Tag Archives: Daleks

Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

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Doctor Who – Hell Bent. “Get off my planet.”

A finale of two halves is given to us here. ‘Hell Bent’ is a piece of Sci-Fi with many layers which some multiple views shall be required to get them all. The first half was superb, the second maybe not so much. In the Nevada desert, The Doctor is wandering around until he enters a similar looking diner. He finds a woman there who looks like Clara, though neither of the two seems to recognise each other (we will come back to this after). The Doctor is a broken man, he has been pushed to his limits and is ready to take what is his own; Gallifrey. After fighting for billions of years to get out of his confession dial to get home, all he wants to do is just rest and take in being home. The high council all panicking and fearful of what The Doctor is going to do, the idea of the “hybrid” is obviously not sitting well with them (and being the main reason for locking him away). President Rassilon is intent on getting rid of The Doctor, knowing that The Doctor can defeat him. After sending soldiers and other members of the council to bring The Doctor into the capital, Rassilon eventually comes to claim The Doctor himself. The Doctor only has four words for him, “Get Off My Planet”. The Time Lords don’t want to fight The Doctor, and they all side with The Doctor and we eventually see Rassilon getting chucked off Gallifrey. The Doctor, still clearly very angry, is determined to get one more request fulfilled before he is willing to divulge information on the hybrid. They need to see Clara, acquire her just before she dies…

HELL BENT (By Steven Moffat)

Using an extraction chamber, they are able to obtain Clara between her last two heartbeats of her life. The Doctor uses this as a way to keep her alive and take her away from her doom. Being frozen, she has no pulse and is ageless. The Doctor knows he is risking huge splinters in time by taking her away from her fate, and fights the Time Lords and the Sisterhood of Karn to get to The Cloisters. It is here The Doctor comes to steal a new TARDIS and hopes to pull Clara far enough away to give her life back and re-ignite her pulse. They go all the way to the end of time, just minutes away from the last remnants being destroyed. Clara is still frozen, but they do encounter Ashildr who has survived all the way to the end. The Doctor claims her to be the Hybrid, and this is denied. The Hybrid is by Ashildr to be The Doctor and Clara, a Time Lord and a human who both have the same characteristics and are willing to do anything. With The Doctor knowing he can’t save Clara, he decides he will have to wipe her mind of her time with The Doctor (similar to what he did to Donna in series 4). The device he goes to use is tampered with by Clara, and it results in The Doctor forgetting about Clara. Though he loses her face in his mind, he mostly remembers Clara by the time their chat in the diner finishes. Clara then leaves The Doctor in the stolen TARDIS with Ashildr and leaves his TARDIS for him. Clara tells Ashildr she will go back to Gallifrey to finally die, but wants to have some fun first. The Doctor takes to his TARDIS, and picks up a super-cool (I know, but it is) new sonic screwdriver and prepares for a new adventure.

I have heaps of praise for Peter Capaldi, this year he has been superb. From his top speeches, the quirky moments and the guitar solos have made him stand out as a top Doctor. Seeing The Doctor finally tread on Gallifrey again for the first time since the Time War, it was fantastic to embrace that and see what he would do with the power granted to him. Although this takes away somewhat from the epic death in ‘Face The Raven’, Jenna Coleman was great to see one more time. We see that she just wants to accept her fate, and knows she has to tear away from this hybrid combination that will destroy time if they stay together. Donald Sumpter gives a great move as Rassilon; it is just unfortunate we don’t get to see more of him in this episode (though this could be setting him up as the Minister Of War? Or am I looking into that too much?). Maisie Williams has done a superb job in this show, Ashildr has surely become the River Song of this series and I mean that very positively. Her character appears at the times when it is required and to see her right at the end of time is a nice touch and adds real solid ground to the shaky second half of this story. I feel Steven Moffat wanted to achieve so much in this story, and the call-backs to ‘The Impossible Astronaut’, ‘The Day Of The Doctor’ and ‘Listen’ work well in creating this story (and the trapping of Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels in the cloister room). But, the whole aspect of bringing Clara back like that following her death was a bit too much. I was hoping she may appear pre-death sentence for The Doctor to say goodbye. Also, Ken Bones and Clare Higgins make great cast additions and really cement the re-emergence of the Time Lords that began with the 50th anniversary special. We now know that Gallifrey is back in the fold, The Doctor is free to travel again and it’s time for him to meet his wife again. But, has River Song been a bit naughty?

