Doctor Who – The Pilot Review (or ‘The New Companion, The Token Monster and The Box Ticking Dalek’)

April 16, 2017

After almost a year and a half without regular episodes, Doctor Who is back.

And it’s a season I have mixed feelings over.

On the one hand, while I appreciate that he’s still capable of writing the occasional top episode, I’m glad that Steven Moffat is leaving, but on the other, I’m gutted that Peter Capaldi – for me the best actor to take the part – is also departing.

Some might say he hasn’t been given the best material to work with, which is arguably true, but I think a lot of very good episodes have been glossed over for people to make a generalised view that the show is not as good as it once was.

Less welcoming to new and casual viewers? Fair enough, but then that is apparently what the first episode of this new season aims to correct.

It’s a bit of a ‘soft reboot’.

It’s ‘The Pilot’

Doctor Who – The Pilot Review: What’s This One About?

The Doctor is working as a tenured lecturer at a university and has taken a shine to a girl who works in the canteen and attends his lectures.

Meanwhile the most powerful puddle in the universe lurks nearby.

Thoughts – Let’s Talk About Bill

The main thing to focus on in this story is the debut of the new companion, Bill Potts.

Unlike some, I won’t focus on her sexual orientation as it doesn’t matter either way to me. Much like the heavily debated gay kiss in Beauty and the Beast, I totally appreciate the significance of it, but I’m personally

Anyone concerned about a puddle being on the ground even though it hasn’t rained for a week has obviously never been to the Gallagher Retail Car Park in Dundee….

not bothered. If it makes a positive difference to some viewers, I’m all for it. If it makes a negative difference to others, then those people need to get a grip.

But regardless, her sexual orientation shouldn’t define her character, and I don’t think it does.

Personally, I thought the immediate establishment of her tutor/student relationship was well done as it set the tone quickly and efficiently.

On first impressions, Bill seems like a fun and quirky companion who is probably easier to relate to that the increasingly smug Clara. That’s a tick in the box for making things more welcoming.

So on the companion front, we’re off to an encouraging start.

The Story Itself

But what of the story beyond Bill?

It was fine…for what little else there was.

The ‘monster’ – because lets not forget that Doctor Who apparently has to have one of those – was good in theory, but was spectacularly underplayed.

Here’s an organism that can travel millions of years in an instant and is impervious to anything you could throw at it, and yet it offered no real threat and barely had any tension surrounding it.

That seemed like a missed opportunity.

But then I don’t think it was supposed to be anything more than a token alien to operate as a backdrop against the introduction of Bill.

Long term readers of the blog probably looked at this image and thought the tagline should be ‘Mon Then’, but it’s a picture of a Dalek and the Daleks can just fuck off.

Beyond that it served to set up the rest of the season rather than focus on being in the moment, and I guess that’s just the nature of the beast.

I enjoyed it, but it’s one of these stories where people will look back and say “Yeah, it was good for what it was”.

 

