Christmas Special 2016 – The Return Of Doctor Mysterio

I’d put off watching the Christmas special this year for nearly a month. With no new episodes on the horizon it was partially to wait as long as I could stand to make the next wait a little less, partially due to lack of time and partially because I wanted to give it my full attention.

Lately, I’ve been having mixed feelings on the show. I still love it, but Capaldi’s acting has felt a little off, like it doesn’t belong. The more I paid attention, the more I felt like that wasn’t really it. It seems as though the writing hasn’t been a good fit for him as a character. Things feel a little forced. This episode though, it didn’t feel like that.

The story itself felt a little contrived, like we were stealing the plot from a low budget Marvel movie… but lets be honest here. After a certain number of years it’s difficult to come up with new ideas. All in all though I enjoyed it. Nardole is back, and Matt Lucas is someone we need to see more of. No point in boring everyone with a full pick-apart, since we’re a month behind. There we lots of nods to the fans of the show, but it was basically a standalone episode that’s good for the casual viewer.

For the first time since Capaldi took over the role, he seemed to mesh with the writing. Things seemed to flow, and he didn’t look to be trying too hard. Maybe that’s because Steven Moffat wrote the episode. (As much as people like to hate him, I’m still a fan of his writing.) Then again it could just be because Capaldi has settled in, found “his” Doctor and we’re getting to see that onscreen. I for one can’t wait to see what he does with it this season.

Thoughts?

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The Witch’s Familiar – New Who Season 9 Episode 2 Review

We all know how we left off with the season premier, so then we move on to the second part.

As the episode starts we see that Clara and Missy made it out alive, with Clara dangling by her feet from a rope and Missy crafting a spear and acting all crazy… I see potential here.  We all knew they weren’t going to be killed with such little fanfare as the previous episode, but I expected we’d have to wait a little longer to see them.  But Missy decides to tell a story about the Doctor, and we get a cameo from certain “old timers” (which made us original Who fans happy) before “giving it to the eyebrows”.  Guess that’s the feature we’ll be fixating on for Capaldi’s version of the character… seems about right.

The story Missy tells is a convenient way to explain how they used modified vortex manipulators to teleport away from the Daleks as opposed to getting disintegrated by them.  I must admit that this was a more creative explanation to getting away than I’d expected as well.  Anyway, we get some clever quips about pointy sticks, which I won’t wreck for you in case you want to actually watch the episode, and all this before the opening credits.

This is the happiest I’ve been with an episode in quite some time… At this point I’ve noticed it’s an episode written by Moffat himself.

Cut to the Doctor and he’s *angry*.  He still thinks Clara and Missy have been exterminated and he seems to want to take it out on Davros.  Next thing we know Davros is laying on the floor and the Doctor is running around in his half a Dalek armor like he’s in a bumper car.  At this point I’m picturing a set of bumper cars where the cars are the bottom half of Daleks.  I implore the BBC to make this happen!

Back to Clara and Missy investigating the sewers (really a nearly-dead-Dalek burial ground) and we get more antics as Missy pushes Clara in to see how big the drop is.  Can these two *please* have their own show?  I could watch this all day.

After a bit of filler the Doctor demands that Clara be brought back alive and safe, broadcast out to all the Daleks.  No mention of Missy, and she actually looks kind of hurt.  The takeover was short lived, as Colony Sarff appeared to capture him.

In the meantime Missy uses Clara as bait to kill a Dalek.  I’m still entertained by their interaction, but I noticed Missy said something about her daughter…  Anyway, more filler while Davros tries to lure the Doctor into his little trap.  Entertaining filler, but filler none the less.  We do get a bit of insight into how human the Doctor actually is, or seems to be.

Back to the dynamic duo, Missy has strapped Clara into a Dalek and gives her driving lessons.  We’re a bit full circle here, if you remember souffle girl from Clara’s introductions.  Clara’s unable to say her name, only “I am a Dalek” comes out, and she doesn’t seem to have much control over her weapons as she gets upset.  A lot of phrases come out as “Exterminate” and now I’m wondering if the Daleks have tried to say nice things over the years and it’s been “translated” to Dalek-speak.

We have a heart-to-hearts between the Doctor and Davros, who finally learns that the time lords are still alive.  He surprises everyone by telling the Doctor to keep his people safe.  There’s some shared laughter, some tears, and the good man question appears again.  Davros claims to be dying, and we all know the Doctor probably isn’t going to let it happen.  Oh look, he falls right into the trap.  Are we surprised?  Not this puppy…

So the regeneration energy is flowing, the Doctor is trapped, and all that energy is flowing out into Davros and the Daleks.  Lucky for him Missy had strolled back into HQ with Clara in tow, just in time to save the Doctor from himself.  Unfortunately, the damage was done… only not the damage you’d expect.  The Doctor trapped himself on purpose to make the Daleks mortal.  It means the generations of Daleks that were mush in the sewers have now been regenerated and are coming back for revenge.

