Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who ‘Rosa’ Episode Review

Most episodes of the current season of Doctor Who were kept under wraps for various reasons (new Doctor, new showrunner, no idea what to expect), however one (confirmed) rumor caught my attention. The revelation that an episode would focus on the civil rights hero and activist Rosa Parks. The plot filled me with curiosity and excitement; I have looked up to Rosa Parks since I was seven years old so hearing that she would be the focus of a Doctor Who episode was more than enough to grab my attention.

But what would happen in the episode I wondered; will she be running away from aliens? Will there be spaceships in the Alabama night sky? What would happen? However with the announcement that Doctor Who would partially return to its ‘educational television’ roots (yes Doctor Who was originally educational television) I began to get an idea of what would happen (and hoped there would be no giant spaceships with Daleks chasing after Rosa Parks).

Minor Spoilers from this point on

The episode actually toned down most of the science fiction elements of Doctor Who where the most that is mentioned are specific particles around Rosa Parks and the Doctor wondering why Rosa has these particles in the first place. Some mention of time travel, and a few high tech devices that are disposed of with ease, but as stated before, science fiction takes a backseat for most of this episode.

The episode actually does something not seen in previous Doctor Who episodes. Fully addresses the issue with time travel and race. While the Doctor has previously had two companions of color onboard the Tardis, the subject was more or less glossed over; Martha Jones saw that race wasn’t such a big deal in the time of WIlliam Shakespeare (allegedly) and had to put up with being a ‘servant’ in victorian times (I think it was victorian times) and bit her tongue while most of the cast treated her as a servant. With Bill there is some racism, the Doctor initially tells her to not take it so personally, but then punches a guys lights out for making a racial slur at Bill’s expense (the rest of Bill’s tenure on the Tardis are either in present day, the future, or more fantasy based).

Here Ryan and Yaz experience the racism of Montgomery Alabama first hand with no glossing over anything with Ryan even being referred to as a negro in one scene and Yaz being called ‘a Mexican girl’ just because she’s brown. The Doctor doesn’t even consider risking the lives of Ryan and Yaz ordering them to go back to the Tardis for their own safety.

Some scenes were very chilling to watch, with one scene in particular where our heroes are having a personal conversation at a diner table turning out differently than they expected. Where in the Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat era, the conversation would have gone on uninterrupted with nothing big happening, the whole restaurant goes quiet as the Doctor and her friends slowly begin to realize they’re being watched and that people are listening in on their conversation before being told to leave the restaurant.

However the relationship between Ryan and Graham is strengthened with Graham immediately jumping to Ryan’s defense and refusing to allow any harm to come to his step grandson. We also continue to get reference to Grace whom Ryan and Graham are still mourning for.

I continue to be impressed with Jodie Whittaker’s acting as the Doctor, there were many scenes in the episode where she had the same strength and character as David Tennant and Peter Capaldi and could see previous incarnations of the Doctor within the performance.

While the ending is a little bittersweet with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Doctor informing her friends that just because history was preserved and Rosa was still a hero remembered in positive light in history, life would only become harder for her during the civil rights movement, it really does have it’s strong moments and concludes with the Doctor reminding the viewers and her friends that Rosa Parks will eventually receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and that her actions would cause waves of goodness throughout the universe.

I give Rosa, the third episode of season 37/11 of Doctor Who five out of five asteroids.

Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review

After what feels like an eternity, Doctor Who is back with a new series, new Doctor, new companions, new showrunner, new sonic screwdriver, new tardis, new composer for music, and various other new things. Honestly I was worried, not about the Doctor being portrayed for the first time by a woman (I don’t really care the Doctor is a woman now), but from previous episodes by new showrunner Chris Chibnall I feared the show would be boring, and that with BBC marketing the show like crazy focusing primarily on the Doctor now being a woman to the point where I was nearly convinced the Doctor was now a woman primarily as a publicity stunt.

My personal fear was that if Chibnall’s writing was boring, then all of the hype and marketing focused on Jodie Whittaker would blow up in the face of BBC and rather than blaming the show runner, history (and some negative portions of the fandom) would place the blame solely on the casting of a female Doctor.

But yesterday came, fans gathered in excitement to see how the new series of Doctor Who would turn out. And the episode was…okay.

Spoilers from this point on, I don’t have the money to throw you out of a tardis to the ground so you can briefly have amnesia.

The episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but I am delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed it and wasn’t bored at all watching the episode. The episode focused on introducing our new protagonists and allowing us to get to know them as people. Instead of using little quirks and ticks our characters are fairly normal everyday people. We have Ryan Sinclair, Yazmin “Yaz” Khan, Grace Sinclair, and her husband Graham O’Brian.

Ryan is a young man who has dyspraxia and kind of reminds me of both Mickey Smith and Rose Tyler. Like Rose and Mickey, Ryan is a good person and does come from a very loving family, but isn’t fully satisfied with life at time and has trouble functioning at times with his dyspraxia condition preventing him from doing activities that seem trivial like riding a bike.

Yaz is a police officer who knew Ryan previously in life and is a toned down Judy Hopps. Despite working in position for over a year, she is still assigned mundane assignments such as being a traffic cop, meter maid, and settling minor disputed among citizens.

Grace is Ryan’s grandmother and the wife of Graham. They met while Graham was going through chemotherapy via Grace being Graham’s nurse during the treatment. Grace is kind, loving, adventurous, and honestly too good for the at times depressing universe of Doctor Who (thank goodness there’s The Testimony from last christmas…). Graham is not as adventurous as Grace, but a good man who does love his wife dearly.

Our new incarnation of the Doctor is….fairly quirky. It was interesting seeing Jodie Whittaker, and actress normally cast as “a woman mother going through a personal struggle,” “a woman who’s not in the best relationship with a man,” or both at the same time do a more heroic role where instead of seeking someone to save her, Jodie is the one saving the day instead.

Get to the F***ing Episode

In contrast with previous showrunner Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall focused more on characters rather than having characters be established by a select few lines and doing one really badass thing, they’re established by their interactions with the current situation and how they treat each other and people who aren’t important in the episode. The episode actually felt like a mash up of Chibnall’s previous television show Broadchurch and the Netflix original series Stranger Things (especially with the Stemza targeting citizens at random and having them mysteriously die horribly).

I was actually happy to see that Chibnall channeled his experience with Broadchurch more than his work with Torchwood and Doctor Who.

Our antagonist for the episode, the Stemza, is kind of a bounty hunter who is treating earth as fair game to hunt for humans. He is menacing, collects teeth as trophies from his kills, and plants DNA bombs into our protagonists, and isn’t intimidated by the Doctor (atleast not until the Doctor shows him who has the true upper hand.)

We don’t get any crazy big musical scores for the episode that were present during the Steven Moffat era, nor does the Doctor give one big damn speech to talk down her antagonists. We see all the characters mentioned pulling together to defeat the threat opposing them. Which sadly results in the loss of Grace by the end of the episode who dies in a selfless act of protecting her grandson.

I liked seeing the Doctor openly welcoming the help of civilians rather than scaring them off and warning them “don’t get involved” unless the danger is really there to worry over. She’s without her tardis or her sonic screwdriver and even without them she is able to figure out how to save the day. She uses some earth technology to fend of tentacle monsters and creates a new sonic screwdriver from using both human and alien technology.

Finally our Doctor’s new look; I don’t hate it and the look has grown on me over the months, but there are times it is very ridiculous.

Thirty godamn Minutes of Commercials!

There was one big problem about the episode that wasn’t actually in the episode. Despite the episode airing in multiple countries at once, BBC America chose to place thirty minutes worth of commercials in the premier of the episode (something BBC America has done with previous Doctor Who premiers and Christmas episodes shamelessly). Three fourths of the entire run time were dedicated to commercials causing the episode to conclude a full thirty minutes before the BBC America finished the episode. This problem caused significant disruption within the episode and even gave spoilers concerning the end of the episode before the episode even concluded concerning the death of Grace. This same problem has been present in christmas episodes previously aired on BBC America and I think after the negative backlash of fans from this airing, BBC America may rethink how they treat season premiere episodes of their shows.

I give The Woman Who Fell to Earth three NEW sonic screwdrivers out of five.

The Day of the Doctor and Rose Novelization Review

Doctor Who is a long lasting british science fiction television show I’m a pretty big fan of (enough to have five different costumes of the Doctor) and in celebration of the fifty fifth year of the program and thirteenth year of the rebooted show on television we have been presented with two episodes of the reboot series written by Russell T. Davies (Rose) and Steven Moffat (The Day of the Doctor).

