Recent Posts

 DW 11-09: It Takes You Away 
 DW 11-10: Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos 
 Doctor Who: Resolution 
 Doctor Who Series 11 Review 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Doctor Who: Series 11 Review

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about Doctor Who's 37th season, or series 11 if you're just counting the stories aired since it came back in 2005. Really they've could've drawn another line right here and called it Volume 3, Series 1 with how different the show is behind the scenes and on screen now. It's practically a spin-off of itself: the Star Trek: Discovery of Doctor Who, though I think this regeneration was necessary and the change didn't come a moment too soon.

This was the season that Jodie Whittaker took over from Peter Capaldi as the show's first madwoman in a box and Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner, so it was fairly monumental in that regards. But were the episodes anything spectacular themselves? If you've read my individual episode reviews you already know my answer to that, but I might as well say it again now.

I should also mention that I'm not going to shy away from dropping huge SPOILERS here, for everything from The Woman Who Fell to Earth to the season finale The Battle of Rancon Az Kolor Razkol Ab Kosor Ranschool As Kloplot... Resolution, and no doubt a few of the earlier episodes too.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Doctor Who - New Year's Day 2019: Resolution (Quick Review)

Episode:851|Serial:287|Writer:Chris Chibnall|Air Date:01-Jan-2019

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I hope you weren't looking forward to that Doctor Who series 11 review I promised, because this ain't that. I got distracted with other things and ran out of December to put it in. I believe I also mentioned that I might not be reviewing the New Year's special because I'd written about enough Doctor Who already, but that was before they revealed that this was going to be the only episode aired in all of 2019. How am I suppose to leave it out now? What sort of a monster would go from An Unearthly Child to the very latest season (skipping a year or ten along the way) and then stop exactly one episode before the end?

I kind of assumed that we were done with year-long breaks in between seasons now that the series has a different showrunner who's not trying to write Sherlock at the same time, but I guess that's just how the series is these days. The only difference is that in the Chris Chibnall era we get the one-off episode on New Year's Day instead of Christmas Day, because after thirteen consecutive Christmas specials they've used up every possible way of shoehorning Christmas into a Doctor Who story. Which means no more Christmasified opening titles! No opening titles at all in fact, for perhaps the third time ever in the series' history.

Resolution is also unique among Thirteenth Doctor stories as right now it's the first and only episode to allow anything major from an earlier season to return. Series 11 was very much about the new, with new actors, monsters, writers, a new visual effects house and a new composer, but this episode brings back director Wayne Yip! Also the antagonist might be a bit familiar too but I'll not spoil that here.

All my SPOILERS are safely contained below the next screencap, so continue at your own risk.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Doctor Who 11-10: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (Quick Review)

Episode:850|Serial:286|Writer:Chris Chibnall|Air Date:09-Dec-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I would've been writing about Doctor Who series 11's epic two-part finale, but they decided to end the season with a relatively low-key one-part story this year so I'm stuck writing about that instead.

I feel like I should be talking about how The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos is actually the first and only one-part finale in the revival series, as modern Doctor Who seasons always get ridiculous at the end, but I checked and it turns out that The Wedding of River Song and The Name of the Doctor both packed their absurdity into 45 minutes, so it ain't true.

But I can talk about its singularly awkward name, because Chris Chibnall's gone against 55 years of tradition here. You get one made up word per Doctor Who title, that's the rule, and unless I've overlooked something it's never been broken until now. Mostly because writers typically gravitate towards titles that people are able to remember, spell and say. They really tripped up a lot of podcasters with this one.

Anyway, I won't be going through the full episode scene by scene this time, I'm just sharing observations and opinions here, but if you continue reading past this point you'll find yourself knee deep in SPOILERS for this story and maybe earlier ones as well. The Pirate Planet jumps to mind. Castrovalva too, but ain't no one wants me to go off on a tangent ranting about Adric and block-transfer computation so I'm pretending I didn't think of it.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Doctor Who 11-09: It Takes You Away (Quick Review)

Episode:849|Serial:285|Writer:Ed Hime|Air Date:02-Dec-2018

Is it just me, or is the title text getting smaller with every new episode this season?

