Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Review

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Cover by Steve Morris


A Bridge Between Worlds…

I’ve always loved a good crossover. That’s just something the nerd in me can’t resist. I would become super excited as a kid whenever The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman would have a crossover event. An episode would start on one show and end on the other. It’s still true now, I geek out whenever The Flash makes an appearance on Arrow (and vice versa).  And it always worked for Buffy and Angel, even when they were on different networks, just like it did for that other super-couple Jamie Sommers and Steve Austin.

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Bionic duo and former lovers Steve Austin aka the Six Million Dollar (Lee Majors) and Jamie Sommers aka the Bionic Woman (Lindsay Wagner).

When Angel (repentant vamp and Buffy’s former love) left Sunnydale all those years ago, we knew he’d be back, and likewise, Buffy wouldn’t (couldn’t) stay away from him either. With dark slayer Faith (portrayed in the series by Eliza Dushku) traveling back and forth between both shows, there was always a bridge, and always a chance for a crossover event. Angel even shows up briefly during the Buffy finale.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Panel


When Worlds Collide…

Is it any wonder then that the writers of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith comics have teamed up to create a season that allows each series its’ own arc, while still letting one be part of the other’s story as well.

We all know that whenever Angel turns up in Buffy’s world, it means angst and complications. Having your first love show up while you’re involved with your current love is hardly a simple matter (read messy and awkward). I call this the “ex-boyfriend barbecue”… and I’ve been there myself… but I digress, as I often do…

Ever since the “Love Dares You” arc, starting with this season’s eleventh issue, Buffy and Spike have reconnected romantically, and after many long years of waiting, fans let out a sigh of relief (myself included). Of course,  hi-jinx must ensue when Angel is called, by none other than Spike (Buffy’s other on again/off again/currently on again beau) to aid in their latest fight against Archaeus, an ancient demon who has been tormenting both Angel and Spike. There is way too much history between these three, going back to when Spike was sired (turned into a vampire for the newbie) by Drusilla (who was sired by none other than Angel). There was a whole lot of siring going on back then. Oh, those wacky vamps!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Variant by Rebekah Isaacs

Suck Up and Deal…

Of course, there’s no time to wallow in hurt feelings and awkward silences when there are demons to slay, and the old team bands together to do just that, in their own unique fashion. Equipped with banter aplenty and sharp and pointy implements of death and destruction – not to mention a whole lot of hacking and slashing – they get to the task at hand. However, it’s just the beginning for our Scoobies, and the big bad for this season has yet to be dispatched.  After all, what would a crossover event be without a cliffhanger?

As always, the team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs aim to please and do not disappoint, and Steve Morris’ cover art always impresses.

While each series can stand on its own, do yourself a favor and pick up both Buffy and Angel & Faith Season 10 books. They’re even more fun together.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10: Issue 16 is due out tomorrow, June 17, 2015! Get it at a comic book store near you!

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 and Angel & Faith Season 10 from Dark Horse Comics, check out my reviews at Skeletonpete.com.

Christopher Lee Remembered

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Christopher Lee

From immortal monster, to Jedi, to powerful wizard. He had worn many faces throughout his long and distinguished career. This week, the world mourned the loss of veteran stage and screen actor, Sir Christopher Lee.

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“Chiller Theatre” opening sequence. This creeped me out so much as a kid.

My introduction to Christopher Lee came one night, well after my bedtime, staying up to watch Chiller Theatre. 

I enjoyed (usually with one eye open) many Hammer Horror films, most of them starring Lee, starting with Horror of Dracula (1958), with Lee in the title role and co-star Peter Cushing (another favorite of mine and fellow Star Wars alum) as his nemesis Van Helsing. As a little girl, hiding under the covers, peeking out just as he was about to strike at some unsuspecting victim, I was both terrified and mesmerized by Lee’s gaze. I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was hooked.

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Lee as Count Dracula in many Hammer Horror films.

I credit my love of gothic horror to those early films. Lee’s Dracula was silent and menacing. He was far from repentant, and no, damn it, he never sparkled – he compelled – as any good (or in this case, bad) vampire should. He’d given me many nightmares, and later in life, he was also a source of inspiration for many of the stories I’d go on to write.

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Lee as Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

Years later, I was thrilled to see him as Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels and again in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as Saruman the White. Nearly 80 when he took on those roles, Lee showed no signs of slowing down. He even recorded the Heavy Metal Christmas album in 2012. Still cool, still relevant and still doing things his way at 90, I couldn’t help but admire him.

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Christopher Lee in Vatican City (1944).

