Doctor Who – The Caretaker

The Caretaker

tumblr_nclc97weW91ssmbizo1_500
Story 8.06
Written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat
Transmitted 27 September 

The life of a time travelling adventurer is not an easy one, especially when you are trying to lead a ‘normal life.’ Clara Oswald has been living a split lifestyle, spending part of her time with the mysterious Time Lord called the Doctor and the other half as a school teacher exploring a budding romance with a fellow teacher, Danny Pink. While the Doctor had insisted that he is not her boyfriend, but he seems to be personally affronted as he realizes she is having dates and pursuing a romance. At one point the Doctor even suspects a wild-haired, bowtie-clad young teacher as her boyfriend and is almost relieved as the suitor looks so much like his previous incarnation.

When the Doctor announces that he is going undercover, Clara is hopeful that she will finally get some peace and quiet from the wild ride across time and space. Imagine her surprise when she learns that the setting of the Doctor’s undercover operation is Coal Hill School as the caretaker. Once more, her life is overly complicated; all of the students are aware of her relationship with Mr. Pink and the Doctor is hunting a killer alien construct called the Skovox Blitzer.

Since its return in 2005, many writers with a background in situation comedy worked on Doctor Who including both show runners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat. The modern Who has been part domestic drama/part far-flung sci-fantasy with mixed results. There are episodes such as The Lodger (also written by Roberts) that are almost entirely sitcom-like and at first glance it would appear The Caretaker would be cut from a similar cloth. But while The Lodger involved two ancillary characters stuck in a will they/won’t they cycle, The Caretaker uses the opportunity to further develop the characters of the Doctor and Clara and how they relate with unexpected results.

While Clara had been introduced during the Matt Smith era, she didn’t really blossom until this year when the Doctor became bristly and more alienating. She has been understanding and accepting of his peculiarities based on their past together, but when he meets the time travelling hero, Danny Pink sees him for what he is, an upper-class officer-type who sees others as lesser beings.

Meanwhile the Doctor continues to gain a more human layer through his interactions with the spunky student Courtney. He gives her grief, but her persistence earns a modicum of respect (even if he insists that she isn’t special). The 12th incarnation of the Doctor has had a rough road development-wise which shows just how comfortable the production team had gotten writing him as a quirky magical wizard. But he seems to be getting closer to a more clearly defined incarnation.

Clara’s two lives finally collide and Danny becomes involved in the hunt for the Skovox Blitzer leading to further conflict with the Doctor. In the end Pink is instrumental in the defeat of the monster, but he is wary of the Doctor’s influence over Clara. As Clara has such a strong and determined personality, the fact that the Doctor can so easily put her in danger is worrying to Pink, who obviously cares for and respects her.

The aptly named Caretaker surprised me as it brought up some interesting questions and set up situations that would blossom sooner than I anticipated in the following story,’Kill the Moon.’ The life of a companion has always been one of an exterior conscience for the Doctor as far back as Barbara who challenged the Doctor against letting the Aztecs kill innocents, but the lifespan of a companion is dicey. Surprisingly very few have died (only Katarina, Sara Kingdom, Adric and Kamelion come to mind) but with the constant threat of violence around them, death is a very real possibility. It is clear that this version of the Doctor has a very different way of viewing the universe than his predecessors. The Doctor is an enemy to monsters, an opponent to tyrants, and a foe to madmen, but he is also a threat to anyone who gets close to him, making him an unlikely caretaker to say the least.

What a surprising installment.


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The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82
Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84
Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) AI 82
Listen 4.8m (overnight) 7.01m (final) AI 82
Time Heist 4.93m (overnight) 6.99m (final) AI 84
The Caretaker 4.89m (overnight) TBCm (final) AI 83

Next time: Kill The Moon

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Doctor Who – Time Heist

Time Heist

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Story 8.05
Written by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat
Transmitted 20 September 

“I was hoping for minimalism, but I think I came up with magician!”

In the middle of a phone call , the Doctor and Clara lose consciousness only to awaken and find that they have become unwilling participants in the most ambitious bank heist ever attempted. Their short term memories removed, they are part of a four person team consisting of an augmented hacker named Psi and a shape-shifter named Saibra. Using a series of carefully laid out plans and conveniently placed packages containing useful items, the quartet are instructed by a mysterious shadowy figure called the Architect who leads them toward the main vault. Their payment is their heart’s desire.