Random Observations

  • I thought about writing a dedicated section of this review to my dismay at the Daleks showing up for the sake of the BBC’s ongoing contract with the Terry Nation estate, but really, it doesn’t merit it. They obviously have to appear at some stage, and I’m glad that we’ve got over that hump already.
  • But if they appear again I won’t be happy.
  • There were other elements of ‘fanwankery’ such as the Movellans appearing with them, and the pictures of River Song and Susan, but I think we can forgive that.
  • I would be interested though if Susan manages to turn up at some stage. My only potential concern there is that Carole Ann Ford’s last proper acting role appears to be The Five Doctors. There’s just a chance she might be out of practice…
  • The overall highlight of the episode has to be Bill’s dialogue upon entering the TARDIS. That scene in general was well done, and it’s fun that they keep managing to find new and interesting reactions for people entering the TARDIS for the first time.
  • We’re not at ‘Strike Me Pink’ levels from Black Orchid yet then.
  • I also got a laugh from the line where she asks the Doctor if he knows much about science fiction.
  • While the water monster appears to be a slight ‘Best Of’ homage to Midnight and The Waters of Mars – and that’s great – I do feel that its realisation on-screen was a bit of a let down. I know the show doesn’t have the world’s largest effects budget, but that for me goes down as ‘Ropey CGI’.
  • I haven’t yet mentioned Peter Capaldi or Matt Lucas, but I don’t really feel I need to. Both were effortlessly top-notch, as usual.
  • I’m encouraged by the mystery of what’s in the vault, and though I don’t think we have to know what’s in there by next week, it would be nice of this didn’t remain a mystery until the cliffhanger of the penultimate episode.
  • Another element that was underplayed but that I thought was a nice touch was the pictures of Bill’s mum that the Doctor had taken for her.
  • The scene in the bathroom was mildly creepy. Perhaps it was Steven Moffat’s way of making children scared of having a shower.
  • Anyone overly concerned about a puddle on the ground even though it hasn’t rained for a week obviously hasn’t been to the Gallagher Retail Car Park in Dundee…
  • The one dialogue letdown was the “I’d leave it ten minutes if I were you” toilet humour. The show is better than that.
  • Perhaps its worth noting – as this might have been a problem with the episode rather than my lack of attention – that I actually couldn’t remember the name of the new companion at the start of this review. I’m not sure if it’s not mentioned enough or that the character’s name is far less memorable than the name of the actress playing her, but either way, I had to look it up.

Doctor Who – The Pilot Review: Final Thoughts

As stated above, this will come to be regarded as an inoffensive, perhaps even by-the-numbers companion introduction story.

It was fun and it did its job, but it was essentially a story about a new companion with a token monster and an even tokener (and I know that’s not a word) appearance by the Daleks thrown in for the sake of it.

Hopefully anyone who thought the show was too geeky and unwelcoming can come in and join the party now.

More Doctor Who Reviews

Remember that you can read a select amount of my Doctor Who reviews on this blog and all of them in my two ebooks, available here from Amazon.

 

 

 

 


TV – Pretty Little Liars Review

November 28, 2016

Today’s the day I finally get my life back.

Why? Because since September 9th, I’ve been on an epic viewing marathon of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix and I’ve finally finished it.pll-poster

That’s 150 episodes in under 12 weeks, and in that time almost every other TV show I watch has had to take a back seat.

Of course, that I’ve watched this show has raised a few eyebrows from friends, including comments like “Is there some kind of sexual reason for this?” and “I didn’t know you were a teenage girl”, but I’ve always enjoyed the sort of over-the-top teen dramas like The OC, One Tree Hill and Revenge and I thought this would be no different.

So now that I’m finished – or I should say up to date with the series as there are still ten final episodes left to air in the spring of 2017 – was it worth watching?

I’d say yes.

Pretty Little Liars – a teen mystery show about cyber-bullying – is often frustrating and usually ludicrous but it is enjoyable. The characters are typically over the top, they make incredibly daft decisions – basically we could have saved ourselves 150 episodes if they just went to the police or confided in their parents – and they are almost all played by actors much older than the age they are supposed to be. Oh, and they are of course hugely talented whilst at school and amazingly successful after it, but that’s par for the course in shows like these.

As for the story? It’s six and a half seasons of bait and switch over who the mysterious ‘A’ is. You’d have thought that it should have been revealed sooner, but I guess if a show is successful then they have to keep the mystery going. That meant that almost the entire show takes place over the course of a few months in the girls’ final year of high school, and led to a situation where one fellow pupil looked like he was played by a forty year old man by season six.

Once the identity of ‘A’ was finally revealed – and inevitably disappointed me because it made no sense – I think it ran out of steam completely. The subsequent twenty episodes set in the future with a new enemy for the girls to face were just a slog to get through. Up until that point though, I was hooked. That’s from binge watching though; had I been a viewer week by week and five years in was no closer to finding out who ‘A’ was, I’d probably have stopped watching.

Should you watch it? Well if you enjoy mystery shows or the likes of One Tree Hill, then you’ll enjoy this too.

Just prepare for your very existence to be questioned for doing so.


Doctor Who – The Power of the Daleks Animation Review

November 10, 2016

It was over five years ago that I sat down to review The Power of the Daleks.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time, with thirteen missing episodes finding their way back to the BBC and the never-ending saga of the Omnirumour rumbling on.

