Tag: matt smith

REVIEW: Doctor Who And “The Doctor’s Wife”

HADS (HOSTILE ACTION DISPLACEMENT SYSTEM) WARNING: While great care has been taken to avoid huge plot points and major spoilers there are still story details that are discussed below. If you have not seen this event yet and wish to remain spoiler-free, then this article may not be your cup of tea. You have been warned, proceed at your own risk, tip your waitress, free TARDIS valet parking.

TARDIS SCANNERWhat Happened?
A Time Lord hypercube arrives at the TARDIS with a distress call from an old friend of the Doctor’s, the Corsair. The call is traced back to a small planet in a pocket universe. Upon arrival, the TARDIS loses all power and the crew meets a strange group, Uncle, Auntie, Nephew (an Ood) and Idris, all patchwork people living in a huge junkyard. The planetoid turns out to be sentient and has a long habit of luring Time Lords to its little universe in order to eat their TARDISes and use their body parts to fix the few people living there. House traps the TARDIS’ matrix in Idris’ body, locks out the Doctor and takes off to what it thinks is a universe full of tasty TARDISes.

Rory and Amy, trapped in the possessed TARDIS manage to avoid instant death from House by convincing it that they should be killed slowly instead, as a form of amusement. This results in a lack of dead companions and also buys time for the Doctor and Idiris to mount a rescue. The Time Lord and his TARDIS manage to build another console from the remains of the slain TARDISes and enact a sort of revenge on House before Idris’ body fails and dies, removing the temporary ability to talk directly to the TARDIS. The old girl manages to speak a final line to Rory with a message of the future and does finally get to say hello to the Doctor and tell him she loves him before once again becoming the ghost in the machine.

PERCEPTION FILTERAnalysis
This is Neil Gaiman’s love letter to a nearly fifty year old show and may just possibly be the best written episode of Doctor Who ever. Imagine, if you will, taking the biggest fan of Doctor Who and combining him with the greatest fantasy novelist of our generation and you get Neil Gaiman’s episode. We finally, unequivocally, get to hear the TARDIS’ side of things, not only in the way she is treated, but what happened when she and the Doctor left Gallifrey for the first time. And there are all kinds of fantastic nods to the original series, from the TARDIS/Idris calling herself a Type 40 model to the hypercube.

Then there was the look at more of the TARDIS interior, finally! I dig the new style corridors and it was fun getting to once again see the previous console room, initially created for Christopher Eccleston and later used by David Tennant. I only wish they had recreated one of the console room designs from even further back. Given how spacious the console rooms of the new series have been, it would have been interesting to see Amy and Rory comment on how small, say, the fifth Doctor’s console room was. Still, that would probably be a little too fannish, even for Steven Moffat.

This was a magical episode all around and I think the only thing I could have wished for would have been for it to be two parts instead of one. And for Idris to have stayed around as a way to talk directly to the TARDIS, a companion to the TARDIS instead of the Doctor for once. But, yes, possibly the best written episode ever and certainly instantly one of my all-time favorites. Now I start wishing for Gaiman to become script editor to Moffat’s producer, which would make them a Doctor Who creative team on par with Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks or Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes. At the very least, we need another episode from Gaiman for the series fiftieth anniversary in a couple of years.

TARDIS INDEX FILEThings of Significance
We see a graveyard of TARDISes.

The Doctor and his TARDIS get to directly express their feelings about each other.

We learn a little bit more about how the Doctor left Gallifrey all those years ago.

The Doctor has no problem with the TARDIS basically killing House. Granted, House was more or less pure evil, but the look on the Doctor’s face when he encourages the matrix to wipe him out was…scary.

CHAMELEON CIRCUITUnanswered Questions
Could any Time Lords still exist elsewhere in the pocket universe, or is House the only thing that exists there?

Are there any more hypercubes out there?

How old was the TARDIS when she stole the Doctor?

Will the Doctor’s relationship with his TARDIS change after the events of this episode?

What is the significance of “The only water in the forest is a river?”

TRANSLATION CIRCUITAnswered Questions
Time Lords can change genders when regenerating.

