Sunday, October 25, 2015

NuWho Reviews: The Runaway Bride, Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code, Gridlock

The Runaway Bride

When we last left our hero, he had an extremely emotional companion departure, then found an angry ginger on the TARDIS. Clearly this will end well!

After Donna rants at the Doctor, he drops her off on Earth so she can actually make it to her wedding. Unfortunately, the cab she gets is driven by one of those Death Santas, you know, the ones that show up for pretty much no reason at all. The Doctor flies the TARDIS after the cab and creates the best car chase in history. (Except for that ridiculously long car chase the Third Doctor got into, but let's not go into that.)

When the Doctor and Donna finally make it to her wedding, he looks at the footage of her abrupt disappearance and realizes she absorbed Huon Particles. Huon? Don't even know 'on!

This also means more Santas shows up. After a wacky fight, the Doctor discovers that Donna works at a place owned by Torchwood. She and her fiance take him there, where they find a creepy basement of death. 

And in that creepy basement of death is


Luckily, the Empress of the Racnoss is so delightfully, cheesily hammy that it's hard to take her seriously or be frightened of her at all. If all spiders talked to me like that, I'd spend my day laughing.

The Racnoss are a spider species that were supposedly wiped out long ago by the Time Lords, making the Time Lords heroes in my mind, no matter how annoying they are. The Empress has created a pit beneath the company for her nest. Lance has been dosing Donna's coffee with huon particles so she could be used as a key to free the creepy little brats. 

The Doctor and Donna go back to the formation of the Earth to see a Racnoss ship crash land and become the core of the planet, because THANKS DAVIES I DIDN'T NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE CORE OF PLANET EARTH BEING INFESTED BY SPIDERS.

When they return, Donna is kidnapped, Lance is killed because he has outlived his usefulness, and the Santas are now working for the Racnoss, because of course they are. The Racnoss start escaping and the Racnoss ship, which previously starred in Star Trek as the Crystalline Entity, starts shooting at random civilians, BECAUSE THE EMPRESS IS EVIL, CAN'T YOU TELL BY HER HAMMY ACTING?

The Doctor makes his usual offer of peace, which is rejected out of hand, and he goes full on Enraged Time Lord. He destroys one of the walls, unleashing the wrath of the River Thames and drowning the spiders, and Donna has to remind him to leave instead of staring broodily into the flames.

To be fair, this is what everyone looked like after Doomsday.

Then the Racnoss ship is destroyed because Mr. Saxon said so, and no one wants plastic daffodils again.

Donna decides not to travel with the Doctor, she's had more than enough excitement, thank you, but points out that the Doctor does need someone to travel with him. Because he gets loopier than usual after traveling alone for a while.

Smith and Jones

Martha is the previously Cyber-controlled Adeola's identical twin cousin. She is on her way to work at a hospital and runs into a strange man who removes his tie and walks away. But that's not even the strangest thing to happen. She gets to work and finds the same man, but he has no memory of her.

And then the hospital disappears to the moon.

Whether or not the Judoon cried "To the moon, Alice!" before transporting the hospital is unknown.

The hospital has been transported by the Judoon, an intergalactic police force with the empathy of the Vogons and the appearance of Rocksteady.

Actually, Rocksteady might be more intelligent than the Judoon.

The Judoon are searching for a nonhuman criminal in disguise. It is a plasmavore, so basically a shapeshifting vampire that doesn't sparkle, because that would be ridiculous.

Martha runs into John Smith again, who explains he's actually the Doctor. Meanwhile, the plasmavore is a sweet old lady sucking out blood with a straw, because this show needed more cheese. Since she has drank someone's blood she will register as human, because the Judoon's scientific instruments suck. The Doctor, meanwhile, has to avoid them, and they have to stop Florence Finnegan before the Judoon think the hospital is harboring her, because the Judoon are also kind of stupid.

I'm not sure what this says about Davies' opinion of British policemen.

After the Doctor destroys his sonic screwdriver killing one of Finnegan's henchmen and bounces around on one foot like an idiot, he snogs Martha to infect her with nonhuman DNA and confuse the Judoon (again, stupid) while he finds Finnegan. Upon finding her he has his blood drained, but luckily Martha arrives with the Judoon in time to do a scan on Finnegan, who is promptly executed. The Judoon then leave, Martha revives the Doctor because two hearts, and the hospital is actually put back, so I guess the Judoon aren't completely stupid.