Now, in 2016, Patrick Troughton’s first story has made its way back to our screens in animated form.

You’d think this would be universally hailed as good news throughout the world of Doctor Who fandom, but then you’d be surprised.

I’ve read people say that they are ‘too old for cartoons’, others declare that ‘Doctor Who should never be animated because it was never intended to be’ and that they’d rather watch the telesnaps and most deluded

Though the BBC Store App wouldn't allow me to take the exact screen shot I wanted, this shows how animation can improve upon the limitations of the original

Though the BBC Store App wouldn’t allow me to take the exact screen shot I wanted, this shows how animation can improve upon the limitations of the original

of all, some suggest that they’d ‘rather wait for the episodes to be found’.

Jesus Christ…

I guess positivity – rather than the blind optimism/delusion shown by those who believe that the BBC would spend money on animating Power when they know or suspect that the original episodes are sitting somewhere ready to be discovered any day now – is a state of mind that some people refuse to embrace.

Animation is the best way to bring these episodes back to life. If they are rediscovered then great, but at this stage, the sensible planner will operate on the assumption that they are lost forever. I can’t get my head around people who would rather watch grainy telesnaps with the audio from the episode over animation that turns it into a proper viewing experience. Sure, people are entitled to their own opinions, but not watching them because you’ve decided you’re too old for a cartoon is just nuts. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.

And telesnap reconstructions are simply not commercially viable. Animations on the other hand have legs and with any luck, Power of the Daleks will sell well enough to justify more.

But does the quality of the animation justify the purchase from the BBC Store?

For me, it’s a yes.

While it’s not exactly a perfect recreation of the story – the animation of human movement isn’t the easiest thing to get right when you don’t have a Pixar-esque budget – it’s most certainly good enough to lose yourself in.

And though certain characters don’t look great – Ben doesn’t look much like Michael Craze here – others like Bragan, Hensell and of course the Doctor are pretty much bang on.

Meanwhile, in spite of the limitations, the animators do manage to achieve expressiveness in the faces of the characters, which helps the tone of the scenes.

As you would expect, the animation of the Daleks is the strongest part of it, as they glide effortlessly around the screen. The animators even manage to work in the issues with the real life props,

The Daleks are definitely the strongest part of the animation process

The Daleks are definitely the strongest part of the animation process

which I think is a very nice touch. For example, when the Daleks come out of the capsule, they thump up onto the ramp and then roll down it with all the control you’d expect from a prop on wheels. That wouldn’t happen in a story made today, and you might think that the animators would look to hide that limitation in this presentation, but they don’t. Good for them.

There’s no doubt that the animation will fail to capture little gestures and directorial set pieces that were in the original – lest we forget how the rediscovery of Enemy of the World brought back to life that wonderful forgotten moment where Salamander is smoking a cigar like a boss – but then it also improves on the limits of the era in which it was made. In particular, the scenes in the Dalek production line won’t have looked anywhere near as good on TV in 1966 as they did here, while one of the very few scenes that does exist – the cliffhanger to Episode Five – doesn’t have to have a fake backdrop with photos of Daleks on them.

So I would say it’s worth buying for the quality of animation, but the main thing – and what should be the foremost consideration for anyone thinking of buying this – is that Power of the Daleks is a really good story; in fact I rated it as 22nd best Doctor Who story of all time in Stuart Reviews Doctor Who: Book Two.

If you haven’t seen it then you need to.

And until such times as it might be returned – and like I say, we have to assume that it won’t be – then this is the only way to go.

So get buying, then maybe this time next year we’ll have an animated Dalek’s Master Plan to go with it.

You can read my original review of Power of the Daleks – part of my Doctor Who review project spanning every story ever broadcast – here.

 


TV – Line of Duty Review (or ‘The Best TV Show You’ve Never Seen’)

April 29, 2016

For the last few weeks, I’ve been bugging anyone who’ll listen at work with one simple question…

“Do you watch Line of Duty?”

Tucked away on BBC2 on a Thursday night, I’d never heard of this drama about corruption in the police force until I began to notice sites like Digital Spy proclaim it the best thing currently on TV.Line-of-Duty

With the first two seasons on NetFlix and the current one just finished last night, I decided to give it a go.

