Monday, September 28, 2015

The Witch's Familiar - discussion two days after

Well I'm sold.  The Witch's Familiar was brilliant and made me realize my doubts about The Magician's Apprentice was due to being out of practice watching two parters.  Now I will gush about all the things I loved this episode.  Beware, there may be some divisive comments, but that's the great thing about the world of Who - we can discuss and debate at length, but in the end, we all still love it.

On the matter of Missy
I mentioned it briefly last week, but this week it was even more prominent - the chemistry between Missy and Clara was remarkable.  The give and take, the camaraderie and hatred.  From the moment Clara was upside down, through their walk back to the compound, until Clara being stuck in a Dalek (for the third time!).  You could feel the history between them, even though they haven't had much screen time together.  It also helps that Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman are brilliant actors.

Which brings me to potential controversial point number 1 - the Master becoming the Mistress.  When the reveal first happened last series, I was a bit upset.  Up until that point, I loved the character, Missy.  She was mysterious and crazy and colorful.  I wanted to see more of her.  But when I found out she was the Master, I thought, "Why?"

I am a strong believer that there needs to be more prominent and interesting female roles in television and film.  I wonder why there aren't more of those roles being created and written.  Taking an existing male role and casting a woman in it is not the solution to changing the industry.  It's like trying to put an ineffective band-aid on the problem.  I could go on at length about this topic, but I'll stop there and bring it back to Doctor Who.  So I wondered, why couldn't Missy just be a fantastic character that they cast as a woman?  Why did they have to muddle her brilliance with the gender controversy?  (Of course it's because they were testing out the gender change to see how changing the Doctor's gender in the future might go.)

Well, with Michelle Gomez's wonderful acting, seeing how the Master/Doctor history and dynamic is being incorporated into the past few stories, and the chemistry between Missy and Clara, I am convinced.  It doesn't matter if the Master, the companion, or the Doctor are male or female, as long as the writing, acting, and chemistry all work, just like with all productions.

On the subject of sunglasses
Oh I loved that moment!  I'm not even going to apologize or try to downplay it, even though it could be controversial point number 2.  First, the sunglasses really suit the Doctor's look and energy for this series.  Second, it was so fun seeing them bring the TARDIS back together and making the connection back to why the Doctor was so touchy about Davros touching them (it wasn't just another funny joke or 12th Doctorism!).  Third, I think it's great for the 12th Doctor to have his own sonic device, different from 11.  Yes, I know the screwdriver has been a key component of the reboot.  It got them out of an unlocked wooden door in The Day of the Doctor after all.  But it's not like how the Doctor approaches problems will change.  And it's not the TARDIS changing.  I'm excited to see how the sunglasses come into play in future episodes.  I love them so much, I made another shirt in honor of the sonic sunglasses.

For those who want their own pair, the 12th Doctor's sonic sunglasses seem to look like Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

On the development of Davros
Last week I wasn't sure if a Davros story was too intense a way to start the series, because I had no idea what might be coming, but the way it played out was perfect.  Steven Moffat is sometimes criticized for making his story lines too complicated and not giving the audience enough of a break between complicated twists.  Personally, I love things that are complicated, but I can understand wanting a bit of a break sometimes.  I may not be the right person to judge, but it felt like this two parter had just the right amount of complication for both people that like and don't like it.

When the Doctor was going to give his regeneration energy, I was thinking, "What's happening?  This is so obviously a trap.  It's completely out of character for the Doctor not to see that.  There's an error in Moffat's writing!"  But then I learned that I was the idiot, not the Doctor, because how did I not see that of course the Doctor knew it was a trap and he meant to fall for it?!?  After watching so much Doctor Who, how did I fall for that?  But I guess it's good I still fall for things because it's more fun that way.

Speaking of complicated and multi-episode story lines.  What do you think the setup of the Missy-Dalek situation will bring?