The Doctor proves to Martha he can travel through time by trolling her the previous morning, and they fly off for "just one trip" and agree that she "totally isn't a replacement goldfish, or anything".

Here's your GIF of the Episode:

The Shakespeare Code

A young man serenades a young woman named Lillith. Because he hasn't heard any stories ever, he thinks her name is totally a nice name. She reveals she is wrinkled hag, just like her mothers, ObviousEvil and AlwaysEvil. They then devour him, because innuendo is a thing that happens.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Martha are in Elizabethan London, attending a performance of Love's Labour's Lost. Sexy McEvil and her Evil Mothers voodoo Shakespeare into announcing a sequel the following night, Love's Labour's Won. Skeptical Doctor is Skeptical, so he decides to meet Shakespeare at the pub, where the playwright drinks a lot and hits on Martha, ignoring her pants (or focusing too strongly on them, whatever).

The Master of the Revels (which, despite it's cool name, was really about working for the MPAA) demands to see the script. The witches then voodoo him to death. They then Voodoo Shakespeare into writing an extra paragraph at the end of his play, frightens Shakespeare's lover to death, and flies away.

Meanwhile, the Doctor finds out the Globe has 14 sides, and the architect who built is insane. The witches told him how to build it, and they probably got their ideas from Nyarlathotep, because apparently he was interested in architecture or something. After the witches kill the architect, the Doctor realizes they're Carrionites-they manipulate psychic energy through words. Heck, they can't even hear their names said. I wonder what would happen if...

No, that's far too silly.

Anyways, the whole plan is that Shakespeare's play will free their species from prison, which makes this by far the wackiest jail break ever. They try to Voodoo the Doctor to death, but forget that Time Lords have two hearts. By the time the Doctor and Martha reach the theater, the portal has already opened up. But Shakespeare comes up with a short rhyming stanza to close it back.

Fun fact: my first exposure to Doctor Who was through Mugglenet. Everyone kept talking about this TV show that made Harry Potter references. Then I looked, saw how much I had to catch up on, and gave up.

Then I changed my mind, BECAUSE I AM A SMART PERSON.

Needless to say, this scene was my first taste of Doctor Who.

The Carrionites can't withstand the full force of the Potter fandom, and all are imprisoned back, to brood on the fact that THEY WILL NEVER READ THE SEVENTH BOOK.

Our heroes part ways: Shakespeare revealing he totally knows about time travel, and the Doctor and Martha having to flee Queen Elizabeth's soldiers because SOMEONE NEVER CAME BACK AFTER THE WEDDING.


The Doctor decides to take Martha to New Earth. But New Earth has become a dystopian novel, and not even a bad YA dystopian novel. People sell mood patches like drugs, because life is so dull that they need to manufacture their moods. Wait, maybe this is a bad YA dystopian novel.

Regardless, Martha gets kidnapped by a young couple. Why? They need three passengers so they can use the fast lane. They're only going ten miles. No problem, right? Oh, ten miles takes only six years or so. And there's something rumored to live in the fast lane, where cars never return...

The Doctor enters the Motorway, an enclosed highway full of hover cars that are packed in like sardines and barely move. He pops into a car, owned by Thomas Kincade Brannigan, his wife Valerie, and their kittens.

Yeah, Thomas is a cat person. Valerie is human. They have kittens. Try not to think too hard about it.


The police put him on hold, because this is a dystopian novel, so the Doctor goes from van to van, trying to find Martha. Unbeknownst to him, Novice Hame is apparently not in police custody, and is chasing after him. Meanwhile, Martha's kidnappers have entered the fast lane. A car radios them, telling them to escape, before being eaten. Despite this, the kidnappers decide to stay in the fast lane.

The Doctor finds himself just above the fast lane, and sees what the trouble is. The fast lane is filled with giant alien crabs. Why? WE DON'T KNOW. Martha cuts the power to the car to keep the Macra from finding them, and Novice Hame teleports the Doctor to the senate building.

The Face of Boe is back! Novice Hame has been caring for him as her penance. Apparently a mood drug called Bliss mutated a virus, which wiped out the surface population in minutes. The motorway was sealed to keep the ones left alive, and the Face of Boe has kept the motorway operational. However, to power it up enough to re-open the motorway, the Face of Boe sacrifices his life energy and dies, but not before telling the Doctor his secret:


Fans exploded, the Doctor's eyes somehow get bigger, and he finally opens up to Martha.

In a Dystopian Novel, random chairs are found in back alleys all the time.