Not all Time Lords were wiped out in the Time War, although they didn’t exactly live, either.

The TARDIS stole the Doctor.

The Doctor and his TARDIS left Gallifrey around 700 years ago, along his timeline.

The Doctor and the Master aren’t the only Time Lords to pick flamboyant names (the Rani and Romana are not flamboyant!).

TIME-SPACE VISUALIZER


“THE REBEL FLESH”

A solar tsunami sends the TARDIS hurtling towards a futuristic factory on Earth, where human doppelgangers are used to mine dangerous acid. A second wave hits and the “Gangers” separate. They can remember every second of their “original’s” life and feel every emotion they’ve ever experienced. But are these memories stolen or have they been bequeathed? Are the Gangers merely faulty machinery that must be shut down or are they living, breathing, sentient beings? Can the Doctor convince the terrified humans to accept these “almost people” and prevent an all-out civil war before the factory explodes? “The Rebel Flesh” airs at 6:45 PM BST on BBC One and 9:00 PM EDT/PDT on BBC America.

REVIEW: Doctor Who And “The Curse Of The Black Spot”

HADS (HOSTILE ACTION DISPLACEMENT SYSTEM) WARNING: While great care has been taken to avoid huge plot points and major spoilers there are still story details that are discussed below. If you have not seen this event yet and wish to remain spoiler-free, then this article may not be your cup of tea. You have been warned, proceed at your own risk, tip your waitress, free TARDIS valet parking.

TARDIS SCANNERWhat Happened?
It’s the 17th century and there is a siren picking off wounded pirates from Captain Avery’s ship. Of course, the Doctor, Amy and Rory happen along and, of course, all is not as it seems. Should any of the crew become injured in any way, a beautiful siren, complete with lilting singsong, rises from the depths to dipatch the poor soul. As would happen, Rory becomes injured soon after arrival and his friends and, reluctantly, the pirates attempt to help him avoid his fate. Eventually, the Doctor and the Captain figure out how the Siren is infiltrating the ship. After the Captain’s stowaway son and a drowning Rory are taken by the “stroppy, homicidal mermaid”, the real story is discovered as the group discovers the ship within a ship and the true fates of the Siren’s victims. One it is all sussed out, the Doctor and companions head back into time and the Captain and crew head out into space!

PERCEPTION FILTERAnalysis
There is no timey-wimey involvement this week, but a bit of multidimensional starship action and this also happens to be one of the rare Doctor Who episodes where no one dies. It begins with a sort-of tribute tribute to Pirates of the Caribbean and ends with a sort-of tribute to Blake’s 7, two things that are perhaps not too dissimilar, when you think about it. Add to that a nice little twist on Star Trek: Voyager‘s EMH and you have a very enjoyable episode of Doctor Who.

This episode is more or less a standalone story, apart from Amy’s odd sighting of the eyepatched lady and the reminder of her weird pregnancy/non-pregnancy. It’s adventurous with a fair amount of humorous bits and good level of menace and danger. In short, it harkens back to the Doctor Who days of yore, where everything wasn’t tightly interconnected. This was a refreshing and welcome change from the season openers’ menace and seriousness and I’m ready for a few more episodes like this. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly love the interconnectedness and ongoing, serialized plots of new Doctor Who, but also long for more of the “adventures through time and space” of the original series. At least with this year’s first three episodes, I’ve had a piece of cake and have eaten it, too.

My only gripe is with the near-death of Rory and the way in which he was ultimately saved. While I appreciate the dramatics of it all and, maybe, the necessity in strengthening the relationship between the Ponds, are we really expected to believe that the TARDIS doesn’t have some sort of state-of-the-art medical bay or even and advanced emergency medical kit handy in the console room? I know a sickbay was seen in The Invasion of Time, possibly other times as well and there has been mention of a medical kit in Shada, at least, if not on a few other occasions. Anyway, we’ll leave this to the need for dramatics and move on, shall we?

