Just to let you know, there will be spoilers in this review – so be warned. We start in 1334, Egypt, with the Doctor getting a lot of attention from Queen Nefertiti after he has saved her kingdom. They both get whizzed off to a distress signal from Earth (2376) where a ship is on a collision course.
With the announcement from CCI about Marvel’s Phase 2 of movies, the Thor sequel was kind of left in the dust behind some of the more enticing movies Marvel was planning. Captain America dropped the Winter Soldier bomb, along with the announcements of Ant Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, so it’s pretty easy for Thor to get left behind.
But out of all the announcements, Thor: The Dark World is still left with the most mystery. We know which characters are coming back (pretty much all of them), and we know a villain will be Malekith the Accursed, played by Christopher Eccleston. What we don’t know is what the title references, general story ideas, or anything else really. Sure there is a lot of speculation out there, but the only concrete thing we know right now is that they are currently filming in Bourne Wood, England and have started constructing some sets.
The Doctor returns and straight away he is in a spot of bother. Following a distress call from Skaro he is set up and kidnapped by the Daleks as well as Rory and Amy who are now having severe relationship woes. In fact they were just about to get divorced! They are summoned to the parliament of the Daleks which they expect to be the end of their lives. Instead the Daleks say two words. Save us.
The Daleks have a problem. They have a planet; a planet that’s a prison full of insane and imperfect Daleks. The Daleks find it offensive to actually kill any form of hatred (which these Daleks have in spades) so they leave them on this planet. The planet however also has a problem (it’s not a good day to be a Dalek hey?); a ship has crashed landed there and there is now a small hole in the force field which means Daleks can now get out. The force field can only be turned off from the inside!
Another problem is that the Daleks are to bloody scared to send anyone to sort it! They have no trouble sending the doctor and co down there mind which they do by shooting them at the planet! So, their mission is two fold. They need to survive long enough to turn off the force field letting the Daleks blow up the planet and they need to rescue the trapped and quite brilliant Oswin who is stuck on the planet too (hers being one of the ships that crashed landed there). To make matters worse there is a nano bots in the air that turns anyone who encounters it into a Dalek hybrid, which sucks for Amy as she loses the wristband she was given to keep the nanobots out. Will Amy turn Dalek, will they rescue Oswin and will they manage to escape the planet of Daleks before the Daleks blow it up?!
Right from the start this episode grabs you and does not let go. The Doctor is made to look a dark and brooding character mostly seen in shadow on the walls. This Doctor is all business but bitter, a man who does not want to be the adventurer he once was. This adds an amazing amount of tension to this first opening scene. This follows through most of the episode with the Doctor near the end becoming more like the Doctor we know from series past. So a lot of this episode involves the Doctor finding the joy of actually been the Doctor again. It’s also about rekindling relationships with Rory and Amy needing a disaster like this to get them to open up about their feelings and actually tell one another they love each other. This first episode is also a historic one been the first episode shown in the UK, Canada and the U.S. at the same time!
The last series lost some of its magic near the end. The Doctor got very moody and the fun seemed to go from it. The series lost its way with a mix of topsy-turvy time travel stories, romantic sub plots and a general lack of fun! Writer Stephen Moffet is still finding his feet with the doctor I think. Some episodes were spot on, some not so much. For this episode he has streamlined it down to the basics. Daleks the old favorite are the bad guys, Doctor and co run about trying to stop a disaster. And it works. Basic approach really gets you gripped into the story again.
An episode called the Asylum of the Daleks is always going to conjure up scenes of grandeur. This is a more low key affair. Aside from the numerous Daleks at the start from all different time frames there are only a handful of Daleks at a time. In fact this episode plays a little like a zombie flick, enclosed spaces, Daleks popping out around corridors, etc. Again this thinned back approach works so much better than the special effects heavy last series.
There are some incredible scenes here to (SPOLIER ALERT). Rory getting trapped in a hall full of insane sleeping Daleks who wake up very slowly (very much like a scene from The Birds), the doctor and may finding a crew member who does not know he is a Dalek, zombie Daleks, an amazing scene in intensive care with Daleks surrounding the Doctor and a great end scene which is very much like Jacobs ladder. The shock to this episode is the reveal of Oswind been an actual Dalek with a human mind who still thinks she’s human and one of her final acts being to wipe the Daleks memories of any knowledge of the Doctor.
This reveal caught me off guard but the signs are all there if you look for them! It’s actually a touching scene which tugs at your heart strings quite a lot. Jenna-Louise Coleman is a very engaging character in this episode, very witty and funny as well as been very smart. This is her first appearance but she will return in the Christmas special. Her sacrifice leads to the final scene with the Daleks completely confused about who is on their ship shouting “Doctor Who” while they make there get away! It’s a great little ending to a nicely laid out episode.