I both can't wait for more episodes and don't want them to come because it means the end of the series is getting closer.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Magician's Apprentice - discussion the day after

Series 9 has started, and the dust of the first episode has settled a bit.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about yesterday's episode, so I'll just put down my various thoughts.  Let me know what you thought of The Magician's Apprentice.

The opening - very intriguing and I loved the feel of it.  Steven Moffat also gave us some more great Doctor lines that we can quote over and over again.  I even made some t-shirts out of them.  Check it out!

When the child said his name, it was definitely a great *gasp* moment, but then I wondered, "Am I really in the mood for such an iconic enemy and likely heavy story right at the start of the series?"

Clara and Missy were brilliant.  They had just the right balance of their personalities, and you can really see Clara fulfilling her potential.  It will be so sad to see her go.

The Doctor and his axe - I wish I could see Peter Capaldi and Craig Ferguson in their punk band!  That whole "about to die" behavior was fun.  And another touching moment with Clara.  The chemistry between Clara and the 12th Doctor just gets better and better.

This whole episode, the Doctor was incredibly emotional, as he should be given the situation he was facing.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I love emotional Doctor.  I don't want it all the time, but the once-in-a-blue-moon emotional outbursts (especially with the 12th Doctor) are such a treat and really get you in the gut.

The ending is where things get a little wibbly-wobbly for me.  I'm not saying there was anything wrong with it.  Part of me felt it was great, but another part of me felt like something was off.  I think I was thrown when I looked at the time and noticed the episode was almost over, when I felt like it had just started, and not in the "I'm enjoying myself so much that time flew by" way.

At no point did I feel the story was slow, but in terms of what was happening to Clara, the Doctor, and Missy, it felt like the "set up and developing phase" of the story, not at the "10 minutes left in the episode" point.  That unexpected realization could have been due to being out of practice watching two parters.  Or maybe it's because the reboot has never started with a two parter before.  Again, it's like the question I had at the beginning of the episode, "Am I in the mood for this at the start of the series?"

Then there's the question of how the Doctor got back to the child.  It will probably be answered in the next episode, so I'm not too worried about that - as long as it doesn't turn out to be something stupid like a dream.

Anyway, I guess I felt the episode was fine, and it has potential depending on what happens next week.  But usually when I have to mull over an episode, it doesn't turn out to be one of my favorites.  I had a definite reaction to every episode last series, so I'm just a little unsettled that I'm not quite sure about this one.

What do you think?  Oh and also feel free to comment on my shirt ideas (see my storefront at  This was my first go and I'm hoping to make more in the future and will try to incorporate your opinions.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another post to share . . .

Here's another post from Little Things of Bliss.  I've read The Writer's Tale myself, and it's an amazing book.  It's such a wonderful feeling when you read Russell T. Davies' thoughts and make the connection to something that we all loved on screen (oh the Doctor Donna!).

Original Post Title: A tale of The Writer's Tale
Original Post Date: Friday, September 18, 2015

Lately, I haven't been posting as frequently as I'd like to on this blog.  I've been a bit busy with other things, and to be honest, when I don't have to be doing something else, I've been reading The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter.

I definitely wasn't planning to write another Doctor Who-themed post, but I've become slightly addicted to this book.  And season 9 of the show is starting tomorrow (!), so maybe I'll allow myself this indulgence?

The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter is a book that features email correspondence between Russell T. Davies, the Doctor Who showrunner for seasons 1-4 of the rebooted version, and journalist Ben Cook.  The correspondence takes place while RTD is writing and running season 4 of Doctor Who, and it gives very honest and candid insight into his writing process, what happens behind the scenes of a highly successful and much loved TV show, and the truth of how the show's stories and characters went from an idea to our TV screen.

