Doctor Who: Into the Dalek First Impressions

To quote Madam Vastra “Well, here we go again.”

  • I don’t like the new version of the theme.  The opening sequence isn’t bad, but the theme just isn’t working for me.
  • Capaldi is growing on me.  Slowly but surely he’s really starting to fill out the role nicely.
  • A Fantastic Voyage reference, a Sherlock Holmes reference, and a Star Trek reference, all in the same episode.  Truly, the nerd is strong with this one.
  • Danny Pink is adorably awkward, I approve.  Also, it will be interesting to see how he and the Doctor react to one another.
  • Is the Doctor a good man?  More on this later.
  • Clara is the Doctor’s carer.  This is something that has come up before with other companions, and I like that it’s come up again.
  • Is the Doctor giving odd nicknames to enemies that he’s using for other purposes a thing now?  If it is, I kind of like it.
  • Concerning not killing the Doctor before he can save you: Oh, Clara.  Honey, that’s as old as the Doctor himself.
  • Clara slaps the Doctor.  Honestly, I’ve been waiting for someone to do that.  He really does seem to need a good whack upside the head.  I mean I know he’s just regenerated, but he really does seem to be forgetting who he really is.
  • Gretchen Alyson Carlyle.  Remember that name, ’cause she was one badass lady.
  • And Missy once again.  Still not sure what her deal is, but it can’t be anything good.
  • The second I saw the Doctor giving Rusty a peak into his mind, I had a feeling it would backfire.  And I was right.
  • The theme of goodness comes up a lot in this episode; is the Doctor a good man?  Can there really be a good Dalek?  In the end, it depends on whether or not you’re willing to work towards being good, no matter how bad you’ve been.
  • And we get a nice callback to the episode “Dalek”.  When it happened I literally said “There it is again!” out loud.  I really do think that the Doctor “making a good Dalek” is something that needs to come up to remind the Doctor that there’s still a lot of anger that he needs to deal with.
  • Would Journey have made a good companion?  Maybe, but I don’t think that the Doctor is ready to deal with all the stuff that she would bring up for him just yet.
  • And to answer the question of whether or not the Doctor is a good man, I’ll just reiterate what Clara said; he tries to be, and that’s the whole point.  He’s not perfect, he doesn’t always do the right thing for the right reason, but he tries and that’s the important part.

So that’s episode 2 in the can.  What did I think overall?  Not bad, better than the last episode in my opinion.  Looking forward to the Doctor meeting Robin Hood, that should be really interesting.


Netflix Picks: *Sniffle* *Cough*

Ok, so I’ve been sick for the past couple of days.  And consequently, I haven’t wanted to move much from the couch.  So what does one do when you’re in misery and just want something mindless to watch?  Well, I can tell you what I do; I watch Godzilla movies.

I generally prefer the older ones, but I will watch something from the Millennium series if that’s all that’s available.  These movies are a bit like comfort food for me.  I have fond memories of watching marathons of them with my mom on weekends and riffing them a little.  I’m generally not paying much attention to the plot, I’m in it for the monster fights.  And the toy tanks that they use to attack the guys in rubber suits.

Some of my favorites include, pretty much anything involving Ghidorah (or King Ghidorah), Mothra works too, Godzilla vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) is fun; if utterly ridiculous.  There’s quite a few on Netflix, mostly from the Showa Era, but you can find a few on Hulu as well including the aforementioned Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster; and Crackle has some as well, mostly the Millennium stuff.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go crawl under a blanket and watch some guys in rubber suits beat each other silly.

Doctor Who: Deep Breath First Impressions

Mmkay, I’m not sure that I can form a lot of coherent thoughts about Deep Breath right now; but I’m gonna try.  Spoiler warning.

  • Capaldi:  Capaldi is good.  I think it’s going to take me some time to get used to him though.
  • Concerning Moffat’s writing: He could really use a female editor to go over this stuff for him.
  • Clara: I can’t be the only one who hated when the Doctor ran off without her, he doesn’t do that!  Ever!
  • More Clara: On the other hand, Clara was pretty awesome for someone who was scared out of their mind.
  • The Paternoster Gang: Pretty awesome as usual, but see my previous comment about Moffat’s writing.
  • The Marie Antoinette: I’m betting Madame de Pompadour would be pretty pissed that the Doctor doesn’t remember her.
  • Did he jump, or was he pushed: I kind of hate the idea that the Doctor would either straight up kill another sentient being (no matter how much of them is organic), or talking the same being into suicide.
  • The Last of the Eleventh: This I did like.  It was Moffat talking to the fans.  He does want us to keep watching, and he wants us to root for this new Doctor; but I would really like it if he softened the Twelfth up a bit.
  • Missy: Not sure what to make of her yet, but part of me really wants her to be the Rani.

Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic.  We’ll have to see how everything plays out, but I’m willing to give Moffat and the new Doctor the benefit of the doubt.


Edit: After thinking about it for a while, I’ve come to think that most of the problems I had with Deep Breath stem from Moffat’s writing.  Strangely enough, I think that Moffat’s problem is similar to RTD’s, in that he doesn’t have someone standing over his shoulder (so to speak) telling him to tone it down.

Also, Missy.  I was listening to Diamanda Hagen’s podcast on the subject, and she said that Missy might be short for Mistress, which is the female version of Master.  As in Master, The.  It’s an interesting theory, and it works well given what we’ve seen of Missy’s behavior and what we know of the Master’s.

Netflix Picks: Speaking of Doctors…

Fair warning, with the series 8 premier on Saturday, I’m going to be focusing on Doctor Who for the next couple of days.  Starting with today’s Netflix Pick.

If you’re new to the series, you probably haven’t seen much of the classic series that aired from 1963 to 1989.  And it’s high time you changed that.  Now, Netflix doesn’t have a lot of the classic series episodes (Hulu has a whole bunch more, but most of them are under Hulu’s premium service.) But they do have some classics like City of Death, and today’s Pick The Mind Robber.

The Mind Robber is a trippy piece of work.  It starts with the Crew of the Tardis landing in the middle of a big white void, and it only gets weirder from there, especially when fictional characters like Rapunzel and Gulliver from Gulliver’s Travels start showing up and helping the crew out.  Eventually the Crew finds their way to the Master of the Land (as opposed to The Master) who controls all the strange goings on in the Land of Fiction.  This particular master wants The Doctor to take over the control of the Land of Fiction as he’s getting old.  I won’t spoil how the Doctor gets out of this one, because it’s arguably the best (and in some ways the silliest) part of the episode.

Like I said, this one’s a bit trippy.  There’s a whole surrealist feel to the episode that works really well in context.  Random castles, clockwork soldiers, it kind of feels like the Tardis crew have fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland, a really dangerous Wonderland at that.  There’s also a lot of humor in this episode, which also works well with the surreal setting.  Now, the acting is a tad stilted, but that’s normal for an early TV show like this.  But the writing does make up for that on the whole.

There are a few things to be aware of; first of all, this is old TV.  Early Who and other shows like it had miniscule budgets to work with, and the effects technology of the time was extremely limited.  That said, the effects do have a certain charm to them.  At least, I think they do.  The other thing to be aware of is that while I call this a single episode (and it is, in terms of the show) it’s really more of a short serial.  There’s four episodes in all, and they clock in at about twenty minutes each.  So again, not a big time investment.  But the parts of the serial were meant to be watched with a week in between each part, which makes binge watching a bit of a trial at times.  Especially when there’s a long recap of what happened at the end of the last part at the beginning of the next one.  But if you can look past those slight faults, this particular episode is a lot of fun; and well worth watching for anyone who’s looking to watch some Classic Who.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Netflix Picks: In Revolutionary Russia, Young Doctor is Clueless

I think it’s about time I explained how I pick what I’m going to review for this series.  I go onto Netflix, have a quick look around, and pick the first thing that looks interesting that I haven’t seen yet.  Which brings us to today’s pick, A Young Doctor’s Notebook.  I had already heard of this British mini-series thanks to the cable channel Ovation, but I’d never gotten the chance to watch it until now.

The show stars Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Freakin’ Potter) as the titular Young Doctor, and John Hamm (of Mad Men fame) as the older version of the young doctor.  The show is set in early twentieth century Russia, it actually splits it’s time between 1917 and 1934, in a hospital in a remote village.  A trip to the local shop will take half a day to get there, and half a day to get back, and the shop doesn’t open until August.  That’s how remote this place is.

Even though it’s called A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the story really centers around how the young doctor becomes the older one.  Most of the action takes place in the older doctor’s memories of what happened.  He then injects himself into those memories, giving his younger self the advice and encouragement that he wishes someone had given him at the time.  Before he became the man who’s being questioned about forged prescriptions.

The writing in this mini-series is pretty strong, essentially, this is a comedy; but a comedy of a pretty dark kind.  The characters have a quirky, but dark tone to them that works well in the Russian setting.  Speaking of the characters, the acting is well done.  Hamm and Radcliffe do well, as expected, and the supporting cast works hard to bring life to what might well be one note characters.

If you like black comedies, or just want to see how well Daniel Radcliffe has been doing since Harry Potter, I can definitely recommend giving this one a watch.  There’s two seasons, split up into four episodes each.  And each episode is only about twenty-three minutes in length, so this one isn’t going to require a big time investment.

Overall rating: 7/10