It was a great decision, because Line of Duty is the best thing currently on TV.

It’s gritty, dramatic, shocking and utterly engrossing. What’s more, it’s both written and acted tremendously.

Though each season focuses on one specific corrupt member of the force – played by well-known British actors in the same way as Columbo would cast US Stars to play the bad guys – there’s a linking theme that carries on throughout all three seasons and will no doubt continue into the ones that will follow. And what a theme it is. I won’t spoil it for you, but needless to say, by the time last night’s finale aired emotions were running high and I was genuinely nervous/excited to see how things would pan out.

That’s how good Line of Duty is.

Like I say above, the acting in this is tremendous, and in particular I love the scenes where the bad guys are brought in for questioning by our heroes at AC-12 played by Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Vicky McClure. In no way light, these are intense scenes that sometimes run up to almost 25 minutes long and must be difficult to act, both in terms of remembering lines and maintaining the right emotional notes. But everyone involved manage it with aplomb. In particular, I think Dunbar’s character – Superintendent Ted Hastings – with his Northern Irish accent and fire and brimstone mentality is just fantastic here. He’s like the moral guardian we all wish was running the police force in reality.

The one thing I don’t want to do in this review is to give away any spoilers whatsoever – to do so would be a disservice to what is one of the finest examples of drama I think I’ve ever seen – so I’ll simply finish this review by saying that if you’ve heard people at your work raving about this show, there’s a good reason for it. It is as good as they are making out and you will love it.

So close down this page, go onto NetFlix now and start watching.

You won’t regret it.

 


TV – The Man in the High Castle Review (or ’10 Hours Was More Than Enough Time To Tell This Story In One Season’)

February 13, 2016

If I was to sum up The Man in the High Castle in one sentence, it would be that it’s a great idea for a TV show in principle, but the execution of that idea leaves a little to be desired.

I know that should really be the conclusion to my review rather than the introduction, but I felt the need to put my cards on the table early.

A TV show – and I know it’s based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, but I’m operating on the assumption that in 2016 most viewers won’t have read the book – set in the 1960s about a world where the Nazis and Japanese won the Second World War and share an uneasy divide of the former United States of America does sound interesting. Add to that the early twist where a character finds a film reel showing highcastlenews footage of the ‘our’ end to the war (where the Allies win) and you have the potential for a science fiction masterpiece.

But alas, the idea is not enough to make it so.

So what’s the problem?

Is the acting poor? No it’s not. Everyone involved, from the lead actors like Alexa Davalos and Rufus Sewell down to guest artists like Burn Gorman do a perfectly acceptable job and make the most of the material they have to work with.

Is it the design? Again, no. This looks brilliant and credit must be given for the way the world looks suitably different as a result of the Axis winning the war. The American architecture and even vehicle design has been changed to look like it’s influenced by their new overlords.

So what’s the problem?

The pacing.

It’s become the done thing for TV shows nowadays to be made with more than one season in mind. That’s fine most of the time, but when you’re basing a show on a 239 page book, there’s only so much story you can tell without adding unnecessary padding. Running at almost 10 hours in length, there was more than enough time to tell this story in a single season.

But because they’ve obviously decided that this will run and run, the more interesting aspects – such as what the hell is going on with those film reels – are almost totally ignored and instead we’ve got scene after scene of the Japanese Trade Minister looking longingly into the middle distance and Frank’s mate Ed telling him to be careful.

I did watch through it all, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it when Season Two comes out, but it was a struggle at times.

I suspect that when it finally ends, people will look back and talk about how it should have finished earlier and that the premise was extended for too long.

In that respect it will probably end up like Under the Dome; another TV show based on a book that would have worked a lot better if it was condensed into one action packed season, but alas outstayed its welcome.

So while it’s not unenjoyable, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend you avoid it, you’ll have to approach it knowing that it probably could have been done better.

 


Doctor Who – The Husbands of River Song Review (or ‘River Finally Has An Age Appropriate Doctor’)

December 30, 2015

Apologies to those of you who have been waiting patiently for my review of The Husbands of River Song to be posted, but this really is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and watch it again.