TARDIS INDEX FILEThings of Significance
This week is rather lite on significant happenings, apart from Amy seeing the lady with the cybernetic eyepatch (which seems fitting in a story full of pirates) and a reminder of the fluctuating state of her possible pregnancy.

Oh, we did hear the TARDIS’ Cloister Bell (signifying extreme emergency) for the sixth time since the show’s return, seven if you count the first Children in Need mini-episode. That’s nearly twice as many times as we heard it in the original series, for those playing at home.

CHAMELEON CIRCUITUnanswered Questions
Where are Captain Avery and his crew heading in the spaceship?

See last week’s unanswered questions as they are all still hanging about, er, unanswered.

TRANSLATION CIRCUITAnswered Questions
No questions of significance are answered this week (see above about this being a standalone adventure).

TIME-SPACE VISUALIZER


“THE DOCTOR’S WIFE”

The Doctor (MATT SMITH) receives a distress signal from an old friend. Could there really be another living Time Lord out there? Hopes raised, he follows the signal to a junkyard planet sitting upon a mysterious asteroid in a Bubble universe, populated by a very strange family. The Doctor, Amy (KAREN GILLAN) and Rory (ARTHUR DARVILL) are given the warmest of welcomes by Auntie (ELIZABETH BERRINGTON), Uncle (ADRIAN SCHILLER) and Nephew (PAUL KASEY). But the beautiful and insane Idris (SURANNE JONES) greets them in a more unusual fashion – what is she trying to tell the Doctor? As the Doctor investigates, he unwittingly puts his friends in the gravest danger.

REVIEW: Doctor Who And The “Day Of The Moon”

HADS (HOSTILE ACTION DISPLACEMENT SYSTEM) WARNING: While great care has been taken to avoid huge plot points and major spoilers there are still story details that are discussed below. If you have not seen this event yet and wish to remain spoiler-free, then this article may not be your cup of tea. You have been warned, proceed at your own risk, tip your waitress, free TARDIS valet parking.

TARDIS SCANNERWhat Happened?
Three months after the previous episode the Doctor is a prisoner at Area 51. Amy, River and Rory are being ruthlessly hunted down by Canton Delaware III, with Amy and Rory being shot in Utah and River leaping off a skyscraper in New York. The Doctor is being imprisoned inside a room constructed of bricks made from zero-balanced dwarf star alloy, a perfect prisoner. Canton brings the bodies of Amy and Rory to the Doctor’s prison and then seals them all inside. Cue the credits and then the fun begins. OK, there is a bit of timely resurrections, a secret alliance and a rescue with a swimming pool, but that all still happens before the theme tune. And yes, it is all that awesome.

What follows is a rousing action/adventure story that veers into the realm of uber-creepy and stays there for most of the episode. There is also perhaps the Doctor’s most brilliant plan ever to drive off an occupying group of aliens and ensure they never ever return to Earth. Really, it is about nine kinds of brilliant all rolled into one. Oh, and there is the final, definitive answer as to who Amy’s true love is and it’s particularly awesome. Then there is the the final scene which is particularly mind-blowing and could imply all sorts of things. Hang on to your brains, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride for the next five weeks.

PERCEPTION FILTERAnalysis
I thought The Impossible Astronaut was a real brain twister, but this one tops that and then some. There are a couple of odd things that happen that are completely unrelated to the central plot and very much serve to keep you invested in what happens for the rest of this series. I love how Steven Moffat can give us a very satisfying ending to an episode and then go on to make your jaw meet the floor. The lady with the eyepatch talking about someone dreaming and the little girl regenerating at the very end have already lit up the Who message boards with speculation that threatens to run rampant. The fun bit is that no matter how elaborate and amazing sounding the theories get, I’m guessing that Moffat’s ultimate solution leaves all of those in the dust.

Two things I want to say right now – First, make Canton Delaware III a full-time companion right the hell now. Mark Sheppard is awesome and his magnificent portrayal of Canton deserves to be on TV each week. Second, please find a way to have River Song show up more often. The chemistry between Alex Kingston and Matt Smith is a joy. I absolutely love the way that River can seemingly infuriate the Doctor, yet also make him seem so happy at the same time. Kingston and Smith have a physical and verbal ballet in this episode that is the stuff television awards wins are made of. I’m already looking forward to River’s return later this year.