I liked this, both as an ending for the Face of Boe and the possibility of another Time Lord being around. (Hands up, how many knew exactly which Time Lord it would be? That's right, all of us did.) The Macra seemed kind of random. It's never explained how they got there or why they were there.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: The Twelve Caesars by Matthew Dennison

     Since Rome: An Empire's Story didn't quite satisfy me, I decided to pick up The Twelve Caesars. I thought it looked quite interesting, as it combined the original Twelve Caesars, along with some other sources, with modern scholarship. I would say overall it achieved its purpose, but at the same time, I once again feel like I didn't quite get the whole story.

     Part of the problem is that we once again have stories that skip back and forth. Is this part of modern literature now? One of my creative writing professor's critiques was that my stories were entirely chronological, as though you have to have flash backs and time skips to be interesting. Sometimes that works, but sometimes that doesn't, and to be honest my mind works chronologically. Dennison writes engaging stories regarding the emperors, but we wander back and forth through their lives, referencing things that happened years before the emperor becomes, well, an emperor. Sometimes this works out, such as the chapter taking on a "how did we get to the point of the Praetorian guard murdering another emperor?", but other times it seems arbitrary.

     The other problem is that Dennison, bless his heart, tries to be a wacky, comedic British bawd, and it just doesn't work. I don't need snide remarks on the emperor's decadent sex lives, thank you very much. I don't care if Suetonius and Tacitus did it, you don't need to do it too. I'm here for the history. If I want bawdy comedy I'd read Shakespeare.

     What this amounts to is that, while informative and engaging, it's hard to tell how much you're reading is based on scholarship and how much is Dennison cracking jokes about some of the ancient scholars' more exaggerated stories of the emperors. Dennison also tries to make the book chatty by using sentence fragments a lot, which just really bothers me. When did "make a book interesting" become "make a book stupid"? Look, I love history, but I don't like the stuffy, droning books any more than other people do. But that doesn't mean I don't want complete sentences and serious scholarship. This isn't to say that Dennison isn't a serious scholar. But it doesn't come across that way in the book.

     Anyways, all that is water under the bridge. I've left the Roman empire behind, and I'm now reading about the Middle Ages, because we can all use more Charlemagne in our lives.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Review: Rome: An Empire's Story by Greg Woolf

Let's take a break from Doctor Who to talk about history-namely, Rome. And I don't mean that time the Doctor gave Nero the idea to burn the city down.

    I've always been rather interested in how Rome went from being a gung-ho republic to accepting an emperor and the figurehead nature of the Senate. Well, it didn't happen overnight (and, in my next review of a book about Rome, it will become apparent that republic ideals didn't entirely fade).

     I'll be honest, I went into this book expecting a chronological view of the process. As such, I felt a bit disoriented by how Woolf jumped from subject to subject. While there is some chronology, it is really about how each aspect of Roman identity altered over the course of hundreds of years. This was an interesting take on it, but I still think that it would have been better to go chronologically. It would have felt a little more seamless.

     Woolf starts by pointing out the obvious: the basis for empire was already there, in Roman thought. Rome was imperial long before there was an actual emperor. When Rome began to fracture from civil war, it revealed a power gap that one person could easily step into. The senate's power was fading long before the emperors took it entirely away.

     The book was a bit of a slow one. That said, it wasn't really long enough to give a good comprehensive view. Woolf hits some good points, but it covers such a long period that we get an overview of each aspect, such as war and slavery. Woolf maintains a neutral tone throughout the book.

     Until we get to the rise of Christianity. Quite suddenly, Woolf's even tone becomes a bit vicious toward the Christian emperors, and toward Christians in general. This was a huge turn off. Look, guys, we can say all we want that we need to keep an "open mind" about things we don't agree with, but you try reading a book that viciously criticizes everything you believe in. No one likes that. And that's what Woolf does. He takes jabs at saints "gleefully" chronicling martyrs' fates, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of Christian thought regarding martyrdom. If you're going to criticize someone, you need to understand how they think first. And Woolf doesn't. This is after he deals with various religious beliefs in the Roman empire with the same neutral tone that he uses for the rest of the book.

     Overall, this book was a good overview of the rise of the Roman empire and the impulses that led to it. But the incredibly long period makes it hard to hit nuances, and Woolf dropping his objective tone when speaking of Christianity shows either a hostility so innate he can't fight it, or a decision that he doesn't need to be objective on that one subject. Neither one speaks well of his objectivity as a historian.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NuWho Reviews: Love and Monsters, Fear Her, Army of Ghosts, and Doomsday

Love and Monsters

Welcome, kids, to the WESLEY OF THE DOCTOR WHO SERIES.