Missy tries to tall the Doctor that Clara (in the Dalek armor) is the Dalek that killed Clara.  Of course he sees something is off and shows her how to open the casing.  And away we go to try and make an escape.  Except for Missy, who was told to run.  No sonic screwdriver for the Doctor, since he left it with Davros years before, but he has sonic sunglasses.  Seriously?  I really hope this is short lived.

So he goes back and saves Davros as a child and teaches him the concept of mercy, so that Clara can use that concept to trigger the Doctor’s suspicions so he can save her.  It’s all very circular and tied together quite well.

All in all I was happy with this episode, even though it posed a lot of questions.  Does the Doctor now have unlimited regenerations?  Will we see Missy again? (of course we will) How long will those stupid sunglasses last?  And will we ever see a Missy/Clara spinoff?  I’d love to hear the opinions of others…

Series 8 DVD Launch

Love it!

A Moffat Horror Story

Moffat

Smith And Moffat

How cute is this??

MattMoffat

Series 8 Episode Guide

In an interview with Radio Times, Steven Moffat gave us a little episode guide.  Avoid to stay spoiler-free:

Deep Breath
“Who frowned me this face?”
A slaughterhouse restaurant and a buried spaceship lead The Doctor into a confrontation with a long-forgotten foe…

Into The Dalek
“Imagine the worst thing in the universe, and then don’t bother because you’re looking at right now. This is evil refined as engineering.”
In the dying days of a bitter war, a beleaguered army has one last hope: a Dalek so damaged it has become good. But can it be trusted? To find out, a miniaturised team, led by The Doctor and Clara, embark on a fantastic voyage into the Dalek itself…

Robot of Sherwood
“There’s no such thing as Robin Hood!”
In a sun-dappled Sherwood Forest, The Doctor discovers an evil plan from beyond the stars. But with of Nottingham at stake (and possibly Derby), there’s no time for the two adventurers to get into a fight about who is real and who isn’t – which is probably why they do very little else!

Listen
“What’s that in the mirror, and the corner of your eye? What’s the footstep following, but never passing by?”
What scares the grand old man of time? What horrors lurk under his bed? Ghosts of the past and future crowd into the lives of The Doctor and Clara; a terrified caretaker in a children’s home, the last man standing in the universe, and a little boy who doesn’t want to join the army…

Time Heist
“Welcome to the bank of Karabraxos.”
The Bank of Karabraxos is the deadliest bank in the cosmos – only a fool or genius would tempt to rob it. Fortunately, for The Doctor, he’s both. But nothing even The Doctor has encountered can prepare them for the Teller: a creature of terrifying power that can detect guilt.

The Caretaker
“Human beings have incredibly short life-spans. Frankly, you should all be in a permanent state of panic. Tick tock, tick tock.”
Clara has it all under control: her life at school, her life in space; her new boyfriend and her mad old Time Lord. Everything is humming along just fine, so long as everybody never actually meets. And then, one morning, just before assembly, Coal Hill welcomes a new relief caretaker with a Scottish accent.

Kill the Moon
“The little planetoid that’s been tagging along beside you for a hundred million years, which gives you light at night and seas to sail, is in the process of falling to bits.”
In the near future, The Doctor and Clara arrive on a decrepit shuttle making a suicide mission to the Moon. Crashing on the lunar surface, they find a mining base full of eviscerated corpses, spider-like creatures scuttling about in the dark, and a terrible dilemma.

Mummy on the Orient Express
“Start the clock!”
board the most beautiful train in history, speeding among the stars of the future, a legend is stalking the passengers. Once you see the Mummy, you have 66 seconds to live. Clara sees The Doctor at his most deadliest and most ruthless – and finally she realises she’s made the right decision. Because this is their last adventure: it’s time to say goodbye to the Time Lord.

Flatline
“Look, your home isn’t going anywhere. And neither is mine until I figure this out.”
Separated from The Doctor, Clara discovers a new menace from another dimension. But how do you hide when even the walls are no protection?

In the Forest of the Night
“D’you like the forest being in Trafalgar Square? I think it’s lovely.”
One morning in London, and every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to the most surprising invasion yet: the trees have moved back in. Everywhere, in every land, a forest has grown overnight and taken back the Earth.

Dark Water / Death in Heaven
“You betrayed me. You betrayed my trust, our friendship, and everything I’ve ever stood for. You let me down.”
In the mysterious world of the Nethersphere, plans have been drawn. Old friends and old enemies manoeuvre around The Doctor, and an impossible choice is looming over him.

Capaldi Interview

From ArtsBeat:

It’s not as rare as, say, a total solar eclipse or the alignment of the planets, but the arrival of a new star on “Doctor Who” is still a significant galactic event, at least to fans of that long-running BBC science-fiction series. Last summer Matt Smith announced that he was leaving the lead role of the enigmatic time-and-space adventurer known as the Doctor, and the BBC said that he would besucceeded by Peter Capaldi, the Scottish actor best known to British audiences (and some Americans as well) as Malcolm Tucker, theexplosively vulgar government official in the political satire “The Thick of It” and the film “In the Loop.”

