Monday, May 22, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - Extremis - Episode Review

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My review of the previous episode: Oxygen.

Oh, Moffat.

Steven Moffat is one of the greatest visionaries in Doctor Who history. He’s written multiple classic episodes and pushed the boundaries of the show in ways that no one has before. But there's a reason "Moffaty" exists as an adjective. And Extremis is very Moffaty.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - Oxygen - Episode Review

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My review of the previous episode: Knock Knock.

Series 10 had been taking it pretty easy up till now. Slowly introducing us to Bill, dropping hints about what's inside the vault, giving the Doctor (and the show) a new lease on life. All of that changed with Oxygen, an episode heavy on plot, message, and thrills, complete with a game-changing twist in the final scene.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - Knock Knock - Episode Review

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My review of last week's episode: Thin Ice.

Knock knock...

...Who's there.

Bill’s TARDIS adventures don’t appear to have gone to her head: she’s back to her usual life, looking for a place to stay with a group of friends (or more accurately: a friend and a group of her friends). When the Doctor gets involved, Bill’s not happy about it, though why, or how strongly, she wants to isolate this part of her life isn’t quite clear.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - Thin Ice - Episode Review

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My review of the previous episode: Smile.

Thin Ice is just about everything I love about Doctor Who, from its compelling, evocative setting to its epic, spooky monster to its deft mixture of the serious and the silly. It's easily my favorite of this season, one of my favorite Capaldi episodes overall, and a welcome second installment from promising newbie Who writer, Sarah Dollard.

Bill and the Doctor arrive on the frozen Thames in 1814. When a street urchin steals the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor and Bill chase him out onto the ice, only to watch as the boy is sucked beneath the ice by mysterious green lights. Why? Well, it turns out a massive creature is sleeping beneath the Thames, devouring unwary Fair-goers and turning them into a super-powered fuel. A predatory aristocrat is promoting visitors to the Frost Fair to amp up production.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - Smile - Episode Review

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My review of the previous episode: The Pilot.

Bill and the Doctor arrive in the distant future, where a group of mood-sensitive robots have gone rogue and slaughtered the crew of a small human colony. The main thing Bill wants to know about the future: is it happy?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 - The Pilot - Episode Review

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Basically anyone can tell you that I'm obsessed with Doctor Who, and have been since...roughly...last June. I tore through all of the rebooted show (2005 - now) last summer and fall, then dove into the Doctor Who Silmarillion: the vast expanse of Classic Who. I'm nearly finished with Tom Baker's seven-year run as the Doctor. I dressed as River Song for Halloween and special ordered jelly babies from Ireland for Christmas. Considering all of this, it's surprising that I let something as trivial as finals and internship paperwork get in the way of reviewing the show's new season, we are.

Better late than never, right? That is certainly in the Doctor Who tradition.

One of the things I love about Doctor Who is that it renews itself so often. Every few years, we get a new leading man, and a completely new style. After ten years, the rebooted show is probably due a makeover, and that's what we get with The Pilot, a double entendre title which emphasizes both the show's soft reboot of itself, and references a plot point in the episode.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Vera Series 7 - The Blanket Mire - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Broken Promise.
"Yer mam'll be worried about yuh." 
"She doesn't care about oos." 
"Ah, shut oop and get in the car."
This episode of Vera puts a slightly horrific twist into the usual body discovery by revealing it rather unexpectedly, as a bit of sludgey sod gives way under a hiker.

18-year-old Mia Hinkin has been missing for six weeks when her body is discovered.

"Why does this feel worse?" says Aiden at the crime scene.

"The publicity," Vera replies. "Feel like you knew her."

Monday, April 3, 2017

Vera Series 7 - Broken Promise - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Dark Angel

One of my favorite things about Vera has always been its style - stark lighting, artsy shots, atmosphere. I've felt that the first two episodes of this season haven't really measured up to the series' visual standards, but Broken Promise, from its compelling cold open to its evocative conclusion, brings colors and contrast that have been missing.

Jamie Marshall, a 21-year-old University of Northumberland student, begins the episode recording a new vlog episode, ranting about tuition and toffs. Simultaneously, we watch him throw himself up the murky stairway of a dilapidated, old pile. It's a dramatic contrast between his frustrated but relatively measured vlog rant and his emotional devastation as - reaching the top floor - he hangs out of a window menacingly.