Make no mistake, the new Doctor Who is based on gimmicks. This is partly, in my opinion, due to the nostalgia for classic episodes that can be summed up with one sentence ‘the one with ___.’ Insert ‘giant maggots, butterfly people, video nasties, inflatable snake or Brian Blessed and you get the idea. However, Moffat is quite fond of gimmicks and uses this to feed his stories; the one with the Weeping Angels (again… and again), the one with the evil wi-fi, the one with Robin Hood, etc. His threats this season are especially one-noters as they are scary only because of the victim’s participation. So far we have seen poor Clara urged to not breath, not let her mind wander and now not think at all, or else all Hell will break loose.

I have been very frustrated by Moffat’s reliance on gimmicks as it hinders what little story there is to be found but this season I feel that it is starting to pay off. In many ways, this series has the inventive vitality of the Fifth Series that introduced Matt Smith. A bank heist is an interesting premise for an adventure and the guest characters are also quite fun and allow this new Doctor still more people to bounce his new persona against. We see that he is crotchety but sincere and soulful as well. His sympathy toward Psi and Saibra is genuine, yet he appears snippy with Clara (who is really coming into her own this year).

The guest villain Ms Delphox played by Keeley Hawes is a little too similar to many Cruella Deville-ish characters we have seen in the past eight years, but she works well enough. Her steely yet sexy demeanor is made all the more insidious by her treatment of the massive creature she carries in tow, The Teller.

An alien that can scent thoughts and consume them is yet another gimmicky threat and a bit of a silly one (especially as it leaves a massive dent where the digested memories resided), but the effect is impressive and unique enough to be cool.

As our quartet delves deeper into the bank, their pursuers hot on their heels, they are saved by plot contrivance packets left by the Architect. The Doctor theorizes that this is not just a bank job, but a time job, using temporal technology in order to pull it off. This is worthy of note as once more we see that this Doctor does not have all the answers, but instead is full of questions.

The twelfth Doctor is the most active and invested incarnation we have seen in ages. Rather than saunter through a story with God-like power toward a reset button, he has to use his smarts to unravel mysteries and solve them using his brain. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy to at least see the new series attempt this approach. The pay off here is an opportunity to show that this grumpy and off-putting Doctor with the mad eyebrows is a caring and sympathetic person whose greatest wish is to rescue those in need.

A fun and quick-moving story with a great guest cast and a cool-looking ‘monster,’ this is another win for the 8th series. It is very concept-heavy and uses time travel notions first seen in the Bill & Ted movies, but I still enjoyed it.

Grodd help me… I’m actually enjoying new Doctor Who again.

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The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82
Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84
Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) AI 82
Listen 4.8m (overnight) 7.01m (final) AI 82
Time Heist 4.93m (overnight) 6.99m (final) AI 84

Next time: The Caretaker

Doctor Who – Listen

Listen
DrWho_Listen

Story 8.04
Written by Steven Moffat
Transmitted 14 September 

“Fear makes companions of us all”

Pacing alone in the TARDIS, the Doctor struggles to make sense of a logical dilemma involving talking to one’s self. He theorizes that no one is ever really alone and perhaps there is someone just out of sight, lurking in the corner of one’s eyesight. Invigorated by the mystery, he barges in on Clara who is dealing with her own dilemma as her long awaited date with Danny Pink proves to be a disaster. Installing Clara into the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits to tap into what he believes to be a shared experience for all beings, the Doctor cannot possibly guess where this journey will take him. To a child’s bedroom to the end of time, it’s all connected.

As many readers may know by now, I am very grumpy about the BBC Wales 2005-present Doctor Who series. I cringe at gimmicks and roll my eyes at domestic romance subplots. Therefore my guard was up when I heard what sounded like a new spin on an old idea (the ‘thing at the corner of your eye’ sounds not too dissimilar to the Vashta Nerada) and adding a romance to Clara’s life could fall flat. Well color me surprised when not only does Moffat take a convoluted plot that takes cause and effect for a cyclical spin but also intertwines the human factor. This is what the new Doctor Who has been trying to do since 2005 and in my opinion it has finally paid off. For a hat trick, Moffat even connected the War Doctor played by John Hurt.

Watching the Doctor investigate what he thinks is a simple mystery quickly becomes something more as even he realizes the danger of what he could be doing and tries to keep Clara out of meddling in what he guesses is her own timeline. This is a far cry from the all-powerful Lonely God Doctor who knew everything and the whimsical wizard who magic-ed away any problem. This Doctor has to work his way past problems and use force of will rather than his sonic screwdriver.

