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Tuesday, 25 of April of 2017

Tag » Doctor Who

Doctor Who – “The Angels Take Manhattan”

“I hate endings.”

Companions tend to divide audiences like no other aspect of Who. There’s a lot of love-hate to go around with companions, and the Ponds are definitely no exception.

My journey to loving Amy and Rory was a bumpy one. I’ve gone from loving one and being ambivalent about the other to liking them both, to disliking one and liking the other, to loving one and hating the other, to finally loving them both as individuals and a couple. I like Amy. I like Rory. I like the Ponds. And I like the Ponds with the Doctor. So here, coming into their last few episodes, I wanted desperately for them to have the kind of satisfying and completing end such long-time companions deserved.

I’m not entirely sure this is what I was looking for.

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Doctor Who – “The Power of Three”

The thing about watching Doctor Who for any length of time is that you begin to be suspicious of everything.

It’s the same with any television show – since shows tend to follow a pattern in their storytelling, viewers pick up on the similarities from episode to episode and season to season and therefore expect certain things to happen (or not happen). At an even more subliminal level, it’s how musical cues and lighting affect how we feel about what we’re seeing. It’s the very basis of acting! We’re conditioned from birth to match facial expressions to corresponding emotions, thereby accurately depicting our own emotional states – and interpreting those of others.

We act and react according to what we’ve learned. And with television, because we have been conditioned by long-term exposure, we tend to expect certain outcomes (story resolutions) based on certain outputs (previous episodes).

So this gentle letting go Who is pulling for the Ponds feels like it’s leading to some sort of horrific end.

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Doctor Who – “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “A Town Called Mercy”

“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.”

Far too often, we as an audience come into a show with – or develop – very strict expectations of our favorite characters. Much in the way that we scrutinize celebrities, royalty, politicians, and other such limelight-plagued individuals, we tend to skew toward an idealistic view of characters. As much as we complain about characters who are too “perfect,” as much as we demand imperfections and all the realism they create, we tend to balk when characters “go too far,” even when the distance is warranted.

Being a character as old and beloved as he is, the Doctor is definitely subject to such a narrowed gaze. Everyone – based on when they first came to the show, what types of stories the show was telling at the time, and what Doctor they started with (you never forget your first Doctor) – everyone has a very specific and individual notion of who and what the Doctor is. That belief generally falls along a short scale containing such values as “good man,” “non-violence,” and, in the extremist case, “paragon of virtue.”

I missed last week’s Who episode because of a party (1920s costumes, murder mystery, and more delicious food than you could shake a flapper dress at), but I’m a bit glad of it. The past two episodes (and, in truth, even the first of the season) deserve to be viewed as a two-parter in theme, if not in plot.

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Doctor Who – “Asylum of the Daleks”

“Well this is new!”

Rory and Amy behind bars on the Dalek spaceship

Mummy and Daddy are fighting.

There’s an interesting discussion to be had with regard to Doctor Who‘s seventh season opener about the relevance of external stories to the main narrative of a show. So many shows today are utilizing the Internet as a tool to draw in new viewers and keep old viewers interested. From behind-the-scenes videos to website-exclusive mini-stories, shows use the Internet to create an extension of the worlds their audience loves, extensions that promise to fill in the gaps that 45-minute-long stories always leave behind.

Yesterday, I happened across BBC America’s Doctor Who marathon and was able to refresh my memory of season six in preparation for the seventh season opener. I also watched “Pond Life”, a five-part series of short webisodes focused on the life of the Ponds while away from the Doctor.

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Doctor Who – “A Good Man Goes to War”

All those stories you’ve heard about him: they’re not stories, they’re true.

As you may have already guessed, I wasn’t crazy about the episode. There’s stuff I like it, but that’s the stuff I’m assuming, hoping, they’re going to expand on in part two (I do love the episode title for part two). The rest of it remained kind of all over the place, and the big reveal really wasn’t all that big.

Which leaves me kind of unexcited about having to wait until September to see how it all finishes. I mean, I’ll be tuning in, of course, but the thrill of it is gone. The (nearly) all-consuming concerns about this child I think has become something of an weight the on show for me, but this could simply be because I don’t really care now.

And it also didn’t have nearly enough of the Cybermen. So it was already in the hole for me after that.

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Doctor Who – “The Almost People”

You’re twice the man I thought you were.”

Amy and the Doctor

Imaginary friends.

Hm.

Certainly glad I stepped back from my typical rule and did the first half of this two-parter, because otherwise I would’ve just talked about the ending of this episode the entire time instead of enjoying what pleasures “The Rebel Flesh” offered. At least I was right when I said that “The Almost People” would take a sharp turn in tone (all those glorious horror gestures are all but gone here).