Spoilers from this point onwards, I think with psychic paper or Silence, or maybe a crack in the universe the memory of said spoilers can be taken care of.

The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat

The first of these two adventures I listened to was The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; in comparison to the televised fiftieth anniversary special, the novelization gives a little more backstory to events happening and some clarification to questions some fans had been wondering. We get some more depth on just how dire the Time War really is/was with many species and entities blinking in and out of existence on a regular basis and a plethora of split timelines being created and destroyed in the battle between the time lords and the daleks.

While I did enjoy the novelization, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the emphasis on the ‘timey wimey’ attitude of the narrator of the novel (The Curator), but this may be because I’ve moved on from the Eleventh Doctor, embraced and mourned the Twelfth Doctor and look forward to the Thirteenth Doctor.

What I did enjoy were the perspective of the Zygone characters and how they felt about the situation as victims of the Time War losing their home planet and being forced to go to earth as refugees of war and even though they would rather not invade the earth under such circumstances, they have no choice, so this allowed more sympathy for me to feel for the Zygone’s than I originally did.

There’s also an explanation for why the Osgoods are so close to each other, but I won’t go into that since I feel that was one of the stronger points of the novel. Speaking of strong points, oh my goodness chapter nine! I just couldn’t believe any of it! There was laughter, tears, and moments where i couldn’t help but blush in embarrassment of what I was reading and the intimacy printed (well in my case with the audiobook, being read out loud).

Also I was very satisfied to see what each incarnation of the Doctor was up to during the final battle between the daleks and the Time Lords and seeing each incarnation going off to save countless citizens of Galifrey in its moment of extreme crisis. We also see what the Twelfth Doctor was up to in all his badass glory during this time as well.

There is finally a small sneak peek to the Thirteenth Doctor that I’d rather readers (and listeners) go explore on their own rather than yap on about it.

Rose

Something I’ve talked about with friends lately is how much I enjoyed the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who (Ninth and Tenth Doctor). While I have nothing against Steven Moffat (Twelfth Doctor dethroned Tenth Doctor as my favorite Doctor), there was just something I liked more about the RTD era of Doctor Who, and listening to this novel allowed me to pinpoint it fairly well.

The background of Rose, her mother Jackie, and boyfriend Mickey are given more detail in this novel. We learn that it was Rose’s own fault that her life was mediocre rather than her mother’s influence and that Mickey wasn’t the pathetic person that the Doctor unintentionally made him out to be and is actually a very kind young man who finds ways to cope with his life despite some of the more depressing aspects of it. Jackie Tyler is essentially the same as she was in the tv series, but has a little more heart.

Rose, though shorter than The Day of the Doctor, was the story I found myself enjoying more. The expanded upon backstories of Rose, Mickey, and Jackie are just a portion of what made the book enjoyable. We also see characters that were unheard of and even more backstory to minor characters from the episode and their perspective of things like Clive (the man who was gathering data on the Doctor via the internet) lost his dad in Remembrance of the Daleks and desired to go on one adventure with the Doctor (even sacrificing his life for his family by gaining courage from the stories he had read about the Doctor).

What I really liked about the novelization of Rose and the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who was the humanity in it. The moments where the novel steps away from Rose and focuses on minor characters reminded me that despite the big bad things happening in the universe that the Doctor and his companions faced there was still the ordinary life of ordinary people.

There were good and innocent people who lost their lives in the chaos of the Auton attack along with people who weren’t good, or kind, and were just really bad people. There are also characters who weren’t even named, but filled with joy over surviving the impending doom of the situation and that when all the chaos was over and the day was saved got over their fear immediately and started aiding those injured in the attack.

It isn’t necessary to read these two novels to enjoy the episodes of Doctor Who, but I found myself really enjoying them and will probably buy and read the hard copy editions as soon as they are available.

I give The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat three out of five Fez’s (is that how you do the plural to fez?) and Rose by Russell T. Davies four out of five Tardises (Tardi?).

Fandoms, do we Know What we Want? What we Really, Really Want?

Before the iPhone the internet was a simpler time; we had MySpace teaching us html code, no one posted intense political rants every four years, you could upload, stream, and watch anime on YouTube without having to go through the trouble of torrenting new episodes, we all used AIM instead of skype, there sadly were the origins of cyber bullying, and yes there were also complete a**holes who spoiled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to fans who didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into.

