitely a delight to behold and I’m gonna break it all down right here. The eleventh series of Doctor Who is the first to be executive produced by new showrunner Chris Chibnall and the first to star Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. It has been filming since late last year and is expected to premiere this fall on BBC One and BBC America. It will continue the adventures of the Time Lord known as the Doctor as she meets new friends and takes them on exciting adventures throughout time and space!  (more…)

“Rose” and “The Christmas Invasion” Round Out the First Wave of “Doctor Who: The Target Collection” With Enjoyable Stories

target collection - rose and christmas invasionI already reviewed the last two titles in the revamped line of Target Books Novelizations of Doctor Who episodes, so I figured I’d go ahead and review the first two titles in the line. Like The Day of the Doctor and Twice Upon a TimeRose (by Russel T. Davies, based on his script) and The Christmas Invasion (by Jenny T. Colgan, based on a script by Russel T. Davies) are novelizations of two episodes from the 2005 revived series of Doctor Who. Both episodes were written by Russel T. Davies and both novelizations follow the same plot as the episodes, but with added embellishments and asides.

Doctor Who: Rose (by Russel T. Davies)
In a lair somewhere beneath central London, a malevolent alien intelligence is plotting the end of humanity. Shop window dummies that can move – and kill – are taking up key positions, ready to strike. Rose Tyler, an ordinary Londoner, is working her shift in a department store, unaware that this is the most important day of her life. She’s about to meet the only man who understands the true nature of the threat facing Earth, a stranger who will open her eyes to all the wonder and terror of the universe – a traveller in time and space known as the Doctor.

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (by Jenny T. Colgan)
Earth is under attack by power-hungry aliens. This is no time for the Doctor to be out of action. When a British space probe is intercepted by a sinister alien vessel on the eve of Christmas, it marks the beginning of an audacious invasion of the Earth by the Sycorax – horrifying marauders from beyond the stars. Within hours, a third of humanity stands on the brink of death with not a single shot fired. Our planet needs a champion – but the Doctor is not fit for service. He’s just regenerated, delirious in a new body and a dressing gown. Forced into his battered shoes is his friend, Rose Tyler, a girl from a London council estate. Will she save the world from this nightmare before Christmas – or see it destroyed?

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“Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War 2” Isn’t Quite as Good as the First Box Set, But Still Rather Enjoyable

DW8DTW02_slipcase_1417SQOverall, I’m just really, really pleased with these Eighth Doctor Time War sets. The Eighth Doctor is one of my favorite Doctors and the Time War is one of my favorite elements of Doctor Who mythology, so I’m really pleased to see it explored so well in these audios. Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 2 is the second Big Finish Productions box set in a series of four featuring the Eighth Doctor’s adventures during the Time War. Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, Rakhee Thakrar as Bliss, Jacqueline Pearce as Cardinal Ollistra, Nikki Amuka-Bird as Tamasan, and Julia McKenzie as the Twelve, The Time War 2 sees the Doctor and Bliss continue to fight for survival during the Time War. As the Time War gets more treacherous the Time Lords and Daleks become more desperate and they’ll use anything and anyone at their disposal… the Doctor and Bliss can only hope to avoid the crossfire. (NOTE: There may be spoilers in this review… read ahead at your own risk!)  (more…)

Big Finish’s “Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War 1” Finally Makes the Time War Feel Like a Time War

bf___time_war_1__new_logo_version__by_pej72-dc9boxdIn light of the recent release of Volume 2 of Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor Time War series (review coming later this week), I figured I’d finally give the first set a listen. I really should’ve done this earlier, because it’s the first piece of Doctor Who that’s really made the Time War feel like a Time War. Written by John Dorney and Matt Fitton and DIrected by Ken Bentley, Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 1 is the first in a run of four boxsets that serve as a prequel to Big Finish’s four War Doctor boxsets. In Series 1, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) is pulled into the events of the Time War, a war he has been avoiding as long as he possibly could. A terrible war is being waged through space and time, as two powerful enemies rip the cosmos apart in a final struggle to the death. The Doctor stands apart from this conflict: he is not a warrior, but a healer. But the Time War is snapping at his heels, and soon he will have no choice but to turn and face its horrors… (Warning: spoilers ahead!) (more…)

The Teaser Trailer for Series 11 of “Doctor Who” Leaves Something to be Desired

Doctor Who_ Series 11 Teaser (BQ)It’s been just about a year since it was first announced that Jodie Whittaker would be the Thirteenth Doctor and about six months since we first saw her in the role, so it’s about time BBC released a trailer for the new series. Well, during the halftime of their World Cup coverage, they did just that. A new, specially shot trailer has debuted for the new series of Doctor Who. It’s… not the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, unfortunately. Series 11 of Doctor Who will be the first series to star Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor and the first to be written by new showrunner Chris Chibnall. It will be comprised of 10 episodes and is expected to air later this year. This first trailer shows us very little of the series, instead offering specially shot footage exclusive to this trailer and featuring no clips from any actual episodes.

