SPOILERY SPOILERS OF A SPOILING NATURE.
Well the score may be suffering from a slight bias because Paul motherf**cking McGann is finally back playing The Doctor on our screens. A moment I have waited for since 1996 personally.
While five minutes isn’t nearly enough for McGann (a web series will do nicely, thank you) he still manages to exude a charm and exuberance, now topped off with a massive dollop of cool because he isn’t stuck with a ridiculous costume or stupid wig.
Clearly tired and changed by whatever’s happened with the Time War so far, we’re afforded a nice insight into how awful things are. The Doctor’s would be companion claiming there’s no difference between Daleks and Time Lords anymore sums it up and justifies why The Doctor would essentially give up being The Doctor (a very unsettling moment).
There’s also a handful of nice references to McGann’s Big Finish adventures (rightly so) as he namedrops Charlie and Lucy, among other companions.
And of course we finally have an official name for Hurt’s Doctor; The War Doctor. The glimpse of him here shows him to be a much younger man. I imagine the implication is that he’s been in that incarnation for a long old time.
Night of The Doctor sets up the 50th anniversary bash in an intriguing way, but most importantly, it let the 8th Doctor have another hard earned crack at the whip. About time.
Watch it here, baby.
Jon Pertwee – Spearhead From Space (3rd January, 1970)
I don’t think that this episode particularly sums up the third Doctor’s era, far from it in fact. However, this tale stands out for me as a landmark in Doctor Who in general because it was the first ever episode to be shown in colour. Has science gone too far?
When my dad started us on our run through all (surviving) Who episodes I was really, really young. So young that there was a lot about the Hartnell/Troughton eras I couldn’t remember. What I can remember though, is perking up a hell of a lot as soon as things turned colour.
Of course, nowadays, I have no problem with something being in black and white, but you can’t blame a 90’s kid for being a little bored with such a limited palette.
But that’s besides the point. Spearhead is a cracking Doctor Who tale in its own right. It radically changed the established format of the show, exiling The Doctor to Earth (for some reason the west country) to work for UNIT as its chief scientific advisor.
What this gave us was a radical departure from adventures in space and time and quite a large cast of recurring characters thanks to the Doctors static setting.
And Jon Pertwee’s Doctor perfectly reflected his situation. From this very first episode he’s trying to escape. Cavalier and clearly always vaguely bored with everyone, we are never in any doubt that this is a man who does not want to be here.
While he isn’t exactly the kindly uncle that Troughton was, he’s far from the stern old man model that Hartnell portrayed. Pertwee gives the character an exuberance and a youthfulness, dashing through corridors and infiltrating bases (mostly on his own). He clearly hates the fact he’s now essentially working for the government and even turns down being paid for the job at the end of the story. An argument could be made that the Third Doctor was the “Hippy Doctor”.
While this Doctor had a number of fantastic companions, this episode (re)introduced us to his constant unofficial companion. The fantastic, fan favorite, irreplaceable Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. All pomposity and fake moustache. He and The Doctor have an explosive chemistry that is a joy to watch at all times. Basically, when one is a dick, the other has no problem calling him out on it and it’s brilliant.
Aside from introducing to a slew of new regulars, this is a notable story in that we see The Autons for the first time in what is still their most chilling story. Nothing will ever match the cold, shocking and brutal nature of the scene where shop window dummies come to life on the high street and straight up murder a bunch of people. This is the first time Doctor Who took something mundane and every day and made it really frightening.
A landmark episode in respects to the entire legacy of the show, Spearhead From Space showed us just how much Doctor Who could change, and yet still be unmistakably the same show it was with William Hartnell at the helm.
(More spoilers than a tin of hot fried spoilers)
Well then, that’s that. No abrupt cut to black, no twist “it was all a dream” ending and thankfully no surprise Malcolm in the Middle reveal at the very last minute. Breaking Bad is finally over after five seasons of near perfect television and by God, it was the most satisfying finale since Rachel got off the plane.
We weren’t left wondering, we weren’t left hanging and nobody thought that anything should be left open to interpretation. It was uncompromising, tense and packed full of punch the air f**k yeah moments from Badger and Skinny P’s surprise appearance to Jesse throttling Todd to death (the most satisfying moment of anything, ever).
Of course, a lot of it was predictable, but that is by no means a bad thing. The seeds of this episode have been sown since the start of series five. Walt had a rather large machine gun, some ricin and death in his eyes. How else was that gonna end? Of course no one can say they saw Walt using the machine gun in quite the way he did and it was fantastic to see Walt proving once again that he is one smart bastard.
