A New, New Doctor Who

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So… how wrong was I, buying into all that Kris Marshall stuff?

I guess I should really stop trying to predict things…

Anyway, Jodie Whittaker is going to be the next Doctor. Yeah, it isn’t going to be David Harewood or Maxine Peak, but I am going to explain why Whittaker’s casting is a good thing for Doctor Who.

Long term readers (and potentially podcast listeners?) know how I feel about the last few seasons of the show; it has been repetitive, boring, poorly written and, despite one or two highlights, has been pretty shite to be honest. I liked bits and pieces of Capaldi’s last season in the TARDIS but on the whole it and the other Moffat-run seasons have really started to tarnish the good name that Russel T. Davies battled to rebuild. The show has really needed freshening up for a while, which we should be getting through the teaming up of the critically acclaimed Chris Chibnall (new head writer) with the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.  If I am being totally honest, I didn’t think the new show runners would have the balls to rock the boat during their first season in charge, but considering the declining ratings and increasing fan resentment to the show (fucking sonic sunglasses), I am really not surprised to see them roll the dice.

Whittaker has a solid film back catalogue including the very enjoyable Attack the Block (which you should go and watch if you haven’t), as well the critically acclaimed Black Mirror. Most importantly though, she worked with Chibnall on Broadchurch (which I haven’t watched, I was probably too busy being disappointed by Supergirl, but I have heard very good things about it).

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We really shouldn’t be surprised by the choice, I think I was too distracted by Olivia Coleman picking up the sonic screwdriver to consider Whittaker, but this choice means that both the actor and the writer knows what each other are about, hopefully avoiding any clashes like those between Moffat and Capaldi.

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I would like to see Chibnall write Whittaker a Peter Davison-style incarnation of the Doctor, and by that I mean I want the character to be relatable and enjoyable to be around, but stand-offish enough to avoid any romantic relationship like those seen with David Tennant. The traditionalist will be pissed enough already to see a female Doctor, let alone one that want to bone a human (Tactfully put, Ben- Lewis). If Supergirl has shown me one thing, putting a romantic interest in the show from episode one can undermine the strength of a female lead, leaving her a fawning mess rather than the badass we know she is.

To sum up, this is only a good thing for the show, taking a gamble on a Female doctor will give it the vital breath of fresh air it really needs. Besides, Whittaker has proven herself to be a strong and versatile actor, and her good working relationship with the new head writer promises to produce good things.

I am definitely looking forward to the next season.

-Ben

 

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Doctor Who – Insert Clickbait Here…

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So it was announced last week, although from what I remember rumours have been circulating for a while, that Peter Capaldi will be hanging up his TARDIS key at the end of the year, meaning the search for his replacement is on. But, before we jump into that, I want to take a look back at his time in the TARDIS…

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On the 4th of August Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor and I, for one, was pretty pleased with that. We were promised a more old school Doctor, not as unlikable as Colin Baker’s 6th, rather, more like the Grandfatherly figure of William Hartnell’s 1st doctor with a fashion choice to match. This is what I wanted. I wasn’t a fan of Matt Smith at the time (I’m still not, but I watch his last season more fondly now) and I saw Capaldi as a step in the right direction, getting away from the touchy-feely 10th and 11th Doctors (Hey, you leave David Tenant out of this- Lewis).

However, on the whole, I was pretty disappointed by Capaldi; in his first episode we saw some glimpses of the Doctor he wanted to be, but that was lost in the following campy -episodes and mopey characters. His character traits were often spoken about; an incredible over use of – “I don’t do hugs” – (which was often ignored) for example. It was clear that the writers were trying to tell us that this Doctor was an older, more distant man rather than try to show us, but that simply robbed this new trait of its impact. You see, you wouldn’t dream of hugging the older Doctors, which was exactly what I wanted to see in Capaldi’s episodes, and I honestly think that he wanted this characterisation too, but the writers were just too attached to the previous incarnations of the Doctor.  I can count the number of standout episodes from the Capaldi years on one hand- The Time Heist and the two-parter episode Under the lake/Before the Flood. Beyond that, the cast weren’t given much room at all to grow as Steven Moffat pleasured himself with the idea of sonic-fucking-sunglasses (Jesus, thank God he is leaving).

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Anticippointment (Anticipation followed by disappointment) summarises how I feel about Peter Capaldi’s time in the Tardis. I had high hopes for a different Doctor, but I think the show was let down by some really poor writing- what is new there? I would have really liked Capaldi to stick around for a few more seasons to see what he could do with a new writing team, but it just wasn’t to be. An issue may have been that I wanted to see a Malcolm Tucker- esque Doctor, which is obviously not ok for a broadcast shown at 7 O’clock on BBC one… so yeah, that has led to my anticippointment.