Because let’s face it; I wasn’t going to review it on Christmas Day while still suffering from a Food Coma.

Anyway it’s here now, so let’s get to it…

Doctor Who – The Husbands of River Song Review: What’s This One About?

Christmas Day hijinx and what – I assume – will be River Song’s final appearance in the show.

But then I’ve said that before.

Thoughts – Light Entertainment For All The Family

Before I get down to business with the main thrust of my review, I’ll just be brief with this, because I’ve said it a few times over the years and I don’t think it needs to be delved into too deeply again.

I wonder if anyone sat at home and wondered "Gosh, how did they do that special effect"?

I wonder if anyone sat at home and wondered “Gosh, how did they do that special effect”?

Put simply, this is a Christmas Day episode and seeing as it wasn’t one where the Doctor regenerates, it therefore makes sense for it to be quite light. After all, nobody really wants to spend Christmas Day working out overly complex plots or being depressed by the bleakness of our own mortality; the latter point is covered by Eastenders a couple of hours later.

No, this should be fun and maybe a little bit frivolous.

Some might not like that, but I’m happy enough with it.

So on that score, this episode did not disappoint.

This Must Be The End Of River Song Now?

For me, the main point of discussion is the stuff with River Song.

 

If you’ve read my reviews over the years you’ll know that I felt the River Song story arc just got away from Steven Moffat. What started as a good idea in Silence in the Library spiralled out of control to the point it seemed as though he was making it up as he went along.

Now she’s back again and considering this is meant to be her final meeting with the Doctor before she sees him for the last time in the aforementioned David Tennant story, I imagine that this is the end.

As a viewer, I could take two approaches.

I could just block out everything else and take this final appearance on its own merits. If I go with this option, The Husbands of River Song works. It’s touching, quite sad and well acted.

I can't look at Peter Capaldi in that suit without thinking of...

I can’t look at Peter Capaldi in that suit without thinking of…

So it would get thumbs up.

But as a long-term viewer, I should be taking a different approach.

I should be able to watch this and know without having to look stuff up how River and the Doctor got to this point. I should know the background of the diary (and I thought I did, but apparently not), I should know without being told that this restaurant is the last place they meet before the library and I should be swept up in the emotion of a story arc that has lasted for almost 10 years.

I can’t do that though.

The story arc is too complex and out of control. I don’t want to read up on stuff to refresh my memory, even though it seems like my memory is cheating me.

For some reason, I thought it was on record that River only ever met two incarnations of the Doctor, and I also thought that rather than a diary, it was stated that she had in her possession his biography.

I’m probably wrong here and I imagine a certain section of fandom (you know, the ones who call themselves ‘Whovians’, idolise Osgood and have diagrams of the River Song story arc on their bedroom walls) are probably tutting away at me for not knowing this stuff off by heart, but the way I see it, if I’m confused then 99% of the viewers probably feel a bit lost by it as well.

So although it was a good end to the character, I think I’m really just glad that it’s an end of any sort.

Random Observations

  • One thing that is disappointing about seeing River go though is that for the first time, Alex Kingston is acting alongside someone she has chemistry with. Had this been the case all the way though, I maybe
    ...the Vultures from Splash Mountain

    …the Vultures from Splash Mountain

    wouldn’t be so sick of her.

  • I’ve said before that I think Peter Capaldi is a better actor and Doctor than Matt Smith was, but if anything emphasises the point, it’s this episode.
  • And isn’t it good that River finally has an age appropriate version of the Doctor to hang around with.
  • I couldn’t help but think Peter Capaldi looked like one of the Vultures from Splash Mountain in that last scene.
  • Is it not a little strange that of all the days to finally have availability for a booking, they have Christmas Day? Not April 7th? Or October 10th?
  • And are they counting a year on that planet in Earth time or by their own planet’s time? If it’s the latter then that’s a very long wait, and the hostess has aged remarkably well.
  • I’m not a fan of Matt Lucas’s acting ability and by association his character in this story.
  • Greg Davies was good though, but there’s an argument to suggest that he’s not actually a very good actor.
  • I enjoyed the stuff with River not knowing who the Doctor was, which made sense with the idea I had in my head that she only ever knowingly met Tennant and Smith.
  • That alien dude who opened up his head must struggle to play football. Imagine trying to go for a header under those circumstances?
  • And why not just keep the item in his pocket?
  • Finally, the scene where The Doctor got to ‘do entering the TARDIS for the first time the right way’ was superb.