In my opinion, Peter Capaldi has been struggling to find his footing in Doctor Who. He has had some sterling moments, but this is the most uneven and awkward characterization of the character in ages. It seems that the program is unsure who the 12th incarnation is other than grumpy and old. However, when the Doctor and Clara meet young Rupert Pink (who will later change his name to Danny), Capaldi comes into his own. I was reminded of when I saw Matt Smith in the Proms when he interacted with a little boy and he simply owned the part. In this case. Capaldi’s Doctor who, for the most part, had been distant and aloof up until now became grounded and sincere.

Alone in a room with a totally alien threat, the Doctor delivers one of the most captivating speeches on the nature of fear and courage. It’s so on the nose that it borrows a line from 1963’s An Unearthly Child! It’s clear that something is in the room as it steals little Rupert’s blanket but it is unclear what it is and the Doctor seems to want to steer clear of it. Clara strengthens the Doctor’s words on courage by placing small army men around the base of the bed… not realizing that she has reinforced a dream to become a soldier leading to the man she left at dinner with PTSD.

Clara attempts to travel back in time and fix her date with Danny Pink, armed with more information after visiting him as scared child, but everything quickly falls apart again. Then a man in a space suit arrives and beckons her to the TARDIS. She (and I) was sure that it was the Doctor, but imagine the collective surprise when the helmet is removed to reveal a distant relative of Danny Pink, the first human chrononaut Orson Pink.

Orson is taken back to his ship where something unknown is attempting to gain entry. It’s the end of time, a period where the TARDIS should not be able to journey to, but with the safeties taken off and the TARDIS linked to Clara’s subconscious, the rules have changed. Orson is terrified but finds solace in a family heirloom, a small toy soldier. But nothing, not even the Doctor’s mad risk at facing the unknown head on… can deal with the unknown threat outside.

Rescuing the Doctor from certain death, the TARDIS leaps once more (still tied to Clara’s subconscious mind) to an unassuming barn where a little boy is hiding. It soon becomes clear that it is the Doctor as a young child, terrified of the trials of the training that will lead him to being a Time Lord. Rather accidentally, she creates the Doctor’s experience of something under the bed, something just out of sight. Ingeniously, she uses the Doctor’s own words on courage to bolster the boy’s confidence.

A program that can travel anywhere and any when, Doctor Who is only limited by the imagination of the creators. The new program must retain the audience that was drawn in by the romance and magic of the previous episodes. At the same time, it is making a bold move forward into new territory with more sophisticated stories, a more mature and edgy leading man and stories that… for the first time… take risks.

Big up.

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The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82
Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84
Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) AI 82
Listen 4.8m (overnight) TBC (final) AI 82

Next time: Time Heist

Doctor Who- Robot of Sherwood

Robot of Sherwood

DrWho_RobotofSherwoodStory 8.03
Written by Mark Gatiss
Transmitted 6 September 

“The Doctor and Robin Hood in a dungeon and this is the best you can do?”

The Doctor grants companion Clara Oswald a wish. Any place, any time she wishes to visit. The result is a trip to see Robin Hood, whom the Doctor insists is fictional. When they arrive in a sylvan glen, the Time Lord comes face to face with the myth made flesh, the real Robin Hood, and he hates him. Investigating the mystery of this myth made real, the Doctor soon discovers that the evil Sheriff of Nottingham has an army of robot knights and that his castle is a crashed space craft. There is some relief in these revelations as Robin Hood is just a story… or is he?

The third story of the eighth series of Doctor Who is a light-hearted comedy from Mark Gatiss, the same fellow who gave us The Unquiet Dead, The Idiot’s Lantern, Victory of the Daleks, Night Terrors, Cold War and The Crimson Horror. I am a massive fan of his, but have to admit that his track record for Doctor Who scripts is spotty. This story is somewhat influenced by the classic 1973 adventure, the Time Warrior which has a similar but a much more interesting plot. Given that Gatiss is a fan of the Pertwee era, I suspect this was intentional. As the Doctor attempts to explain how the TARDIS could arrive in a fantasy, he even references another Pertwee story, Carnival of Monsters.

After dueling with Robin Hood using a spoon and a leather gauntlet (I really do not want to know why the Doctor has a single leather gauntlet on him), the Doctor is introduced to Robin Hood’s Merry Band and is still suspicious. He goes on to prove, use scientific methods, that these men cannot be the real characters of legend. The story progresses with a challenge in the castle to find the greatest archer (still following the myth of Robin Hood). The Doctor interferes with the challenge using extraordinary archery skills resulting in a squabble with Robin, broken up by an army of robot knights who shoot crucifix lasers from their heads (why? no idea).

