Episode 828 – “Smile”

The Doctor and Bill arrive on a would-be utopia planet; one that’s being readied for human occupation. Surely nothing sinister or strange could happen here, right?

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Ha! Millennials, ‘mirite?

Naturally something nasty is happening. In this case, the robots who are running the place, and communicate in emojis because creativity is dead, are killing anyone who appears to be unhappy. It’s that usual, rather stupid, thing that happens in sci-fi where the AI just doesn’t quite get it and murders a few people.

This may make it sound like I didn’t like this episode, but I actually rather did. Bill and the Doctor continue to make a great couple. So far I’m enjoying them almost as much as I did the Doctor and Donna. And if the emoji thing was stupid-and make no mistake; it was very stupid-it was also handled in an entertaining enough fashion. Plus the location was just amazing! What a lovely building!

But I will say that the emoji thing really was fucking stupid as fuck. It never really works when sci-fi shows try to take modern day fads and project them into the future. Remember the Anne-Droid and Big Brother in the last two episodes of the Ninth Doctor’s season? Yeah. That aged rather terribly.

So in summary, a fun story, with shades of “Happiness Patrol”, that wound up being way better than it should have been.

Cast
Others
  • Kiran L. Dadlani – Kezzia
  • Mina Anwar – Goodthing
  • Kaizer Akhtar – Praiseworthy
  • Ralf Little – Steadfast
  • Kalungi Ssebandeke – Nate
  • Kiran Shah – Emojibot 1
  • Craig Garner – Emojibot 2
Production
Directed by Lawrence Gough
Written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Produced by Peter Bennett
Executive producer(s) Steven Moffat
Brian Minchin
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Series Series 10
Length 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 22 April 2017
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Episode 827 – “The Pilot”

At long last, it’s back! No, not the blog. I’ve actually had quite a few posts lately, thank you! Not one a day, but still! Sort of. Anyhow, no, the show itself is back, and spoilers ahoy!

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I look way too much like Nardole.

This story introduces Bill, the Doctor’s new companion. She’s got a crush on another woman who works at the school the other woman attends. All things look good for the two as a couple, but soon there’s some weird alien stuff going on involving sentient oil slicks, Daleks, Movellans (!), and, of course, the Doctor and Nardole.

The story acts as something of a reboot to the series, giving us actual classroom lectures on the concept of a Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine, as well as a few other items. I rather like that. It doesn’t leave too much time for the story, but the story is rather simple anyhow, and that’s perfectly fine; we don’t always need some huge epic saga overscored by Murray Gold.

I must say the Movellans were an interesting inclusion. We don’t see more than a few seconds of them, but I rather liked seeing what we saw. I especially liked that they didn’t feel the need to update them to a more “modern” feel. Yes, the space-age disco bodysuits and dreads remain intact.

Overall I quite liked this story. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a minimum of annoying things, and it had a nice flow to it. Bill is a charming new addition to the cast, and though he was used a bit more sparingly than in the Christmas special, Nardole still worked out well. Plus there were some nice nods to the past, with the aforementioned Movellans and a brief pair of references to Susan.

If this is any indicator of how series 10 as a whole will go, I’m quite looking forward to it!

Cast
Others
Production
Directed by Lawrence Gough
Written by Steven Moffat
Produced by Peter Bennett
Executive producer(s) Steven Moffat
Brian Minchin
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Series Series 10
Length 50 minutes
Originally broadcast 15 April 2017

Episode 826 (?) – “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

Careful readers may have noticed a slight jump in the episode numbering as well as an abrupt change of Doctor. It crosses my mind that I never said what I was going to do when new episodes air. Well, now you know.

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“I’m me, the Doctor, and even I think this is insane.”

Have you ever wondered what might happen if the Doctor were to land his TARDIS in the middle of one of CW’s superhero shows? I suspect I just saw it.

This was a far, far better episode than it should have been. The Doctor and a superhero? That annoying Matt Lucas character from last year’s special? A villain that’s like a Teutonic version of James Mason? It could have gone wrong at so many points, but…didn’t.

Now that’s not saying this was the best story ever. Hell, it wasn’t even the best Christmas special. But I found much here to like. There were plenty of amusing moments centering on comic books and the silliness of the secret identity, there was some awfully sharp writing with some wonderful quotes, and even Nardole, Matt Lucas’ character, was entertaining. I like the way he was written here much better than the way he was written last year.

So…take this story in the spirit (Ghost?), it is offered. It’s not great, but it’s pretty damn entertaining, and that’s good enough.