Doctor Who Series 9 Review

Saturday saw the finale of series 9 of Doctor Who broadcast to the nation. It has been a series of two halves for me. It seems as if everything is settling into place now. Capaldi is more sure of who his Doctor is, Jenna Coleman has been putting in great performance after great performance and the writing team have had some really great ideas in the episodes although they are sometimes not executed properly which I will get to later on in this blog post.

However, on the flip side, as everything seems to be falling into place albeit slowly, I feel the series has been overshadowed by its stars. Jenna Coleman’s decision to leave this series left fans waiting each episode for the inevitable. Maisie Williams joining the cast and appearing in multiple episodes has had excessive publicity and to be honest I was slightly disappointed in her performances after all the hype surrounding her casting.

Also, from an audience view, I have felt somewhat detached from this series despite it being much better than some of the most recent series on the whole. I think this may be because some of my friends who are fellow Doctor Who fans have stopped watching the programmer after finding series 8 disappointing and not exciting enough for them. Despite claiming that I will continue to stick with the programme, negativity from fans may have had a slight impact on my perspective and viewing pleasure.

Click continue reading to see my brief reviews/thoughts of the episodes of series 9

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Series 9 Trailer 2 Dissection

The second trailer for series 9 of Doctor Who was released this week with just over a month to go before the first episode is broadcast on Saturday 19th September. I didn’t actually catch it when it was premiered on tv but thanks to the Doctor Who twitter feed I soon managed to watch it. The trailer didn’t feel as exciting or epic as the first but it does give more of an insight of what we can expect to see in the series.

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Series 9 Trailer Dissection

The trailer for the next series of Doctor Who was debuted at San Diego Comic Con on Thursday giving fans a glimpse into what is in store for the Doctor and Clara and importantly a  tranmission date – 19th September. I believe the trailer’s release, from what I have seen from sources on the internet, was released in conjunction with a Doctor Who panel featuring Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez. The first three names are those you would expect at almost every Doctor Who promotional and marketing event. The inclusion of Gomez on the panel suggests that Missy will become a recurring character and that Gomez will be possibly as prominent in Capaldi’s era as Alex Kingston as River Song was in Matt Smith’s.

The trailer is very slick and almost cinematic in feel as many excited fans have pointed out. I think this shows that the BBC is aware of Doctor Who’s popularity and success. As a result, the BBC are obviously heavily investing in the programme and the Doctor Who brand which is exported globally. Another initial thought before I potentially get into closer analysis of the trailer is how dark the trailer is visually. A lot of plain, dark colours are used and the lighting is very dim which suggests that the series is going to be hopefully more scary.

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Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

On Monday evening I went to see the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The tickets were a Christmas present from my sister and 5 months later I finally got to use them! The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is a concert featuring the music of the series and a few monsters in a similar format to the Doctor Who Proms. The Symphonic Spectacular began in Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to its popularity, the current UK tour is happening this week before it heads to New York and the United States.

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A decade of New Who

Yesterday (26th March) marked ten years since ‘Rose’ was broadcast, rebooting the Doctor Who franchise in a new era. I remember being encouraged to start watching by relatives who had good memories of classic who from when they were younger. As a family, we sat down to watch this new series and by the end of the episode, I knew I would be a regular viewer.

The risks surrounding the programme coming back were large. It was agreed that it would be made in Wales by BBC Wales as part of a scheme to regionalise production and meet an internal target that a certain percentage of programmes should be made in the regions (i.e outside London). Another risk was that Doctor Who had been off air for years. The last series featuring the seventh doctor was aired in the late 80s and a television movie had been made featuring Paul McGann’s eighth doctor in 1996. This means there was almost a decade between the new series  starting and the last time Doctor Who had been on air. Also, would audiences be interested in a fantasy, sci-fi family programme and would it achieve the ratings to keep it on air?

Luckily, New Who got it right and the programme is currently filming its ninth series. New Who’s 10-year anniversary hasn’t received as much attention as the show’s overall 50th anniversary in 2013 but its contribution has been celebrated by fans, including current Doctor Peter Capaldi.

If I’d been a bit more organised and not watching Battle for Number 10, I would’ve written this blog post yesterday to coincide with the actual anniversary. Click continue reading to find out what my TEN favourite New Who episodes have been from the last decade. Continue reading

The Doctor Who Experience

Today I went to the Doctor Who Experience for the third time. The idea had popped into my head the other day when my colleague asked me if I’d been to the experience since the Capaldi props and story had been put in. I realised I hadn’t been yet so today I took a trip to Cardiff Bay (one of my favourite places) and used the last of my birthday money on a ticket (and something in the shop too!).