We didn’t have tumblr to show us the fanart and crafts we didn’t know that we wanted to see, we didn’t have facebook to search for our favorite books, movies, and tv shows and follow them in a convenient way, and we definitely still had to buy dvds since Netflix wasn’t what it was today. Cosplay was harder to do, and I could continue to go on and on how in nearly ten years being in a fandom has changed significantly.

We Need Things That Make Sense

Today I’m going to talk about questioning what we want from what we are a fan of. My reasoning for this is the recent rumor of there being a possibility of a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go being made based on the success of the later and fans losing their minds over it saying “yaaas, I need dis nao!” And although it does sound nice, the truth is no, we don’t really need it.

I agree maybe there does need to be a Harry Potter app for Pottermore since the website has been re-hauled completely making it hard to find specific information than in the previous version. But we don’t need a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go works for the Pokemon franchise because the whole point of the video games, anime, and manga is to travel around catching, training, and battling with your pocket monsters while fighting whatever evil organization is trying to take over the world with little to no adult supervision, however please make sure your child has adult supervision if they are playing Pokemon Go and always play with w friend to avoid stranger danger. Harry Potter on the other hand is different from Pokemon with deeper themes concerning love, life and death, racism, and much more. It took Pokemon up to the sixth game to come up with a meaningful plot.

While it is possible to create a tie in with the spin off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them consisting of the magical creatures of the Harry Potter universe, it would probably be sloppy at best in comparison to the time dedicated and spent to developing Pokemon Go.

The same applies to cross overs of series; a good example was a proposed episode of Doctor Who where JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe would have crossed over into the Doctor’s world and dark wizards would be running around. At the time David Tennant demanded the idea be shot down to Russel T. Davis because “it would be jumping the shark for both franchises,” I’m not saying crossovers are bad and can’t happen, but they need to be done very carefully.

Also please stop saying either Danielle Radcliffe or Rupert Grint should be the next Doctor with Emma Watson as the companion just because “it’s them” they need to be able to add more to their resume first to become the next Doctor (however I wouldn’t mind Emma Watson or Tom Felton as the Doctor one day ).

What Happens if we get What we Want?

Sometimes what we want is given to us; case in point, the Star Wars series. After Revenge of the Sith it looked like the Star Wars franchise was going to be dead with fans buying as much merchandise as possible to see how much it would be worth in the future. Big fans of the franchise had novels of the expanded universe to enjoy, some of them going beyond the events of Return of the Jedi.

Then fans were given, The Clone Wars tv series with a movie to kick it off. Fans hated it (initionally), I think it’s because the art style was a little weird and the fact many fans did not want a fourteen year old girl to be the padawan to Anakin Skywalker. Little did we know we’d all come to like her. Then came the purchasing of Star Wars by Disney with the promise of new movies and destroying the library of the old expanded universe. Fans who followed the expanded universe were rightfully pissed that their established universe was labeled as an alternate universe and all ongoing stories were cancelled as a result. Some enjoyed the recent Force Awakens movie, some didn’t. My point is that sometimes if we’re given what we want we probably won’t like it like we thought we would.

Same goes for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, some fans loved it, some fans despise its existence and condemn JK Rowling even though she just provided an outline. I intentionally feared what would become of the franchise with the announcement of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film trilogy since, let’s be honest with ourselves, it was turned into a spin off for the sake of continuing the franchise in the eyes of Warner Brothers. Seeing the work and effort JK Rowling has placed into setting up the world of FBaWtFT after stating she needed a ten year vacation from Harry Potter I’m confident to say this won’t (entirely) be a soulless attempt to continue to cash in on the franchise.

Also sometimes getting what we want is a good thing; let’s look at how Netflix and Hulu have saved some of our favorite tv shows like Longmire and The Mindy Project from being cancelled for good. Fans rejoiced and are happy at these turn of events. Now if only we knew how not to binge watch a whole season and realize we have nothing to watch for a whole year. Still waiting on the return of Firefly though…

How do we Know Anything Anymore?

I can’t tell anyone how to be a good fan, or what they want in a fandom, but I’ve been around long enough to know what’s a good idea or bad idea. It’s fine to cosplay, buy merchandise, write your self insert fanfiction, and create fanart. It’s fine to love everything that comes out of a franchise, and it’s fine to enjoy something and still critique what you love. “To be a fan is to have hope.”