For those of you not familiar with the TV show, I give a rough overview of it in my previous Doctor Who post.  I would recommend watching the show that was rebooted in 2005 (at least season 4) before reading this book, since it references those episodes, and it will allow you to get the most insight and enjoyment from reading it.  Also, there are spoilers about Doctor Who seasons 1-4 and another show, Torchwood in this book.  If you don't plan on watching the show but are interested in writing and TV show production, Amazon lets you "look inside" to see a bit of the book so you can decide if you'll enjoy it without being familiar with the show.

For anyone that has already seen the show and is a fan, you will love this book.  Did you know the 10th Doctor's last companion was almost going to be someone else?  You learn how it all changed. Some episodes were originally going to be completely different than what was aired, and some characters were going to be played by different actors.  You can read the early stages of scripts and ideas that were never brought to life.  For those that love gossip, you'll also see the seemingly mundane moment that gave RTD the idea to give the 10th Doctor a daughter, which eventually led to a real-life marriage.

This book is fun to read and insightful and let's me re-live the RTD years of Doctor Who.  I've never really enjoyed reading non-fiction books, but I'm actually enjoying this one more than some fiction books.  Frankly, I can't believe I put it down to write this blog post.

The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter is available on Amazon, Kindle, and iBooks.  (Right now the Kindle and iBooks formats of the book are only $4.99!)

In the meantime . . . sharing a post

While I'm still getting set up, I'll post a couple blog entries from our friend Little Things of Bliss.  Many thanks for the permission to repost on my site.

Original Post Title: Doctor Who?
Original Post Date: Friday, September 4, 2015

In 15 days, a show that has been airing for 52 years (ignoring a brief break in the 90s) returns to our screens.  Yet another recent discovery for me due to mini marathons on BBC America.  Any British person will know I'm speaking of Doctor Who, but since the show relaunched in 2005, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Doctor Who is classified as a sci-fi show, although due to the nature of the show, it can be a drama, comedy, romance, thriller, action adventure, period piece, mystery, western, and any other genre that exists.  This range is due largely to the main character, an alien called The Doctor, and his time machine, the TARDIS, that can travel through all of space and time.

It's a bit difficult to describe - "timey-wimey," if you will.  But here goes. There is a non-Earth being, who's called The Doctor (not Doctor Who).  He happens to look human, but he is actually a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.  He has a time machine that looks like a 1960s London police box on the outside, but it's much bigger on the inside.  This time machine is called the TARDIS, which stands for "time and relative dimension in space."  Using the TARDIS, he can travel to anywhere in the universe and any time past or future.  He usually has a traveling companion, often a human.  They go on adventures that seem to always turn into them saving someone, a planet, or humanity.

How has this show been in existence since 1963?  Another core part of the show that provides flexibility - the Doctor is not human.  His species happens to have the ability to regenerate when they are about to die.  They just happen to change the way they look when they regenerate.  To date, the Doctor has had 12 different faces (and been played by 12 different actors).

Doctor Who is incredibly well-written and very well-acted.  These days, the special effects are quite impressive, especially considering the budget of the show.  The show is family friendly, although similar to Harry Potter, there have been some bits that would be scary even for adults.

Many people say, if you're new to the series, you should start by watching the episode Blink.  The odd thing is the Doctor isn't very central to that episode, but it is a self-contained story that deals with monsters and time travel, so it is a good way to get familiar with how the series works and feels without needing any background information.  Some other good ones could be The Girl in the Fireplace, Voyage of the Damned, The Fires of Pompeii, A Christmas Carol, and Vincent and the Doctor.  You can purchase single episodes on Amazon Instant Video and iTunes to see if you like it before committing to the whole series.  iTunes also gives you a 30 second preview clip of each episode.

I actually started with a complicated two-parter (Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead), and I was still able to catch on and fall in love with the show, so it doesn't matter too much how you start - just start.

Welcome Whovians (and soon to be Whovians)!

Hello sweetie . . . It's quite exciting - today's the day Series 9 of Doctor Who starts on our screens!  What a perfect day to launch this site.  Thank you for visiting, and stay tuned for lots of Doctor Who talk and fun.