Here we have Russell T. Davies attempting to be incredibly meta in his storytelling. In that, we have a group of obsessed Doctor Who fans meeting to discuss the Doctor. Elton Pope is the geekiest of all Whovians, who makes vlogs about his love of Doctor Who. All the people in this group (called LINDA because complicated acronyms are a staple of geek culture, or something) have run into the Doctor at some point in their lives.

Then, a man named Victor Kennedy appears, and begins pushing the members ever further into searching for the Doctor. Elton tries to get close to Jackie, who "accidentally" spills wine on his shirt and is generally uncomfortable, then kicks him out the moment she realizes why he's trying to get close to her.


Meanwhile, the members are disappearing.

It turns out, Victor Kennedy is a being known as an Abzorbaloff, who, well, absorbs his victims. He wants to absorb the Doctor, which is why he insinuated himself into the group. His victims, however, fight back from within. Elton breaks his cane, which was actually a field generator keeping the Abzorbaloff's body in place. The Doctor explains he met Elton while trying to stop elemental shades, which sounds like a story that would have been a lot more interesting than this one.

It ends with Moaning Myrtle being encased in stone while still dating Elton, leaving us all with the horrible, horrible mental images this presents.

It is known as one of the most hated Doctor Who episodes ever, and those mental images are probably the reason. Now, where are those memory worms?

Wait, what was I just talking about? Ah, well, moving on...

Fear Her

The TARDIS arrives just in time for the 2012 Olympics. The neighborhood there is preparing for the torch bearer to pass through, but several children have disappeared, and cars are breaking down. The Doctor and Rose decide to find out the connection.

The Doctor traces the problems to a little girl named Chloe, who can apparently make people disappear by drawing pictures of them, trapping them in the drawing. Or, rather, the energy being that's possessing her can do so. (Those wacky energy beings, amirite?)

But seriously, it must be hard to get attention with all those siblings.

The Isolus apparently travels through the universe with billions of siblings, and one can feel sorry for the poor parents that have to referee on the road trip. Separated from its family, it was drawn to Chloe's own loneliness.

And her traumatic past involving an abusive father who is now a giant drawing in her closet, which is not creepy at all.

Unfortunately, the Isolus is dumb, and traps the Doctor and the TARDIS in a drawing as well. Then she disappears the entire Olympic Stadium. Luckily, Rose manages to find the Isolus' travel pod and tosses it into the Olympic Torch, because apparently the pod runs on the Care Bear Stare. The drawings come to life, including Crazy-Monster-Dad-Drawing, which is defeated by the Kookaburra song.

To complete the complete and utter cheese, the Doctor then runs the Torch to the stadium. One can imagine the paradoxes created when David Tennant was not the one to do so in our reality. I'm going to blame all current problems on this paradox.

If David Tennant had run the Olympic Torch, then the lizard people wouldn't have taken over.....Wait.

Also, the Doctor adds that a storm is coming, because he clearly got hold of the script from the BBC.

So this episode was...all right? Okay? It was a bit strange, and the whole "monster dad" thing seemed to have been thrown in there last minute to have an actual villain. And, as pointed out, this episode was just full of cheese, not that I'm complaining since I'm the one that likes Hartnell in all his cheesy glory.

Army of Ghosts

Hey, I read a book like that once!

Actually, this does not involve Internet debates regarding the Civil War. Instead, it involves Rose explaining to us that she is going to die.

Anyways, the Doctor and Rose pay Jackie a visit, only to discover that Jackie is expecting her father for dinner. Her dead father. To everyone's surprise, a glowy figure actually does appear. It turns out, everyone is having this experience, because when I see a vague glowy figure, I assume it's the ghost of my cat Bubba, come back to visit me.

The Doctor conducts an experiment with the TARDIS and the Ghostbusters theme song, and discover that of course they're not ghosts, they're something pushing through into our universe, and the Doctor tracks the signal to...

Any resemblance to anatomy is entirely the fault of Jack Harkness, who most likely designed the logo without anyone suspecting anything.

The Torchwood Institute, run by Yvonne Hartman. But it's okay! They aren't really mad at the Doctor anymore, despite Queen Victoria being unamused. While Rose is stuck in the TARDIS, the Doctor insists to everyone that Jackie is Rose. Skeptical looks abound.