So, are the Silents gone? If so, who appropriates their spacesuit exoskeleton to do the bad, bad thing in last weeks episode? And where did the dire graffiti in the orphanage come from? I had thought Dr. Renfrew was responsible, but the more I think about, I’m not so sure. I think perhaps more pieces will start to fall into place depending on the clue and/or continuing theme we get next week. And speaking of next week: Pirates!

TARDIS INDEX FILEThings of Significance
River returns to the Stormcage rather than have the Doctor take her any place else. I find that interesting.

There is a surprise regeneration.

Both the TARDIS and Amy seem to be unsure as to whether or not the latter is pregnant.

There is a reference that someone, a she, is dreaming. There may be other clues.

The Doctor is at least partially responsible for Nixon’s continued use of a tape recorder in the Oval Office, which contributed to his eventual downfall.

CHAMELEON CIRCUITUnanswered Questions
Is Amy pregnant or not?

Where in River Song’s timeline does this occur?

Does Canton get married and are he and his husband still together in 2011?

Is the little girl at the end a Time Lord? Was the end of the regeneration not shown because she gains a familiar face?

Why did the Silents need an automated spacesuit and why did they need a little girl in it?

Who was the woman with the cyborg eye who appeared in the slat in the door that turned out not to really be there?

How does the spacesuit get reactivated and wind up in Utah to kill the Doctor and who is in it?

Can the death of the 1103 year old Doctor be avoided?

How, exactly, did the time engine get from this episode to the non-existent flat above Craig Owens in last year’s The Lodger?

TRANSLATION CIRCUITAnswered Questions
Now we know where the time engine above Craig Owens’ flat came from (but see above).

We now know that Rory “sometimes” remembers being a plastic Roman soldier guarding the Pandorica for 2000 years.

Canton Everett Delaware III is more progressive and much cooler than we initially realized.

We now know why President Nixon had a tape recording system in the Oval Office and why he continued to use it after the events of this episode.

TIME-SPACE VISUALIZER


“THE CURSE OF THE BLACK SPOT”

The TARDIS is marooned on onboard a 17th-century pirate ship whose crew is being attacked by a mysterious and beautiful sea creature. Becalmed and beset by cabin fever, the pirates have numerous superstitious explanations for the Siren’s appearance. The Doctor has other ideas but, as his theories are disproved and every plan of escape is thwarted, he must work to win the trust of the implacable Captain Avery and uncover the truth behind the pirates’ supernatural fears – and he must work quickly, for some of his friends have already fallen under the Siren’s spell…”The Curse of the Black Spot” airs May 7 at 6:15 PM BST on BBC One in the United Kingdom, 8:00 PM E/P on SPACE, 9:00 PM EDT/PDT on BBC America and May 14 at 7:30 PM on ABC1.

REVIEW: Doctor Who And “The Impossible Astronaut”

HADS (HOSTILE ACTION DISPLACEMENT SYSTEM) WARNING: While great care has been taken to avoid huge plot points and major spoilers there are still story details that are discussed below. If you have not seen this event yet and wish to remain spoiler-free, then this article may not be your cup of tea. You have been warned, proceed at your own risk, tip your waitress, free TARDIS valet parking.

TARDIS SCANNERWhat Happened?
Rory and Amy have been living a happily married life on present day Earth for two months while the Doctor has been off being, as Amy says, deliberately silly in various moments in history in order to attract their attention. They receive a card in a TARDIS blue envelope containing a summons to a particular place at a specific date. The couple arrive in Utah to find the Doctor…and River Song, who was similarly summoned. The Doctor explains that he’s called them together for a specific purpose: a picnic. An old man interrupts the quartet and then…well, then something extraordinary happens that creates a certain urgency in the rest of the episode. Eventually, the quartet find themselves in the Oval Office of the White House in 1969 and embroiled in a quest to find a little girl who has been calling President Nixon, asking him for help.