Lee cast a long and imposing shadow, standing a full 6 feet 5 inches tall. He was a giant in every way to someone like me. From everything I’d seen, Christopher Lee was a proud man, a powerful man and a serious man.  He had served in the military, was in the RAF during World War II, and had received various honors, including knighthood in 2009. The man certainly seemed the stuff of legend.

Christopher Lee kept acting into his 90s, always sharp and full of purpose, and he left quite a legacy. I thought somehow he’d live forever… He was an original. We’ll likely never see another like him, and he will be sorely missed.

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Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, John Carradine and Peter Cushing

Christopher Lee passed away on June 7, 2015, at the age of 93. He has gone to join his friends and former co-stars, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine (all gone, but not forgotten.. nothing is ever forgotten…) – best known for their horror/sci-fi roles. I’m sure they welcome him with open arms. Oh, the stories they must have to share.

Farewell… and many thanks, Sir Christopher Lee. I owe you more than I ever realized…

-SylverWhisper

Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 from Dark Horse Comics – Review

Ok, folks, apologies for the radio silence.  My muse decided to take a little vacation without me, as she often does… but we’re back… I think… Thanks for coming back. As always, it’s much appreciated. 

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Secret societies, mythical creatures and a strong female protagonist with a dark, mysterious past. Sign me up, please! Drew Johnson (Wonder Woman) brings his first creator-owned series to Dark Horse with Midnight Society: The Black Lake!

Something immediately drew me to the title. Midnight Society conjured up images of the monsters, witches and other things that go bump in the night, and the cover art, featuring secret agent Matilda Finn, made me think instantly “this woman is our hero”. I was intrigued. I had to learn more. I wasn’t disappointed.

The artwork, also by Drew Johnson (and colorist Lizzy John), is dark and foreboding, but very well rendered, the characters well-drawn.

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While reading it, I could definitely see this playing out as a film or TV series. Something creepy and fantastical… that’s kinda my bag. In fact, I found myself thinking of the BBC Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, and kept hoping some version of Captain Jack Harkness might pop up somewhere. Who knows, he still might. After all, all roads lead back…

Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 is not a origin story, as we’re already plunged right into the action, but we are definitely left wondering more about Matilda. This description gets your head spinning – who or what is Matilda Finn?

“They transformed her into a monster killer, but she was already something else!

Forty years ago, England’s greatest adventurers cast aside their friendship, making a choice that would come to haunt humanity. Now, secret agent Matilda Finn will face the consequences of that choice as she aids in a frantic rescue operation at Scotland’s Loch Ness, where something terrible is waiting to draw her into the fight of her life!”

 

What kind of monster is she? 40 years ago? She looks like she can’t be more than in her 30s. Is Matilda a mythical creature herself? I ran through quite an exhaustive list of possibilities. We don’t get an answer just yet. We’ll just have to stay tuned.

So visit Loch Ness, and follow Matilda Finn and The Midnight Society’s exploits starting tomorrow, June 10th. Pick up Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 from Dark Horse Comics, at a comic book store near you.

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DI Alec Hardy and DI Miller Are Back in Broadchurch Series 2!

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Series 1 Cast of Broadchurch (ITV, UK)

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

It’s been nearly two years since the premiere of the hit UK drama Broadchurch starring the brilliant David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Olivia Colman. Having only discovered it after Series 1 had ended, while watching its US counterpart Gracepoint at the same time, it’s still very fresh in my mind.

When I learned Series 2 would come on the heels of Gracepoint’s unfortunate demise, I was relieved to learn the story wasn’t over yet.

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Series 1 Cast of Gracepoint (Fox TV, US)

For those who are unfamiliar, both Broadchurch and Gracepoint center around the death of 11-year-old Danny Lattimer (Danny Solano in the US version), and the lives torn apart during the course of the murder investigation led by Hardy (Detective Emmett Carver in the US version – both played by David Tennant).

Written and produced by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood), the murder mystery keeps you guessing until the very last minute, all the while drawing you into the personal lives of all the key players living in the sleepy seaside community. Underneath the idyllic exterior, deep, dark secrets are unearthed, and by the end, no one is left unscathed.

When Danny’s murderer is finally discovered, I’m sure most audience members felt saddened and disturbed. We knew the killer would be someone close to home, but like real life, it’s never someone you’d expect – rarely some stranger, instead it’s someone you’d trust with your own children. It leaves you with an uneasy feeling. Hardly resolved. There’s no real sense of closure. There’s no sense of peace as Danny’s and Ellie’s (Olivia Colman in the UK Version and played by Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn in the US Version) families are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. But how can they?

This is where Series 2 of Broadchurch begins.