The source of the ghosts is a breach between universes, and not only do they get ghosts, they get a spherical object known as a "Void Ship". It travels through the Void. Whether or not it runs into Morgoth and Sauron is entirely up to your imagination.

Meanwhile, Rose sneaks into the sphere chamber, only to discover Mickey! When Rose is caught, the Doctor has to admit that Jackie is actually Rose's mum.

Three employees, who have disappeared and come back acting strangely, then expand the breach, allowing the ghosts to manifest fully...

Yeah, they're Cybermen. But wait, there's more! For the price of a million Cybermen, you also get...

To be fair, Daleks cost a lot more because everyone thinks they're precious.


So we got yer Daleks, we got yer Cybermen, and we got yer Void ship. One Dalek, calling itself Dalek Sec to everyone's surprise, brain sucks someone to death, without making any jokes about "starving to death". The Cybermen offer to rule together, and we get this glorious, beautiful exchange:

I swear, the Daleks get snarkier every year.

The Cybermen start converting people, in that delightful scene where we see all manner of chopping and buzzing, and then Jake Simmonds destroys the Cyber leader, because he hasn't been able to blow up Cybermen for a while. He and his crew have been using devices to pass between universes, It turns out, once the Cybermen vanished into the breach in the parallel universe, that universe started experiencing catastrophe, meaning both universes will fall into the Void, which will only annoy Morgoth further.

It turns out, the sphere is Time Lord technology-a prison called the Genesis Ark. It's activated by touch, which...well...

Yeah, that doesn't work. Unfortunately, Mickey accidentally touches it anyways, because he's Mickey, and millions of Daleks start streaming out.

It turns out that anyone who passes through the Void gets covered in Void material, which defeats the purpose of it being a Void in the first place, and if he reverses the breach all the Cybermen and Daleks will get sucked back in.

Everyone there will also be sucked back in, so the Doctor sends them all to the parallel universe. Rose, being really smart, changes her mind, because that's a great time to change your mind, and nearly gets sucked in trying to get back to the Doctor, before Pete grabs onto her and teleports her into the parallel universe.


Some time later, the Doctor manages to call Rose to Bad Wolf Bay, where he uses a supernova to say goodbye and fail to express his true feelings, because Davies is a terrible, sadistic person.

Then he turns around and finds an enraged Catherine Tate in a wedding dress.

So that was the finale! I actually did enjoy this: the snarking between the Daleks and the Cybermen, the power of Yvonne Hartman's Britishness overcoming conversion, and the mental images of Davies' head on a pike for what he has done to us all.

Here, have some more Dalek/Cybermen cattiness. You need it. You know you do.

The Dalek stole Kaylee's favorite dress because Fox hasn't tortured us enough.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NuWho Reviews: The Girl in the Fireplace, Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel

The Girl in the Fireplace

When we last left our heroes, Mickey had decided to join the TARDIS crew. Given the fact that Rose doesn't seem to care a whit about him and the Doctor regularly calls him an idiot, let's see how this will work out!

There is a spaceship in space. There is a trashed spaceship in space. If this sounds like an episode of Firefly, then keep crying yourself to sleep every night, because there was only one season of Firefly and there is not another episode.

Fox, post-Firefly cancellation

Instead, the Doctor discovers a fireplace that opens into the room of a young girl named Reinette. Time works differently there, because a moment later, it has been several months, and now Reinette has steampunk jester monsters living under her bed. It's France, you wouldn't understand. After dragging said monster back to the spaceship, and telling Rose and Mickey not to look for it (because that always works out for the Doctor), he returns, only to find that Reinette is now Madame de Pompadour. The androids need her brain to repair their spaceship, because reasons.

The Doctor saves the day by destroying the time window to Reinette's time, and the androids shut down in apparent despair, or possibly because they will never see anything as cool as David Tennant riding through a mirror on a white horse.

Reinette's fireplace is still intact (moved to Versailles, because it's normal to fall in love with a strange man that comes tumbling out of your fireplace at random points in your life), but only a moment after the Doctor returns to fetch her, she has died, because that's the kind of episode this is. It's also the kind of episode where the Doctor doesn't notice that the ship is called the SS Madame Pompadour. (He helpfully forgets about all of this by the next time he rides on a white horse and fights people-harvesting androids.)

The love story was a little...strange...but I liked the androids, and the costumes were pretty.

Rise of the Cybermen

The TARDIS gets really lost in this episode. Really lost. The TARDIS crew arrive in a parallel dimension in which Rose's father is alive and wealthy, Mickey is not an idiot, and there is a place called Cybus Industries which totally doesn't sound sinister at all.

