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.
The advisement that “your patience will be rewarded” often sounds like something you’d tell a child who asks repeatedly how much longer they have to wait for a birthday, or allowance, or other anticipation. Why would it be any different for us as the groundlings at Steven Moffat’s feet, hoping against hope that this is the day we are given a tremendous gift, and that gift is not only all we hoped for, but perhaps even more for the sake of wanting? Could it be? Is this the day? Are we actually going to be rewarded?
This week, we unwrap the crinkling paper and fling the proverbial ribbons and bows into the air to discover ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, and discover that the adage regarding patience is actually quite accurate. From hands-up moments of surprise, to laugh-out-loud scathing interplay between Doctor, Clara and Missy, to references and homages to Classic Who and the more contemporary RTD era, to a cliffhanger that could change the fundamentals of Doctor Who as we know it — Series Nine is off to an explosive start, and many fans and critics are referring to this as potentially one of Moffat’s best scripts to date.
When she first appeared unexpectedly in “Asylum of the Daleks”, we were all shocked and left unable to form a proper opinion. When she then returned (in another form) in “The Snowmen”, we fell in love, only to mourn her inexplicable death. And when ‘Clara Prime’ finally joined us in “The Bells of St. John,” we reached the point of wondering what the hell was really going on. Now that we’re on the other side of a character-driven and well-structured Series 8, and we have a fully realized and appreciated Clara Oswald, it leaves us wondering what paths our resourceful and complex Companion has yet to walk.
This week, we look at the substantial growth Clara’s character has had thus far, and discuss what we would both like to see — and what we expect to see — in the upcoming ninth series. Do we want her to continue her journey towards becoming more like the Doctor himself? Do we want her to find happiness and contentment with her lot in life? Do we want her unceremoniously killed off? (Or do we just want her to finally get us that coffee we ordered weeks ago? Worst waitress…ever. What? She was just a customer there, too? Well, now we look foolish, don’t we?)
The BBC has confirmed that both Missy and Kate Stewart will both be returning for Series 9, and this got us wondering; who else might we see return? More accurately stated, who is most likely to return in the season ahead? Then of course, being the rabid fanatics we are, we descend quickly into postulating who should-would-could-ought-to, and…well, you get the idea.
This week, we start by putting concerted effort into predicting those characters who would make the most sense appearing in Series 9. That exhausted, it all turns left, and we end up putting proverbial wishes in bottles, and hoping for character cameos as impossible as…well, assassin astronauts. Join us as we try desperately to keep it on the rails, only to rattle off course and fling ourselves wildly into theories that could (or should?) never come to pass.
If there’s one thing Steven Moffat knows how to do exceptionally well, it’s how to leave a viewer exasperated and asking, “But…but…what about (this)?” While Series 8 certainly had a fair number of fascinating revelations and answers, there are still plenty of questions left untended.
This week, we discuss some of the glaring omissions, some minor holes in our knowledge, and the minuscule things that shouldn’t bother us…but we can’t help but keep going over in our head. (For example, where is the explanation that was promised regarding the Doctor’s ring?) Do we come up with brilliant and faith-affirming answers for you? Heck, no! But we promise: our fumbled attempts at explanations and frustration over our lack of answers will be highly entertaining.