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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Thin Ice

Doctor Who Thin Ice

When you walk the world for a while, you gather a collection of life experiences, each of which may teach you something: about yourself; about those around you; about existence itself. Those experiences give you a perspective on things, your “worldview”, if you will, that shapes decisions yet to be made, influences your reactions to future events. It also has a profound impact on what you will tolerate, what you simply cannot, and what you simply move beyond.

We as 21st century humans have a journey of ninety to a hundred years at the very most, and our opinions can develop to a near-impenetrable state over that time. Imagine the fortress around the worldview of a traveler over two millennia old.

This week, we step back to 19th century London, and walk the surface of the Thames in “Thin Ice”. As Sarah Dollard’s sophomore contribution to the series, we delight in the continued chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie, find ourselves fascinated by a discussion over lives saved and taken, scream in triumph one uncharacteristic but fantastic punch, and get word from Dollard herself about that succinct but powerful “species” speech:

But before we begin anything, let’s just take a moment to remember Pete. We feel like we barely knew you.

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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 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!”

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