'DR. WHO' – Season 7.0 "Finale" Review

DW__Angels_ART

DOCTOR WHO:
THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN,
And a look at Season 7.0

The short 2012 seventh season of the revived DOCTOR WHO has been a highly variable, and ultimately less than satisfying one.  
  It hasn’t been terrible, just far too brief, and filled with interesting premises but at times rather lackluster execution. Part of this is due to the nature of TV in the UK as opposed to the US. Here in the States, we viewers are a little spoiled by generally having twenty to twenty-two episodes of a series a year. If there are a couple of clinker episodes, one can gloss over that fact.

In Britain, most shows are now fortunate to have thirteen episodes. (We’re getting used to this pattern here with some cable series.) 
However, largely due to economic concerns, the BBC only allowed for five episodes this fall, with a Christmas special to round things off to six.  Technically, there will another eight shows to Season Seven airing in 2013, but it’s going to feel more like a new season— 7.5  if you will (as the DVD marketing practices seem to indicate), as some substantive changes will have taken place.
The season started off well enough with Asylum of the Daleks.
 The next episode, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, seemed pointless, as though it was made chiefly because the producers really liked the central conceit of dinosaurs on a space ship. There were little character moments  that were nice, touches of comedy, but also what seemed like an unnecessary bit of anti-Semitic stereotyping  for the profit-obsessed villain Solomon. There were plenty of nice effects, too bad there wasn’t a more compelling story to match the expense.
A Town Called Mercy was a fun idea, but the Western show (shot in Spain) seemed rushed, predictable, and forced —with the regulars seeming somewhat out of character, without much dramatic preparation or explanation. It was nice to see Farscape/Stargate SG-1’s  Ben Browder in a DOCTOR WHO episode, and he did well in a under-written role.

doctorwhoS7-group
Three No Longer: Arthur Darvill, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan

The Power of Three gave us an unusual look at the lives of the Doctor’s companions, and some insight into the Time Lord’s lack of interest in living in linear time, full of what is for him life’s dull or just ordinary moments. It also added to our understanding of how much Amy and Rory mean to this incarnation of the Doctor.
This weekend’s The Angels Take Manhattan was a return to the emotional power that writer/producer Stephen Moffat can bring to the fore, and the skills of the actors. It also demonstrated one of his weaknesses; he admits he views the Doctor’s adventures as fairy tales,  rather than science fiction. This leaves the door open to a lack of internal logic (when viewing the time-traveling series as a whole), and willingness to do silly, unbelievable things just because they look cool.
The story of their lives: Metafiction?
The story of their lives: Metafiction?

The Weeping Angels are back, and they’ve isolated a point in 1938 Manhattan. This draws the attention of the Doctor’s wife River Song (Alex Kingston), and soon draws in the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).  This is done  rather cleverly, via a book that the Doctor is reading, and the need not to read ahead or otherwise “cheat” points up the facts that the players are characters in a story. In the future, the time-traveling River will write the book. Reading the words actually makes the future happen, a predestination paradox.  The rules of this concept are somewhat arbitrary;  some make sense, while others simply do not.
Even the rules of the Angels seem to have been forgotten. Since the Angels take the form of statues that can only move when no one is looking at them (and now apparently can take the place and form of existing statues) one would think they would have to be quite stealthy. Shown previously to be unable to move even if looking at each other, they now seem to have no problem with this limitation. 
Making even less sense, and doubtless because he couldn’t resist the image, the giant form of  the Statue of Liberty is also an Angel, and we hear  it stomping noisily around the City that never sleeps, apparently unseen by the eight million -strong populace of New York.  So we see it turn up, looming over the apartment building the Angles had taken over — Twice. Once in the teaser and  again later in the episode, ruining any surprise —as well as a nice, darkly humorous line.
The episode ends with the Doctor and his beloved companions separated permanently by a time distortion and “fixed point” in history; we must assume that Amy and Rory are sometime in NYC’s past (possibly 1938 to the point of their deaths), and the Doctor can NEVER see them again.
River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Doctor. Perhaps not the easiest immortal to be married to...
River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Doctor. Perhaps not the easiest immortal to be married to...