Overall, a great episode. Not as strong as the previous two leading into this story, but I feel Moffat should have just restricted the Clara role more as she was dead (and this is mentioned many times). Will the four billion years take a toll on The Doctor? I can’t wait to see. Such conflicting thoughts I have in certain aspects, but I still enjoyed this episode a lot and I can forgive the few problems to say series 9 has been nothing short of fantastic. Bring on Christmas!

Final rating: 8.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – The Witch’s Familiar. “Who’s going to tell me that Clara Oswald is really dead?”

So, we got Davros back to bring chaos to the life of The Doctor. We have Missy back to bring chaos to The Doctor. Two of the biggest enemies ever to cross the path of the heroic Time Lord and a planet full of Daleks is not a great situation to be in. On the last episode of Doctor Who, we saw Missy (who was on The Doctor’s side, kind of) and Clara EXTERMINATED by the Daleks as The Doctor was at the mercy of Davros. We have already discovered Davros is dying, and wants The Doctor to see him before he dies. We get a great game of who is tricking who (no pun intended) leading up to the finale, but I will save that for you to see yourself.

This episode changes the grand epic scale for a more grouped in and intimate romp for the second part of the series nine opener. The Doctor and Davros spend a lot of time talking to each other, learning more about each other. The scenes are intense, downright gripping in the interactions from two life-long enemies. The Doctor also gets to go for a ride in Davros’ chair, and I find it rather funny when he is eventually ejected from it and then told by Davros “You should feel privileged…the only other chair on Skaro” as he awakens back in the room which is keeping Davros alive. We may not be getting the grand adventure as we did in episode one, but to see Clara and Missy working together (even if Missy tries to get her killed by friend and foe alike) and see more from Colony Sarff as the dastardly helper to the grand scheme on Skaro. Seeing as this is only episode 2, we know The Doctor shall not die today, even though we had his confession last week. A new layer to the Daleks is revealed in the sewers and we get to see what happens when they “die”.

Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach turn in possibly the best performances of their career so far in the sci-fi show. We kinda know where Davros is going in this episode, but Bleach gives such an endearing performance of a man who just wants to be accepted for who he is. The real eyes of Davros opening was something rather extraordinary. Peter Capaldi gives honest regret to his decision in episode one to abandon the young Davros on that battlefield, but be sure that wasn’t the only time you will see the child. Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman work well as a double act, fighting over a stick and stealing a Dalek casing is part of the fun they get in to. Jenna really gets to show her emotions in this episode, even when it comes to fighting impossible odds to avoid death. The explanation for their survival at the beginning of the episode was a bit convoluted, but I am glad we finally got an answer to how Missy/The Master survived death the last couple of times. The ambiguous conclusions for two characters will leave no doubt to the return at some point in the future. Who knew that Davros and The Master/Missy had never met before? I always thought they were actually working together till that point. Also I like the fact that we had Daleks from all different eras making an appearance, great way to bring the 52 years of Who together. I wonder how many people got upset with Missy saying Bitch on Doctor Who? Well, I hear a lot worse at much earlier times. Next week, we have ghosts! We go from Steven Moffat making his best scripts since ‘The Time Of Angels’/’Flesh And Stone’ to Toby Whitehouse with ‘Under The Lake’ and ghosts!

Truly a great episode, though I think it should have taken a few more risks. Top writing from The Moff, superb acting from Mr Capaldi and the greatest Doctor Who two-parter for five years!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice. “Doctor, What Have You Done?”

Series Nine gets a huge kick up the backside and brings probably one of the strongest openers ever! After the few teases in the last week showing the Doctor hanging around on Karn and Earth during the 1100’s, we are brought straight to the big battle that was teased. This so far is probably Peter Capaldi’s best performance of The Doctor since the episode ‘Listen’, my favourite of Series Eight. Before the Time War, there was another war. A war fought for so long that it was almost forgotten. The Doctor finds a child, scared and begging to be saved from “hand mines”. His only hope, The Doctor, of course. But, The Doctor runs away, and has continued running since. Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord then goes missing, nobody can find him. UNIT can’t get him on the phone, a creature made of snakes visits all the possible places The Doctor could be with a message for him. We get to see a bar filled with aliens The Doctor has faced before, The Shadow Proclamation (The Judoon were fun, hopefully we may see more of them one day) and even a visit to the Sisterhood of Karn; the guardians of the Flame and Elixir of Eternal Life (or utter boredom as said by Paul McGann’s sarcastic Doctor). Even Missy can’t find him, and she is literally stopping planes to get his attention.