The experience is in two parts: an interactive “adventure” that lasts about 15 – 20 minutes and the exhibition space. You’re not allowed to take any photos of the interactive part but when you are in the exhibition space you can take as many photos as you like. I’m not going to give too much away about the interactive part as I don’t want to spoil it for any readers of my blog who are intending on visiting! I will say that I prefer the story of this interactive adventure better than Matt Smith’s one (and that’s not even me being biased towards Capaldi over Smith – the story flows better in Capaldi’s interactive section). Some sections are similar but there is a nice nod to Classic Who too which I liked.

I took lots of photos in the exhibition space where props and costumes from the series are displayed. I thought I would make a blog post for those readers (especially international) who can’t visit to see what is there. Click continue reading to see my photos…

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Christmas Specials

Thank goodness for christmas specials!  A source of blogging topics for me – sorry to bombard you with a lot of posts in one day. It is a new year’s resolution/goal of mine to blog more often this year. I found it hard the last few months because I stare at a laptop monday-friday each week at work so it when it comes to blogging in the evening or weekend I don’t fancy looking at my laptop and typing again! Hopefully I will blog more often if I have enough topics that compel me to write.

Christmas specials are odd episodes for Doctor Who. It has become a somewhat tradition to have Christmas specials since the series was revived in 2005. The majority of specials are standalone episodes that do not link or reference the preceding or succeeding series heavily. I personally find the specials a bit hit or miss. They can be good episodes or they are really dire!

This blog post will mostly focus on the 2014 episode Last Christmas.

A promotional still for the 2014 special 'Last Christmas'

A promotional still for the 2014 special ‘Last Christmas’

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Flatline

I am loving series 8  of Doctor Who – so much better than Matt Smith’s last series. However, some of the episodes are a bit slow and as the series progresses the episodes are becoming monster-lite which annoys me. Despite this, the acting is pretty good (with the exception of Samuel Anderson – sorry, I just don’t like Danny!)

I think Capaldi is absolutely brilliant – an immensely different, more challenging Doctor yet hilarious. He has a touch of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor which I think is why I like him so much because Christopher was my “first doctor”.

The surprise for me is Jenna Coleman as Clara this series. As I think I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, I felt that her arc of being the “impossible girl” in series 7b took over. It was intriguing at first but then she was sidelined until the finale where her arc’s resolution was rushed. I’ve felt she’s been given so much more to work with this series and her character has become more rounded. I hope she doesn’t leave at Christmas because we’re just getting to see the best Clara.

Flatline which was broadcast on 18th October is a very Clara-heavy episode and the idea of acting like the Doctor is played upon.

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Don’t stop the music

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the Don’t Stop the Music documentary for a while amongst other topics but haven’t felt that committed to writing about them, like there’s been no drive to write a good blog post. After hearing some local youth music related news this week, I have felt compelled to write about the concept of the programme and the reality of youth music in Britain. I’ve touched upon some of the issues in my previous blog post ‘Thank you for the (youth) music!’ which I wrote following my last youth concert.

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Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere

As I have mentioned in a few of my blog posts I unfortunately didn’t get tickets for the Cardiff premiere of Doctor Who Series 8 which is part of the promotional world tour leading up to 23rd August. Over the last few days I had heard that there was going to be a “red carpet” from Cardiff Central Library to the venue of the premiere itself, St David’s Hall. As I didn’t get tickets for the actual event, I thought I’d head down to The Hayes this morning and watch the red carpet part to try and get a sneaky glimpse of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Louise Coleman.

I got there about half 9 as I anticipated crowds to already be forming but to my surprise it was fairly quiet apart from a group already standing by the section with the Tardis in it. I walked a bit further so that I was at an emptier section about halfway between the library and St David’s Hall and stood by the barriers. At about half 10 cybermen and daleks started to parade down the route and this is when it got a lot busier so I was lucky I got there early! Eventually sometime after 11 the stars began walking down the “red carpet”.

This is not my typical written blog post. I took quite a few pictures this morning partly for myself but also to upload on here so that others who couldn’t go to the premieres could have a glimpse at what it was like. Lucklily my phone battery managed to last long enough for me to get all the photos I wanted! Click on the Continue Reading tag below to see the photos.

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