This would seem to fly in the face of the fact that the TARDIS travels in Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. One would think that the two marooned companions could perhaps drive to New Jersey (or further) and wait a year or so to be out of the range of the presumably localized anomaly, but apparently not. But this fairly obvious point is not addressed, not even with a line of double-talk.  Are we to understand that the Doctor can never again go to New York for a period of forty or so years? Even though he’s been there in that time-frame in previous episodes?
Oh well, at least it’s a dramatic moment, and very well played by the cast. On an emotional level, it works quite nicely, and for that reason I’d call it a good episode. Possibly even very good.
But there are so few episodes this year and I wanted more good episodes. Two out of five —maybe three if generous— is simply not enough.
DOCTOR WHO: The Angels Take Manhattan
Starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill , and Alex Kingston . With Mike McShane, Rob David, Ozzie Yue , Bentley Kalu,  Burnell Tucker.
Directed by Nick Hurran, Written by Steven Moffat, Produced by Marcus Wilson, Executive producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinne.
A BBC production by BBC Wales.

DR. WHO: 'Asylum of the Daleks' — Review

DW_AsylumDALEKS

DOCTOR WHO is back on BBC America for the seventh season of that revived series in Asylum of the Daleks.
As we return to the show, we find that the Doctor is on the planet Skarro, radioactive homeworld of his greatest foes, the Daleks. He’s there to answer the call of a woman (Anamaria Marinca) that claims to need his help to resue her daughter from a Dalek prison planet. The doctor is skeptical, as she claims to have escaped, but he knows that no one escapes such places. And he’s right, of course; it’s a trap.
Back on Earth we, discover that Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), the Doctor’s married companions have broken up. Rory interrupts model Amy’s photo shoot with the final divorce papers. No sooner is that drama played out than they are abducted and brought to the “Parliment of the Daleks”.
It seems the murderous xenophobic race want the Doctor to ‘save’ them, as a broadcast of the opera Carmen is flooding their transmissions, originating from their Asylum planet, wherein they keep the damaged and insane members of their race. It’s a surprise that the evil pepperpots are so concerned about their wounded, it seems they can not bear to see such perfect hatred destroyed.
They can’t investigate the situation themselves, or even destroy their brethren as the planet has a forcefield that can only be turned off from inside the underground Asylum, though they can punch a brief hole in it to transport the Doctor and his companions to the surface. An added complication: the planet is intentionally infested with a nano-machine plague that turns all organic matter, living or dead into Dalek puppets.
So naturally, one of the companions wil lose the bracelet they are given to ward off this fate—in this case, Amy.
It turns out the music and disruptions are being caused by Oswin Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman) a young ‘super-genius’ that appears to be the lone survivor of the crashed Earth ship Alaska. However, what’s really going on is darker and more tragic than initially expected.

The End coming for Rory and Amy
The End coming for Rory and Amy

It’s a pretty good season opener, though some things seem out of tune. Amy and Rory’s spilt seems out of the blue, and the underlying reason that even Rory isn’t aware of  is revealed in a of line of dialog that didn’t seem to have any build-up or foreshadowing.
The nano-virus and conversion of people into Daleks appears off-kilter. Wouldn’t this storyline be much better applied to the Doctor’s other man-into-machine adversaries, the Cybermen?
One nice tie-in to Season Six, and this is a big SPOILER, is that Oswin manages to tap into the Dalek’s cyber-telepathic “Path-Net” and erase all knowlege of the Doctor. This leads to a nice scene at the end of the amassed Daleks asking “Doctor WHO?”  Though it did seem odd that erasure of the Doctor’s data would lead to individual amnesia for all the Daleks, who are mutated life forms encased in a mobile shell, and NOT robots.
Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman
Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman

Speaking of spoilers,—although is is actually more of a puzzle— is that Oswin was played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who is slated to become the Doctor’s new compaion Clara in this years’ Christmas special, after Amy & Rory leave the show.
Will Coleman’s Clara be Oswin, or perhaps some relative? Hard to tell in a time-traveling show. For those of us who only travel trough the years day by day, we’ll have to wait until then.  
DOCTOR WHO: Asylum of the Daleks.
Starring Matt Smith,  Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill. Guests: Jenna-Louise Coleman, Anamaria Marinca (Darla von Karlsen),  David Gyasi  (Harvey), Naomi Ryan (Cassandra).
Directed by  Nick Hurran, Written by  Steven Moffat, Produced by Marcus Wilson, Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner.
BBC One/Wales. Aprx. 50 minutes in original form.

