Most Doctor Who stories can be divided into one of two categories: ones where The Doctor is basically forced to confront an old adversary and ones where he chooses to confront or investigate something unknown out of curiosity. “Under The Lake” is a fine example of the latter category and one of the better installments thereof in some time in terms of quality.
I’ve come to almost fear two-episode story arcs on television for the simple reason that the concluding episode is almost always disappointing. Having compared “The Magician’s Apprentice” to the Season 6 premiere “The Impossible Astronaut”, I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the last time a concluding episode delivered relative to the first on Doctor Who, in my opinion was “The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon,” the latter episode being every bit as engaging and satisfying as the first installment, if not even more so. While I wouldn’t go that far in describing “The Witch’s Familiar” (or “The Magician’s Apprentice,” for that matter), I was certainly pleasantly surprised by how no momentum was lost between the first two episodes of this season. Indeed, “Familiar” possessed several qualities and raised several questions that the previous episode did.
Let me start out by saying that I think the idea behind this story is really interesting-I just wish we got there in a more interesting way. I’m not sure why they chose to kill Danny in such a dramatically un-impactful way. It was one of those deaths you can see coming from a mile away yet doesn’t make any logical sense within the narrative. I simply don’t understand why he chose to stop in the middle of the road. I don’t understand what Clara was doing on her end either, but I’m going to hold off on that point in the hopes that it’s addressed in the concluding episode. If I give the show the benefit of the doubt, I’m assuming that there’s a reason that Clara was acting all panicky over the phone with the post-it notes at that exact moment that for some reason causes Danny to stop in the middle of a crosswalk. Continue reading
For me, this was the weakest installment of the season thus far. The concept was clever enough (you had me at “train in space”) but I’m not sure about the execution.
I have a theory: let’s say that The Doctor undergoes a bit of a midlife crisis circa 2006, materializing in the regeneration into David Tennant and Matt Smith, his two youngest bodies at a ripe old age that he’s maybe starting to feel a little bit. He learns some lessons, experiences some things, reconciles aspects of his old, warmongering nature in the form of John Hurt’s “War Doctor,” and finally takes the form of a more “age appropriate,” older gentleman in the person of Peter Capaldi. This season, the midlife crisis is over and The Doctor is coming to terms with himself and his age and is now engaging in some old man stuff like watching his daughter figure grow up and replace him with a new male figure. Continue reading
While there are no genres I completely dislike, there are two genres in particular that I enjoy less than others. One is romantic comedy, the other is the heist genre. As I mentioned, there are exceptions (the Ocean’s films, Kubrick’s The Killing, Inception), but I’m usually bored out of my mind with heist scenarios. Continue reading
Episodes like this are why I watch Doctor Who. Episodes like this are why I watch television. This was vintage Moffat in the style of “Blink” and “Silence In The Library”, and he hasn’t done one of these in awhile. Psychologically taut, atmospheric, so fun, and so very clever. Continue reading
This was a fun one. The “pissing contests” between The Doctor and Robin Hood were particularly entertaining. This is the first time we’ve gotten to see this new Doctor play the cranky old man to a younger hero type, something they obviously couldn’t do with Tennant or Smith but something they should now take full advantage of. Continue reading
Much like Fox Network’s excellent Cosmos with the outstanding Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “Into The Dalek” was basically an episode of The Magic School Bus with a much better teacher than the insufferable Miss Frizzle. Whatever the state of The Doctor’s pedagogical accumen, I have to say I didn’t walk away from this episode feeling like I actually learned anything new or exciting about Daleks. I could’t help but feel like we’ve seen most of this before. Part of this is pretty much unavoidable; part of what’s great about Daleks is their consistency-Daleks are reliable. I’m not sure we learned anything about the Doctor either, as its been well-established that he’s basically a war criminal who hates Daleks at a fundamental level. Continue reading
I’m sure I’m not the only one who already feels like Peter Capaldi has already been the Doctor for a long time now. By the end of “Deep Breath” his performance felt both familiar and fresh at the same time. I’m not sure what more one could ask for from a transition than that very feeling I just described. I can’t go so far as to say that the transition has been seamless; to do so would be ignoring how dissatisfied I was with “The Time of the Doctor,” but I will say that on this back-end of the change, on the transition from one Doctor I liked immensely to one I was giddily excited for did not disappoint. Continue reading