Series 10 In Review

Series 10 in Review

Christmas may be a painfully long way off, but when we think about it, we’ve actually been handed twelve days of gifts, courtesy of the BBC. (Sorry we didn’t get you kids anything in return…unless you count merchandising profits, in which case, you’re welcome.) Series 10 of Doctor Who was arguably a triumph, particularly for those who have been stalwart in Stephen Moffat’s defense, been overwhelmed by Peter Capaldi’s fanboy-earns-title-role portrayal of the Doctor, and the highly praiseworthy performances by Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez, and the incomparable Pearl Mackie.

We may be in complete denial of the fact that the end of an era is nigh, and there may be those rabble-rousing few who grumble “good riddance” in troll-scented tones across cyberspace, but we here at the Citadel studios consider ourselves fortunate that we have a dozen entertaining, thought-provoking, sometimes amusing, and very often emotionally stirring episodes to add to the Whovian pantheon. It has been a stellar season, and we are the better for having experienced it.

This week, we look back at the breadth of Series 10, and reflect on its entertainment and emotional effectiveness. Joined by friend of the cast Kathleen Schowalter, we unpack the themes, tones, and conveyed message of the season as a whole, wherever applicable. Friendly disagreements ensue, and differing opinions are acknowledged and respected, but very little blood is shed, honestly.

BONUS: We run through the obligatory superlatives among the episodes, selecting our highs, lows, cheers and jeers among the twelve.

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The Lie of the Land

The Lie of the Land S10E08

Trust, integrity, and the validity of information are all points of intense focus in today’s news, a modern world where we are finding the delineation between fiction and fact is perhaps as subject to bias and personal interpretation as such benign topics as one’s opinion on culture or entertainment. Who is the standard-bearer of truth, then, if such a single source can even be identified? Whom can we count on?

And where, for crying out loud, is UNIT in all this?

Putting the capstone on the series 10 trilogy, our TARDIS team directly contends with the Monks of Veritas in Toby Whithouse’s story, “The Lie of the Land”. After Bill’s impulsive consent to allow these aliens to take over our world (and history) to an Orwellian nightmare of a result, the situation is intensified when the Doctor appears to be…well, indoctrinated. We discuss the episode compared to its two predecessors, the overall story arc, the Monks as a villain, and the absolutely incredible performances of Michelle Gomez and (our absolute star of this series) Pearl Mackie.

Extra Segment: We ask for listener contribution (here in the comments, email, voicemail, or via any social network of your liking) on the topic of a social relevance “agenda” in recent Doctor Who series. Does such an initiative exist, as you see it? If so, does it add to, or detract from your enjoyment of Doctor Who? Is this a recent development, or something older? Your contributions and comments now will be part of an upcoming in-depth discussion, with some fantastic guests from the Whovian community!

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The Year of the Woman?

The Year of the Woman

Series Nine of Doctor Who was, in a word, groundbreaking. The broadcast format changed. The tone shifted dramatically (pun intended, of course). The stories grew in intensity and weight. The performances from both principal and supporting casts expanded exponentially. The series as a whole felt cohesive, focused, and full of the thrills, adventure, and emotion that marks a stellar season for the program.

Over and above all these accolades, and in many ways directly feeding into them, was the rising strength of women involved in the program. Like most viewers, we were astounded by the immediately apparent acting prowess of Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, Alex Kingston, Ingrid Oliver, and Jemma Redgrave; the directorial eye of Rachel Talalay and Hettie MacDonald; and the exceptional first episode contributions of Sarah Dollard and Catherine Tregenna. As we sit back and absorb all we’ve been given, the question is raised: in 2015, why are we still surprised to see these wonderful things happen?

Joined by brilliant blogger and Gallifreyan aficionado Alyssa of Whovian Feminism, we sit for a long session to discuss what has been a banner year for women in Doctor Who. We discuss the legacy of the program, accusations and confirmed instances of misogyny and chauvinism, the roles and representation of women both on camera and behind it. It becomes immediately clear that this is an ‘iceberg’ topic too large to address in one episode, so even with continued talk about the Bechdel test and other related issues in the “GPR After Dark” extended time that follows, we know for certain that we’ll be coming back to the subject — hopefully with news to celebrate about further advances for women’s equality in Series 10.

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