It’s strange though, because, looking at the numbers, the two Capaldi series have been the most successful yet in terms of viewing figures and critical reviews, which baffles me because most people I know have stopped watching the show rather than started it.

Anyway, it’s speculation time.

The precedent has been set with the Master so I honestly wouldn’t rule out a female iteration of the Doctor. Provided it isn’t as irritating as ‘Missy’ (another concept I’m sure Moffat tugs off to) I am open to a female Time Lord in the TARDIS, but who would I want behind the wheel? Well, looking through the current favourites, here are some options:

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Ben Whishaw 5/1 – An interesting choice, he was up there last time round. He would probably be a Doctor more akin to Matt Smith’s iteration. Whishaw made a very good Q in the last two Bond films, and he could make a very good Doctor.

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Richard Ayoade 6/1 – This would be bloody hysterical for two or three episodes, but after that I’m not too sure.

 

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Rory Kinnear 7/1 – Another Bond man, I like this choice- he’s more of a dad than a grandad, and not the type to be another ‘boyfriend’ Doctor. This is one of my preferred choices on this list.

 

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Miranda Hart 8/1 – No. Just No.

 

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Jason Flemyng 9/1 – Much like Kinnear, a Flemyng Doctor would be an intermediate between Capaldi and Smith, and to my knowledge he isn’t up to much which makes him free for long filming sessions.

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David Harewood 10/1 – I am game for this one as well, however he is involved in Supergirl which could interfere with filming commitments.

 

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Helena Bonham Carter 10/1 – So we would basically have two ‘Missys’ in the universe- I would find it pretty unwatchable.

 

 

Olivia Coleman’s name has also been mentioned, and she definitely has the comic ability/acting chops that would make her a very good Doctor, and considering the new show-runner wrote Broadchurch I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coleman at least get offered the role. Idris Elba is also on the list but with the upcoming Dark Tower film it looks like his Hollywood career is really starting to get going (Unless it’s, regrettably, a flop- Lewis), besides, I would much rather he be the next Bond than the next Doctor. Another element to consider when picking the next Doctor is the show’s new popularity in the US, which means the show runners are more likely to give the role to a bigger name rather than taking a punt on an unknown.

So that about wraps it up, a few of my opinions about the Capaldi years and a brief run through of some of the favourites to replace him. But what do you think? Who do you want to be the next Time Lord?

Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Dr Who Review: Before the Flood

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Ben: What did you think?

Lewis: Well, I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed it. However, there were some bits that I wish they’d focussed on more.

Ben: Yeah I thought it was pretty good; a well-rounded episode.

Lewis: The one thing I wasn’t happy with was the lack of screen time they gave The Fisher King… he was one of the best villains they’ve had for a long time.

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Ben: I think the suspense of not seeing him worked better than just throwing him on the screen repeatedly.

Lewis: Yeah I liked the suspense, it’s just that once they revealed him he could’ve had a bit more of a chance to show off, you know? He was a genuinely interesting character.

Ben: But then you didn’t really see him until later in the episode. I agree, he was a solid Villain and could have done with a bit background, but I thought it was written pretty well.

Lewis: I loved the interaction between him and the Doctor, it was very tense.
Peter Serafowizzzeesticss… has an awesome voice, and the fact that they had the singer from Slipnot doing it too made it sound very creepy.

Ben: I would agree with that.
I also like the scene with the deaf character and the ghost with the axe, but I thought she was as good as dead.

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Lewis: That was an awesome scene, but I knew she’d get out of it, they really couldn’t kill off many more of the crew; there wouldn’t be any left.

Ben: I do appreciate how people died and stay dead though; can’t save everyone…

Lewis: Well, sort of. I was interested in the point they brought up about how the Dr is willing to change the future for himself or Clara, but not for anyone else. He really is kind of a piece of shit, which is a nice reminder of the fact that he isn’t as compassionate as people think he is.

Ben: That is true, he’s a bit of an arse.
I think it’s one of the best thought out and well executed episodes we have seen for a while.

Lewis: For sure. I liked the little piece at the beginning about the “Bootstrap paradox”, it was a nice quirk, and it helped explain some of the odder time travel stuff in the episode.

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Ben: It was a bit unusual for them to do it just out of the blue right at the start.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I liked it. I also really loved the rock version of the theme (which I assume the lead singer of Slipnot was involved in?), we need that every week.