Sure there are some ropy bits especially Rory and Amy talking about the nanobots sucking out love (don’t ask!); the big hole in the plot of why build a planet you can only get access to from the inside and then dump Daleks on it if you are going to blow it up in the end anyway! But overall these are minor problems. The main thing is it’s a lot of fun which the last series lacked. Overall a great start to the new series and I cannot wait for episode two. Here’s a sneak peek of it.
The BBC Website released what all of us Doctor Who fans had been waiting for. The new trailer for Series 7!
New episodes of Doctor Who are not due until Autumn (boo!), but from BBC America (via Geek Exchange) comes news of four original documentaries due to air soon. Each covers a different subject important to the Doctor Who universe.
The Science of Doctor Who premiers on Saturday the 4th of August at 11:00pm (ET/PT). It explores the real life science behind the biggest concepts and most iconic ideas in the series.
The Women of Doctor Who premiers on Saturday the 11th of August at 9:00pm (ET/PT). It looks at the women who have passed through The Doctors life.
The Timey Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who premiers on Saturday the 18th of August at 11:00pm (ET/PT). It looks at the topsy-turvy confusing nature of time and time travel in the series.
The Destinations of Doctor Who premiers on Saturday the 25th of August at 9:00pm (ET/PT). It explores the myriad of places The Doctor has travelled to across time and space.
They all sound very interesting, and I am slightly narked that they are on BBC America. Hopefully they will show them over here in Blighty at some stage.
Elsewhere the BBC has announced the titles of the first three stories of the new series.
The series opening episode will be Asylum of The Daleks. It will, apparently, include every Dalek ever! Even including the Special Weapons Dalek. It will also feature the biggest set ever used on the show.
The second episode will be entitled Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. It will co-star Mark Williams (The Fast Show and the Harry Potter films) as Rory’s Dad, Brian, and Rupert Graves (Sherlock) as a big game hunter. It will also feature the second biggest set ever used on the show.
The third episode will be called A Town Called Mercy. This Western story – which was filmed in Spain earlier in the year – will co-star Ben Browder (Farscape and Stargate) and Adrian Scarborough (Psychoville and Gavin & Stacey).
Roll on Autumn.
Filming on the new series of Doctor Who got under way on the 20th of February, and they recently finished filming on location in Spain. This will be Matt Smith’s third year as ‘the Doctor’, but also Karen Gillian & Arthur Darvill‘s last as companions Amy and Rory. They will be leaving in episode 5. It, of course, means that a new companion will be joining the Doctor in the TARDIS. The actress to play this – so far unnamed – role has been recently announced: Jenna-Louise Coleman!
Jenna is 25 and comes from Blackpool. She has previously played ‘Jasmine Thomas’ in the ITV soap Emmerdale, and ‘Lindsay James’ in the BBC drama Waterloo Road. She also appeared, last Sunday, on new ITV drama Titanic, as ‘Annie Desmond’. All of which probably means nothing to anyone not from the UK. She was also the voice of Melia in Xenoblade on the Wii and had a small (very small – two lines small) part in the Captain America film.
When she found out she had got the part she was, apparently, in Marks & Spencers holding an avocado. Steven Moffat has said of her ” I think she’s possibly the only person I’ve ever heard [talk] faster than Matt.” He also said that when Jenna’s character meets the doctor it will be “one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters” and that “even by the Doctor’s standard this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.” She will be introduced in the Christmas special.
And so on to the new series (number 7 if you must, or number 33 as I – and lots of other fans – like to think of it). The BBC press release says:
Prepare yourselves for thrills, adventure and dramatic surprises as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year.” It also promises “Fourteen big blockbuster-movie episodes – each a brand new epic adventure featuring new monsters and some familiar foes as you’ve never seen them before.
A lot to live up to!
Guest stars so far confirmed are: David Bradley (Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films), Rupert Graves (most recently seen as D.I. Lestrade in Sherlock), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films) and Ben Browder (Farscape and Stargate).
And here is the first preview trailer. Yay! Cowboys, cyborgs, and running – lots of running.
“Anachronistic electricity; keep-out signs; aggressive stares – has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?!” Brilliant!
The new series will premiere this autumn – dates to be confirmed – on BBC One (UK), BBC America (USA) and SPACE (Canada). There will be six episodes this year (including the Christmas Special) and then 8 next year – hopefully just after New Year.