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Series 2 Cast of Broadchurch (ITV, UK)

Joining the cast for Series 2 alongside Series 1 regulars David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who), Jonathan Bailey (Doctor Who)Jodie Whittaker, and Andrew Buchan, are Eve Myles (Gwen from Torchwood, Doctor Who) as Claire, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Sharon, Charlotte Rampling as Jocelyn, and James D’Arcy as Lee.

Series 2 finally sheds some light on the events that brought a disgraced (and haunted) Alec Hardy to Broadchurch after the Sandbrook murders, as Danny’s murder trial begins.

Mysteries and courtroom dramas fascinate me, but you get so much more with Broadchurch. The cast is brilliant, and you believe Beth and Ellie’s heartache, you believe Alec’s obsession… you believe… You feel every moment, and I couldn’t help but have physical reactions as events unfolded. Tennant is so good at what he does I found myself both disliking Alec Hardy and finding him sympathetic at the same time, forgetting that underneath that scruffy beard was the Time Lord we all love.

Broadchurch Series 2 has just ended its run in the UK on ITV and premieres tonight March 4th, 2015 at 10/9c on BBC America in the US.

If you haven’t seen the series yet, I urge you to catch up with Series 1 of Broadchurch on Netflix.

For more, watch the Series 2 Trailer of Broadchurch below.

REVIEW: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 10 #11 PART 1: DARE TO LOVE

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Buffy Season 10 Issue #11 Cover by Steve Morris

A THORNY PATH…

They say the path of true love never doth run smooth and roses have their thorns… Cliche, but true, and quite the understatement for Buffy and her friends. Relationships are complicated at best, and romantic relationships are probably the hardest thing to get right, for anyone… For vampire slayers and demon hunters, this is doubly true.

Complications abound and hi-jinx ensue when Buffy and the Scoobies find a little down time to examine their feelings and their broken relationships. With the rules of magic being re-written (with Willow’s help) and the world more aware of its presence, you’d think it’d make life a little easier, right? Of course, no episode (or issue) of Buffy can be completely angst-free, and at some point, this issue’s big bads have to surface. For once, I’d say they’re almost welcome.

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Buffy Season 10 Issue #11 Variant Cover by Rebekah Isaacs

Meanwhile, a Harry Potter-like, 12-year-old Rupert Giles continues to struggle with his second adolescence. Painful enough for any pre-teen, but never mind a pre-teen with a middle-aged man’s memories… Memories of a full life and lost loves. A second childhood might be welcome to some, but not for him. Poor Giles hasn’t had much luck in the romance department either, and when an old flame shows up, things go from bad to mortifying. How many ways can we spell awkward?

However, the script seems to flip for our resident uber-geek and reformed super-villain, Andrew Wells (portrayed in the series by Tom Lenk). When did he get a life? I must have blinked and missed something.

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Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk) during his “super-villain” phase (note the Death Star on the van).

LOVE AND MONSTERS…

Issue 11 is classic Buffy fun (Christos Gage masters the Whedon/Buffyverse voice), with more than a few moments that are reminiscent of some real life dating horror stories I’ve heard friends recount. Including the indignity of speed dating (which I can gladly say I’ve never had to endure). I’ve only ever heard it work out for one couple I know (ah bless). Of course, the ending, though not surprising, will be satisfying for most fans (including me), however, with Part 2 (and Valentine’s Day) on the horizon, I can’t allow myself to be lulled into a false sense of security. This is the Buffyverse, after all.

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Buffy Season 10 Issue #11 Birthday Variant by George Jeanty and Tariq Hassan

FINAL THOUGHTS…

I love Steve Morris’ cover art, as always, so much so, I’ve often considered them suitable for framing. But papering my walls with Buffy comics might seem a bit much, no? Maybe if I was 12 again (it would be the coolest room ever), but I digress, as I often do…

For this installment, artist Megan Levens replaces Rebekah Isaacs (who provides the Issue 11 variant cover), and Megan does a great job picking up where Rebekah left off.

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 from Dark Horse Comics, check out my reviews at Skeletonpete.com.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10: Issue 11 is due out tomorrow, Jan 21, 2015! Get it at a comic book store near you!

Available Today: Buffy Birthday Mega Bundle from Dark Horse Comics!

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Hard to believe that it has been 18 years since our favorite blonde cheerleader-turned-supernatural-slayer, Buffy Summers, first burst onto the scene. That would make her 34-years-old today. To celebrate the occasion, Dark Horse Digital has a limited-time offer for die-hard Buffy fans.

Starting today, every single digital issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Season 9, and Season 10 is on sale for only $0.99 each.

But if you really want to impress the Buffy fan in your life, the Buffy Birthday Megabundle is the perfect gift to add to their collection of memorabilia.