Ben: Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind it, it was just a bit odd. I did like the new music though, maybe they will stick with that; there’s only been four episodes but we’ve already had two “Doctor and his Guitar” moments. I still don’t like the sonic sunglasses though…

Lewis: I really hope so, it was awesome.
Oh god, I sincerely hope he loses those. Moffat’s already admitted that he only wrote them in because he could, which really isn’t a good enough reason to write anything. One other thing I’d like to mention is the collective performance by the cast. They were all spot on, every one of them was great in their role.

Ben: They are just so stupid, but I bet they will be there for the rest of the series, they can’t change anything now. Yeah, I agree, good performance from the whole cast. Good job, guys.

Lewis: Maybe he could drop them and Maisie Williams could step on them next episode?
Oh boy, that wasn’t patronising at all, I’m sure they appreciate it though, Ben.
I almost wish that they’ll bring back the Fisher King at some point, but I’d be satisfied if they just put that kind of effort into the creature design in the future.

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Ben: I would rather they leave him there, or only bring him back of the story is right. Urgh, it does look pretty crap next week. I am fearing a Robots of Sherwood type thing.

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Lewis: I wouldn’t want them to bring him back in a stupid way
Hmmmm, I’m not sure about it either, but then again, look what we said about this double-parter?
We’ll have to see.

Dr Who Review: Under the Lake

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Lewis: Dr Who?

Ben: Well, I don’t think it was a bad as episodes one and two; not great, but not the worst.

Lewis: Yeah, you know what? I actually really enjoyed this one.

Ben: I thought it was ok, I won’t lie and say I really enjoyed it though. Looks like the Sonic Sunglasses are sticking around though.

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Lewis: I wasn’t happy about that… I groaned when he slapped those stupid things on. But as for the rest of the episode, I just thought it was quite a nice, interesting story that didn’t try to be or do too much, it didn’t try and be some kind of 45 minute blockbuster. We haven’t had a story where the Dr and Clara just turn up somewhere and help some people for a long time.

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Ben: Yeah, I thought it was a nice idea too, and I agree it is about time we just had an adventure. I do feel it was a bit over-stretched though with it being two 45 minute episodes. One hour-long or two half-hour ones would do it justice without dragging it out too much.

Lewis: Ah you see this was definitely more like my kind of pace; it wasn’t jumping about, rushing through certain moments or just being generally uncontrolled. It did feel a little slow at points, but I think it was definitely one of the more well-crafted episodes we’ve seen for a long time. And it really was quite tense at times.

Ben: I take your point, I also liked that they weren’t afraid to kill people off, but I did groan at the cliff-hanger ending. I just feel that the story would be better served by being written as an hour long episode… but I guess you can’t change the agreed running time, so I suppose I’d rather it be done over two episodes than rushed over one.

Lewis: Yeah exactly, and so much of Dr Who is rushed these days. Speaking of killing people off, what did you think about the crew?

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Ben: Well back before the reboot a story would run over four half-hour episodes which definitely allows for development without it feeling rushed or dragged out.
As for the crew, I thought they were ok, just a bunch of relatable, normal people.

Lewis: Yeah, and surprisingly enough they seemed far more intelligent than the UNIT members shown in episode one…
Speaking of that, the writing was a hell of lot better this episode too; it was actually witty this time instead of just trying to be. I especially liked the que cards.

Ben: Urgh, how did UNIT become so stupid? Toby Whitehouse was the writer for this episode, and the script/story was much better than the Moffat disaster.

Lewis: Well, it wasn’t so much a disaster as it was a disappointment…
Didn’t Toby Whitehouse write Being Human?

Ben: He did indeed, which is another cracking series. He has written a few other good Dr Who episodes like ‘School reunion’, which was brilliant.

Lewis: Which one was that?

Ben: The one where Sarah Jane came back.

Lewis: Ahhhh, yeah, that was a good one. He’s certainly got a history of quality. I also like the way he’s structuring this story; the cliff-hanger was fairly obvious, but it means that what we see next will be a prequel, which is definitely a slightly more interesting way of doing things.

Ben: It was definitely interesting, and I do want to see what happens next (or before, since it’s a sort of prequel). Would it not set up a paradox with the Doctor going back to change the future which would mean Clara would never get there to see ghost doctor?