Clara, concerned by the lack of communication from her friend, joins forces with a very unlikely ally to find him in Essex (I know, ESSEX!! Honestly. I mean, 1100’s Essex is still Essex though! But anyway, back to the review). Within this time, we have seen a very scared Doctor and a surprisingly worried Missy (though she is still not above killing for fun, even explaining her “death” as just dust off her shoulder). The axe battle provides a good laugh, and we wonder who is actually being serenaded to the rock ballad ‘Pretty Woman’. Eventually, The Doctor is to face the person he has been running from this whole time. An ancient foe returns; one that has been around and faced him many times for a countless number of years. Clara Oswald refuses to abandon her friend, even if she isn’t his best friend. Missy also comes for the ride, and winds up with Clara and a whole stack load of enemies that have been a force against her and The Doctor. Everything goes from bad to worse; everything The Doctor holds dear is destroyed in front of his eyes. References to a certain Tom Baker story, voted as the best Doctor Who story ever, is a big key to this episode. Also the episode features other uses from Colin Baker and more. I can only say well done to Steven Moffat for creating probably the best possible script using these characters I have ever seen come to life.

The finale gives a hint of some timey-wimey stuff to come. But, I really want to keep it as minimal on the spoilers as possible. This episode is purely brilliant. It is a shame Jemma Redgrave only got a minimal showing as Kate Stewart, though we will see more of her and UNIT later in the series. Jenna Coleman seemed a bit more background than I would have liked at times, I prefer when she really throws herself into the ring, though she does get some great lines such when a student says he will get his pre-chewed gum back later in the day. Also, Jenna really does come to life in the middle with her meeting with the evil Time Lady. Also, “hashtag planes have stopped” is trending on twitter at the time of writing this! The Witch’s Familiar has got a tough act to follow, but I am sure it shall be a belter! A top story, non-stop action throughout and more references than I have ever seen on the show before! 2015, Doctor Who is BACK!

Final rating: 9.5/10 Scratch that, 10/10. I was generally surprised by how good this was!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

WARNING: ONLY WATCH THE TRAILER FOR EP 2 IF YOU HAVE SEEN THE MAGICIAN’S APPRENTICE!

No Doctor Who in 2016?

A rumor is currently going around saying Doctor Who will not be on TV next year. Well, let’s break this down first!

We know that Series Nine of Doctor Who is due to start on Saturday 19th September 2015! From this, we will have 12 brand new episodes. Peter Capaldi returns as The Doctor with Jenna Coleman looking to become the longest-serving companion in the show’s history. This series will see the return of Missy (The Master), The Daleks (of course) and The Zygons! Also, fan favorite characters Kate Stewart, Osgood and Rigsy will also return. But, there may be a bit of a damper on the events if Doctor Who is given a year break. The word is, because Sherlock is going into production through 2016, Steven Moffat won’t be able to give time to both (I think Steven Moffat is great, but maybe it’s time to hand the reigns to Mark Gatiss or even Toby Whitehouse?). So I want to share a few points as why a year without the show is a bad idea!

  1. Interest will fade

Doe’s anyone else remember the viewing figures for Doctor Who between 2005-2008? Well they were rather good. Each year, the figure for the finale went up and up. Reaching 10.5 million in the UK alone, the fourth series finale still stands as the biggest-watched finale so far! After the 2009 specials, the fifth series then arrived where we then had the lowest watched finale so far! The whole year without a full series did take a hit on the massive upswing in ratings. Steadily, the show has slowly risen back up, but unfortunately it is still nowhere near the ratings hit it once was.

  1. The wait is too much

How many US shows “take a break” during their run? Not many. Many of our top shows run between September-May every year, or may have a more limited nature and still appear annually (Game Of Thrones 10 episode series every April). But the reason they stay popular is because you never have to wait too long to see what happens next. Another long hiatus for Doctor Who could be potentially damaging and risk losing more viewers.