Everyone got their closure. Skylar and Walt’s scene in the kitchen, where he finally admits that he did it all for himself and no one else… stellar acting from Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston. If you didn’t well up even a little as Walt says goodbye to Holly and watches Junior through the window then you have a small black rock where your soul should be.
Walt giving Skylar the location of Hank’s body was also a tidy move that allows Skylar leverage with the DA and a way out, while also giving Marie the closure of a proper burial for poor old Hank (who I still expected to pop up and save everything at some point by the way).
My only real problem with the “goodbye half” of this episode was Walt Jr’s lack of closure. I suppose after everything Walt did, he shouldn’t get off so easily that everyone suddenly understands and forgives him. His actions, all supposedly for his family should cost him his son. There was a fitting irony to this, although it still didn’t sit entirely right with me.
Of course what can I really say about Walt’s spontaneous Grey Matter reunion, other than that it was beyond beautiful to see him make them piss their pants and finally find a way to get his hard earned money to his family.
And then, Walt kills people. A lot of people. Getting Lydia with the Ricin (thank God they finally used it), gunning down a gang of armed nazis, saving Jesse and finally lying down to die in the (metaphorical) arms of the one thing he truly loved in the end. His meth lab.
Everything Walt did in this episode proved what we all knew from the start. You do not mess with Heisenberg. He finally got to take the credit by dying in the lab and he finally regained a modicum of humanity through saving Jesse and avenging Hank.
Considering everything that has happened over the course of this phenomenal series, I really do not think anyone could have asked for more from the way it was all wrapped up.
Breaking Bad was one of the greats. A truly special, one of a kind show that never once wavered in it’s impeccable quality. Brilliant written, astonishingly acted and as addictive as a rock of the old blue meth we all love so much… The only question is, what on Earth do we do with our lives now?
We all saw it coming. it was at Comic Con when it was confirmed that The Daleks (those metal bastards) will be making an appearance in the much anticipated Doctor Who 50th anniversary bash.
One may express concern that with this on top of Zygons, the tenth Doctor, Rose, Queen Elizabeth and John Hurt as some super nasty prick Doctor, that the 50th may collapse under its own weight.
The Daleks need to be used smartly to avoid such crushing dissapointment. Here are five things those pepperpots could be up to. I’ll leave you to decide which ones are legit.
Because after 50 years of watching the Doctor do battle with the Daleks, it would be nice to see them finally use their plungers to unclog a toilet or something.
Because after all this hype, there would be nothing better than seeing the iconic villains sidelined or only shown for a few seconds. There’s nothing funnier (or easier) than annoying internet fanboys.
Save The Doctor
Celebrating half a century deserves a twist and if anyone could predict The Daleks cutting in to save the day, I’ll eat my hat. I’d have to buy one first mind. Of course, it’d never happen because it would just ruin what makes Daleks Daleks.
Imagine a Dalek with long, smooth lady legs. That image is worth tuning in alone, surely?
Probably what is going to happen. Going from the pictures we’ve seen, it looks like a flashback to the Time War. Something Whovians have been foaming at the mouth to see since the idea came up in 2005
This has been a pointless post borne of a lack of imagination or anything worthwhile to say. Cheers for reading
And there, on a Saturday evening on BBC One in 2013, was William Hartnell as… The Doctor. Excuse my language but fuck me that was enough to make me explode with joy. After fifty years, finally getting a glimpse of the moment The Doctor decides to run off with a type 40 TARDIS and see the universe was something truly special for me.
And it only went and got better. We saw Doctors one through seven, including that strange moment in Dragonfire where for some reason, Seven decides to crawl down a cliff. I think I’d already decided this was a perfect episode from that 50th montage and that was only the bloody pre credits sequence.
Of course, some of the meshing of archive clips worked better than others, but when you’re watching your childhood colliding with the present day of your favorite program, who really cares?
The Name of The Doctor managed to set up everything that needed to be set up for the 50th shenangins all while answering some questions that have been around for years and still managed to be an enjoyable, witty and in places quite chilling episode.
Did the big question, the Doctor’s name get revealed? No. Of course, it was never going to be answered in a straight forward “my name is…” way and frankly anyone with a fundemental understanding of Doctor Who would have known that from the off. Moffat is a fan and as such knows full well that is a question we never need to hear the answer to.
And if you were expecting an asnwer, it’s hard to have felt shortchanged from this gem of an episode. River’s final farewell was truly quite heartbreaking, seeing The Doctor’s assertion that he hates goodbyes is a deeper glimpse into who he is than his name could ever tell us.