Then, of course, there are these monsters that show up, just barely seen, that are lurking…I’m sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yes, there’s a little girl being menaced by a man in a spacesuit. There is a secret revealed, another secret that some of our main characters choose to keep, an impending death for a good man, two diaries, a gap of 195 years and the curious case of an ex-FBI agent that turns out to have a more pivotal role to play than initially thought. What about the monsters, you say? I don’t remember any monsters, and the rest of the episode really needs to be seen without me saying anymore.

PERCEPTION FILTERAnalysis
This is an excellent start to the new season. I don’t think there has ever been this big of an event to open a season of Doctor Who in a long while. I don’t see any way of positively resolving it without blatantly changing history, which we are repeatedly told can’t happen. Although, if that is true, why were the four letters sent to the persons they were sent to? Interestingly, this one event almost makes it so that the Doctor’s companions are now the central characters, rather than the Doctor himself.

Speaking of the companions, all three of them get to shine this episode. Rory, in particular, shows a huge range, but most importantly he has really come into his own with adventuring through time and space. Perhaps the most poignant moment is a conversation between River and Rory wherein the former confesses a fear of her future that we have already seen come to pass. One also wonders after the events of this episode why River would choose to leave the Doctor’s side. Despite the ending leading directly into next week’s episode, I don’t see everything necessarily being completely resolved and, if not, it’s a hell of thing to propel us through the subsequent eleven episodes.

Matt Smith is moving ever further towards the top of my list of favorite Doctors. He is amazing at projecting the wisdom of a centuries old Time Lord who has been knocking about time and space. It is easy to forget the age of the actor when all you can see is the character in his every performance. And then he breaks into a moment of divine silliness that reminds me why I love this show so much. He still reminds me the most of Patrick Troughton, but it would be a dishonor to pigeonhole his performance into that of any previous Doctor. Smith has resolutely made the role his own and I hope he will be on the show for several more years, if not 195.

“The Impossible Astronaut” is a decidedly darker episode than we’ve seen in a long time and it is quite possibly the creepiest ever. Moffat has a knack for inventing very unsettling baddies and the Silence make the Weeping Angels look not so bad now. I have some high hopes for what the ultimate purpose is revealed for these monsters, but I’m sure it will be much cooler than what I imagine. If only I had a TARDIS so that I could skip the interminable wait for next Saturday!

TARDIS INDEX FILEThings of Significance
First and foremost, the episode starts with this:

At about seven and a half minutes into the episode, something of huge significance happens, followed a few seconds later by something even more profound.

The statues on Easter Island get an offhanded explanation.

River confesses an intuitive certainty about her future that will make you want to rewatch “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” again.

CHAMELEON CIRCUITUnanswered Questions
Can time really be changed and how significantly?

Who is River Song?

If the Doctor isn’t completely sure on how to operate the TARDIS, how did he teach River to run the ship with such intricate detail?

Is the Doctor not aware of the risk to his timeline by what he does at the beginning of the episode?

What happened during the 195 year gap?

What does Amy’s revelation at the end mean for her and Rory’s longevity in the TARDIS?

Is the person in the space suit at the end of the episode the same person who was in it at the beginning?

How does Canton Delaware III know what to bring with him to Utah?

How long has the Silence been in the background and what are…I’m sorry, what was I saying again?

Shouldn’t there be a TARDIS unaccounted for?

Will we ever see Jim the fish?

TRANSLATION CIRCUITAnswered Questions
The time that the tenth Doctor spent traveling between parting ways with Donna and regenerating was not more than a year in his personal timeline.

The fez was perhaps not just of passing interest to the Doctor.

The Doctor once again has/will keep a diary.