Doctor Who – The Husbands of River Song Review: Final Thoughts

The Husbands of River Song was a good Christmas Day story. It was light, it was fun and in the end it was quite emotional.

Some people won’t like that, but I did.

And if this is the final appearance of River Song – and I really hope it is – then it was a good way for her to bow out.

 


Doctor Who – Hell Bent Review (or ‘Companions Are Probably Not Worth The Hassle, Doctor’)

December 5, 2015

When I reviewed Peter Capaldi’s first season of Doctor Who last year, many of the articles referenced the way fandom reacts to the show.

There will be people who tune in every week with what seems to be a desire to hate it and there will be others who love it regardless of quality.

By and large I’ve avoided that this year, but having just watched Hell Bent, I knew this one would be divisive.

Some people would think it was amazing while others would consider it an affront to their sensibilities.

So I had a look on social media to witness the fallout.

And right enough, opinion is split.

“Amazing! I was in absolute bits by the end” said one person.

“I didn’t think it would be possible for a season finale to be worse than last year” said another.

“Bloody marvellous! Loved every minute” proclaimed one enthusiastic viewer.

“Absolute rubbish, just like the rest of the season” declared another bloke.

But why are viewers divided? And what side of the fence do I land on?

Doctor Who – Hell Bent Review: What’s This One About?

The Doctor tries to save Clara’s life, but realises he’s gone too far.

Thoughts – A Far Better End For Clara

Well here’s where I think the major bone of contention lies…

For some people, Clara’s exit two weeks ago should have been the end of it. She should have stayed dead.

Break it down for the classic TARDIS set

Break it down for the classic TARDIS set

For others, this gave her character a more fitting end.

I agree with the latter viewpoint.

When I wrote my review of Face the Raven, my overriding emotion was anger, because the BBC had spoiled what would have been a great plot development in a bid to attract viewers. I stand by that, but having had two weeks to think about it, I also didn’t think her death was particularly fitting.

Yes, it would have been a shock, and no, in reality (as if Doctor Who has to abide by such constraints) death can happen at any point so why should it not see off Clara in a low-key episode?

But it was also devoid of emotion. Without any sort of proper goodbye between the two characters, had that really been it, it would have been a lacklustre way for her to go.

As a means of finishing the story of the Doctor and Clara, this worked far better, and I thought it was played very well.

Indeed, the twist that it was the Doctor who forgot her and not the other way around was a nice change from the normal way companions leave, and even though it was potentially telegraphed by the scenes in the diner cut inserted into the story, I didn’t see that ending coming from the start.

That said, it was absolutely time for Clara to go. As I’ve said before, her character peaked in Last Christmas and she’s really spent this season treading water.

Overall she was a good companion, but one that has run her course.

Should The Doctor Just Not Bother With Companions

If I was to have a problem though, it would be that it ended up that this was yet another companion who the Doctor – in a sense – fell in love with and couldn’t bear to see leave.

I'm not sure I understand the significance of the diner. It's not relevant to these two characters at all.

I’m not sure I understand the significance of the diner. It’s not relevant to these two characters at all.

So we’ve now seen that variation on a theme with Rose, Donna, Amy and now Clara. Not Martha though; he didn’t give a shit about her.

Whoever is next, the relationship has to be written in such a way where whenever that person leaves, it doesn’t have this great emotional wrench upon the man.

Otherwise, you’d have to question whether he would actually want a companion. It seems that compared to the old days, it has become more trouble than it’s worth for him.

The Case Of The Two MacGuffins

Another reason why some people might not be happy with this season finale is that it ultimately made MacGuffins out of both Gallifrey and Ashildr.

Again, I can understand why this could be an issue, but I’m not fussed.