Also, Great Britain has a president.

John Lumic, head of Cybus Industries, wants to turn people into Cybermen and can't understand why anyone thinks it would be a bad idea. He decides to go to Pete Tyler's party, while Pete Tyler is secretly passing information to La Resistance, known as the Preachers, because...I guess that was a cool name. Ricky is part of the Preachers, and Mickey decides to join up, because this parallel universe isn't confusing enough.

Let's get this straight: your're the bad twin, I'm the good twin. Got it?

Meanwhile, Rose's counterpart is a dog, and her Space Mom is a jerk, but none of this matters, because Cybermen crash the party and may or may not drink all the liquor.

Parallel dimensions are fun but very confusing. I liked that we finally, finally get characterization for Mickey that isn't "jealous boyfriend that just doesn't want to go have adventures". We learn of how much he cared for his grandmother, and we see that it isn't that he is an idiot, it's that he feels outclassed by everyone around him. Rose still has Daddy Issues, as evidenced by her attempts to get her not-parents back together. And the Doctor, of course, is still dealing with Time Lord Problems, such as trying to keep everyone from messing up the parallel universe.

The Age of Steel

The Doctor saves everyone from deletion by the presumably drunken Cybermen by overloading them with the TARDIS' power cell. While Pete Tyler reveals himself as the secret informer for the Preachers, John Lumic using everyone's Blue Tooth devices to control their minds, which is not a comment on our reliance on technology at all.

Ricky, Mickey, and Jake try to escape only for Ricky to helpfully die, leaving Mickey as his replacement goldfish in that universe. Not!Jackie has been converted, as has John Lumic, whose own creations helpfully upgraded him. He still sits in his chair, however, because even the Cybermen have a sense of villainous aesthetics. The Doctor, with the help of Mickey, manages to discover a code to release the emotion inhibitor in the Cybermen. This causes the Cybermen to do the Harlem Shake AND YES I AM GOING TO POST THAT VIDEO AGAIN.

Pete is a little weirded out to discover that Rose is his Space Daughter, and Mickey decides to stay and care for his Space Grandmother and help lead La Resistance.

I liked this two parter. Unfortunately it gives us some character development for Mickey and then leaves him behind, which sort of sucks. It would be interesting to see Mickey's adventures now that he has come into his own. But that will come later. For now, let's move on to more commentary on societal reliance on technology!

It's about TV rotting your brain. Literally.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NuWho Reviews: The Idiot's Lantern, The Impossible Planet, and The Satan Pit

The Idiot's Lantern

The Doctor and Rose want to see an Elvis Presley concert, and dress accordingly, which means they dress like they're from Grease. Musical outbursts not included.

So. Very. 50s.

Instead, they find themselves on the day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. However, that's not the most interesting part. The most interesting part is people being taken from their homes by police with sheets over their heads. The pair decide to ask a local family, the Connolly's, with Abusive 50s Dad, Put Upon Housewife, Average Ten Year Old, and Faceless Grandma.

What's that? Faceless grandmas weren't a normal thing in the 50s? Oh.

Rose investigates the local TV shop, and discovers an alien being called the Wire, which has nothing to do with the TV series. The Wire was all set to be executed for things, but turned itself into an electric impulse, and is trying to consume enough minds to recreate a body. She is played by Maureen Lipman, and does 50s ham and cheese very well.

So. Very. 50's.

The Doctor is talking to the police about this whole problem of "hiding away faceless people instead of helping them" when Rose is brought in, also faceless and you know what I had a lot of trouble watching this episode it made me uncomfortable. Why must there always be uncanny valley on Doctor Who?

Anyways, we have a big showdown at the Alexandra Palace tv station transmitter, and the Doctor captures the Wire on a cassette tape, which may or may not later be used by Decepticons. Put Upon Housewife kicks out Abusive 50s Dad, Average Ten Year Old offers to forgive Abusive 50s Dad for being, well, abusive, and Faceless Grandma is no longer Faceless.

All I asked was to not be Vernon Dursley. AND THEN THEY MADE ME VERNON DURSLEY.

It was an...interesting episode. The stereotypes were a bit much, but I did like the Wire as a villain. The Doctor asks Rose to remind him to tape over his recording of the Wire, but I like to think he forgot, because he tends to forget important things like this.