The trailer is mostly comprised of shots of the new companions (played by, in the order of their appearance in the trailer, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh) sitting in various locations, eating and watching/listening to coverage of the World Cup. They each experience some kind of time distortion, presumably caused by the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), and look dramatically at the camera before the trailer cuts to the next person. After each of them experience their time distortion, a title card appears that reads “The Universe is Calling” and then we get a short glimpse of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor before it cuts to the title screen and the trailer is over. None of the characters speak at all; all the dialogue comes from the World Cup coverage and none of the characters actually interact with each other.

entertainment weekly imageIt’s not that it’s a bad trailer; it’s just terribly unexciting. I understand we’re probably still another few months away from the airdate and they don’t wanna show us too much, but they could have showed us something that actually gave us a sense of how the series might go. This trailer isn’t the first time they’ve aired a specially shot trailer for Doctor Who, featuring little-to-no footage from the series it was advertising. They did it often during the RTD era, the first Matt Smith series had one, as well as the last Peter Capaldi series. Those, at least, featured the Doctor actually speaking and interacting with their companions. They often featured hints at what monsters might appear in that series. Most of all, they actually gave viewers a sense of the tone and direction the series would go, as well as offering a first look at the dynamic between the Doctor and their companion(s). They were a really good tease in that respect. This trailer offered none of that and, for me, was far less exciting than the images from the actual series that were released by Entertainment Weekly earlier this week. Those images were a perfect tease and showed us the Doctor with her companions and I would’ve liked something that did that as this teaser.

I don’t wanna sound like a total negative Nancy. It is a really well put together teaser. The visuals are beautiful and all our main actors look great. I am still very excited for the series, but this trailer didn’t really add to that excitement (aside from making me want to see actual footage from the series more than I already did). I just wish it had actually shown us something or featured the characters actually talking or something. I mean, all the dialogue was World Cup coverage, after all. That’s disappointing. I wish it was more about the actual series instead of just a general “hey Doctor Who still exists” kind of thing. I am curious as to whether this trailer will have the desired impact on its target audience. It’s clearly aimed at a more general audience than Doctor Who fans. Between the actual content of the trailer and when it was aired, I’d suspect its target audience is casual viewers and people who have never watched the show. I worry, though, that this trailer offers nothing to entice them to actually try watching the show. I showed it to my sister, someone who doesn’t have any strong opinion on the show either way, and asked her if that trailer made her want to watch the new series. She said it didn’t; she thought the visuals were nice but that it offered very little in the way of actual information that would make her want to watch the show. I suspect that might be the case for a number of people who haven’t really watched the show. It’s a nice tease, but it doesn’t really offer much to convince someone to watch the show, and shouldn’t that have been the point of this trailer? Shouldn’t it have shown new viewers what they might expect from this new series of Doctor Who? Maybe I’m expecting too much from a teaser trailer, but it seems that it didn’t have enough to land for hardcore Doctor Who fans or more casual ones. It didn’t offer much information nor did it really give a sense of the tone or direction of the series. I’m really hoping that they debut something more satisfying at their Comic Con panel on Thursday. This isn’t an awful start, but it’s not really the bang one would’ve preferred, either. It’s more of a whisper than a bang. Which kinda sucks. I’m still excited for the new series, but this trailer just didn’t do it for me. I do like it more the more I watch it, but it’s still pretty disappointing.

 

Titan’s Doctor Who: “The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #1” More Mediocre Than Exciting

Doctor Who - The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor 001 - Tenth Doctor Special-000aTitan Comics, publisher of the Doctor Who comics, have started their special miniseries leading to the launch of the ongoing 13th Doctor title: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more mediocre than exciting really, and a lot of that comes down to the way they’ve marketed the miniseries. Issue 1 of Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor is written by James Peaty and illustrated by Iolanda Zanfardino (with colors by Dijjo Lima) and features a short story involving the Tenth Doctor, Cindy, and Gabby, as well as featuring a small backup story from the creative team behind the 13th Doctor title (Jody Houser and Rachael Stott (and colors by Enrica Eren Angiolini))

The first of three stand-alone stories featuring the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor – each issue contains a serialised short from the creative team behind the new Thirteenth Doctor ongoing series.

The Tenth Doctor has his work cut out when he encounters a lost spaceship… whose crew are being absorbed by mysterious ghostly creatures! Everything is not as it seems, however, especially when disturbing facts about the crew come to light!

Note: there may be spoilers for this comic below so read at your own risk.  (more…)