Category Archives: Science Fiction
Checking In with Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor
Last summer, Doctor Who fans were crushed to hear that Eleventh Doctor
and clumsy baby giraffe Matt Smith would be stepping down from the iconic role the following Christmas. Two months later, in a live, worldwide special, Smith’s successor was announced: Peter Capaldi, arguably the first veteran actor to assume the role and a household name in the UK for his many memorable TV characters, including spin doctor Malcolm Tucker on the BBC’s The Thick of It. The feedback was generally positive, with some scattered ageist comments that we’re going to pretend were never uttered, but it would be another year until Capaldi’s real debut, where fans would be able to see him in action.
Now halfway through Series 8, Capaldi appears to have breathed new life into Doctor Who. His version of the enigmatic time-traveler is the most alien in recent memory, and it’s making for some cracking good TV. Here’s a brief look at his tenure so far, broken down by episode.
MAJOR EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD.
‘Misfits’: A (Slightly More Than) Mid-Season Lead Up
All great things must come to an end and in two episodes, so will Britains’ Channel 4’s Misfits. For the past four (and slightly more than) a half seasons, Misfits has centered around a group of young English community service workers in a town where a freak storm gave many of the citizens ‘special’ powers. In typical superpower fashion, accidents sparked powers sparked ideas sparked battles of good vs evil – the subtlety of which is what sets this show apart from powerhouse superheroes like The Avengers, or even their adolescent attempt at a series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There is no city-wide destruction or mass casualties, just barebones hero work- maybe a little destruction- and a few casualties. That may sound boring because we’d all rather watch some costumed mastermind shoot laser beams through the clock face of Big Ben, while some super-strengthed glob knocks over the London Eye, Misfits operates in a small town seemingly devoid of any contact to outside England. It’s because of this reclusiveness that Misfits writers focus more on creatively dark, yet humorous storytelling turning Misfits into some sort of situational dramedy melting pot with ever soapy ‘will-they-won’t-they’ relationships, nearly unbelievable sci-fi and horror storylines, and a homegrown sense of action and mystery.
‘Doctor Who’ 50th: Wibbly-Wobbly, Feelsy-Weelsy
I am writing this post from beyond the grave, because Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary special killed me dead.
Yeah, I’ll admit it: I was pessimistic during the build-up to this most auspicious occasion. I grumbled for months about the trailer for “The Day of the Doctor” being released late (still grumbling in fact), and despite the staggering celebration line-up announced in October, I felt the classic Doctors were being quietly nudged aside. I quelled my fangirl jitters on the grounds that the special just wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
I’m so happy to have been proven wrong.
“The Day of the Doctor” is one humdinger of an adventure, equal parts playful historical jaunt, sobering backstory, and squee-worthy fanservice. On the outside, it resembles any other madcap episode — the Doctor (Matt Smith) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) are enlisted to stop Earth from falling into the slimy, suction-y hands of the Zygons, a villainous race making its first appearance since the classic series. But weaved throughout that predictable A-plot is easily the darkest B-plot the show has tackled since its return: the Doctor’s involvement in the Time War, where he was forced to wipe out his home planet of Gallifrey to end the violence. Loaded with snappy dialogue and peppered with more than a few surprises for the devoted Whovian, this was an anniversary to end all anniversaries.
‘Doctor Who’: Where To Start
So, you’ve finally given into your curiosity and want to start watching Doctor Who. Who can blame you? All your nerdtastic friends are doing it. Not to mention, Doctor Who is arguably one of the most successful TV shows of all time and is nearing it’s 50th Anniversary! That’s nothing to turn your nose up at. But with all that success, and all those episodes, it can be quite daunting to figure out where to start. After all, there have been 11 doctors, 7 seasons since the 2005 reboot, and 26 seasons of Classic Doctor Who, which we won’t even touch in this. Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. Lucky for you, you have options.
Blink (Season 3 Episode 10)
Fan favorite, “Blink,” written by the current show runner, Steven Moffat, is an excellent stand-alone episode if you want to sample the series before committing. It does not spoil any of the plot points for later viewing pleasure. The episode actually features hardly any of the Doctor at all, but manages to give an incredibly accurate depiction of who the Doctor is, how he is viewed by others including his companion, and the tone that the series eventually takes on. This fast pace and suspenseful episode features Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in her whirlwind adventure to defeat the Weeping Angels.
If you end up liking this episode, I recommend then going back to Season 1, Episode 1, “Rose,” and watching all the way through. The earlier episodes are great in all their campy glory, but it is definitely nice to know that the show gets better as time goes on, which makes the bad lighting more forgiving.
Top Dramas Coming Out This Fall
Mid-August is upon us. That means it is officially time to start preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. No not the holidays or the onset of school, but rather the fall season of Television. To say I’m excited for this season is an understatement, especially after last year, which which fell flat. This year however the networks have 57 new shows slated as of right now.
Basically, I should probably drop all my classes for the fall to make time… Or actually get DVR, dump my boyfriend, and start getting groceries delivered to my house to make time for all the awesomeness in store for this season. Thankfully, I have a couple weeks to decide my course of action. That being said, here are the dramas I’m most excited for this fall, in no particular order.
1. The 100 (CW)
The 100 follows a group of rebellious young adults, roughly 100 years after Nuclear Armageddon destroys the planet. These individuals are deemed expendable because of their crimes and as such are chosen to be part of an experiment to see if the Earth is once again safe for the human race to live on.
Why I’m excited: For one this show is buying into the post apocalyptic fad that is taking over now that vampires are starting to fade away. While this show ties into the trend, it doesn’t take too much influence from the Hunger Games. I also really enjoy that their lead, Clarke, is a female and seemingly strong from the previews. Aesthetically, the show is stunning and really well put together visually, which is also somewhat hysterical considering some of the radiation impacted animals, which are horrifying. It’s unique that the characters are all criminals in one way or another, which will bring a lot of interesting characters into the mix with strong personalities and story lines.
BBC Announces the 12th Doctor
Since 2005, the BBC’s Doctor Who has gained a legion of rabid fans, transitioning from a cult classic to a full-on mainstream hit. The eponymous Doctor is a time-travelling alien who regenerates his body when he’s close to death, meaning that sooner or later, a new actor takes over the part. Current Doctor Matt Smith revealed in June that he was hanging up his bow tie, and from there, speculation on the identity of Twelve has run rampant. As of Sunday, however, this particular rumor mill has ceased production.
Whovians, join me in welcoming Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor!
Time for Steven Moffat to Bow Out
As a die hard Doctor Who fan I find the upcoming changes in the show to be both thrilling and absolutely terrifying. Between the new companion Clara joining the cast, the 50th anniversary special slated for the fall, and parting with the 11th doctor, Matt Smith, I’ve admittedly had several panic attacks comforted only by the fact that I have such faith in the creators of the show and how they handle change. After all, one of the most magnificent things about this particular show is that every couple seasons it reinvents itself. Without this very fact, the show arguably would have never reached the level of success it has.
So, with that said, I find myself saying I am ready for the new doctor. I am ready for the next brilliant artist (as they all have been brilliant haven’t they?) to take over and put their spin on this whacky character who I love so dearly. I’m even going to go as far to say that I’m downright excited! But this excitement and anticipation for changes leaves me wanting something else to change.
Steven Moffat needs to move on and Doctor Who needs a new show runner.