'Dr. Who' Season 7 —13 episodes +

Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat

DOCTOR WHO producer/writer Steven Moffat told The Radio Times that the Seventh Season of the revived series will have at least 14 episodes, counting the Christmas Special.

“We always do 14 because we do the Christmas special as well and obviously we start in the autumn with the Christmas special as part of the run, so it’ll be at least 14.”

Regarding what’s coming up for the 2013 50th Anniversary of the original show’s 1963 debut, the producer (a WHO fan himself)  hastened to assure viewers that special plans are afoot.

“…I promise you,  I promise you for so many reasons I can’t talk about yet, there will never be a better time to be a Doctor Who fan, I absolutely promise that!”

Video of Steven Moffat relating the news can be found at the link above.
Production of Season 7 begins in Cardiff Wales this Feburary.

Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor
Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor

Karen Gillan on leaving 'Dr. Who'

DW_gillanKaren Gillan spoke to Hitflix about her character Amy Pond leaving the revived DOCTOR WHO in its upcoming Seventh Season.

“I feel sad because I am gonna leave, but with any story, it has to come to an end. It was a mutual decision with me and Steven Moffat (the BBC series’ Writer/Producer). We had this lovely dinner and decided when the best time for me to go was, and it’s been decided. So I’m excited and slightly scared.”

Ducking the question of mow many episodes Amy will be in, she stated only: “There’s going to be a few episodes. A few really good episodes.”
Gillan was being interviewed about WE’LL TAKE MANHATTAN, an Ovation TV moive in which she plays 1960’s model Jean Shrimpton. It premeires March 3rd at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on the cable outlet.

Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)  and Amy Pond
Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond

'Dr. Who' News — Spoilerific

Amy, The Doctor,  and Rory
Amy, The Doctor, and Rory


 The BBC  reports that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill,  who play the popular couple Amy Pond and Rory on  DOCTOR WHO, will be leaving the series during the bext season.

Writer/Producer Steven Moffat  confiremed the news at a press screening of  this year’s Christmas special.
 “The final days of the Ponds are coming,”  said Moffat, referring to the married couple to travel as the companions of the Doctor (Matt Smith).
“I’m not telling you when or how, but that story is going to come to a heartbreaking end.”
The producer went on to say that the Doctor would new a “new friend”. The BBC indicated that the rolee has likely not yet been cast.  

Star Matt Smith said of his co-stars:
“We had the most incredible journey. We took over the show and we’ve really had to hold hands and help each other through it.
So it’s very disappointing, but one has to remember that this show is about change and regeneration, and that’s what galvanizes it and pushes it forwards.”

In additional news, Moffat and Smith guested on BBC Radio 5’s Live’s Richard Bacon Show, and the producer made the following comments about HARRY POTTER director David Yates’ recent comment about a possible “out-of-continuity” stand-alone DOCTOR WHO feature film.

David (Yates) was talking a little out of turn, there; a very, very brilliant director but no, the film as described by him, of course we’re not going to do that.  A film that contradicts the television series, it would be a heathen thing to do … I would be ‘beheaded’ to do such a thing!
It would be wonderful to do a Doctor Who film, but when and if we did —and hopefully we will be doing it—it will be very much an offshoot of the television series and we’ll be part of it, and it will star the television Doctor, of course—anything else would be heresy!

Via DoctorWhoNews.net

Dr. Who Xmas Trailer & 2012 News

There’s good news and bad news from the world (or is that time-space continum?) of the Doctor.
Here’s the trailer for the 2011 Christmas Special, DOCTOR WHO: THE DOCTOR, THE WIDOW AND THE WARDROBE. It premieres this Christmas on BBC America.

Evacuated to a house in Dorset from war-torn London, Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, are greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world.
Starring: Matt Smith and Claire Skinner. Executive Producers: Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner

Looks like fun. However,  in Doctor Who Magazine,  writer/producer Steven Moffat has confirmed that the BBC production will not be back for any new episodes in 2012 until  Autumn. There will be no Easter Special or Spring season. 