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Lewis: Well… It depends on what theory of time/travel this story is following.
He’s not actually altered anything in the past outside of himself, he is still following his own timeline, so what they know as the world’s past (the story’s past) is (when he goes back in time) his present. He’s still brought Clara to the base, and he’s still gone back in time leaving her there, it’s just he’s then gone on to become a ghost, and the two events have ended up coinciding…

I can’t really explain it in text… so here’s a fun little graphic to explain-

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Ben: Ok I believe you.

Lewis: That wasn’t exactly a coherent explanation, was it?

Ben: No it made sense, I think.

Lewis: Anything to do with time travel is usually complicated, especially when you have an idiot like me explaining it. Anyway, all in all I’m pretty happy with this episode. It was a little slow-paced at points, and it’s not exactly a fresh idea, but it was fun to watch and a lot better than the previous episodes.

Ben: I agree.

Lewis: Excellent, great input Ben

Ben: I agree

Lewis: You forgot the full-stop

Ben: I realised as soon as I sent it. I am ashamed. We can put it back in when we edit.

Lewis: It’s ok, I might edit one in.

Maybe

Ben: Please and thanks.

(Ha, didn’t do it. Someone looks a little foolish now, don’t they, Ben?)

Dr Who Review: The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar

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Lewis: So, Dr Who?

Ben: Yeah, I suppose we’d better do it.

Lewis: As much as we’ve been avoiding it…

Ben: So what did you think?

Lewis: Well, I don’t want to be this pessimistic about the season’s opening episodes, but they were just subpar on almost every level.

Ben: I agree. Everything just seemed so stupid; don’t even get me started on the “sonic sunglasses”. They had better not a permanent thing.

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Lewis: If they are I might just have to swear off the whole thing. To be fair though, at least the second one had some redeeming features, the first one really was just a mish-mash of poor dialogue and stupid attempts at being witty. It feels like Moffat’s trying to be Douglas Adams and not doing a very good imitation.

Ben: I feel a similar way. Yeah I would agree, the second was better than the first, but even the one section that had some emotional gravity was just thrown away as just a plot point.

Lewis: I assume you’re talking about the Davros-Doctor discussion?

Ben: Yeah, that was one of the best bits of Doctor Who we’ve seen in ages, right until the climax which completely ruined it.

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Lewis: I didn’t really like that though, because Davros just isn’t that kind of character. All that emotion and shared respect for each other just felt really forced… I really liked it up to a point, but when Davros cracked that joke and started talking about the sunrise, I was sincerely hoping it would be a trap, and it turned out it was, even if it was a pretty shitty one.

Ben: I didn’t think it was forced at all. I can kind of get why it was done, but I just feel that if they did actually kill Davros off that discussion would have been the way to do it. In the moments before his death he considers his work and wonders was it all worthwhile. I felt it was one of the better scripted and better acted part of the series that we’ve seen for a while.

Lewis: No I get that, and the whole time I was really impressed with the Davros actor’s performance. I didn’t really have a problem with any of the writing for that discussion, but I just feel like some parts of it didn’t really suit the character of Davros. But yeah, that discussion was definitely the highlight of the two episodes.

Ben: Moving away from the discussion, I think the way in which the Doctor beat the Daleks was a bit stupid.

Lewis: Yeah it was pretty naff, a very big dose of convenient plot point there… funny how those deceased Daleks were never mentioned before, huh?

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Ben: But then we have never been to Skaro before, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the planet as well.

Lewis: What do you mean? We’ve been to Skaro at least twice before. Once in the first Dr Who episode ever, and I’m pretty sure Tom Baker went once.

Ben: I meant that we haven’t been there in the new series.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I’d expect them to consider the fact that we’ve been there before in previous series’.

Ben: Well now it is back (did they explain how they brought it back? I can’t remember) I expect we will be going back fairly regularly.

Lewis: I don’t think they actually explained it… which is incredibly lazy if that’s the case (I could be, and probably am, wrong). I did quite like the censorship thing that the Daleks now have, it’s quite interesting, even if it does make them a little too emotional for my liking.

Ben: #stopmoffat
Where exterminate means reload? That bit? I wasn’t a big fan. That just seemed shoe-horned in for the last scene. Another thing I appreciated were the old Daleks and the lack of the Teletubbie ones.

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Lewis: Not specifically that bit, because that bit’s just stupid. The part where if she says anything non-Dalek like it just changes it to something more suitable; that seemed like something that the Daleks could feasibly have. And yeah, the old Daleks were a very nice touch, but in the end it feels like they were just shoved in there in order to get people to appreciate these episodes more. They really played up the nostalgia…

Ben: That is true. I presume they took inspiration for the sets from the first Skaro episode.