Imprisoned in the dungeon, the Doctor devolves into a prattling ninny with Robin as they get into a pissing contest. This prompts Clara to ask the very question I had in mind about the episode in general, ‘The Doctor and Robin Hood in a dungeon and this is the best you can do?’ Ugh. Dire dialog… and all too apt.

Taken in by the Sheriff, Clara tries to use her feminine wiles to get some info, but she is very bad at it and the Sheriff is a comedy villain so… never mind. Using alien technology, the Sheriff has dreams of taking over the world by firing the alien rocket hidden inside the castle at the seat of England’s royalty. But the rocket ship is broken and requires new circuits which he is somehow making using an old foundry and any gold stolen from the populace.

The Doctor, Clara and Robin put aside their differences and literally work together to fire a golden arrow at the craft which could explode rather than fly. The ‘extra gold’ somehow sends the rocket into orbit… where it explodes, taking the robot army with it. None of this makes any sense and we are given some drivel about how ‘we are all stories’ at the end and Robin Hood says that he and the Doctor are similar. So all of the theories that the Doctor had about Robin Hood being fictional (and he *should know,* right?) are apparently wrong and despite the mountain of evidence Robin Hood really is a cackling loon with perfect teeth.

I recall hearing early on that Ben Miller (previously in the running for the part of the new Doctor) was cast as the Master in this series and it is downright uncanny how much he resembles Anthony Ainley (the Master from the 1980’s). But… that appears to be wishful thinking. In the end, this story was forgettable and full of contradictory ideas, moments such as the Doctor trying to get a urine sample from Robin Hood and the aforementioned spoon-sword fight.

What a mess.

Is Ben Miller the Master?

Is Ben Miller the Master?

One of the only highlights of this episode was the brief reference to the Robin Hood TV series starring Doctor Who Number Two, Patrick Troughton. That was a pleasurable sight!

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doctor-who-season-8-episode-3-robot-of-sherwood-poster-s08e03

The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82
Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84
Robot of Sherwood 5.2m (overnight) 7.28m (final) AI 82

Next time: Listen

Doctor Who – Into the Dalek

Into the Dalek

DrWho_IntotheDalekStory 8.02
Written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Transmitted 30 August 2014

Having left Clara Oswald at Coal Hill School to live an ordinary life, the Doctor travels the universe and ends up encountering a Dalek space war. After rescuing a soldier named Journey Blue, the Doctor reunites her with her friends aboard the starship Aristotle, hiding on the dark side of an asteroid. While the crew is suspicious of the Doctor at first, they soon seek his help with a most unusual discovery, a damaged Dalek who acts very un-Dalek. Still unsure of his character, the Doctor recruits Clara to be his conscience as they are miniaturized and travel into the Dalek. She’s reluctant to join in as she is very intrigued by a fellow teacher at Coal Hill School, ex-soldier Danny Pink. Once inside the monster’s outer shell, the Doctor and his friends encounter strange and deadly obstacles on their way to understanding what could change a Dalek so drastically. Meanwhile, the Dalek fleet hunts for the Aristotle, drawing closer with every second.

I pointed this out on my previous review of Deep Breath, but the eighth series of Doctor Who is a big risk taker. Replacing Matt Smith who was incredibly popular with an older Doctor (thus removing the equally popular romance angle) and changing the character from a playful one to a darker grumpier personality is one thing. This story delves into a deeper problem hinted at in Deep Breath. This Doctor is certainly not the noble hero we are used to. Even he is unsure if he is a good man… and that’s troubling.

The Daleks are famous for making Doctor Who an overnight sensation and cemented its place as a national institution. All that said, they have become nearly a joke in the new program. While 2005’s Dalek was a wonderfully intense modern revitalization of a classic monster, the subsequent appearances have been progressively less impressive. This story rights that situation, delivering the most exciting and unusual adventure featuring these time-honored foes. After last week’s story, this is a step in the right direction.

The guest cast is stellar (including Michael Smiley who worked with Ben Wheatley before) and the setting, an intergalactic war with the Daleks, is inspired after the all too familiar Victorian world last week. Also, this is the first story in ages to have unusual trippy imagery as the Doctor travels into the miniaturized world. Along with the revamped signature tune, the special effects in this story is a love letter to the classic psychedelic 60’s era.