The Impossible Planet

The TARDIS lands in a base for deep-space explorations. There is creepy writing on the walls that the TARDIS can't translate, which means that it's older than old and probably involves eldritch horrors. (HAHAHAHAHA yeah)

Also there are Ood, which are basically the greatest things ever. They are a race of servant empaths that help out on the station. They meet the crew and discover they are exploring the planet Krop Tor, which orbits a black hole.

Yes, a planet orbiting the black hole. It's...shall we say...impossible?

Statistically speaking, everyone went to see this movie only for the exploding sunglasses.

Unfortunately, there is a convenient earthquake which causes the TARDIS to fall into the planet. Oh, and the Ood keep babbling creepy messages about a Beast awakening while attempting to hide their copies of Left Behind.

Then Toby gets possessed, and the Doctor decides to do something by poking at the creepy planet while everything is creepy. He and Ida find an eldritch disc that starts opening, and the Beast decides to possess all the Ood, call itself Legion because "Beast" just wasn't on the nose enough for it, and declare itself free.

Do you have a moment to talk about Tim LaHaye?

The Satan Pit

Rose and the last crew members flee from the possessed Ood, while the Doctor decides to rappel into the pit of death to poke at whatever is in there. (Let's face it-the Doctor's strategy is "poke it with a stick and see what happens". He is the Crocodile Hunter of space.)

The remaining crew try to knock out the Ood's telepathy, not realizing Toby is still possessed,  then try to escape on a rocket ship to Pigfarts and the Doctor discovers creepy wall paintings. The Beast was imprisoned in this place a long long long long long long time ago, like Lorien-old, and that the Beast's consciousness has already escaped. The Doctor decides to activate the failsafe to destroy the planet, and luckily finds his TARDIS, because if that hadn't happened then we wouldn't have any more episodes.

Meanwhile, Toby is still possessed, and now breathing fire because of course he is. Rose shoots out the rocket window and unhooks his harness. The shields go up, and the Doctor tows them to safety.

"Oh my God, Toby, do you have to eat peppers and onions before a flight?"

We get a last minute Aesop about Ood being people too.

And also they're awesome.

Monday, October 19, 2015

NuWho Reviews: New Earth, Tooth and Claw, and School Reunion

Oh, yeah, we're on a roll now! Let's see how many of these I can write in a week!

New Earth

After saving the world using fruit, the Doctor decides to really impress Rose by taking her to New Earth-in the year 5,000,000,023. So...we've lasted pretty long then. Great!

However, there are also cat people-specifically, cat nuns, which makes a hilarious sort of sense when you remember how cats were (and are) frequently found in monasteries and convents. The Sisters of Plenitude oversee a hospital, helping to cure patients of previously incurable diseases. However, the Face of Boe is the one who summoned the Doctor to the hospital. Meanwhile, Rose gets kidnapped by Lady Cassandra.

Wait, what? Yes, Lady Cassandra. She didn't quiet disintegrate, and has decided to exchange her thin body for a...err...bouncier one.

After a number of wacky shipping hijinks, the Doctor and Cassandrose discover the secret to the Sisters' cures: artificial humans grown to be used as lab rats to discover the cures. It's effective! It's also horrible!

Cassandrose of course uses this to her advantage by attempting to blackmail the Sisters, then attempting to cause a zombie apocalypse. Luckily they can lure said zombies through a disinfectant shower to cure them and WOW THAT WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY EASY.

Lady Cassandra finally pops out of Rose's body, and (after a brief stint in the Doctor's body, which led to pure unadulterated hilarity) accepts her clone-slave-person Chip's offer of his own. She then goes back in time and is nice to herself, and...there's some lesson here.

No, really, it was a sweet ending, and made Lady Cassandra more than just a two dimensional character (literally and figuratively). The quick cure of the "infected" also showed the real cruelty of the Sisters of Plenitude-they could have cured those people at any time, very easily, but they wanted to use them as lab rats.

Also, we will always have this:

Tooth and Claw

The Doctor has been chasing this wee naked girl over hill and dale, and of course he's James McCrimmon, can't you see the resemblance? After accidentally ending up in Scotland in 1879, the Doctor and Rose run into Queen Victoria, who is scandalized by the naked girl. They travel to the Torchwood Estate, one of the late Prince Albert's favorite places. Unfortunately, the Torchwood Estate has been taken over by ninja monks.


Flying Monks, Obscure Reasons

To make a long story short, the ninja monks want to turn Queen Victoria into a werewolf, because reasons. It turns out the estate is meant to trap the werewolf, which is actually an alien, using a diamond and the full moon. It still makes better sense than Twilight.

