Language, like a living species, is an dynamic construct, ever evolving and subject to the influences of time. Certain rules and applications are introduced or are rendered obsolete as the populace drifts in or out of favor with them, either as a result of generational or regional usage and trend. (Look to the yearly addenda to the Oxford English Dictionary to see the brouhaha that erupts every time a new term is considered for inclusion.) Is it arguable that the emergence and exponential rise in popularity of emoji are a natural bend in the river of etymology?

Are we — as some critique — somehow ‘regressing’ to the age of hieroglyphs and simplified pictographic representation? Moreover, is this shift in communication a means of expanding and emphasizing the intended message to be conveyed, or rather, limiting the fuller phonemic language, and thus oversimplifying our word-set, leading to misinterpretation and lack of clarity? Are we becoming more emoji-eloquent, or at risk of nearing Orwell’s Newspeak?

If writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce is correct, just wait a little while longer, and ask your refrigerator or toaster. It’ll be happy to discuss the subject with you. [chin-scratchy-think-face]

This week, we share our emotions and reactions right out on the open to the Series 10 episode, “Smile”. We discuss the enjoyable performances from Capaldi and Mackie, the strange little prelude that gives Nardole the brush-off (and raises the “Oath” question again), and look painfully hard at the future-human-colony-meets-misguided-artificial-intelligence storyline that follows. We’d go into more detail here, but we’d rather you [ear] to the [speaker].

BONUS: We play a fast round of “The <BLANK> of the Daleks”, another mini-game we’re testing for future convention use in the greater hoopla that is the “Oh No, Who Didn’t!” game.

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The Pilot

S10E01 The Pilot

There are many different strategies Whovians take when trying to convince a new viewer to delve into the program that they love so dearly. From carefully selected and sequenced primer sets, to take-it-from-the-top viewing marathons, the unique and often fickle nature of each observer could react favorably or adversely to any one of them. We are a subjective species, and our personal experiences have a profound impact on our receptiveness to anything new. With that in mind, if the creators of that new material are openly trying to present something that can win the attention, hopefully admiration, and in a perfect world, the advocacy of a new audience, while still holding the passions of seasoned viewers, the task is a formidable one.

Somewhere, in a comfortably lit corner office in Cardiff, Steven Moffat smiles wanly to himself, rolls up his sleeves, and crouches over a keyboard. Challenge accepted.

This week, we celebrate an exceptional gift in the return of Doctor Who for Series 10, in “The Pilot”. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie’s rapport and chemistry are a delight, Matt Lucas surprises us all with his comedic reserve, Murray Gold continues to elate and wound us with his score, and we revel in the unanswered questions that make for a brilliant Whovian adventure. We draw conclusions as to the role of both companions as representatives of differing viewer categories, the dangers of unnecessary punchlines, and of course, the treasure trove of references the episode throws about like so many sidelong Movellan soldiers. TL:DR? We spacking loved it.

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Series 10 Wishes

It’s nearly here…that wonderful, horrible moment where we realize that we are FINALLY getting new Doctor Who content…but at such a price. Steven Moffat has us teased and tempted for what could be an exceptional final series in his hands, and Peter Capaldi shows absolutely no signs of letting off the accelerator for his final season as the Doctor. Bill and Nardole are ready to (basically) run, and the cavalcade of monsters waiting in the wings are both impressive and formidable. What could we possibly want? Well, funny you should ask…

This week, we look at all we know about the upcoming season, and lay out some of our wishes for the Series 10 episodes to come. These aren’t the if-it-were-up-to-me or if-continuity-didn’t-matter or other “pipe dream” wishes; these are realistic, achievable (at least in our estimation) goals for what could be presented in the next 12 episodes…and Christmas special. From character progression, to utilization of classic foes, to that (ahem) recent news about a certain evil Time Lord, we really hope some of these boxes get ticked by the close of the Moffat era.

BONUS: “This Day in Doctor Who”, where we haunt Jay’s sanity for a few moments regarding ‘The Unquiet Dead’.

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Classic Rewatch: The Claws of Axos

The Claws of Axos

The most interesting fictional adversaries have more in common than they do in conflict: Holmes and Moriarty. Gandalf and Saruman. Kenobi and Vader. Burger King and Ronald McDonald. What may make their ‘familiar contempt’ even more intriguing, perhaps, are the instances where they must put aside their differences and work towards a common goal — typically their own survival. We present, as a grab-your-popcorn-and-just-enjoy examples, the Doctor and the Master trying to jointly outwit an alien force that is quickly outgrowing and outmaneuvering them both, no thanks to the inherent greed/stupidity of a few humans in power.

(Also, electro-pasta-beasts, ’embiggened’ frogs, and mumbling country bumpkins clumsily riding bikes into freezing ponds. This is Classic Who at some of its finest, people — the agony and the ecstasy in a single story.)

This week, we relish the 1971 classic, “The Claws of Axos”. Pertwee and Delgado are at their finest, the costumes and effects at their most questionable, and the story is aces. Pull up a bowl of psycho spaghetti, and dig in.

BONUS: We play a round of “UNIT Must Have a Star Labs Division”, an alt-universe character improvisation game. (Coming soon to a convention near you!)


Series 10 Preview

Doctor Who Series 10

Every break between seasons feels like an eternity…some more so than others. When we are given the news that this will be the final season with the glorious Peter Capaldi as our Doctor, and moreover, the final season with Steven Moffat at the program’s helm, our eagerness to see what the “swan song” consists of reaches a fever pitch.

This week, we take stock of what we know, what we *think* we know, and what are still scandalous rumours, and lay the cards out for Doctor Who Series 10. From Mondasian Cybermen to Emojibots, from Bill to Nardole, from Mars to Missy, it’s hard to believe that all will be contained — and revealed! — in twelve episodes and a bittersweet holiday special. But we are Whovians. WE BELIEVE.

Bonus: We play a fast round of “Fire, Hire, Admire”, as featured in our ReGeneration Who 3 game panel, “Oh No, Who DIdn’t!”