November 16, 2014

Doctor Who: Children in Need

BBC Children in Need  is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK. One of the highlights is an annual telethon, held in November and televised on BBC One and BBC Two. Every year it features skits and clips from various BBC programs.

This year a teaser to the Doctor Who Christmas Special was part of the show. This isn't a spoiler, its more like a minisode prequel to the December 25th special. Unfortunately there are no Sontarans included.

November 09, 2014

Doctor Who: Death in Heaven

Title: Death in Heaven
Episode: 8.12
Earth - Present

Companion: Clara

Guests: Samuel Anderson{7}
Michelle Gomez {8}
Jemma Redgrave {7}
Chris Addison {3}
Ingrid Oliver {8}

Writer: Steven Moffat {w75}
Director: Rachel Talalay{d21}

Rating: *****
The Cyberman in the lab comes out and faces Clara, only to discover that the analysis that it made, the she is Clara Oswald, is incorrect. Clara Oswald never existed, she is the Doctor. Surely fans were a little bewildered as this statement took us into the opening credits and Jenna Coleman's name came up before Peter Capaldi's. Not to mention her face amongst the swirl of stars.

Osgood and Kate Stewart show up to help the real Doctor in St. Paul Square with UNIT in toe. They take control of Missy and her controller, but the Cybermen fly off into the sky.

UNIT sedates both the time lords and brings them to BOAT ONE a flying office akin to Air Force One. There is some quick banter involving a British TV series call Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. It is Captain Scarlet's Cloud Base that the Valiant, from "The Sound of Drums," is based on, this is Moffat making a salute to Gary Anderson.

The interrogation by the Doctor of Missy in the cargo hold, was fantastic. She reveals a lot that can be used going forward into season 9, and I real hope she comes back in too. The interaction between Missy and Osgood, was spectacular though. Missy really is bananas.

When Missy gets back to the Nethersphere and is watching the Doctor fall to his death, Seb's reaction "permission to skweeeeee!" was cute, and felt like a fan shoutout, but when Missy vaporized him, it made me want to skweeeee. It was just so typical Master.

Opening: 10
Setting: 10
Conflict: 10
Plot: 9
Dialogue: 10
Aliens: 8
Costumes: 9

Doctor: I'm an idiot, in a Blue Box, with a screwdriver.

Santa Claus: What do you want for Christmas?

Next time on Doctor Who: Christmas Special

November 03, 2014

Doctor Who: Dark Water

Title: Dark Water
Episode: 8.11
Earth - Present

Companion: Clara

Guests: Samuel Anderson{6}
Michelle Gomez {7}
Chris Addison {2}
Andrew Leung {2}

Writer: Steven Moffat {w9}
Director: Rachel Talalay{d20}

Rating: *****
The opening is strong but tragic. Clara has things that she needs to say to Danny over the phone, and after some hesitation starts with the strongest one. She loves him.

Its stuns Danny as he's walking to her place, and causes him to step out in front of a car. The reveal of what has happened is flawless, as is a transition shot from Clara standing at the scene and police tape, to standing in the road looking at the makeshift memorial.

On a side note, someone needs to make an app
for Android that gives a phone displays that they should have while taking or using a phone. Too many times on this series and others, I've seen an image of "Danny Calling" while the character is in full conversation on the phone. Technically it should be a dark screen while on the call, but that's a boring visual. At least make it the right visual. 

Clara gets on the TARDIS and asks the Doctor to take her to a volcano, because she's never seen one. She uses a sleep-patch on the Doctor to knock him out and collects all 7 keys to the TARDIS, including one kept in a copy of The Time Travelers Wife, She throws them into the volcano as he keeps refusing to got go back in time to save him. The result would be a paradox. If he saves Danny, she will never have been there to ask for his help to have saved him. Then it's revealed that its Clara the sleep-patch was used on. She was on the TARDIS the whole time as the Doctor tried to figure out what she was up to. He agrees to help her, but not in the way you'd think.

