One of television’s most disappointingly resilient punchlines is the post-assault feminine slap. You’ve seen it before. A man, worked up into a lather for some reason or another, makes advances on a woman, pulling her into a kiss. If it’s requited, congratulations: It’s time for a new chapter in the show’s will-they-won’t-they drama. If it’s not, often you can count on two things happening. The woman, once out of the passionate embrace, will pull back her hand, slap the man, perhaps make some kind of a harrumphing noise, turn on her heels, and stalk off, her body language screaming, “The impudence!”. The man will put his hand up to his face where he’s been slapped, massage the area, and respond with either confusion or some combination of, “I guess I deserved that” and “Worth it!”. This is supposed to be funny. And maybe it was, back in the ‘70s, when such moments were common on shows likeM*A*S*H (Did a doctor leave the 4077th without some form of sexual advance towards Hot Lips?). But at this point, any comedic power this ploy ever had has long since vanished.
Technically speaking, “pilot” was not a term used in British television at the time Doctor Who was commissioned and the version of “An Unearthly Child” that aired was not the first one shot. There were adjustments to the characters, especially the Doctor, who was made to be less cruel (at one point he called Susan a “stupid child”), as well as the technical side of the production. The episode benefited from this tinkering, however, and Doctor Who was born.
Doctor Who is a fascinating series that embraces change and creativity like no other. Each era of the show, be it defined by its Doctor or producer, has its own identity, point of view, and particular strengths and weaknesses. Unlike the fantastic 50th Anniversary special, which was far more concerned with the entire modern series, “The Time of the Doctor” crystallizes the recent Matt Smith/Steven Moffat era and highlights its characteristics incredibly well. Fans of the recent seasons will undoubtedly love “The Time of the Doctor”. Those of us less enthused with them are far more likely to be left cold.
There are many things to like about this Christmas special. Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman are once again on top form, doing their best with the material given them. Orla Brady, so memorable to fans of Fringe as Elizabeth Bishop, is a welcome addition to the mix and there are enough Christmassy touches to thematically tie “The Time of the Doctor” to its airdate without it becoming bogged down, as has been a problem in the past. There are a couple particularly nice moments between the Doctor and Clara on the TARDIS, Peter Capaldi looks like he’ll be fun, and the Eleventh Doctor’s final speech speaks well to the long history of the series and of the character himself.
We’re still celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who here on Sound on Sight with part two of our very own MMORPG, (that’s a Massive & Magnificent Online Remarkable Podcast Gathering) a series of podcasts with ten of our favourite Whovians. Our companions for today as we continue our Ultimate and Definitive Companion Countdown are The Examiner’s resident Whovian, Heather Maloney and author Neil Perryman.
Regular followers are probably aware that we here are at Sound on Sight are more than a little fond of an obscureBritish science fiction program that celebrated an anniversary of some kind last weekend. Anniversaries are always an excellent time to reflect upon and celebrate a show’s history and the lead up to last Saturday’s “The Day of the Doctor” saw the entire Whoniverse coming together to share their thoughts on everything from their favourite episodes, most beloved eras, and of course, “their” Doctor. I just love that a top ten list can be the beginning of a good conversation or a great fight, and I find that the most heat, and some of the best light, is generated when Whovians start talking about their favourite Companions. A Companion is more than just our surrogate, they’re a gateway and guide to the series who helps us find our own way through the barking mad universe that is Doctor Who. It’s no wonder then that our attachments to them are passionate, personal, and gloriously partisan, especially when we try to educate normally well-informed Whovians who disagree with us on just how wrong they are.
Profile of Doctor Who allies the Jones family- Francine, Clive, and Tish
Profile of Doctor Who ally Kate Stewart
Profile of Doctor Who Companion Clara Oswald
Doctor Who may be an international phenomenon, but when it comes to specials, particularly multi-Doctor specials, it doesn’t have the best track record. The Three Doctors (1972-73) , which kicked off the 10th season of the show, is fun, but lacks any significant emotional punch. The Five Doctors (1983), the 20th anniversary special, is a bit of a lark but it not only fails to live up to its title (the Fourth Doctor only barely appears, in one looped clip), it wastes most of its special guest stars. Then there’s The Two Doctors (1985), which doesn’t carry the extra burden of being an anniversary special but still fails to leave much of an impression, despite being an entertaining outing. Throw in the modern series’ spotty history with Christmas and Gap Year specials and current showrunner Steven Moffat’s season seven struggles with pacing, payoffs, and character and “The Day of the Doctor” looked to have a lot riding against it, despite the much-touted return of Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played fan-favorite Companion Rose Tyler. Fortunately with “The Day of the Doctor”, all of these fears are proven to be unfounded, as Moffat and director Nick Hurran deliver an exciting, emotional special.
As a love letter to the creation of Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss’ An Adventure in Space and Time gets a lot right. It’s faithful, it features excellent performances, and it is appropriately wistful about a series that has become an institution. Unfortunately, by adhering so closely to this notion of fond remembrances, the film limits its potential, becoming little more than a curiosity for interested Whovians. Doctor Who, which just celebrated the 50th anniversary of its debut, is a television phenomenon, arguably more popular now than when it burst onto the scene in 1963 with its incredibly popular second story, The Daleks. Given Who’s less-than-smooth journey from concept to broadcast and the many colorful people involved with its creation, a TV movie exploring the series’ beginnings makes narrative and commercial sense, particularly during its Golden Jubilee year. An Adventure in Space and Time delivers on this promise, showing the genesis of the characters and Who’s now famous title sequence, sound effects and music, and set design. For those uninterested in how a bobbin and some punched out cardboard gave viewers the TARDIS, however, there’s only so much to hold on to.
We’re celebrating an event half a century in the making, the much-anticipated 50TH Anniversary of Doctor Who. Join Derek Gladu, Eric Mendoza, Beverly Brown and special guest Joy Fleisig as we ring in the Golden Whobilee with our review of “An Adventure in Space and Time” & “The Day of the Doctor”.
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In the last five years of Doctor Who, the Daleks have pulled the Earth out of its orbit and dragged it across the galaxy. The Doctor has witnessed the end of the universe, pulled into nonexistence by the explosion of his TARDIS, and saved only by a bold and completely ludicrous plot to reboot everything with a “Big Bang 2.0.”. The Doctor has survived his own death, despite it being a fixed point in time. He has romanced a woman who he cradled in his arms during her infancy, befriended his future mother-in-law when she was a child, and been saved from a villain infecting his entire timeline by a pretty girl willing to do the same. Doctor Who is, to put it gently, completely nuts, a ludicrous hour of television that bends suspension of disbelief until it begs to break.