Mr. Capaldi, 56, has since spent several Earth months filming his first season of “Doctor Who,” which begins Saturday on BBC America, and getting to know co-stars like Jenna Coleman, who plays the Doctor’s companion, Clara, and Steven Moffat, the “Doctor Who” executive producer and lead writer. In polite, gentlemanly tones, free of any vulgarity, Mr. Capaldi recently spoke to The Times about this transition and the new “Doctor Who” season. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Q.
You were a lifelong “Doctor Who” fan before you joined the show. Why has it held this enduring appeal for you?

A.
Because it started when I was 5. I grew up with it. It’s in my DNA. It’s not just the monsters and this weird, Grimms’ fairy-tale feel that it has, but also this idea that you could be whisked away. It’s always been good at balancing the cosmic with the domestic. They would go out to the edge of the galaxy, and then they’ll land in a mall somewhere.

Q.
When you learned that the show was seeking a new lead actor, did you think you’d be in the mix?

A.
I never thought that I would be Doctor Who because it just seemed to me the show had nothing to do with me anymore. Even when I was playing Cardinal Richelieu in “The Musketeers,”often, the directors we had, they’d just come off “Doctor Who.” So I was always asking them: “What was it like? What’s going to be happening next season?” And one of them said that he thought Matt might be leaving, and I was in disbelief. I just didn’t think that they would be going in this direction.

Q.
What direction do you mean?

A.
Well, I guess, older. And more like me. [Laughs] When I look it at now, obviously you’d have to have a contrast. You couldn’t have another guy around Matt’s age. It was wiser to be very different from what David [Tennant] and Matt had been doing.

A.
How did you learn that Steven Moffat was considering you?

A.
I had a call from my agent, and she said, “How would you feel about being the new Doctor Who?” Which just made me laugh with joy, for about two minutes. What I didn’t know was, I was the only one being auditioned.

Q.
What was that audition like?

A.
Steven wrote these rather wonderful scenes for my Doctor. There was a regeneration scene [not used in the finished episode], in which the Doctor doesn’t have a mirror, so he has no idea he’s gotten older. He keeps asking Clara about his face. “Does it look good? It feels good. It’s very mobile, and it seems to be working. Is it good?” And she goes, “Well, it’s O.K.” I’m like, “What do you mean, O.K.? It’s got to be better than O.K.” Finally they got me in a room, and we did it. And I thought I’d really blown that. I took a picture of myself in the cab, going to my audition, and then I took a picture in a cab coming back. I was like Rocky in “Rocky III.”I was bedraggled. But I was wrong. I guess.

Q.
What directions did Steven want to take the show under your Doctor?

A.
He wanted to, I think, lose the overtly comic groove that they’d gotten into, which was working very well, but he felt he was perhaps done with that. It’s still very funny, but it’s in a slightly more acid way. It’s not cynical. It’s realistic and the universe equivalent of world-weary. Sardonic. The Doctor’s been round the block. But he’s still full of enthusiasm. If he offers you the chance to come with him, and you hesitate, he’s gone.

Q.
Did you think your work as the distinctively obscene Malcolm Tucker might disqualify you from the role of the Doctor?

A.
He’s such a vivid character that, clearly, he would have an influence on how people perceive me. I could never have played Malcolm when I was 30. You had to be knocked around by life a bit to do that.

Q.
Do you think the Malcolm Tucker character showed people you could adapt yourself to different roles?

A.
I suspect I wouldn’t be Doctor Who if it hadn’t been for Malcolm. I’d got into this groove of being a reasonably successful, very blessed actor, playing increasingly bland parts. Turning up in episodic television as the slightly untrustworthy doctor or shrink, or the M.P. with a gay secret. That was fine but quite dull. You get employed to do the thing that people think you can do. And then I met Armando Iannucci [creator of “The Thick of It”], and when I auditioned for him, I had been particularly fed up. I had an audition in the morning, for a little part in a sitcom on the BBC. I’d worked with everyone in the room, and I thought, “Why am I sitting here, going on tape for all of you guys, to do this little part?” Which I didn’t get. About an hour later, I went to meet Armando, to talk about “The Thick of It,” and I was like: “You’re supposed to be a comedy genius? Make me laugh.” It was lucky I just had the right attitude at that moment.

Q.
On the show itself, the characters are often commenting and joking about how old this new Doctor now appears. How do you feel about that?

A.
I sometimes get a bit annoyed with it. I don’t think I’m old. I’m 56. Maybe people think that’s ancient. I’m not an old man. My eyebrows, which I’ve never taken much notice of in my life before, Steven’s decided are the most amazing comic devices. Now in the scripts, as a stage direction, instead of saying, “The Doctor looks peeved” or “The Doctor looks annoyed,” they just write, “Eyebrows.” I’m supposed to do something with my eyebrows.

Q.
Does that mean you’ve got to learn some new eyebrow moves?

A.
What it means is, the character is finding its own tics and its own shape. That’s a good thing.