Lively Doctor Who podcast commentaries, plus reviews and discussions of science fiction and fantasy in books, TV, films and more!

Doctor Who Review – 7.11, ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’

'What's a nice pirate like you, doing in a police box like this?'As we count down to the Series 7 finale this weekend, James Willets continues his reviews of the last half-season.

Don’t forget to download our new Moffat Bingo cards before Saturday!

At what point does a TV series reach a critical mass of recycled plotlines and a bloated parody of itself, reflecting enough of the bits that you used to long for to make you hope that it’ll be good, but never quite managing to regurgitate enough substance to satisfy? Because I think Doctor Who has reached that point.

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Doctor Who Review – 7.10, ‘Hide’

The Doctor can run but he can't 'Hide'James Willets continues his run-down of Series 7b, but ‘Hide’ isn’t chilling him for the right reasons.

Have you downloaded our brand new Moffat Bingo cards yet? Grab them before the series finale this Saturday!

‘Hide’ is one of those weird episodes that happen every series or so, when the team in charge of Doctor Who get bored of the usual sequence of historical-alien-future adventure serial, and decide that what the show needs is a good old retreat into other genres; primarily horror. And as with all of those episodes before it, the classic horror setting and tropes are abandoned two thirds of the way through to explain that it’s all just another sci-fi baffler, and that’s not a Werewolf, or a vampire, or a ghost, or a great pumpkin; it’s an alien pitched up on Earth.

These episodes usually aren’t all that great – ‘Vampires in Venice’ stands out for its campy attempts to create an accurate flavour of medieval Venetian life, if medieval Venetian life had included the threat of consumption by horny cosmic piranha girls. Add to that the ‘witches’ from ‘The Shakespeare Code’, the ‘Werewolf’ from ‘Tooth and Claw’ and the Evil Living Scarecrows from the ‘Family of Blood’ two-partner, and you start to build up a picture of Doctor Who struggling to do the monster mash in an enjoyable or sensible manner.

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Doctor Who – Moffat Bingo 2.0

Our Ming-Mong-in-ChiefIt’s here! All new Moffat Bingo, ready for the Series 7 finale and the 50th Anniversary special!

The original Moffat Bingo is still one of our most consistently popular posts, spreading far and wide via Twitter and Pinterest. But the departure of the Ponds last year means it’s no longer fit for purpose so, after a bit of faffing, here’s the newly revised edition, just in time for ‘The Name of the Doctor’!

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Doctor Who Review – 7.09, ‘Cold War’

The Ice Warriors return in 'Cold War'We’re catching up on our Doctor Who reviews this week, ahead of the Series 7 finale. Today, James Willets dives deep into ‘Cold War’…

‘Cold War’ is the first episode so far this season, and probably the first Mark Gatiss episode ever, that I can overwhelmingly say I loved. I think it’s hard not to like an episode that doesn’t overcomplicate the horror movie concept at its heart and is content to be story about a monster in the dark.

There are a couple of neat twists that stop this from being a totally generic episode, although there is plenty here that we have seen before.

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Doctor Who Review – 7.08, The Rings of Akhaten

Angry Sun God vs The Doctor

A little later than scheduled, our reviewer James Willets is here to pick over the bones of one of New Who’s most divisive episodes in ages.

There was a point about halfway through ‘Rings’ when I thought (realised?) that this was going to be one of my favourite episodes for a long time. After journeying to an intergalactic version of Camden Lock and rescuing this week’s plot-relevant moppet, we got a sequence so wonderfully constructed and unusual, it made me realise how rarely we get to see something different in Doctor Who.

This was the first episode in years that felt truly alien. For all its sci-fi trappings, Doctor Who can often feel like a trip though other programmes the BBC does – lashings of period drama, becostumed thespians and CGI Macguffinery and very little in the way of actual world building.

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Doctor Who Review – 7.07 ‘The Bells of Saint John’

Clara on the phoneAs the Doctor tracks down Clara, and the Great Intelligence attempts to create a World Wide Web of Fear, James Willetts gives us his appraisal of the opening episode, The Bells of St John. Don’t forget to check out our commentary!

It’s that time again – new Doctor Who! And a new companion too – well, newish. Admittedly Clara has appeared in two episodes already, not that that’s done her much good, she’s already developing a habit of dying. She’s a more female Rory, basically.

And this then is her third introductory episode, and Moffat pads around the issue a little bit. We’re given a cold open first, to introduce the threat of the episode. The Internet has started killing people – it’s not Black Mirror, but it’s a pretty horrible conceit. Unlike Gas Mask children, clockwork dolls, statues or even libraries, we all have wi-fi in our house, which is always a good sign that something is going to be creepy.
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