But here I sit, trying to decide if that ending really works for me.

The rest of the episode is pretty standard fare. Lots of running through hallways, the Doctor being clever and proving his points left and right (“No, I’ve helped him into an act of humanity.”), and it’s all very just kind of there. It’s just not particularly interesting, really, to me. Whereas “The Rebel Flesh” at least had style and mood going for it, “The Almost People” is so blandly by the numbers that it kind of offends a smidge.

But here I continue to sit. Mulling. Read more »


Doctor Who – “The Rebel Flesh”

It’s interesting that you refer to them as ‘it’ but you call a glorified cattle prod ‘she.’

The Doctor inspects some Flesh

Bubble bubble toil and trouble indeed.

I normally don’t review the first part of a Doctor Who two-parter, but since I’m going to be doing it again the week after next for the mid-season break, I figure I might as well do it here.

The other reason, beyond setting a minor precedent for myself, is that I feel like the episode deserves a little defending. The reaction from a lot of folks I know was fairly cool, with someone using the phrase “tepid” to describe it on Twitter. And the episode isn’t great or even all that good, but it does some nice things that I think need to be acknowledged.

Of course, this review will be a little shorter than others, if only because there’s a little bit less to say as the episode is mostly just set-up for past 2. However, (All of that turned out to be false.) I have a feeling that part 2 will (heheh) depart from the cool vibe this episode engages, so we may get to two tonally different episodes. And I’ve gone through that anxiety recently enough that I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

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Doctor Who – “The Doctor’s Wife”

No, but I always took you where you needed to go.

The Doctor and Sexy

A boy and his TARDIS

How friggin’ beautiful, nay (dare I say it?), sexy is this episode?

Pardon the squeeing, but it’s just such a glorious meditation on the Doctor and his only actual companion, the one that chose him (and that he chose), and that they’re the ones who go on jaunts around the universe and time, with a couple of “strays” tagging along. The show (at least since the re-launch) has never really addressed this issue, of the Doctor’s special bond to the TARDIS.

I mean, yes, there’s little bits that don’t exactly work (poor Amy and Rory), but the episode on the whole is kind of just entirely giddy at the prospect of having the TARDIS be personified (literally),  allowing the two to actually talk to each other, and have their dynamics, often only expressed with either frustration or little bleeps and blops and breaking down. But even through this all, the two have remained together for 700 years. Longer than any companion(s), just the two of them. The last of their kinds in the universe. Read more »


Doctor Who – “The Curse of the Black Spot”

If this is just because I’m a captain, too, you know you shouldn’t feel threatened. Your ship is much bigger than mine and I don’t have the cool boots or a hat even.

While technically the third episode of the season, “The Curse of the Black Spot” feels very much like a second episode in that I wasn’t particularly crazy about it. “The End of the World” was okay, prized only for the camp of a particular scene; “Tooth and Claw” has moments; “The Shakespeare Code” is pretty horrible; “The Fires of Pompeii” is dull; and I liked elements of “The Beast Below” more than the actual execution.

Some of this is just that the opening episode of any Doctor Who series is typically very strong (as was the case this series), and the follow-up is, understandably, a bit of a way for everyone to catch their breath before moving on the next big scary-scary. And while not as horrible as “The Shakespeare Code”, “The Curse of the Black Spot” is incredibly dull. The sense of fun I think they were aiming for (“It’s the Doctor! With actual pirates!”) never really came through for me, and I kind of have to blame the premise. Read more »


Doctor Who – “The Impossible Astronaut” & “Day of the Moon”

Oh, hello, sorry. Were in you in the middle of something?  Just had to say though, have you seen what’s on the telly? Oh, hello, Amy!  You all right, want to watch some television?  Ah! Now, stay where you are.  ‘Cause look at me. I’m confident. You want to watch out for me when I’m confident.

A Silence

I see you.

It’s kind of hard not just to squee. Really. It’s very difficult.

Doctor Who is one of those shows that can be deliriously fun, and this two-parter (particularly “Day of the Moon”) is just that. And it’s not only that it’s fun, but it’s clever and smart, and you’re never able to predict what’ll happen next because, well, who can predict Doctor Who (I mean, aside from River. But she cheats.)

After watching “Day of the Moon,” I feel like I could have reviewed both as individual episodes instead of as a pair, but previous experience with Moffat’s two-parters made me more inclined to review them as a unit. I’m going to focus more on “Day of the Moon” here since that’s where a lot of the meat is and where it seems like Moffat is starting to draw some very tight strings around his narrative.

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