Queen Victoria finally declares to Rose that she is not the least bit amused, and banishes them both, because the Doctor can be a bit much for people sometimes.

For the record, the Doctor doesn't resemble Jamie in the least.

The Doctor would never wear that silly Beatles haircut that an 18th century Scotsman inexplicably liked.

School Reunion


The Doctor tries to teach physics. It makes no sense, but there it is. Strange things are going on at Deffry Vale School, and while the Doctor fails at teaching in a traditional setting, Rose is a cafeteria lady. The school really loves chips, which is cooked in oil that must be handled with hazmat suits on. This in and of itself isn't that shocking, because cafeteria food.

What is shocking is when Headmaster Finch introduces the new teacher "John Smith" to the reporter, Sarah Jane Smith. The Doctor has a silent squee to match the very loud squees of the fans, and we get large helpings of feels later on when Sarah Jane (breaking in to investigate, because that's how she rolls) discovers the TARDIS.

The Doctor was completely unaware that he had left her in Aberdeen instead of Croydon.

"So...not Croydon...?"
"...made it home all right?"

At first, we get an uncomfortable amount of possessiveness from Rose regarding Sarah Jane, until they find greater fuel in laughing at the Doctor, and Mickey discovers that he is the "tin dog". Also, there are bats. Not regular bats, giant alien bats, because of course.

Oh yes, K-9 is revived! He is still less annoying than Adric.

The long and short of it is, the Krillitane are trying to solve the Skasis Paradigm, which shows us how the universe works, because that couldn't possibly lead to insanity or anything. Finchitane offers the Doctor a chance to rule together, which is ignored. K-9 blows up the chip oil and himself, but it's okay because the Doctor had a spare. (There's always a spare K-9 around.)

Sarah Jane takes her replacement K-9 off to have new adventures on her own show, thank you very much, and Mickey decides to join the TARDIS crew.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Update and a NuWho Review: The Christmas Invasion

First off, I'm finally ready to write something. Classes went well: B in Creative Writing (mainly due to a couple missed discussion posts) and an A in Shakespeare, because the final was "talk about Shakespeare plays" which is what I basically do all the time anyways. Work is crazy, Frenzy is fixed (Less yowling! Less rolling around like an idiot! Mostly.), Tiny is indeed a "he", and we're preparing to move to Virginia this December.


Anyways. Moving on. Let's get back into review mode, shall we?

The Christmas Invasion

Yeah, I realized I'm only on the Tenth Doctor in my reviews. Which is okay, because David Tennant is amazing and talking about David Tennant is the best occupation I can find right now.

When we last left, the Doctor had just regenerated. The TARDIS crash lands outside Jackie's apartment, where he wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and passes out. Unfortunately, while the Doctor recovers, nonsense is happening: Santa robots are attacking, and a spinning Christmas tree of death nearly kills Jackie, Rose, and Mickey.

Just as ridiculous as it sounds.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Harriet BAMF Jones is about to go live when the Sycorax (and writing that in this context directly after a Shakespeare class is odd), an alien race, demands the world's surrender-or they will force a third of the world to commit suicide. Harriet and her staff arrive on the ship for "negotiations".

The Sycorax discover the TARDIS, transport it aboard their ship, then moan and complain that Earth has cool technology and that's totally unfair, you guys. Rose tries to BS their way out of it, but the Sycorax are too busy whining about life being unfair. The Doctor is revived by tea.


Upon reviving, the Doctor challenges the Sycorax leader to a swordfight, then winds up defeating him with fruit, because that's the kind of show this is.

But the best is yet to come. While the Sycorax slink off, embarrassed by the Doctor, Harriet calls Torchwood and tells them to BRING THE RAIN. The Sycorax are blown up, the audience cheers, the not so happy.

"But Harriet, they just want to go invade other planets, why can't you just..."

See, he doesn't like this "violence" stuff, and promptly insists that Harriet looks tired, somehow ending her career. Somehow. Because he's the Doctor, that's how.

So, what to think of it? It's an amazing first episode for 10. The show will obviously be much wackier, but the Tenth Doctor also has a very serious (and somewhat self-righteous) side, as evidenced by his reaction to the Sycorax being blown up. It will eventually come back to bite him, first when the new Prime Minister comes to power (without the use of plastic daffodils, THANK YOU VERY MUCH), and also when he eventually reaches a crisis where he realizes he can't save the day.

But for now, let's focus on the joy that is David Tennant.