Still a lot of news from Comic-Con to cover, so I’m going to be moving pretty quickly through all of it. This will be more Grizzly Links than an in-depth look at everything as I am going to see Captain America: The First Avenger in a couple of hours so speed is of the essence.
I’ll be kind of throwing things in randomly, so keep up. Let’s get to it!
This week (in the U.S., next week in the U.K.) sees the return of Torchwood and of Captain Jack – Harkness, not Sparrow – for a fourth series. Now I’ve been told I need to explain what Torchwood is to our mostly North American readership, so here goes with a really brief summary…
Torchwood is a spin-off series from Doctor Who, about a top-secret British organization called the ‘Torchwood Institute’ – which was set up on the instructions of Queen Victoria after she had a run in with an alien werewolf and the 10th Doctor. It’s lead now by the aforementioned Captain Jack (John Barrowman). He is a handsome, charming, heroic, bi-sexual, immortal, ex-time agent. Was that enough adjectives?
The other main character is Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles). She is an ex-cop with the South Wales Police, and is currently the only other member of Torchwood. They are also joined by her husband Rhys (Kai Owen).
Torchwood is aimed much more at an adult audience, unlike Doctor Who which is more family orientated. The Starz (Spartacus, Camelot) channel is co-producing the new series with the BBC. It’s set mainly in America, and was filmed in Los Angeles – except for two weeks in Wales. The stops have been pulled out, with the budget of each of the 10 episodes being, apparently, over £1 million (roughly 1.6 million in US currency).
The general synopsis of the new series – Miracle Day – is as follows.
One day, all across the world, nobody dies. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day… People age, people get sick, people get hurt, but nobody dies. Births continue though. The population sky rockets overnight. Experts predict that in four months the human race will cease to be viable. CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) investigates and discovers a global conspiracy that leads him to a secret British institution. It also features Alexa Havins as Esther Drummond and Bill Pullman as convicted murderer Oswald Danes.
Here’s the trailer:
The series starts on Starz in the U.S. on Friday the 8th of July, and on BBC One in the U.K. on Thursday the 14th of July.
Series 32 of Doctor Who starts on Saturday the 23rd of April, and will be shown on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC America. And I, for one, am so excited I could wet myself! No, really, I could.
This is all the information I know up to now (no, not just the date, what I am about to impart to you.) There will be a few light spoilers, but not too many as I don’t want to know too much either.
First up is the fact that this years series will be split in two. The first seven episodes will end on what has been promised to be a ‘memorable and shocking cliffhanger’. Then a summer break in July and August before the final six episodes are shown in autumn (or fall, for all you Americans). It is also going to be more dark and spooky. Time to hide behind the sofa?
The first two part story is by Steven Moffat. Episode one is entitled ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and episode two is ‘Day of The Moon’. It’s set in America in 1969 (there has been filming in Utah and Arizona) and sees the return of River Song (Alex Kingston).
The general plot, as reported by Doctor Who Magazine, goes as follows.
July 1969. Man takes his first, tentative steps on the Moon. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for… okay, you’ve heard that one before. But a lot more happened on Earth that year than mankind remembers.
Four small TARDIS-blue envelopes. A date, time and map reference. “We’ve been recruited,” ponders River Song. All roads lead to Lake Silencio, in Utah, on one balmy day in April. And an astronaut. An Apollo astronaut in the lake. Impossible? Not today. For the heavens have become a part of man’s world, and this is the day that some one is going to die.
Someone is going to die, and it’s going to be either The Doctor, Amy, Rory or River
Yes, you read that right, one of them will die! Apparently.
Really? Didn’t Rory die last series? You can’t kill The Doctor, surely? River Song seems the most likely candidate, but… really? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
All this and, what are being called, the scariest monsters yet! Even more terrifying than the Weeping Angles. And this is just for starters.
Episode four is ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, written by comic legend Neil Gaiman. This is the story they ran out of money for before filming last year. It sees the return of the Ood (the only returning monsters this year).
Episode five – ‘The Rebel Flesh‘ – and episode six – ‘The Almost People‘ – are a two parter, and episode seven (written by Moffat) will be ‘A Good Man Goes to War’.
The only two episode titles, for the second part of the series, so far announced are episode nine (by Mark Gatiss), which will be called ‘What Are Little Boys Made of?‘ and episode eleven, titled ‘The God Complex’, which will see David Walliams (of Little Britain fame) as an alien character called Gibbs.
And to finish off, here is the trailer for the new series, plus the prequel to ‘The Impossible Astronaut’.
Now please excuse me whilst I go find dry underwear.