With nearly 200 titles (worth over $500), the Buffy Birthday Megabundle includes digital copies of:

  • Season 8 (including one-shots), Season 9, and Season 10
  • Angel & Faith Season 9 and Season 10
  • Buffy classics
  • Angel
  • Spike
  • Willow

The Buffy Birthday Megabundle is on sale now through Monday, January 19, 2015 for only $150.00.

Check out the special $0.99 sale and the Buffy Birthday Megabundle on Dark Horse Digital, both available now!

Attention Buffy Fans: Actress-Turned-Author Amber Benson in NYC Tomorrow!

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Amber Benson, best known for her ground-breaking role as Willow Rosenberg’s lady love Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been quite busy since her departure from Sunnydale. The beloved actress and director, is also an author of fantasy novels, including the five-book Calliope Reaper-Jones urban fantasy series for Penguin and Among The Ghosts for Simon and Schuster.

Book Cover - Witches of Echo ParkHer latest book, The Witches of Echo Park (released earlier this week), tells the tale of a powerful group of witches using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being hunted… and eliminated… one by one.

Though I haven’t had the pleasure of reviewing Benson’s literary work, I am intrigued by this latest effort, and plan to add it to my reading list.

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Amber Benson
will be at a book signing tomorrow, Sunday, January 11, 2015, at 2pm at Midtown Comics in NYC. Stop by, pick up a copy of The Witches of Echo Park and say hi.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #9 Review – Return to Sunnydale Part 2

Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Cover Art by Steve Morris from Dark Horse Comics

If you ask most Buffy fans which regulars from the series they’d like to see return, or resurrected, what do you think they’d say?  Think about it… think hard. It’s not an easy choice, is it? Nor is it an impossible one. I do think there’s one “fan favorite” that would win hands down, however.

In the Buffyverse we’ve seen Angel return from a hell dimension and Spike go from soulless vampire, to ensouled vampire, to ghost, to corporeal being again. So anything is possible… but is it right?

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Cover Variant by Rebekah Isaacs from Dark Horse Comics

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

It’s a quandary isn’t it? If you bring someone back to from the dead there should be consequences, and even then, doesn’t that lower the stakes if you know there’s always some magical “get out of jail free” card?

Still, we didn’t mind when Buffy was returned to us – albeit somewhat psychologically scarred – after her death in Season 5, when Willow and her friends chose to resurrect her with dark magic. But there was a price… There is always a price.  A life for a life… and lasting ramifications for Buffy and the Scoobies.

You would think they’d all learned their lesson on that one. Well, some folks never learn, as we found out in last month’s issue.

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Preview Panel

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE ANDREW?

This issue picks up where we left off – with Buffy, Spike, Willow and Andrew – back in Sunnydale, during Samhain, with a hell of a lotta spooky-doos and magic don’ts right at the Hellmouth.

When we last saw Andrew, he was attempting some magic don’ts of his own, using the Vampyr tome. Resurrection spells require a great deal of dark energy, and we all know there is no such thing as a free ride. Needless to say, there are some unwanted side effects, namely a soul-eating beastie of epic proportions.

Of course, this trip home to Sunnydale also leads to some soul-searching for our heroes and perhaps some promising confessions. Redemption, forgiveness and acceptance are recurring themes in the Buffyverse, and ones which come up again in “Return to Sunnydale”.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Without giving too much more away, I will say Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs (along with Dan Jackson and with stunning cover art by Steve Morris) deliver another strong installment for Season 10. And while Buffy fans may not get the ending they were hoping for, they do get an emotional and satisfying resolution to the Halloween story. Certainly worth the emotional ride.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 Issue #9 from Dark Horse Comics is out today at a comic book store near you!

Buffy Season 10, Issue 8: Return to Sunnydale Part 1 (Halloween Issue) Review

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 8 Cover by Steve Morris from Dark Horse Comics


WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME?

17 years have passed since Sarah Michelle Gellar first burst onto our TV screens, staking vamps and slaying other fiends, as the feisty, wise-cracking valley-girl Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s been more than a decade since Buffy and friends left Sunnydale, and our TV screens, for good. The former home of our beloved Slayer and fellow Scoobies, sucked into the Hellmouth – gone forever. The gang settled in Santa Rosita and vowed never to return…

This year, Dark Horse Comics debuted Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 with Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs crossing over from the Angel and Faith series (also from Dark Horse), to take the helm for Joss Whedon’s and Dark Horse’s flagship book. Written by Gage, and beautifully illustrated by Isaacs, the Scooby Gang are back and better than ever.