Some might gripe at lack of explanation towards why The Doctor could see and touch River, I couldn’t care less when the payoff was such an emotional scene and that line “God knows how that must have looked”. It would be a shame if this was River’s last appearance but she couldn’t have gone out on a better note.
Matt Smith was firing on all clyinders once again, showing anger, heartbreak and at times, genuine fear. The scene where he found out he had to go to Trenzalore was quite unsettling. This is not how The Doctor is supposed to be and Matt Smith played it perfectly, not too much and not too little emotion.
Strax, Vastra and Jenny still need their own spin off series, that much will never change. I admit I was watching this episode in the fear that one of them would bite the dust and that horribly chilling scene where Jenny realised she had been murdered set the stakes very early on. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without my favorite Dinosaur/Victorian Maid Lesbian Crimefighting Couple. Although Strax is genuinely brilliant, his comedy did detract from the drama at times, which felt a little frustrating.
I think Jenna Louise Coleman’s character has come under a lot of unfair criticism this series. She’s constantly been brilliant in my eyes and to be honest I never could really stand Amy Pond. Sorry, world, but I just think Clara is miles ahead.
Some reviews have complained that since we haven’t known Clara that long, her sacrifice doesn’t mean as much. I would argue that surely it means that much more? If she hasn’t known The Doctor that long and is willing to tear her very existence apart to save him, I think that’s pretty big.
Incidentally, The Doc and Clara’s chemistry was great here. Maybe it’s because Clara finally saw a deeper side to The Doctor, but they really seem to care about each other much more in this one. Although I am glad River wasn’t sidelined so The Doctor could canoodle with Clara as I initially feared.
There isn’t too much to say about The Whispermen and Richard E Grant. Grant is always brilliant and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him and while the Whispermen looked creepy as hell, they didn’t really do much besides… whisper. Not that cool.
Oh yeah, introducing John Hurt as The Doctor? Jesus Christ, November 23rd cannot come fast enough.
According to the Official Doctor Who Facebook page, a lucky few in America have recieved their series 7 part 2 box sets. Obviously, this means the last episode, the fan boy baiting Name of the Doctor is out there ready to be leaked. If reports are to be believed of course.
You see, I think it’s bullshit. A publicity stunt.
Despite the fact Moffat has promised a special clip of the 10th and 11th Doctors if no details of the finale get out, I’m convinced it would be everywhere. Not even The Moff can control the entire internet. This would have exploded by now… call me a cynic, but that’s the way I think it is.
Moreover, I don’t for a second think that Moffat is above using something like this as a ploy to boost publicity. That man is one crafty old jackrabbit.
I love Doctor Who, but I’m afraid if it was out there I would not be able to wait. Not for an episode as tantalising as this little gem. However, I think we will be waiting till Saturday and we should all just stay calm and maybe avoid the shadier corners of the internet… just in case.
November 23rd 2013 marks fifty years of possibly the world’s most popular and enduring Science Fiction program: Doctor Who.
Only one other television program has celebrated fifty years of glory: Coronation Street. Let’s face facts, it’s going to be far more exciting to watch the fireworks Who showrunner Steven Moffat has planned for the 50th birthday of an alien who can travel anywhere in space and time, than it was to watch the 50th of a show about cobbled streets and misery.
This aside, fans are positively chomping at the bit to find out just what is in store for the show as it hits the big 5-0.
We already know about the Mark Gatiss penned drama depicting the series’ inception, and the BBC’s plans for an actual, feature length special episode to be aired on the 23rd, as well as shown in UK cinemas in 3D.
What we don’t know, is what is actually going to happen in the special. Plot details elude us completely. Will we see The Master? The Daleks? The Vervoids? Probably not the Vervoids, but here’s what we kind of know already (sort of).
There have been strong rumours that somehow, all eleven incarnations of The Doctor are to be included.
This is possible in that this is usually the norm for the Doctor’s anniversary bashes, with the Three Doctors and The Five Doctors marking his 10th and 20ths respectively.
This is also slightly less possible, in that the first three actors to have played The Doctor are dead. Of course, Richard Hurdnall fooled everyone into thinking he was First Doctor William Hartnell with a cunning disguise (similar hair) for the 20th. Maybe with some CGI and studio trickery, it will be possible to bring these Doctors back to life in some capacity.
For now, there have been absolutely no concrete details. Moffat has kept tight lipped on the whole thing, as has Matt Smith. At this time, we can only speculate on which companions, monsters and even Doctors might pop up.
Filming for the 50th special begins in Spring and series 7 part 2 airs in the UK at the end of March.