I’ve never liked the Gallifrey stuff, and that goes all the way back to The Deadly Assassin; a story which gave birth to Fanwankery.

There really is no interesting plot to come out of Gallifrey. No matter what happens, the Doctor will end up running away from it again, and that’s what happened tonight.

More than that though, every time Doctor Who revisits it, more arms and legs have been added to it.

Who were those people outside the barn? Why do we care about those guards? Beyond a name check, what’s the point of Rassilon?

Quick!! Let's all waste our lives trying to make up a back story for who this woman is. I'll say it's the Doctor's Aunt's cousin Beryl.

Quick!! Let’s all waste our lives trying to make up a back story for who this woman is. I’ll say it’s the Doctor’s Aunt’s cousin Beryl.

Gallifrey’s peak was in The War Games. It’ll never get better than that.

So yeah, the fact that Gallifrey wasn’t the real point of Hell Bent did not bother me.

Neither did it bother me that ultimately the Ashildr storyline went nowhere.

We were – I think – supposed to conclude that she was the Hybrid but she wasn’t. Really, she was just someone who happened to be immortal.

A problem?

Not for me.

The hybrid being the combination of the Doctor and Clara made more sense, even though it was a bit far fetched that this idea had been retconned throughout Time Lord history.

Like I say, I’m happy the finale was used to provide finality to the relationship between The Doctor and Clara. With that sorted, the show can move on next year.

Random Observations

  • I think Steven Moffat was trying to troll people with the male to female regeneration and the half-human stuff. No doubt people probably did get upset about that, even though both have been said or done before. These people need to give themselves a shake.
  • In truth, the only thing that wound me up about that whole story was The Doctor playing ‘Clara’s Theme’ on his guitar. Within the confines of the show, she doesn’t have a theme so that doesn’t make sense.
  • People will probably be sitting at home making up fan fiction about who that woman in the barn was. Who cares?
  • As someone who often moans about fanwankery and pointless nods to the show’s past, you might think I would have groaned at the sight of the Gallifrey style TARDIS capsules and old school interiors. On the contrary; that’s the sort of thing I love. Bring back the old console room permanently, says I.
  • But I will moan about the pointless inclusion of that Dalek, Cyberman and Weeping Angel.
  • If there’s one thing about Gallifrey that puzzled me, it was the way it was just accepted that it was hiding at the end of the universe. Could the Doctor not have worked that out years ago?
  • And how long has the Sisterhood of Karn been there for?
  • Why wasn’t Ashildr sitting next to Captain Jack, and even though she’s immortal, how exactly did she manager to get there?
  • Oh, and if she had managed to forget everything about her upbringing – including her real name – in the space of a few hundred years, how was she able to remember anything relating to the Doctor or Clara after trillions of them?
  • The way Hell Bent was written, it was as if The Doctor had spent billions of years in that prison from Heaven Sent. But that’s not true, is it? As far as he was concerned, he only lasted there for a few days before he either died and was reanimated, or he escaped. He wouldn’t have had any perception of the true amount of time he spent there.
  • I’m not exactly sure what significance the diner had, or why they used it. Considering it was from a different Doctor and used different companions, they may has well have set that scene on the lighthouse from The Horror of Fang Rock.
  • Bring back the Rutans!!
  • As a plot device, the Doctor’s return to Gallifrey really has come 5 or 6 years too late to be effective.
  • Unlike some people, I really couldn’t care less about a new Sonic Screwdriver.

Doctor Who – Hell Bent Review: Final Thoughts

So while some people are upset and unhappy, you can brand me a happy clapper, because I enjoyed it.

For me, Hell Bent focussed on the right parts of the story and paid less attention to the aspects that didn’t matter.

It gave Clara a fitting farewell – more so than Face The Raven – and it was enjoyable and well acted by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.

Great stuff.

Overall Season Analysis

As a whole, I think this season of the show will be remembered as mostly unremarkable.

I don’t think there were many bad stories (except the Gatiss episode obviously, but that’s because he’s awful) but the reliance upon two-parters made it a slower and less varied one.

The highlights for me have been Under the Lake & Before the Flood and of course Heaven Sent & Hell Bent.

The rest…not so much.

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