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 8 Variant Cover by Rebekah Isaacs from Dark Horse Comics

In this latest installment, Buffy and company must return to Sunnydale. And in a world where the rules of magic are being re-written, there is no telling what consequences spell-casting will have, especially that close to the Hellmouth, the epicenter of evil.

Even worse, the playbook Buffy has been using since first becoming a Slayer is missing. The Vampyr book, first given to her by her mentor and Watcher Rupert Giles (played in the series by Anthony Stewart Head), has been taken. By what, or whom, is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, has anyone seen Andrew?

But that’s not all, folks…

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 8 Preview Panel

MYTHICAL MONSTERS, FISTICUFFS AND FUN

There’s a new – yet ancient – enemy to fight, more innocents to save (though you might wonder why), more banter, and still more cauldron-sized trouble brewing. Just remember, the road to hell was paved with… well, you know how it goes. That’s all I’ll say…

Issue 8 features guest artist Richard Corben, known for his comics in Heavy Metal magazine, and a variant cover by Rebekah Isaacs. It is also just in time for Halloween – which most us of know – is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest… Something to consider…

Issue 8 is an entertaining, quick read and left me wanting more… A must for Buffy fans, both old and new. I’m sure there’s a hell of a pay off, so stay tuned for the next issue.

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 from Dark Horse Comics, check out my reviews at Skeletonpete.com.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10: Issue 8 is due out tomorrow, October 22, 2014! Get it at a comic book store near you!

Attention Female Sci-Fi Writers: Doctor Who Needs YOU!

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Sandman and Doctor Who writer Neil Gaiman

Recently, Sandman and Neverwhere author Neil Gaiman, commented on the lack of female writers in Doctor Who.  He would know, having penned two stories himself (The Doctor’s Wife, Nightmare in Silver) for the current series.

But that can’t be right, can it? I thought long and hard to myself, and truthfully, while I can recall female directors and producers (after all, the series was birthed by the late Verity Lambert and producer Julie Gardner was instrumental in helping Russell T. Davies bring back Doctor Who in 2005), I can’t – off the top of my head – recall female writers for the series. This really gnawed at me.

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Verity Lambert and Russell T. Davies

FROM FANDOM TO CALLING THE SHOTS

Often, I cite Paul Cornell as one of my top writers for the current series. Paul writes compelling science fiction and drama, as evidenced in The 10th Doctor story (originally written for 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoyHuman Nature and Father’s Day (for 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston). Even upon repeated watchings, I am always moved to tears by these episodes.

Back in the day, it was Robert Holmes who wrote some of the best stories for the classic era, including The Deadly Assassin and Talons of Weng-Chiang (for 4th Doctor Tom Baker) and Caves of Androzani (for 5th Doctor Peter Davison). Surely, my favorite sci-fi show of all time had just as many female writers, right? Right? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I owe Doctor Who for inspiring my love of science fiction and desire for self-expression. I was one of those fanfic and fanzine writers who felt compelled to expand on The Doctor’s universe. Yep, I was one of the ones people snickered at. We found refuge at conventions and dared not share our creations with the uninitiated. They wouldn’t understand… They just wouldn’t get it. 

Times have changed, and some of those same con-geeks and nerds are among some of the most successful writers and producers in film and television today. Fanboys Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Queer as Folk), Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock) and of course, Steven Moffat (Coupling, Doctor Who, Sherlock), all started as fellow nerds and Whovians. But that’s a rather testosteroneladen list.

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Buffy, BSG and Torchwood writer Jane Espenson

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

What about the rest of us? Geek girls, fangirls, nerd girls – whatever label you choose. We’re out here, ready to produce the next Doctor Who, Star Trek or Star Wars, given the opportunity. And yet, my short list is, well, rather… short. This shouldn’t be so hard…

Maybe Buffy and Battlestar Galactica alum Jane Espenson (she also wrote for the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood starring Arrow’s John Barrowman) should have a go as head writer/show runner for Doctor Who? She’s written for just about every sci-fi/fantasy series in recent history (the ones I care about anyway), including Game of Thrones and Firefly.

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“Outlander” author Diana Gabaldon with her two Jamies

Perhaps Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon, should try her hand at writing for our favorite Time Lord? Considering Outlander’s connection to Doctor Who it wouldn’t be a stretch. I wouldn’t mind a return to purely historical Doctor Who stories like The Aztecs, The Crusades and Marco Polo (from the William Hartnell/First Doctor era).

Fellow Whovians, which female writers would you like to see pen a Doctor Who script?

NEXT UP

Series 8 continues… Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of Doctor WhoFlatline.

Airing Saturday, October 18th at 9pm on BBC America.