“DOCTOR WHO  in the summer? All that running down tunnels, with torches, and the sunlight streaming through your windows and bleaching out the screen? All those barbecues and children playing outside, while on the telly there are green monsters seething in their CGI-enhanced lairs? It’s just not right is it? Be honest.
For me, as a kid, when the afternoon got darker and there was a thrill of cold in the air, I knew that even though summer was over, the TARDIS was coming back! So yes, that’s part of the plan, that’s part of the reason for this little delay. But it’s not the whole story.”
… But a big old anniversary is coming, for all of us, isn’t it? Be assured planning has already started. Very soon now, DOCTOR WHO  is going to enter production for the longest sustained period we’ve ever attempted, and the biggest and best and maddest time ever to be a fan of this wonderful old show is rumbling towards us.
DRWHO_RT_XMAS11
And yes, you got me. We needed a little more time to prepare for everything we’ve got planned. That, above all, is why we needed this little gap. Just be a tiny bit patient, and trust me, we’ll make it up to you. For full and comprehensive details of the spectacle to come, consult your fondest memories in a couple of years time.”

For those not in the know, Moffat is referring to the show’s 50th Anniversary in 2013, which is expected to be marked by special episodes and— fans hope—maybe, just maybe some old familar faces.
Time itself will tell.
(Via BBC America and NME.com)

'Dr. Who' Christmas 2011 Special

DW_2011_XMASAccording to this BBC Press Release, production is now taking place in Cardiff, Wales for the new DOCTOR WHO Christmas special.

Production has started on the 2011 DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.
A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.
Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: “The Doctor at Christmas—nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it’s so his kind of day—everything’s bright and shiny, everybody’s having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith’s is the one that was born for this time of year – so it’s the best news possible that he’s heading back down the chimney.”
The special, set during the Second World War, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in a bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts.
Claire Skinner said: “I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It’s a magical part.”
This marks Matt Smith’s second outing as the Doctor at Christmas time and will follow hot on the heels of the successful 2011 series, currently airing on BBC One until October.
The Christmas Special was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One. Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer with Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner, also executive producing.
Filming on the Christmas special will continue until mid-October 2011.

Though not mentioned in the release, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have been seen on location at their modern day home. It’s not known how much of a role they will play in the story.

'Dr. Who' Returns August 27—Trailer

This new teaser of the second part of DOCTOR WHO Season Six suggests that in addition to inadvertantly (or not) saving Adolph Hitler’s life the Doctor’s other adversaries, including the Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the new menace of The Silence will be seen again.
At Comic Con actress Karen Gillan, who plays companion Amy Pond, confirmed she’ll be back with Doctor Matt Smith for the seventh season of the revived BBC  sci-fi series.
Additionally, writer/producer Steven Moffat told the BBC’s official WHO website that the new executive producer of the show will be Caroline Skinner.

“The exec joining me on Doctor Who is Caroline Skinner – fresh from the wonderful Five Days, and still finishing up on a brand new show called The Fades (a fantasy horror series, written by Jack Thorne – I’ve seen episode 1, and it’s BRILLIANT.) Somewhere between me laughing in a basement and choosing planets to invade, and Marcus Wilson raising armies, there has to be a Prime Minister actually running the whole thing. That’s the job Piers Wenger and Beth Willis have been doing so wonderfully for the last few years. Now that Piers is off to movie land, that’s the furnace Caroline will be walking into.”

DOCTOR WHO  returns to BBC AMERICA on Saturday, August 27th at 9:00 PM /8:00 Central with  Let’s Kill Hitler, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Richard Senior.

I thought we said "Let's KILL Hilter"?
I thought we said "Let's KILL Hilter"?

'Dr. Who': A Short 2012 Season?

doctor-cover-DWMDoctor Who News reports that the BBC science fiction series probably will NOT have a full 13-episode run in 2012, as previously announced.

Apparently, BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen announced that DOCTOR WHO will return in “a curtailed form”.
At present, it appears that the 13 episodes and a Christmas special will be produced, but that the premeire will delayed until Fall, rather than Spring 2012, and only six or seven episodes will air.
Other shows of the 14-episode commitment will be shown in 2013, as part of the show’s 50th Aniversary.

 DOCTOR WHO Writer/Producer Steven Moffat is reported to have said via Twitter: “Dr Who: misquotes and misunderstandings. But I’m not being bounced into announcing the cool stuff before we’re ready. Hush, and patience.”
 

Via Doctor Who News Page