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm giving you my opinions and observations of It Takes You Away, the third episode by writer Ed Hime. I don't mean his third Doctor Who story, I mean the third episode he's ever written for TV, as according to IMDb all he's been credited for before this was a couple of episodes of Skins. He's also written for radio and theatre though apparently. I'm pretty much as clueless about him as I have been about any of the new writers this season to be honest.

Though one thing I do know is that showrunner Chris Chibnall will be back next time for the series finale, then the New Year's special, and probably the series 12 premiere after that, so it'll be a long while before we see any episodes by new writers again.

There will be SPOILERS beyond this point for this story and maybe earlier ones too. Just giving you a heads up.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Doctor Who 11-08: The Witchfinders (Quick Review)

Episode:848|Serial:284|Writer:Joy Wilkinson|Air Date:25-Nov-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm sharing my thoughts on The Witchfinders, episode 848 of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who's had female writers and female directors before, but it's rare for an episode to feature both like this. In fact its only happened twice before in the series' history, both in the classic series: Enlightenment and Mark of the Rani. And Mark of the Rani was co-written by a guy.

Here's some other trivia which will get more interesting years from now when people have started forgetting it: Amazon Prime subscribers accidentally got to see the episode three days early in place of Kerblam!, which just happened to be an episode criticising Amazon. I guess now we know that the company's not run by witches at least.

There will be SPOILERS for the episode and earlier ones below, and if I'm feeling particularly precognitive I might even spoil future stories too! For instance, I'll tell you now that the long awaited four-part Star Trek: Destiny / Doctor Who crossover in series 15 will be a bit of a let down, but The Fourteen Doctors will be the best multi-Doctor story since Day of the Doctor.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Doctor Who 11-07: Kerblam! (Quick Review)

Episode:847|Serial:283|Writer:Pete McTighe|Air Date:18-Nov-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm reviewing the episode of Doctor Who known as Kerblam!

It's not the only episode in the series history to use punctuation in the title (there's The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe for one) but it is the very first to feature an exclamation mark. There's still exactly zero episodes with a question mark in the title though, so that's still up for grabs. Incidentally Star Trek has two exclamation mark titles and six question mark titles, so Doctor Who has some catching up to do. Fun fact: your life wasn't improved by knowing any of this.

This was the second episode directed by Jennifer Perrott (after The Tsuranga Conundrum, a title I can now spell correctly without looking it up), but the first to be written by Pete McTighe, a screenwriter I know nothing about. It's interesting how they went with entirely new writers for this season, like they were trying to make absolutely sure the episodes had no resemblance to anything that'd come before. That probably wasn't the worst idea actually, but I'm still hoping they give Jamie Mathieson another episode in series 12, considering how well Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline worked out. Or let him take over as showrunner, either's good.

There will be SPOILERS below, so this would be a good place to stop reading if you don't already know what happens. I might also mention a few things from earlier episodes too, but I couldn't spoil anything later if I tried because they haven't aired yet.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Doctor Who 11-06: Demons of the Punjab (Quick Review)

Episode:846|Serial:282|Writer:Vinay Patel|Air Date:11-Nov-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, the first episode of Doctor Who's 11th series not written by Chris Chibnall! Well I'm sure he did a lot of rewriting work on it, as that's his job, but he's not gotten a 'written by' credit this time.

Vinay Patel is brand new to Doctor Who, and to me, but director Jamie Childs is on his second episode now... kind of. Doctor Who directors work on two episodes in a row for whatever reason, and he directed the season premiere The Woman Who Fell to Earth, so I figured that must make this the second episode filmed. But nope, it was actually the ninth episode to be produced, so that second episode is still out there somewhere, waiting to confuse us with how the actors seem very slightly less comfortable in their roles.

There will be SPOILERS beyond this point for this story and maybe earlier ones too. I will not be spoiling anything about series 1 episode Father's Day though, mostly because I haven't seen it yet.