Like many Whovians, I am a huge fan of the Daleks. Surprisingly, it has been a very very long time since the dreaded pepper pots made an impression as dynamic as the one seen here. When the assault squad storms the Aristotle, I felt echoes of Resurrection of the Daleks. They finally have teeth again and the body count was high. To add to their menace, the Doctor was struggling with a Dalek from within adding another (more psychological) layer to the tale.

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Searching for some guidance on morality, the Doctor is reluctant to accept the Dalek’s insistence that it has changed. But after telling the time lord of an experience in which it witnessed the birth of a star, he is confronted with a new message contrary to the Dalek credo of exterminate, “Life wins.”

The new series of Doctor Who has been attempting to do something new with the Daleks since 2005 with varied results. In this case, the viewers are faked out with the possibility of a ‘good Dalek.’ When the Doctor accepts the Dalek’s statement that it has changed and he saves its life by sealing a radiation leak… he realizes how wrong he was. The Dalek returns to its usual persona and starts killing everyone. In a desperate act to get in touch with what could be a hopeful ounce of something new within the Dalek’s datacore, the Doctor shows the creature the universe as he sees it. The Dalek sees wonder and beauty…. and hatred for Daleks.

Then things go all pear-shaped with the human soldiers stuck between a single kill crazy self-hating Dalek and an entire assault squad hellbent on killing them all with the Doctor rattling around inside trying to fix things.

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The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82
Into the Dalek 5.2m (overnight) 7.29m (final) AI 84

A story of horror, psychological and emotional interest plus adventure, this is exactly what I have wanted from Doctor Who from the beginning (along with trippy visuals). The inclusion of the Daleks and the another sterling performance from Peter Capaldi makes this a stand out episode… and gets me very excited for next week.

Oh, crap.

Next Time: Robot of Sherwood

Doctor Who – Deep Breath

Deep Breath

DrWho_DeepBreathStory 8.01
Written by Steven Moffat
Transmitted 23 August 2014

The TARDIS crash lands in Victorian London where the time travelers are reunited with the Paternoster Gang (Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax… I cannot believe I once said I wished to see more of these overused characters). A dinosaur is loose in the streets and people are being harvested for parts by cyborgs… and no one seems to care. Throughout this cobbled together story, the Doctor’s companion Clara struggles to accept this new Doctor and the Doctor himself has a difficult time adapting as well.

Since William Hartnell departed the program only to be replaced by Patrick Troughton, regeneration stories (as they later became known) have been tricky things. Viewers need to be sold on an all-new iteration of their favorite hero, the production team has to find a way to convey something new while retaining the legacy of the program and most importantly a new actor must find his way into the longest running and most revered role on TV.

As a fan, I’ve seen this occur a few times and it’s never pleasant. The transition from Tom Baker to Peter Davison was a weird one. Davison was younger and the entire tone of the series shifted around him from light-hearted comedy to a more serious and intelligent sci-fi. To make things easier on fans, Davison’s first story was interwoven into a trilogy of stories starting with The Keeper of Traken. The Master, a classic villain revived for a new audience was included. Plus, a trio of young companions who had been seen with his predecessor were along for the ride. 1982’s Castrovalva is not a total success, but a lot can be learned from it. It remains a touchstone for Whovians of my generation.

Deep Breath shares some qualities with Castrovalva as it not only includes a known companion but three recurring guest stars and a surprise appearance at the end by Capaldi’s predecessor, Matt Smith. It shows the self-consciousness of Moffat and company, which is for good reason as Capaldi is the first real deviation from the romantic madcap hero introduced in 2005 (several traits are shared between Eccleston, Tennant and Smith). However, it detracts from the story and weakens Capaldi’s performance rather than bolstering it. An extra-long episode of 76 minutes, this story was screened in cinemas over the world and received great acclaim.

Pity it’s such a disappointment.

DrWho_RT_DeepBreath

The script is a cobbled mess. Not only does no one seem to care about a massive dinosaur roaming about, but a half-faced killer cyborg stalks the streets in broad daylight with no reaction from a soul. I kept waiting for a big reveal as to why the general populace was so dim, but if it was mentioned I missed it. The dialog is awful, with the usual Moffat exposition spewing forth from every character and Madam Vastra reminding us that she is a lesbian lizard woman married to Jenny almost every time she is on screen and Strax hammering home the same tired jokes he has had for years. The new Doctor’s dialog is terrible, reverting to the usual ‘tell don’t show’ variety as we hear how old he looks several times over.

