Tag Archives: Stephen Moffat

Doctor Who – series nine round-up

doctor-who-hell-bent-previewApologies for covering five episodes in one go (and being so late getting to the first four – real life has been getting in the way of the important business of TV watching/reviewing recently). Let us take a leaf out of the Doctor’s book and ignore anything inconvenient while rushing towards the action…

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Doctor Who (9.5): Don’t tell him your name Lofty!

DWS9-Trailer2Pix12I doubt I’m the only one welcoming Jamie Mathieson back to the DW writer’s room this series. His episodes last year stood head and shoulders above everybody else’s and he’s showing no signs of slacking here either. Thankfully The Girl Who Died is a lot better than last week’s trailer would have had you believe and has the Doctor at his best (i.e. doing something clever and making everything alright – or, if you’re a Cabin Pressure fan, finding his inner Douglas Richardson*).

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Doctor Who (9.2): In which the quality of mercy *is* strained…

9275114-high-… and the witch is, indeed, familiar. As is what I’m coming to realise is the Moffat trope that annoys me the most – things done for just for show. Lord knows, I’m no fan of Clara and I was happy to enjoy her being strung up and tutored/tortured by Missy – right up until the point it was clear there was no point to it. (See also last week’s Doctor on a tank with a guitar.)  It’s a shame, because otherwise it was quite a nifty piece of cliffhanger exposition – not an easy thing to do well. (Pushing Clara down the sewer to gauge the depth, on the other hand, was funny even if you could see the joke coming a mile away, because there was at least a purpose to it.)

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Doctor Who (7.8): Under pressure

Doctor Who: Ice WarriorBlimey, the only thing that could have made this week’s episode more timely was a Nasa announcement that it’s found proof of life on Mars.

I didn’t really enjoy the Eighties the first time I lived through them (though the pop music was very good) – and have clear memories of the Cold War (living next to two American and one British air base, focussed the mind on the nuclear issue somewhat) – and I haven’t relished reliving them in a somewhat concentrated form for the past week thanks to Kim Jong-un and the death of ‘that woman’. I did enjoy Mark Gatiss’s Cold War though – a beautifully tense and claustrophobic piece of television.

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Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

Is it sad that this is the highlight of my Christmas Day?  Well, I don’t care if it is. Welcome back Matt Smith, Stephen Moffat, Karen Gillan et al – I’ve missed you all. And what a return it is – plunging straight into the action with Amy and Rory on honeymoon on a spaceship and about to crash and die  unless Ebenezer Scrooge – sorry Kazran Sardick – uses his climate control machine to clear the crystalline cloud layer. And he’s a nasty old man who will let them die just because he doesn’t care. Clearly the Doctor isn’t going to let this lie…

I love the recycling of the Roman and stripper costumes and the subtle references for grown-ups only. I love the ‘Come along Pond’. I love the perfectly pitched Scrooge performance of Michael Gambon. I love Matt Smith’s entrance down the chimney and that Father Christmas’s first name is Geoff (or possibly Jeff – what do you think?).

I love the forecast for fog and fish – and that even the Doctor thinks this is a little weird. I love that Stephen Moffat is bold enough to show how he’s ripping off/homaging Dickens. I love that the Doctor recovered the old film of Kazran using “quantum enfolding and a paper clip”. I love him walking out of old Kazran’s door and into the film that’s projected onto it as young Kazran’s ‘babysitter’.

I love that the Doctor’s claim that he is universally recognised as a mature and responsible adult is a lie too big for the psychic paper that shorts it out. I love that my daughter missed the whole thing about ‘facespiders’ because she was too busy with a new toy.

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Doctor Who (5.13): Something borrowed, something blue…

Is there anyone in the universe as brilliant and bright as the Doctor? Yes, actually – Stephen Moffat. He has taken wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and created a fabulous series and tonight’s stupendous finale.

Throughout the whole thing he plays with stories and memorable scenes, ties up (almost) all the loose ends and packs a hugely emotional punch too.

As we enter our last hour of Who for six long months, the Doctor is imprisoned in the Pandorica, Amy has just been shot by a heartbroken plastic Rory, River is trapped in the exploding TARDIS,  the universe has almost completely disappeared and the fate of the whole of reality rests on little Amelia Pond (who is apparently the only person left on Earth who believes in stars).

But who is the strange man in a Fez who has posted a flyer for the National Museum’s Pandorica exhibition through young Amelia’s door? The words ‘Come along Pond’ are scribbled on it – but how could it be him? Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… Continue reading

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Doctor Who (5.12): Trickster, goblin or good wizard?

Stephen Moffat is a god amongst men. He’s been teasing us with clues (and red herrings, no doubt) for the past 11 weeks, all on the promise that everything (except perhaps River Song) would be explained in the final two episodes. It was a lot to live up too – and on the evidence of what I’ve just watched – I have every faith he’s going to pull it off. (Not that I ever really doubted him, to be honest.)

It’s also nice to have him back as writer (rather than ‘just’ rewriter/polisher). You can feel his hand on the tiller from the first moment of the pre-title sequence (possibly, the most gripping and tantalising yet). We have Van Gogh painting a message to the Doctor, which turns up in London in 1941 so that Bracewell and Winston Churchill can pass the message on. When the Doctor doesn’t answer the phone to Winnie, the TARDIS reroutes the call to River Song – who promptly escapes the Stormcage to steal the painting from Liz Ten’s Royal Collection. She then procedes to finangle a vortex manipulator (I’m guessing just like Captain Jack’s) from a blue alien in order to travel in time.

In the meantime, the Doctor decides to head for the oldest cliff in the universe in order to decipher (via the TARDIS translation circuits) the oldest writing in the universe: “Letters fifty high. A message from the dawn of time. And no one knows what it says… All we have to do is open the doors and read the very first words in recorded history.”

And (channeling Hitchhikers not for the first time this series) the mystic words are… HELLO SWEETIE (plus some co-ordinates in time and space). The Doctor looks rather pleased with this vandalism for all that he challenges River about graffitting the oldest cliff in history later. Love her retort: “Well, you wouldn’t answer your phone.”  You go girl!

So it’s off to Salisbury Plain to meet River (pretending to be Cleopatra) – and a Roman legion (“The invasion of the hot Italians” according to Amy, who really liked History and the Romans at school apparently). By this point, I’d already lost track of the fabulous Alex Kingston’s costume changes – but even she’s outshone by Van Gogh’s picture (called The Pandorica Opens) of the Tardis exploding: beautiful and horrific in equal measures.

And all this before the titles!

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