This time next week, Matt Smith will no longer be the Doctor. It’s an event that all Whovians have been either dreading or counting down to ever since he announced he wasn’t coming back.
And as excited as we are that Peter Capaldi will be jumping on to usher in the Twelfth Doctor’s reign, I think it’s only fair to look at the good and bad things that happened while Eleven reigned supreme.
Spoiler Warning: Up to and including “The Day of the Doctor“
I could not be more pleased with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary episode. It may not have been perfect, but it certainly was one of the most entertaining episodes of Doctor Who that we’ve seen in a very, very long time.
Let’s talk about Matt Smith. Don’t you just love those words? In case you read this blog and you don’t know who Matt Smith is (in which case I’m very confused about who you are), he is the actor who plays The Eleventh Doctor in the long-running BBC scifi show Doctor Who. He’s quite talented, to say nothing of his boyish good looks and impeccable hair on camera (swoon!). He’s also recently filmed the last of the episodes in which he will play the Doctor. It is the end of an era, as he passes the torch he received from David Tennant to Peter Capaldi.
While you might know him primarily as the Doctor, the BAFTA award-winning Smith has also done a fair amount of stage-acting. 2005 saw him perform as the outspoken young student Lockwood in The History Boysat the Royal National Theatre. In 2007, Smith played Henry in the Polly Stenham play That Face(which is a must-see), and was nominated for an Olivier Award. As a matter of fact, Matt Smith will be leaving the silver screen, if only momentarily, to return to his theatre roots… as a sadistic serial murderer.
Smith will take up the role of Patrick Bateman, the titular antihero of the novel “American Psycho”, in Rupert Goold’s London production of an eponymous musical. Something about imagining Matt Smith sing his way through emotional manipulations and a series of violent murders is darkly comical, and exciting, though I’m not sure how else to feel about it. By the time the last episode featuring the Eleventh Doctor airs, Smith will be well into his melodic axe-murdering, as the official run lasts from December 12th to January 25th at the Almeida Theatre, with previews as early as December 3rd.
While I’m certain that Smith is the biggest name attached to this production, further reading of the billing will reveal some other familiar names, like Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, charged with transforming Ellis’s novel into a play. The author and playwright has turned his pen to Glee and the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, to say nothing of his extensive work at Marvel Comics on titles like Loki, Secret Invasion, Marvel Knights, Nightcrawler,and The Sensational Spider-Man. His plays have earned him GLAAD Media Award nominations, The Excellence in Playwriting Award from the New York International Fringe Festival, and a Harvey Award for Marvel Knights Four. The music for this “American Psycho” production was written by one Duncan Sheik, who also wrote music for the Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening.
The production will certainly not lack for talent, but I am left to wonder what tone this production will use to address the rather violent content of the novel, and how it will compare tothe 2000 film which starred Christian Bale. I predict that we’ll get our own opportunity to evaluate it. Should the musical be well-reviewed and well-received, surely having its viewership boosted by Smith’s popularity, it could soon make its way across the pond.
(WARNING: there will be some minor spoilers from Series 7, so if you still plan on catching up in the series, catch up and come back.)
So, I’ve already tackled how the Ninth Doctor was born into anger and depression stemming from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also discussed how, while some progress had been made, the Tenth Doctor was still horribly depressed because of how the Last Great Time War went and how he lost Rose Tyler and Martha Jones and Donna Noble. I covered how Ten tried to be the Time Lord Victorious but ended up falling into a deeper depression which ultimately led to an immense hesitation when Ten begun his regeneration.
But we’ve moved past that. And here comes the Eleventh Doctor. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, actor Matt Smith is the youngest actor to ever play the Doctor (Smith was 27 when he took up the sonic screwdriver, second to David Tennant at 34). And his Doctor shows that young bravado. Heck, one of his first actions post-regeneration is to drive a big red fire truck. What a punk kid. Surely, the Doctor is finally recovering from all the bad things that have happened to him since the end of the Last Great Time War?