The Doctor and Clara have a very negative chemistry, neither one treating the other with much kindness as the Doctor sees Clara (previously viewed as the Impossible Girl) as a self-involved annoyance. This is bold indeed and hearkens back to the days of the 6th incarnation who was crotchety and irritable. This new Doctor is shrewd and appears colder than his predecessors. He tackles problems head on in a fearless and often cruel manner. Whereas Smith’s Doctor was a magical and whimsical character whom Clara doted on, this man is a stranger.

Quibbles- Why is Clara so incapable of accepting a new Doctor after she had traveled through his entire timeline and saw all of his previous faces? She even met Ten and the War Doctor!

Also, why did the cyborgs need a dinosaur? Or was it just fortuitous that the TARDIS brought it along? And why were they named after Marie Antoinette? Wasn’t the gimmick of the SS Madame de Pompadour in Girl in the Fireplace tied to the harvesting of her parts for the ship? Plus the Doctor didn’t see the name of the ship, only the viewers did so he’s not going to make any sense of it.

I had expected more from Ben Wheatley (a director I enjoyed from Kill List, Sightseers and A Field in England) but this was a very uneven episode. Additionally, the effects were incredibly poor. Plus, for a family program, isn’t the notion of hot air balloons made from human skin and the Doctor hiding in a cadaver disguise… rather obscene? Not to be a prude, but if this is meant to be watched by kids they really need to steer away from such gruesome stuff.

The only real highlight of this disaster is Capaldi himself. He has a dire script to work with more centered on the background characters and a monster who uses a cafe to destroy the human race, but manages to squeeze one excellent scene in. The final confrontation between this new Doctor and ‘Half Face’ is chilling and fascinating. It takes an initial firm step in paving the way forward for this series in its 51st year.

As I have been through several transitional episodes, from the great 11th Hour to the dire Time and the Rani, so I was ready for an awkward ride. However, this was handled so poorly that not only was the character of this new Doctor (Moffat seems reluctant to label his number) ill-defined, it also failed to establish a new tone or an excitement to keep watching.

I realize that I am in the minority, based on the positive viewing figures that eclipsed that of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Hour debut. I do wish the program success and feel that, given the right material, Capaldi could be the finest of Doctors, bringing something new to the part. He is certainly the highest profile actor to play the Doctor since Chris Eccleston and has loads of potential and interest. All he needs is better scripts and less material like this.

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The 2014 ratings so far (via DrWhoTV):

Deep Breath 6.8m (overnight) 9.17m (final) AI 82


Next week: Into the Dalek

Doctor Who series eight details revealed, a companion lost

DoctorWho_Capaldi

Just after the breaking news that Jenna Louise Coleman will be departing during this year’s Christmas Special, the details of the eighth series have arrived and there are some returning writers such as Phil Ford (Waters of Mars), Mark Gatiss (Unquiet Dead, Idiot’s Lantern, Victory of the Daleks, Might Terrors, Cold War and the Crimson Horror), Stephen Thompson (Curse of the Black Spot, Journey to the Center of the TARDIS), Gareth Roberts (The Shakespeare Code, Planet of the Dead, Unicorn and the Wasp, The Lodger and Closing Time), along with newcomers Peter Harness and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

This set of stories will also see the introduction of a new companion Danny Pink played by Samuel Anderson. Not much is known about Danny other than the fact that he will be a fellow teacher at Coal Hill School (hearkening back to the first season when two teachers joined the Doctor on his travels?).

The return of the Daleks has been confirmed as well as the Master with possible other historic meanies lurking in the wings. More details to come…

Via Kasterberous.com:

DrWho_DeepbreathEpisode 1: Deep Breath

  • Written by Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Ben Wheatley

drwho_into-the-dalekEpisode 2: Into The Dalek

  • Written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Ben Wheatley
  • Introducing Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink.
Danny Pink

Danny Pink

DrWho_RobotsofSherwoodEpisode 3: Robot Of Sherwood

  • Written by Mark Gatiss
  • Directed by Paul Murphy

Episode 4: Listen

  • Written by Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 5: Time Heist

  • Written by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 6: The Caretaker

  • Written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Paul Murphy

Episode 7: Kill The Moon

  • Written by Peter Harness
  • Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Episode 8: Mummy On The Orient Express

  • Written by Jamie Mathieson
  • Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Episode 9: Flatline

  • Written by Jamie Mathieson
  • Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Episode 10: In The Forest Of The Night

  • Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Directed by Sheree Folkson

Episode 11/12: Dark Water/Death In Heaven

  • Written by Steven Moffat
  • Directed by Rachel Talalay

DrWho_Capaldi_BlackandWhite