Hey there, fellow Whovians, I know I’ve been a bit radio silent lately, and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it would be remiss of me not to pop in to celebrate the return of our favorite Time Lord, The Doctor, to our screens today. And as always, I look forward to more of his inter-galactic hi-jinx.
Series 9 Cast of Doctor Who – Michelle Gomez, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Once again, the TARDIS crew in the form of 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman), will be back to fight the good fight, and boy, did I miss them!
Series 9 of Doctor Who will see the return of Missy (aka The Master), played by Michelle Gomez,Rigsy, played by Joivan Wade (one of my favorite guest stars from Series 8), some classic era monsters like the Zygons and Daleks and another mysterious character in the form of Maisie Williams, best known for her role as Arya Stark on the HBO original series Game of Thrones.
GOODBYE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL?
At some point we will also see the departure of Jenna Coleman, finally confirmed earlier this week. Jenna will be leaving to star in the upcoming 8-part ITV series Victoria. Her exit had been rumored for some time, and it seems, has been in the works for some time as well.
Joivan Wade as Rigsy in Doctor Who
NOT JUST THE TIN DOG!
I wonder how the Impossible Girl will go out? And who will replace her? Personally, I’m hoping Rigsy (last seen in the episode Flatline) will become a permanent addition to the cast and I look forward to seeing Joivan Wade reprise his role as the young graffiti artist. He was likable, bright, compassionate and seemed to have a great rapport with Clara.
We need another male companion. Traditionally, male companions haven’t done too well on board the TARDIS (Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, was an exception, but even he had to die and be spun off onto Torchwood – no room for him and The Doctor in the same TARDIS). I think we’re overdue. The earlier Doctors had Ian, Steven, Ben, Jamie, and the UNIT team (The Brigadier, Sgt. Benton, Captain Mike Yates, even Dr. Harry Sullivan).
Unlike the novels and audios, male companions on the TV series have suffered from abuse or disuse since the 1980s. We need a fresh young face, someone the Doctor can take under his wing, but can also teach him a few things, and I think Rigsy fits the bill nicely.
Fore more, check out the Series 9 Trailer of Doctor Who below.
Doctor Who Series 9returns tonight. American fans can watch the Doctor Who Season 9 premiere on BBC America at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it at 7:40 pm on BBC One.
Apologies for the late, post Labor Day check-in, fellow Whovians, but here are my thoughts on last week’s episode of Doctor Who:Into the Dalek – just in under the wire – written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat.
Not Just for Kids… Many fans of the series, like myself, grew up with Doctor Who (we’re loyal to the last). Things that frightened us (or made us hide behind the couch) as children, no longer scare us. Suspending our disbelief was a lot easier when we were young. And while it’s true, kids are more sophisticated now, and special effects have evolved, there are certain truths that reach deep inside and take hold of us all… shaking us to the core.
There has been some debate whether or not Doctor Who is a kid’s show. From the outset, Doctor Who was designed to be, and still is, a family show – meant to appeal to both children and adults for different reasons. It is meant to entertain us, frighten us, and move us… meant to make us feel… whether we want to or not. I doubt there was anyone who didn’t shed a tear when Adric died (Earthshock),even if you had mixed feelings about him. That last shot of his shattered Badge for Mathematical Excellence lying on the ground, as silent credits roll by, still stirs strong feelings in me years later.
I grew up during the Philip Hinchcliffe era and was introduced to Doctor Whovia episodes like The Talons of Weng Chiang and The Brain of Morbius. With an overdeveloped fondness for Hammer films, I am particularly predisposed to enjoy the darker, more horrific side of the Whoniverse.
That being said, Doctor Who always finds a way to get me, even now… because at its core, it wrestles with moral dilemmas we all wrestle with. It moves us deeply on an emotional level. Doctor Who can hit you hard, usually when you least expect it.
In spite of The Doctor’s vast age, Death is always at his shoulder, his constant companion. As we got older, we started to realize our hero is a rather complex man with demons and secrets (beyond his birth name) of his own. He lives more in the gray than we’d like to admit, and with a darkness in his hearts even he would rather not look too closely at. Perhaps that’s why he is always running…
Nature vs. Nurture… Into the Dalek resonates for me on an emotional level and harkens back to earlier episodes of Doctor Who. Reminiscent of the themes presented in Genesis of the Daleks (Tom Baker – The 4th Doctor), Resurrection of the Daleks (Peter Davison – The 5th Doctor) and Dalek (Chris Eccleston – The 9th Doctor), and the moral dilemmas therein.
The Doctor struggles in all three stories with his hatred of the Daleks, and with the right course of action take. Whichever way he turns, even the audience is uncertain. Should he have aborted the development of the Daleks in Genesis, or killed Davros in Resurrection? He chose the to take the moral high ground in both those stories, only to be faced with a surviving Dalek after the Time War in Dalek. He had to have wondered then if his inability to take action on those previous occasions could have prevented that fateful day, leading to the Fall of Arcadia on Gallifrey, and the destruction of his world.
These themes come up again in Into the Dalek. The Doctor is forced to help an injured enemy, and in doing so, it challenges him look into to the depths of his own soul. Is there such a thing as absolute evil? Is everyone, even a Dalek, capable of redemption? Can there be such a thing as good Dalek? Or, no matter how much it changes, at its core, does it remain the same – a hate-filled killing machine, bent on destruction? When it comes down to it, the real question seems to be – is The Doctor a good man? He wonders himself and that question troubles him. Even his dear friend and carer, Clara, is not certain…
Samuel Anderson as Coal Hill School teacher Danny Pink
Not the Tin Dog! I like Clara feisty. No longer the fawning girl with a crush, she puts The Doctor in his place when he gets out of hand. She isn’t afraid to slap some sense into him, much like former companion Donna Noble (played by the indomitable Catherine Tate). Clara is more than his carer, she’s become his moral compass. Because as Donna once observed, The Doctor shouldn’t travel alone – he needs someone – someone to keep him grounded, someone to hold onto, and keep him from slipping deeper into the void.
