I found myself double-booked for The Doctor Falls, and so over a week after broadcast have returned with a follow-up review for Time Lines, John Connors's blog which continues the ancient traditions of his earlier fanzines Top, Faze, This Way Up, Antenna and others. As I write, it's not quite a review...

Steven Moffat at his best is very good at treating characters and events as symbols whose interaction as principles not only shapes but often overtakes conventional narrative. Looking back after over a week of rewatches and reviews, the success of The Doctor Falls lies largely in how this coded writing works, laying emphasis on specific aspects of character and setting which sometimes confound expectations which World Enough and Time might have encouraged. What follows isn’t quite another review but a set of reactions considering some of the opinions I’ve come across since The Doctor Falls was broadcast. In case anyone is in any doubt, I greatly enjoyed the episode; there was a tense fatalism throughout, leavened by statements of optimistic principle. I realised while watching it that kindness was probably the factor that kept me watching Doctor Who in the first place. The Doctor has not always been kind, but he tries to be kind to the greatest possible conceivable number of people, all the time. This is his virtue and periodically, in limited ways, his downfall.

Read more...
My review of The Doctor Falls is over here at the Doctor Who News Page; there's a lot I missed but that means I can write another review as promised to another site, but not immediately. Sadly.
I've not reviewed as regularly as I have done in previous years, but I might revisit the season later this year. In the meantime I've written two reviews for other sites:

Empress of Mars for the Doctor Who News Page
World Enough and Time for Timelines

The Doctor Falls to follow in the next few days - twice! Given the duplication of a certain character, this might be appropriate...
A review over at The Event Library (and as someone older than the target audience yes, my identification figure probably is Miss Quill).
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So, there is a new Doctor Who spin-off, Class... and my thoughts on the first two episodes, streamed in the UK on BBC Three today, are at The Event Library.
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I've started to make an inroad on a small backlog of promised book reviews, mainly for the Doctor Who News Page. Here, therefore, is my look at You and Who Else, the latest charity anthology of fan writing edited by J.R. Southall.
I've been up finishing a Doctor Who book review which I'll link to when it's published... but I've not been paying enough attention to Alex and Richard and tbeir Doctor Who 52. So here, Richard says a lot of things about The Abominable Snowmen which change my perspective on the story.
Doctor Who at Christmas is increasingly a difficult beast to shepherd into a pen. The two most recent series have felt more like
mainstream mid-evening BBC drama rather than the ‘drama for a light entertainment slot’ of 2005. Consequently the Christmas episodes feel increasingly like a drastic change in tone. Even the grading seems to be different, with the colour palette seeming brighter, returning to the blue with flashes of other primary colours of the Matt Smith era Christmas specials.

The highlight was the typically vigorous performances of both Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston, of course; but despite a good start I failed to be held by these alone in the way I hoped, despite some strong moments of repartee. There was too much emphasis on a denial of sparkle between the Doctor and River, rather than on its existence. Likewise the business with the robot and its switching heads seemed underplayed and undramatic and lacked sufficient sleight of hand to convince; nor were the decapitated characters depicted with sufficient sympathy to make me feel for their plight. There were so many still backgrounds or illustrations which I thought would have been animated a few years ago too.

Perhaps I’ll revisit it and find it more enjoyable another time. I don’t like being negative about the series, and am glad to see from some early reactions that that it did engage and entertain several others.

Also posted at The Event Library
This was another episode where I'd been asked to write a review based on a rough cut of the episode available through the BBC Previews web service. I had rather a lot of time on my hands this week and so it's even longer than usual. Doctor Who Reviews: Hell Bent

I added a few more thoughts at The Event Library, but really as accompaniment for the link. Meanwhile there is more squee than scorn online, and I expect a flurry of fanfics about a certain partnership within the next twenty-four hours.
My thoughts on Heaven Sent

ETA - additions and amendments added this morning. (11.56am, Sunday 29 November)
"...without soiidarity and without the acknowledgement that we need time to distinguish our essential selves from our careers, our greed and desire for advantage, we might as well be no more than dead cells and mucus." More (not quite) like this (and slight spoilers for Face the Raven) from me at The Event Library.
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