Here it is, folks! I know you’re probably complaining already about the preponderance of Christmas music, Christmas decorations, and annoyingly Christmas-themed commercials on TV since it isn’t even Thanksgiving. Here’s something that, despite its Christmassy nature, will put you in the holly jolly spirit right away. Roll clip!
So what do you think? What’s up with Clara? I spotted Sontarans, and Madame Vastra! And does anyone else think Moffat’s been reading Calvin and Hobbes?
And if that just wasn’t enough for you, here’s a dramatic and tone-setting prequel clip as well:
So I have a vested interest in minority representation in Doctor Who. Anyone who’s read my S7 episode reviews knows that I’m annoyed at the lack of realistic LGBTQ characters. But I’m also concerned with the overwhelming whiteness of the show. I even have an essay being published in the Doctor Who and Race anthology about the lack of Asian characters in Doctor Who. (It’s coming out next year for anyone who’s interested.) We’ve been going through the editorial process pretty constantly over the past few months, and so the issue is even more at the forefront of my mind then it usually is.
So what was it about “TATM” that made history? Well, Doctor Who has a history of avoiding Asian locations, characters, and storylines. The only time in new Who that we’ve seen a character in Asia is when the entire Chinese army becomes the Master in “The End of Time”. “The Angels Take Manhattan” marks the first time where the Doctor is shown in China doing things.
So why did it suck?
Well, first of all, it wasn’t a part of the storyline but rather a stopping point so that the Doctor could drop a note to River on a Qin dynasty vase. It was actually so brief that I couldn’t find an image of it on Google—I had to screencap this myself.
Second of all, the characters are not agents, they’re objects. They exist in the show so the Doctor can pop in and manipulate things as he sees fit and leave. You could switch out the vase from China with an artifact from any other culture and nothing about that scene would have changed. It’s not like they played an important role.
This is just another fail in a long line of fail on Moffat’s part this season. Here, have a cissexist joke about a trans* horse! Trans* inclusion! Amy’s a bridesmaid in an off-screen gay wedding mentioned in a throwaway line! Queer inclusion! Ancient China is onscreen for less than a minute! POC inclusion!
This is not okay, Doctor Who. This is not real diversity. Step up and do something that actually makes a difference.
We’re finally closing in on the premiere of Series 7, with around a month left to go! (Although the BBC still hasn’t released an actual premiere date, so I suppose we’re just shooting in the dark?) What I assume is the final trailer before that happens has hit the web, and it contains some exciting stuff that can’t wait for next Tuesday.
This exciting stuff includes: one zillion Daleks, baby Weeping Angels, Ponds, the Doctor angsting about his past, the Doctor angsting about being a badass, River in a cool hat, and DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP. And from what I can tell between the trailer and the episode titles that have been released so far, that’s only in the first four or five episodes!
The BBC’s website didn’t have an embed link, so check it out here!
So I far too often find myself in the quandary of trying to explain all of Matt Smith’s plot to my friends. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but it can take a while. Ask my bff Nakura, to whom I once regaled an entire hour’s worth of info over crepes. Little did I know I could just as easily give them this:
(I tried really hard to embed this, but it will only show the link. Rawr).
This is sadly not a real game, just a clever animation by the folks at CollegeHumor. But BBC take note: I would play this game. I would play the shit out of this game, and I never play video games.
But anyway, watch and enjoy (or despair?) as Eleven’s shenanigans are summarized far better than you could hope to do, and in a format you wish you could play. What other shows would you kill to see an RPG for?
You guys, this is just not fair. We are given this awesome, creepy, funny, -dare I say- cool trailer, and there are still like six months before we get to actually watch this season.
Down to the nitty gritty: A close watching of the trailer reveals cyborgs, stetsons, Egyptians, explosions, swords, guns, a guy who looks vaguely like Mickey Smith but couldn’t possibly be, and, of course, Eleven being clever and snarky all over the damn place.
