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.
“The Magician’s Apprentice” relates to “Deep Breath,” Peter Capaldi’s introductory episode as the Twelth Doctor in a simalar way to how the Eleveth Doctor’s second season premiere “The Impossible Astronaut” relates to Matt Smith’s debut episode “The End of Time.” In both cases, Steven Moffat uses the episode introducing the new Doctors is a classic Doctor Who one-off episode establishing the new Doctor and his relationship to his companions while using the following season’s premiere episode to tell a sprawling, complicated, and complex narrative that will theoretically make more sense by the time the entire season unfolds. I don’t mean this derisively at all; I trust Steven Moffat as a storyteller and as a showrunner, and I’m encouraged by the connection between “The Magician’s Apprentice” and ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ because Season 6, the season that ‘Astronaut’ kicked off, is my favorite season of the series so far. Continue reading
If the two-part finale is a sandwich, I feel like all the meat was in the first installment and in the second we were left with some bread and a little bit of cheese. While “Dark Water” was interesting, funny, and a bit moody, “Death In Heaven” was basically just wrapping things up with some action interspersed throughout. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it just didn’t live up to the promise of the first part of the finale. Continue reading
Let’s start out by acknowledging that good child actors are hard to find and good performances from children are hard to get. This is not as an excuse for anyone but simply an acknowledgement that for every Haley Joel Osment or Maisie Williams there’s a thousand of everybody else. Having said this, I don’t think the problems with this episode really had anything to do with child acting, nor do I think this episode had any really massive problems anyway. I just think there were a lot of little problems that all added up to an unspectacular episode. Continue reading
In a previous post I discussed a method of casting I believe to have been employed on Season 3 of HBO’s Girls whereby there was a conscious effort to cast actors of color in peripheral roles in the wake of backlash against the show for its lack of minority representation. It appears to me that Doctor Who, a series which faced a similar backlash for its representation of people of color, is employing the same method. Continue reading
I learned at least three things from this episode. The first thing I learned is that British people apparently call training wheels “stabilizers.” The second is that in the near future these same “stabilizer” using Brits take over NASA from the Americans. Finally, the third is that in a spot where I believe the last two Doctors would have expressed moral outrage and harangued their silly humans, this Doctor chose to aloofly extricate himself from the situation, leaving said humans to their own devices. Continue reading
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