TIME-SPACE VISUALIZER


“DAY OF THE MOON”

The Doctor is locked in the perfect prison. Amy, Rory and River Song are being hunted down across America by the FBI. With the help of new friend and FBI-insider, Canton Everett Delaware the Third, our heroes are reunited to share their discoveries, if not their memories. For the world is occupied by an alien force who control humanity through post-hypnotic suggestion and no one can be trusted. Aided by President Nixon and Neil Armstrong’s foot, the Doctor must mount a revolution to drive out the enemy and rescue the missing little girl. No-one knows why they took her. Or why they have kidnapped Amy Pond… “Day of the Moon” Airs Saturday, April 30 at 6:00 PM BST on BBC One and 9:00 PM EDT/PDT on BBC America.

Doctor Who Series 6: Arthur Darvill Speaks

ARTHUR DARVILL PLAYS RORY WILLIAMS
Arthur Darvill won over Doctor Who fans last year playing Amy Pond’s devoted boyfriend, Rory Williams. The pair are now enjoying life as newlyweds aboard the TARDIS and returning for his second season, Arthur reveals how his character has grown, what being married to the feisty companion is really like and how filming on a pirate ship made his childhood dreams come true.

SENSE OF ADVENTURE AWOKEN
Out of all the characters, Rory has perhaps been on the biggest journey since stepping into the TARDIS. “Last season I think Rory felt like he was on the outside looking into this world he was desperately trying to save Amy from,” admits Arthur. “But he’s very much inside that world now and married life has stopped him feeling so unworthy. He feels that he’s proved himself.”

Arthur believes that Rory’s new found confidence is all down to his exciting travels with the Doctor and Amy. “His sense of adventure has awoken,” reveals Arthur. “But he hasn’t become arrogant in any way, he’s just more comfortable.”

However, his new self-belief hasn’t helped him shake the nickname of “Mr. Pond”. “I think Amy will always wear the trousers in the relationship. As much as Rory has proved himself, it’s Amy after all, and I dare any man to be in charge of that relationship. She’s a firecracker,” laughs Arthur.

It’s obvious that three isn’t a crowd when it comes to life in the TARDIS, but how does Arthur find working with Matt and Karen?

“They’re brilliant, it’s lucky we all get on so well. The most fun I have is when all three of us are together; it’s a really good working relationship. It helps that we all came on board together because we’re growing as a unit and keeping each other on our toes.”

MORE NERVOUS MEETING WRITERS THAN ACTORS
Doctor Who is known for its fantastic guest stars and the new season is no exception, featuring the likes of Hugh Bonneville as a Pirate Captain and David Walliams as a mole-like alien. Alex Kingston also makes a welcome return for Arthur, “Alex is back, which makes the team feel complete. She’s just a dream to work with and is hilarious on set.” But Arthur isn’t daunted at the prospect of working with such household names. “Funnily enough I get more nervous meeting writers than actors,” he recalls. “Even more so with Neil Gaiman as he’s just brilliant.”

FILMING IN AMERICA
This year, the cast swapped Cardiff for Utah in the USA to film the epic opening two-parter set in the 1960s. “Filming in America was amazing, especially going to an area of America which I’ve seen in so many movies,” says Arthur.

Asked what his highlight of the season has been, Arthur excitedly reveals that it was filming on board a pirate ship for the third episode. “Going on a pirate ship was unbelievable; it felt like we were on a movie set.” But it wasn’t pirates that Arthur was worried about; instead it was clumsy Karen Gillan let loose with a sharp weapon. “Karen got to do a massive sword fight and I thought she was going to be a liability. Someone was going to have their eye out at the very least! But she was actually pretty good, I think she’d been practicing secretly,” confides Arthur.

THEY’RE TERRIFYING
It appears Amy’s swashbuckling skills could come in useful this season as Arthur hints that the monsters are scarier than ever before. “The ambition of the show has grown, there are a lot of surprises this year,” teases Arthur. “It’s not necessarily a big monster on the screen, but ideas that are presented in episodes one and two that keep building throughout the season.” One monster stands out in particular for him. “I think The Silence are really going to blow people’s socks off. They’re terrifying,” exclaims Arthur.

Rory and Amy may be settling into the routine of married life, but the honeymoon period definitely isn’t over for Arthur when it comes to the show. “Everyone cares so much about it, which is what makes coming to work such a joy every day,” says Arthur.