Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: The God Complex

“The rooms have … THINGS in them.”

“Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I like things. Ask anyone.”

“Bad dreams.”

“Well, that killed the mood.”

If modern DOCTOR WHO episodes were judged solely on the basis of how much they felt like classic DOCTOR WHO episodes, “The God Complex” would the king of the Eleventh Doctor stories. Certainly there are thoroughly modern elements to the story, most of all the deconstructionist climax and the heartstring-tugging ending, but the mystery, the setting, the use of a mythological story as a backbone, and the endless corridors are all very much in keeping with the formula of classic WHO. However, what puts it in the running for best of the season, to my mind, is the way the classic elements of the formula are executed, not just in a more modern way, but with such panache. And yes, while I’m coming to this a few weeks late, I will warn you on the off chance that you missed it, spoilers do follow. Continue reading


Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: The Girl Who Waited

“I got old, Rory. What did you think was going to happen?”

“Hey, I don’t care that you got old! I care that we didn’t grow old together.”

In which one of the turns of phrase the show smugly pats itself on the back for is co-opted for a bit of glum drama in which an old lady spends twenty-some-odd minutes grumbling and snarling at her two dearest friends and acting as a bit of a plot obstacle. There are certainly things to recommend “The Girl Who Waited,” like the fantastic scenic design both spare and lush, standout performances from the two regulars who AREN’T Matt Smith, and some nifty slow-motion swordplay. It also affords us another deeper look at the characters of Rory and Amy, why they’re together, and how deeply they care for one another. Really, you put all this together and it’s clearly a very good episode. It just doesn’t strike me as one I’d be fired up to revisit any time soon; there’s no clever hook, there’s no moment that got punching the air. I admire the hell out of it, and the ending is punch-to-the-gut painful in the best dramatic fashion, but I don’t see myself watching and rewatching it the way I’ve already done with “The Doctor’s Wife” and “A Good Man Goes To War.” Then again, I do find myself liking it more on the second watch — I’m writing this as I make my way through it the second time — so this may change. Certainly I see myself watching this a third time over giving “Let’s Kill Hitler” its second proper viewing. As always, spoilers follow. Continue reading

Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: Let’s Kill Hitler

“More guilt! Come on, there must be someone left in the universe I haven’t screwed up yet!”

Interesting, mostly fun, a little bit disappointing but a lot surprising: that’s how I’d describe “Let’s Kill Hitler,” the mid-season premiere of DOCTOR WHO’s thirty-second proper season-slash-series. After a cute opening that introduces an obnoxious new character who seems strangely familiar, the TARDIS crew winds up going along with the plan outlined in the title, only to get things a bit wrong and get sidetracked by some very classic-WHO-on-a-good-budget sci-fi stuff that’s wandering around World War II-era Berlin, as well as the resolution of some of the lingering business from the spring. That’s one thing I didn’t really expect: some closure. As always, spoilers follow. Continue reading

Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: A Good Man Goes To War

“You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you’d become this, the man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name? Doctor: the word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean?”

So it all, up to this point, comes to this: a kidnapped Amelia Pond, trapped on an asteroid occupied by a mysterious military force. The Doctor, being the Doctor, has a plan to rescue her, and it involves unleashing some serious wrath on the cosmos. Continue reading

Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: The Almost People

“You tricked him into an act of weakness, Doctor.”

“No, I’ve helped him into an act of humanity. Anyone else like the sound of that?”

I’m not sure whether I liked “The Almost People” more than last week’s “The Rebel Flesh” because of the long-term implications and last-minute revelations or because it was a better unit of entertainment. I enjoyed the humor of Matt Smith playing off of himself, and there’s a lot of great payoffs throughout — and I do love a good bit of payoff. I do have a big problem with the threat, though; I didn’t buy it as a wide-scale threat one bit, and there were moments where they were trying to sell it that way. It’s a base under siege, not a worldwide revolution, and there was never a moment where it felt like it could conceivably roll into one.  Continue reading

Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: The Curse of the Black Spot

“What’s this do?”

“That does very, very complicated; that does sophisticated; that does woo, amazing; and that does whiz-bang far-too-technical-to-explain.”

Despite some nods towards the season-long arc — one quirky moment during the course of the story and some flashbacks and callbacks in the episode’s epilogue — this week gives us a romp of a breather in the form of that old standby wherein the Doctor picks up a distress call and decides to investigate. “The Curse of the Black Spot” is such an old school slice of Doctor Who that I half-expected Tom Baker to turn up halfway through with Romana and K9 by his side, and indeed there are moments where Matt Smith cranks up the eccentricity to the levels of Baker and his thousand mile stare. Alas, he has to do that sort of heavy lifting because it’s the sort of Who-by-numbers that would feel more at home today in a tie-in novel or audiobook. Continue reading

More action figure fun with the Doctor and friends (and enemies).

Yesterday in the mail I got some Dalek figures from Character Options’ recent DOCTOR WHO action figure waves based on Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor — the second release “Ironsides” Dalek and the yellow “New Dalek Paradigm” Eternal Dalek. That was just the nudge I needed to start another photo frenzy with the last month’s worth of DOCTOR WHO figure acquisitions.

A shame there isn't a little Amelia Pond figure for him to encounter.

The new Doctor emerges, per the just past season premiere "The Eleventh Hour."

Continue reading