As an aside, though: how will Amy and Rory rejoin Team TARDIS? Why do they have to? I know Moffat has tweeted that they will be gone for finally in a Weeping Angel storyline in episode 5, but I was honestly happy with the way they went out last season. Oh well.
Anyway, get excited, Whovians! Our first glimpse of the 50th Anniversary series has arrived!
I had a lot of difficulty pulling a 1-through-10 hierarchy out of these episodes, so I caved and ended up just listing them in the order they aired.
Although I’m partial to Ten and Rose, I tried to give an equal share to all the Doctors and companions, but your mileage may vary as to whether I succeeded. (I did crack at the last minute and replace The Girl Who Waited with The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, though.)
As a lot of the best scenes from these come from the end of episodes, and a lot of the episodes come from the end of series, it goes without saying that SPOILERS, SWEETIE.
So here they are, as my wedding present to River Song (sort of a shitty present, as none of the episodes contain her, but you’ll have that): the Top Ten Doctor Who episodes!
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
Plot: Rose and the Doctor visit Blitz-era London and combat a mysterious and highly contagious disease.
Reasons I love it: It introduces Captain Jack Harkness, the world’s most interesting omnisexual Time Agent. It maintains a steady level of terror throughout (the titular Empty Child is actually quite terrifying). The flirty tension between Jack, Rose, and the Doctor and the hilarious metaphorical dick-measuring contest between the two men are awesome.
[Captain Jack has just greeted the Doctor as “Mr. Spock”]
The Doctor: Mister Spock?
Rose Tyler: What was I supposed to say? You don’t have a name! Don’t you ever get tired of “Doctor”? Doctor Who?
The Doctor: Nine centuries in, I’m coping.
Best scene: (best part starts at 5:40)
Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
Plot: The Doctor, Rose, and Jack find themselves separated and trapped on Satellite Five, and facing an innumerable army of Daleks.
Reasons I love it: I love the Daleks as villains, first of all. They’re fun to hate and easy to make fun of. Outside of that, this first series finale marks Rose being even more badass than usual, an awesomely corny climactic kiss, and makes Jack Harkness immortal. Oh, and it makes me want to scribble ‘BAD WOLF’ on every surface I encounter.
Captain Jack: Rose, you are worth fighting for.
[Jack kisses Rose passionately]
Captain Jack: Wish I’d never met you, Doctor, I was much better off as a coward.
[Jack kisses the Doctor the same way]
The Girl in the Fireplace
Plot: Rose, Mickey, and the Doctor explore an abandoned spaceship filled with time windows that open of different moments in the life of Madame du Pompadour.
Reasons I love it: First of all, crazy steampunk robots. Also, the Doctor owns a horse. (or at least attempts to.) But for realsies, Reinette is one of those thoughtful people who can see right through the Doctor and is just strong, intelligent, and understanding in general. There’s something really compelling about following Reinette through her whole life in only forty minutes of episode, which, now that I think on it, might be a bigger metaphor for the Doctor’s time with all his companions.
[the Doctor enters, singing “I Could Have Danced All Night”, seemingly drunk]
Rose Tyler: Oh, look what the cat dragged in, the Oncoming Storm.
The Doctor: Oh, you sound just like your mother.
Rose Tyler: What have you been doing, where’ve you been?
The Doctor: Well, among other things, I *think* I just invented the banana daiquiri a couple of centuries early. Do you know they’d never seen a banana before? Always take a banana to a party, Rose, bananas are good.
The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
Plot: The TARDIS lands in a base stationed on a planet that is orbiting a black hole. As this is scientifically not okay even a little bit, the Doctor decides to investigate, accidentally leading himself and Rose into one of their most dangerous adventures yet.
Reasons I love it: I watched this episode the first time during a one-person all-nighter marathon viewing, and it actually left me physically shaking, it was so intense. I’d rate this episode easily scarier than Blink for two reasons: One, the people in danger are not new characters but the Doctor and Rose themselves, and two, they’re up against freaking SATAN.