  1. What doe’s the UK still have to offer?

I know this may seem a bit unfair, but there isn’t many other shows coming from the UK that make a massive effect around the world. Doctor Who has become huge worldwide, and is always well enjoyed when it is aired. Though recent show Humans was superb and Fortitude proved to be popular, there really isn’t anything like our sci-fi show which is nearly 52 years old!

  1. One-offs can work, but not always

During series 7 and 8, the show took some big gaps. First, it was filling the seventh series over one year. Then we had the 50th Anniversary Special which was fantastic, then a month later the Christmas special which was also brilliant. Then we had an eight month wait before series 8 officially aired. While the anniversary special made a good reason for the gaps in airing the program, having the gaps again with no real need for them will just cripple figures as proved time and time again.

What do you think? Do you think Series 10 will be delayed until 2017? Do you believe that the BBC is putting pressure on its flagship show? Or is this story a load of bull and we should expect The Doctor to make his 10th run next year?

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – Into The Dalek “The answer to my next question, which must be honest and cold and considered without kindness or restraint. Clara, be my pal… and tell me… am I a good man?”

Saturday 30th August 2014

7.30pm

BBC ONE

 

We start with that question Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord asks Clara, “Am I A Good Man?”. This is only the start to the question as the 45 minutes of this episode seem to show that The Doctor does his best to be good, but maybe he isn’t as good as believed to be? Well, we have got 10 more episodes of this series to worry on that. There is another item to discuss…So, could there ever be a “good Dalek”? This being the first episode that Peter Capaldi gets to spread his Doctor over in full force, you can’t help but feel like you can’t trust the Time Lord. The episode begins with The Doctor rescuing a woman from certain death, and he is taken to “treat” a patient at their ship, and would you believe me when I tell you it’s a Dalek? Well it is, and we see that this Dalek doesn’t want to kill. But why is this? Meanwhile, Clara is back at work at Coal Hill School and meets the slightly awkward and charming Danny Pink. A romance seems to be building up and you can’t help but feel hope that this works out for the two. Where was I? oh yes, that Dalek! Well this Dalek apparently has turned good, but why? Well, the solution is to go inside the Dalek and see what makes it different and maybe find a way to help all Daleks do the same. The Doctor, Clara and a few of the crew from the spaceship shrink themselves and journey through the most feared creature in existence.

Capaldi and Dalek

That is the basic premise, so what happens from that. Well we get to see what is inside the most feared enemy of The Doctor; we also get to see just what this new Doctor will do to achieve what he wants, even if it involves certain death (which comes in a rather chilling and uncomfortable scene). We learn that where you have one Dalek, you have more to come. Also, another appearance from one of last week’s characters gets us thinking on what is happening and what this is building up to. Peter Capaldi continues his rebel Time Lord act and shows that he has little time for casualties and life. He is a twisted and damaged man, still trying to find himself and just wants to solve the problem which is itching him. Also, we find that The Doctor and a Dalek can still show parallels with each other, which from this episode does blur the line between the two in places. The Time Lord and The Dalek show strength and hope in the plan to make Daleks good, but is it possible?

Peter Capaldi has won me over rather well in this episode, his Doctor is someone we are not gonna get to know too well (at least not yet anyway), but I find nothing wrong in a bit of mystery and darkness in this character who has now lived longer than his original lifespan was to take him. Jenna Coleman is still amazing as Clara, she can make you laugh through her interactions and make you cry with her emotions, still a brilliant companion. Also big thumbs up for the Daleks, they were given a new breath of life and it seems to have worked in the Phil Ford and Steven Moffat written story. I wanna give credit to the cast who supported the episode, Samuel Anderson did well as Clara’s love interest and fellow Coal HIll School colleague Danny Pink and Zawe Ashton as soldier Journey Blue on the spaceship which holds the Dalek (lots of colours going on). Top notch dialogue, gripping moments and the Doctor has certainly got reason to question if he is a “good man”. More like this and I will be happy! Now, apparently that bloke who doe’s Sherlock and helped create The League Of Gentleman is making episode three involve Robin Hood? Well, Mark Gatiss, I can’t wait!

Final Rating: 9/10.

Written By Jonjo Cosgrove