Our brief introduction to Danny Pink(played by Samuel Anderson) was promising. A fellow teacher at Coal Hill School (the same school Susan, The Doctor’s granddaughter, attended on Earth) working with Clara, Danny is definitely likable. There is a mutual attraction between Danny and Clara, but male love interests tend to take a backseat to The Doctor. Hopefully he won’t suffer the fate of previous companions Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Mickey(Noel Clarke) – chasing after women who appeared to love The Doctor more.
Given what little we know of Danny’s past, he was in the military and he suffered a great loss. It is likely, knowing how The Doctor feels about soldiers, there’ll be friction when they finally meet. However, there was friction with The Brigadier (played by the late, great Nicholas Courtney) too, and he went on to become one of The Doctor’s greatest friends and allies.
Perhaps Danny will take on the more traditional role some early companions filled (like Ian, Steven, Ben and Jamie). Once The Doctor(s) started growing younger, male companions started to to become somewhat obsolete, often sidelined, landing themselves in dungeons (like Mark Strickson’s Vislor Turlough, whom I quite liked), or dead (like Matthew Waterhouse’s Adric). As a side note, I would be fascinated to see a companion like C’Rizz (portrayed by Conrad Westmaas in the 8th Doctor Big Finish Audios) on screen.
Zawe Ashton as Journey Blue
Clearly, there is a traumatic event in Danny’s military career that he doesn’t want to talk about, something that still haunts him, and we’ll learn more as his story comes to light. The chemistry between Danny and Clara seemed a bit rushed and I couldn’t help but get a Coupling vibe from their interaction – after all, Moffat and his wife, Sue Virtue, produced Coupling (which reminds me, I still want to see Richard Coyle on Doctor Who, but I digress).
Even though I quite liked Danny, I think it would have been interesting to see a female soldier like Journey Blue (portrayed by Zawe Ashton) on board the TARDIS to challenge The Doctor at every turn. For some reason, I can’t help but recall Brigadier Winifred Bambera from Battlefield – the first female soldier to make a noteworthy appearance in the Whoniverse. I wonder what she’s up these days? But I digress… as I often do…
The Mysterious Missy… There have been so many theories about her identity at this point, I’d almost rather not venture a guess. I’ve heard everything from The Master to The Rani (I would like to see her return), to Romana (another character I’d welcome from the Classic era) to an embodiment of the TARDIS herself, but with Doctor Who anything is possible, so I won’t lay odds just yet. Keeping my cards close to the vest, but let’s just say I feel like we’ve been in that Garden before…
Final Thoughts… I’ve observed that Capaldi exudes the irritability of Harntell, with the alien madness of Tom Baker. Truth is, I see shades of all the Doctors – as it should be – and Capaldi, as a fan of the series himself, clearly embodies the spirit of all that has gone before.
As he was quoted as saying in an interview during the recent Doctor Who World Tour:
“I think this show’s kind of in my DNA. I think it’s sort of part of me. So I think I can recognize when it’s right and when it’s not right.” – Peter Capaldi
That being said, I rather enjoyed Into the Dalek. It was a good follow up to the season opener. We gained more insight into The Doctor’s personality post-regeneration and the demons dwelling within him. I’m eager to learn more as future episodes unfold.
NEXT UP: This week The Doctor meets the legendary Robin Hood (Or does he?) in Robots of Sherwood, guest starring Tom Riley from Da Vinci’s Demons. I can’t wait for this one.
“He’s the doctor. He has walked this Universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust… You might as well FLIRT with a mountain range.” – Madame Vastra
Before diving into the Doctor WhoSeries 8 openerDeep Breath, let me get this declaration out of the way — Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor and I will tell you why.
Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax all make their welcome return in Deep Breath, Peter Capladi’s debut episode as the 12th (or is it 13th?) Doctor, to help ease companion Clara (and the fans) through The Doctor’s transition from The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). As many of us remember, The Doctor in a regeneration crisis can be quite a predicament.
WHERE’S A ZERO ROOM WHEN YOU NEED ONE?
I can’t recall even one time when The Doctor had an easy time of it post-regeneration(unlike Romana in Destiny of the Daleks). It takes time for him to stabilize both mentally and physically. As the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) tells his companions, it takes a little time for his “dendrites to heal”. And of course, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is no exception. He struggles with everything — his memories of his friends, how they look, how they speak, their appalling accents! That’s right… because apparently, not only do most planets have a North, but they have a Scotland too (picture me saying it with a Scottish accent, far more amusing that way).
“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it…” – Clara Oswald
Even though a regeneration can be seen as a renewal, poor, traumatized Clara (Jenna Coleman) seems quite skeptical this is her Doctor (in spite of meeting his earlier incarnations – including John Hurt’s War Doctor). Her assumption is, The Doctor should start out young. Had she met the first four Doctors, she wouldn’t have been in such shock (but then she had met them, when she was splintered across time and couldn’t remember those encounters).
As Madame Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) points out, The Doctor is not a young man. He’s lived for centuries, millennia, in fact. The Gallifreyan is over 2,000 years old (if he even remembers his age correctly by this point) by the time we see him in Deep Breath. He has lived many lives and has worn many faces. It is fair to say The Doctor is far from young.
Still, Clara needs convincing… but that’s not The Doctor’s only problem… Continue reading →
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