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Lewis: Oh yeah, and I admit, it was really cool to see the old sets/models/Daleks, but it felt like they were just saying “oooh look at all this shiny stuff that you remember, isn’t it cool?? Don’t worry about the poor writing, just look over here”.

Ben: Essentially they were just trying to distract us for 45 minutes.

Lewis: Yeah, and while there were some very good moments (which may or may not have been immediately ruined), it was just a very poor opener to the season.

Ben: Well hopefully things can only get better, but those ghosts don’t look promising…

Lewis: Well… no… no it doesn’t. Looks like a shitty live-action episode of Scooby Doo. It’ll end up being some old guy who was wronged by the scientific team and is using a projector to simulate ghosts and then when they catch him he’ll say “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling dicks”.
Or something along those lines anyway.

Ben: #stopmoffat
But I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

Lewis: Yeah, fingers crossed the other writers will have something more impressive to offer later on in this season.

Dark Water

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Hello, and welcome to our review of the first part of the Doctor Who finale. It’s actually not late this time, and we’re bringing it out just before the second half airs. So please give it a read and leave a comment about your predictions or opinions if you can be bothered. See you soon.

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Ben: Have you watched Doctor Who yet?

Lewis: Yes, I watched it on Saturday, what did you think of it?

Ben: I wasn’t keen on the ending to be honest; I thought it was a bit of a copout making her a female Regeneration of the Master.

Lewis: I wasn’t a huge fan of that revelation either, but I’m hopeful about it, because since John Simm’s incredible portrayal of the Master I’ve really liked the character. I just hope she lives up to it. Until she made the Doctor feel her heartbeats I had no idea she was gonna turn out to be him/her.

Ben: I don’t think she will be able to live up to Simm, I thought he was brilliant in that role. To be honest I thought that she would be the Doctor’s daughter from that episode with David Tennant, and I think it could have made a better episode if they had managed to make that daughter thing believable.

Lewis: Oh yeah! That was years ago, I’d completely forgotten about her… where the hell did she go off to?
I do see your point, but I can guarantee that a lot of people have completely forgotten about her (like I had), so it’d be a strange one to bring back. I’m very happy the Master/Mistress is back though, even if he/she is now a crazy, horny lady.

Ben: I just feel it would have made a better story, and my feelings about this new incarnation all depend on how they explain the way he came back. The first part seemed ok, if a bit predictable.

Lewis: I hope Moffat actually bothers to explain it rather than doing his usual “it doesn’t matter hand flapping thing”. I’m also a bit disappointed about the Cybermen, they’re always a good baddie, but on this one they’re just being glazed over, as if they’re just there to provide an extra threat.

Ben: In the old episodes the Master would use the Cybermen for his plans, so it’s going down that route again. But yeah, they just appear from the x-ray water (nice idea) and not much is done from there. The next episode is 75 minutes long so hopefully there will be a fair amount of good explanation

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Lewis: I really like how they revealed them with the water, that was a cool concept, but then it’s just not really a big deal afterwards… then again it only happened right at the end, so I’ll forgive Moffat. For now…
Oh wow, I didn’t know it was 75 minutes; there’d better be some good explanations since they have the time for them. Also, do you think Danny will die for real?

Ben: I used Wikipedia (that ever reliable source) for that little fact about the Master and Cybermen. As for Danny, I’m not sure. They can’t kill him otherwise Space Commander Pink will never happen.

Lewis: Oh yeah, I forgot about him… I’m really not on form for this conversation.
As for Wikipedia, if you don’t know something it’s always better to research it than to run your mouth about it, so I think you’re in the clear. My tentative prediction is that Clara will be killed by the Cyberman in the room and end up in the Sphere with Danny. Then it’s up to the Dr to get them out.

Ben: I thought that too, but I think it is more likely that she gets away and they manage to get him out. I can’t see them killing her…

Lewis: It would be a fairly dark turn in the story, but I do like it when a companion is killed off. It livens things up a bit. Like when Adric dies in ‘Earthshock’, it’s a pretty sad scene, but it makes that story-arc that much better. Besides, since they already killed Danny I don’t think another death would be out of the question. (But maybe I’m just a bit sadistic in my tastes of storylines)
All in all, I think it was a fairly strong start to the finale, but there are points that definitely need explaining in the next one.

Ben: I agree, and I don’t really think we can properly review it until we see part 2.

Lewis: No, it’s tough to get a full impression from a multiple-part episode, so we’ll withhold our complete judgement until the finale is completely finished.