Doctor Who: Oxygen

When you’ve run from all the bogey-men, the ghosts and ghouls, the shadows within the shadows, the killer robots, and the bug-eyed aliens bent on your demise, it’s a reasonable assumption that the next threat to terrify and terrorize us is…rampant galactic capitalism. CURSE YOU, EMPTY SUITS. *fist shake*

This week, we rub furiously at our eyes after a viewing of “Oxygen”, the fifth episode of Series 10. Discussions are had over the respiratory systems of Time Lords, Moffat’s new-found ability to kill at will, Bill going blue, and what Nardole’s organic-to-bionic ratio really is.

Bonus Segment:

“Say Something Nice” — we have to find at least three positive things to say about a randomly chosen episode that comes from the bottom 10% of major Whovian ranking polls. Pollyanna-ism, away!

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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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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 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!”