He offers to take her to Hell. Or whatever passes for the afterlife. By patching Clara into the psychic interface circuits of the TARDIS and removing the safeguards they find themselves in what looks like a museum, or massive mausoleum, with lots of water tanks containing skeletons. And finally the Doctor encounters Missy, or Misi (Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface) she plants one hell of a kiss on him, even out does 1890s Clara's kiss from the Christmas episode, as part of the "greetings package".

Seb, the assistant in the Nethersphere (seen in The Caretaker), triggers memories for Danny of a young boy that he killed during combat, while he was a soldier. During a short visit the boy runs off, but returns right at the end of the episode as Danny is about to delete himself, or his pain, that isn't clear.

Meanwhile the Doctor has separated from Clara and finds Missy, who kills her assistant and reveals herself to be a Timelady, but the Doctor doesn't know which one. Until outside St Paul's Cathedral, she says, "I'm Missy...short for Mistress. Well, couldn't keep calling myself the Master now could I?"

The pacing, the reveals and the effects are all perfect in this episode. Next week has a lot to accomplish; rescue Danny Pink, stop the Cybermen, stop Missy, and maybe even figure out who was behind Gus (Mummy on the Orient Express) and the "woman in the shop" that gave Clara the phone number to the TARDIS. Luckily next weeks episode is 15 minutes longer.

Interesting picture that showed up on Imgur. The handle of Missy's parasol looks a lot like the Master's Tissue Compression Eliminator. Was this Moffat trying to drop a hint?

Opening: 10
Setting: 10
Conflict: 9
Plot: 9
Dialogue: 10
Aliens: 8
Costumes: 10

Clara: So what now? What do we do now? You and me, what happens now? Doctor?
Doctor: Go to Hell!
Clara: Fair enough. Absolutely, fair enough.
Doctor: Clara? You asked me what we're going to do, I told you. We're going to go to Hell. Or wherever it is people go when they die.

Next time on Doctor Who: Death In Heaven

October 13, 2014

Dcotor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express

Title: Mummy on the Orient Express
Episode: 8.09
Space - ?

Companion: Clara

Guests: Samuel Anderson{6}
Frank Skinner {4}
David Bamber{17}
Christopher Villiers{29}
Foxes {1}

Writer: Jamie Mathieson {w9}
Director: Paul Wilmshurst{d4}

Rating: ****
The trailers did a great job of letting us think that this was a companionless episode. As soon as they come on board there she is, Clara in a stunning little flappers dress, straight out of the 20's. She's still upset with the Doctor, this is their last hurrah. She just can't keep doing this with him.

The mystery of the episode is introduced in the opening sequence, and the trailer. A elderly woman sees a Mummy in her dining car and dies in 66 seconds. When they find out about it, the Doctor puts it off as nothing. "Old ladies die all the time, its practically in the job description." Once in his own bed, the Doctor convinces himself that there is more to this than just a heart attack.

The Doctor seeks and finds Professor Moorhouse (Christopher Villiers, appeared in The Kings Demon's 1983 with 5th Doctor) , an expert on alien mythology. He drills the Prof for info on The Foretold, as he offers a Jelly Baby, and another person dies.

The analog clock is a great touch, to the mystery and the flavour of the setting aboard the Orient Express. The Doctor's cold and callous demeanor upsets Clara and she puts her foot down, telling Maisie the truth, that the Doctor can't save her.

A lot of people on the net are upset about this, this was Clara's exit, her final nail in the coffin as to why she was leaving. What has been missed is the Doctor's redemption in the final five minutes.

Why did he do it? Why is he so cold? Why is he heartless? There was, and always has been, a reason.

In the end this was a good episode that sees a turn in Clara's perception of the Doctor.

Opening: 8
Setting: 8
Conflict: 9
Plot: 7
Dialogue: 7
Aliens: 7
Costumes: 9

Doctor: I'm the Doctor and I'll be your victim this evening, are you my Mummy?

Doctor: Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to chose.

Next time on Doctor Who: Flatline