The Ood: The Beast and his armies will rise from the pit to make war against God.
Rose: I’m sorry?
The Ood: [whacks communication sphere] Apologies. I said: I hope you enjoy your meal.
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
Plot: An impossible victory against an army of millions of Cybermen and Daleks leads to the Doctor and Rose being irreparably separated.
Reasons I love it: This one’s more of a love to hate. I knew something like this was coming since Rose and Ten had enough UST at this point that they were either gonna act on it or Rose was going to die. The whole first episode builds this sense of growing horror and just sets you on edge for the whole time. It was heartbreaking and final but so well done and I wept inconsolably for literally an hour when it was over.
Rose: Planet Earth. This is where I was born. And this is where I died. For the first nineteen years of my life nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not ever. And then I met a man called The Doctor. A man who could change his face. And he took me away from home in his magical machine. He showed me the whole of time and space. I thought it would never end. That’s what I thought. But then came the Army of Ghosts, then came Torchwood and the war. And that’s when it all ended. This is the story of how I died.
Best scene: (yes, the depressing one on the beach 😛 I put on my big girl panties and watched it again)
Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Plot: The Doctor becomes human to hide from a group of unstoppable hunters and finds that he could make a happy life for himself, but when the hunters find him he must weigh his happiness against the lives of those he loves.
Reasons I love it: This episode deals really well with the dark side of the Doctor, both his weaknesses and his cruelty. River says that the Doctor has never fallen as far as he did at Demon’s Run. I say River obviously never watched this episode.
Tim Latimer: Because I was so scared… of the Doctor.
Joan Redfern: Why?
Tim Latimer: Because I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night, and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever… He burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the universe… And… he’s wonderful.
Plot: The Doctor and Martha are trapped in the 70s by the Weeping Angels, a unique scavenger race; in the present day, a young woman must piece together clues to save him.
Reasons I love it: The Weeping Angels are one of the best villains/monsters introduced in the series, in my opinion – a really clever and interesting bunch. The time streams in this episode are so crossed that it’s really exciting at the end when everything falls together. (Although, to be honest, although I do love this episode and the Angels , this is not my favorite by far. If I was prioritizing this list this would probably be near the bottom, famous or not.)
Great quote: The ever-excellent:
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly, wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End
Plot: The hints that have been dropped throughout the series come together into a huge final showdown: the Tenth Doctor and all his companions and several other familiar faces versus Davros and the Dalek fleet.
Captain Jack Harkness: [on realizing that there are technically three versions of the Doctor – the original, the clone and the Doctor/Donna combination] I can’t tell you what I’m thinking right now!
[Oh Jack. We all know what you are thinking, and it is sexy indeed.]
Best scene: (I couldn’t find the best scene on youtube or the BBC, and the runner up won’t embed. Check it out here.)
Vincent and the Doctor
Plot: After noticing something odd in one of his paintings, Amy and the Doctor travel back to meet Vincent van Gogh and battle aliens.
Reasons I love it: Deals maturely with issues of depression and suicide, casting van Gogh as a sympathetic figure. Also, British people apparently say van Goff instead of van Go.
Vincent Van Gogh: It seems to me there’s so much more to the world then the average eye is allowed to see. I believe, if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe then you could ever have dreamt of.
The Doctor: You don’t have to tell me.
Best scene: Features a bit of time-stream meddling, but whatevs.
Plot: The TARDIS’ consciousness matrix is trapped temporarily inside a human woman’s body, while a metaphysical entity kidnaps the blue box with Rory and Amy still inside.
Reasons I love it: This episode is just enormously heartwarming. It’s lovely to have the TARDIS anthropomorphized and to hear her side of the story of her and the Doctor’s journey. The villain in this episode provides some ultra-creepy mind-fuckery for Rory and Amy while they try to help mend things.
Doctor: “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.”
TARDIS: “No, but I always took you where you needed to go!”