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TV Review: Doctor Who S8E9 Flatline

doctor who capaldiSeparated from the Doctor, Clara discovers a new menace from another dimension. But how do you hide when even the walls are no protection? With people to save and the Doctor trapped, Clara comes up against an enemy that exists beyond human perception.

Lately, Doctor Who has been on a string of horror episodes. This one is interesting in that it also mixes in a lot of humor, especially when it comes to a running gag of a mini-Tardis.

The bad guys themselves are pretty cool with a very nice design, and some awesome special effects. The monsters themselves aren’t much of the point in the episode though, instead acting as a driver to something bigger.

Overall though, the episode is about Clara, who has taken on the role of the “Doctor,” and must save the day. It builds on a theme of the season, building up the strength of Clara, shifting her from her role as a macguffin whose character was intertwined with the Doctor reminding him of who he was, with no other motivations. This season has changed her into an independent companion who’s as much the hero as the Doctor, and much more of a 3 dimensional character (pun intended considering the bad guys this episode). The irony being, this is her last season.

Overall, the episode continues an intriguing season with each episode having a goal, and aiming to accomplish it.

Overall Score: 8

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E4 Listen

doctor who capaldiDoctor Who can do goofy, can do sci-fi, but I think the show is often at its best when it does horror. Some of my favorite episodes are the scarier ones, which mix scares along with the usual craziness that’s associated with the Doctor.

Mixing in some time travel, Clara and the Doctor head back in time and meet a young Danny Pink and deal with the idea of nightmares, and the idea we’ve all experienced the same one at one point in our lives.

The episode is a fascinating one, in that it not only tells us a lot about Danny, and his past, but also about the Doctor now. Clara shows lots of caring and affection, but the Doctor also has shown he has tossed his affection and caring. This Doctor is no longer sugar-coating things, instead he just wants to get the job done, which is to protect humanity.

But the episode not only dives into Pink’s past, but also the Doctor’s asking in a way if the Doctor is defined by his companion(s)? These first four episodes continue to deconstruct the Doctor, his motivations, and now his past and origin. And it even sheds some light into the War Doctor we know so little about with this episode.

The season has been interesting so far, with a goal to entertain, and also challenge what we think and know of the Doctor.

Overall Score: 8

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E3 Robot of Sherwood

doctor who capaldiPart of Doctor Who’s brilliance is that it can take us anywhere and at any time. For this episode, we get a trip to Sherwood forest to join Robin Hood and his band of men in their battle against the evil Sheriff.

What’s interesting is what happens near the beginning of their getting to know Robin Hood. He explains how he began his battle, prompted by a woman to stand up for what’s right. Much like how the Doctor is now by Clara. Also, the Doctor seems to be confused by this figure who shouldn’t exist, not realizing that his bewilderment is similar to Clara’s relationship, and all companion’s relationships, with the Doctor.

Overall, the episode is ok, keeping us questioning what is real, and what is not. The story, isn’t the main focus, it’s the underlying themes as discussed above that really matters.

The episode is all about legends and heroes, and what the Doctor’s labels are when it comes to both of those. It’s clear the season is really focusing on all of that, the Doctor’s role in the world and that question if he’s a good man.

Not the best episode, but it moves along the themes of the season well.

Overall Score: 7.5

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E2 Into the Dalek

doctor who capaldiDoctor Who returned last week with the first full episode to feature the new Doctor Peter Capaldi. He quickly established himself, and what we can expect for his interpretation of the iconic character.

In the second episode the Doctor is in, and he has a new patient, a captured Dalek. The Timelord faces his greatest enemy with Clara by his side, but as he is forced to examine his own conscience, he will truly find out the answer to the question: Am I a good man?

But the big event of the episode is the debut of Samuel Anderson, whose Danny Pink is not just a new companion for the Doctor, but also a potential love interest for Jenna Coleman‘s Clara Oswald. The chemistry is there, and dialogue really solid. What really excites me about Anderson’s Mr. Pink is his likely experience as a soldier. Taking a solider, and mixing it with the Doctor who doesn’t know if he’s a good guy (and clearly is willing to get his hands dirtier based on the first episode) should lead to some fascinating moments. It’s also clear Clara’s role will be that of the conscience of the two. There’s lots of potential with the trio.

But the majority of the episode focuses on the Doctor and a team attempting to help a Dalek. The Doctor throughout is clearly conflicted about his actions, and what he should do with a Dalek who needs help, and is good in the beginning. It all is a debate about the nature of the Daleks, and thus the nature of the Doctor. Are Dalek’s inherently evil? Does that make the Doctor as well? It’s all pretty clear what the writers were getting at, and it keeps the theme of this season rolling, the nature of the Doctor.

But beyond themes, there’s also this mystery of Missy and “Heaven” that was presented in the first episode. We see it again after the Doctor gets someone killed. We have a theme for the season, as well as a pretty big mystery.

Overall, the second episode is solid, moving the season’s themes along and giving us an intriguing mystery. And there’s Capaldi’s Doctor which mixes some of the best characteristics we’ve seen of what’s come before.

Overall Score: 8.25

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E1 Deep Breath

doctor who capaldiAfter months of waiting the new season of Doctor Who debuted tonight, featuring the new Doctor Peter Capaldi taking center stage. When the doctor arrives in Victorian London he finds a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions.

This first episode has a few goals:

  • Introduce fans us to Capaldi’s Doctor
  • Introduce the Doctor and regeneration to new fans
  • Have fans accept the change, and where the series will go

The episode, and many of the events within are as much discussions between characters as it is between the writers and us the viewers. The beginning of the episode, and the end, focuses on the current companion Clara and her dealing with a new look Doctor. In fact much of the beginning of the episode is about looks. Comments between Clara and Madame Vastra, Strax and Clara, there’s much said about looks and appearances. This also serves the role to discuss regenerations to the audience, and it does enough that those who are new might understand what’s going on.

And all of that brings us to Capaldi and his Doctor. Out of everything, in this one episode, I love Capaldi and his depiction. This new Doctor is a bit mad scientist, reminding me of Doc Brown in Back to the Future. But he’s also one who’s weary, and worn, after years of battles. It’s clear this Doctor is feeling the weight of his actions, and going forward it looks like he’ll be attempting to make amends. If that’s the case, the choice of Capaldi to fill the role makes sense.

The episodes ending, and it’s interesting twist is as much a discussion between the Doctor and Clara as it is the writers, and us the audience. For the entire episode Clara is questioning this new Doctor, and in doing so is having us the audience doing the same. By asking Clara to give this new Doctor a chance, and go along for the ride, we’re being asked as well. And if this first episode is any indication, it’ll be a fun, entertaining, and interesting ride.

The episode has a lot to bring in new fans, and hopefully keep them around, but also a lot for long time fans, and nods and things that have happened, and what’s to come. The Tardis has a new look, the Doctor has a new look, the title sequence has a new look, Doctor Who has a fresh coat of paint, I’m willing to go along and see where it goes from here.

Overall Score: 8

Doctor Who: Deep Breath – TV Trailer

When the Doctor arrives in Victorian London, he finds a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions.

Who is the new Doctor and will Clara’s friendship survive as they embark on a terrifying mission into the heart of an alien conspiracy? The Doctor has changed. It’s time you knew him.

Doctor Who Series 8 begins on Saturday, August 23rd.

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