I've reviewed The Return of Doctor Mysterio as the additional reviewer for the Doctor Who News Page, and you can find the review here. Look at Matt Hills's lead review for the site too - it makes lots of excellent points, including recognising the breakthrough in Bill's line about using the toilet on the TARDIS.
I've little to say on Chris Chibnall's appointment as executive producer/head writer of Doctor Who beyond that it will be difficult to judge him on his previous work for the series, none of which established a personal signature. Torchwood was effectively show-run by him for its first two series, but I suspect he was dealing with several competing agendas over what the series was meant to be; I've been told by someone who saw the script that the visualisation of 'Cyberwoman' was definitely not implied by Chibnall's descriptions, for example. Since then he's (re)learned the showrunner's job on Law and Order UK(having been the creator of Born and Bred before Who's return) and then created Broadchurch, of course - I've not seen all of the first series of the latter and wasn't that impressed by the second episode of the second series and stpped watching. However, he knows about the business of television on both sides of the Atlantic and is of course a veteran Doctor Who fan, though one who took no part in the workshopping of the concepts of Doctor Who by the Virgin and BBC Books ranges in the 1989-2005 period, nor indeed (I think) with Big Finish. Indicators to watch will be the continuity with the Moffat era on staffing - the start of the Moffat-Wenger-Willis production era had at least one significant element of competition over personnel with the outgoing Davies-Gardner team - and whether Chibnall contributes to the 2017 series. Otherwise there is nothing one can do but wait and see.
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.
This week sees the second week of my stint at reviews.doctorwhonews.net - enjoy...

ETA: A recap of interactions here.
I've been mulling over my response to last night's Doctor Who, and perceived negativity in my review and others, so here is a more positive take, posted at The Event Library only to save space on timelines.
For a change this week, I thought I'd make notes during the episode and then transcribe them with minimal tidying-up or comment below. It's not quite a liveblog:

Hidden list )

Also published at https://theeventlibrary.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/doctor-who-xxv9-3-under-the-lake/
No essay from me this week, but negatives first. There aren't many of them, and are largely personal in that there's always an awkwardness to me in the Doctor revelling in pop culture or being a rock musician, and yet here I can see it was the right choice. I'm not sure where the Doctor's audience in 1138 went either...

Otherwise, superlatives. Steven Moffat and company projected their most coherent vision of the Doctor Who universe so far; though I did find myself wondering if the Shadow Architect's hairdresser (probably a Judoon, come to think of it) had been killed in action since The Stolen Earth. The Maldovarium is a sorrier place for the loss of Dorium. Clara's confidence as schoolteacher and UNIT's contact radiated and Jenna Coleman's authority in the part was more than a match for Michelle Gomez's calculating tricksiness. The traps within traps were sprung and the Daleks depicted as more detached from human or Gallifreyan values while justifying their fond parent's description of them as children. Barry Norman's comparison of fifty years ago, that they are devices through which children imagine killing grown-ups, was made plain here; as was the realisation most fans have had at some time, that the Daleks are tanks (and I'll link to John Wilson's article on the subject as soon as I've identified the relevant issue of Tides of Time - [ETA it's issue 23, but I can't manage the link at present - search for "Tides 23" at tidesoftime.wordpress.com for the pdf]). Taking up the convincingly-performed but sidestepped 'Do I have the right?' speech from Genesis of the Daleks is a dangerous exercise and we'll only find how well it works next week. Otherwise, a sense of the programme trying something new and Peter Capaldi's most moving and enthralling performance in the role.

Also posted at The Event Library
I don't think I've ever done one of these before...

Poll #16094 Doctor Who pre-finale poll: Who is Missy?
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


Who is Missy?

View Answers

The Master
2 (33.3%)

Clara (or some splinter thereof)
1 (16.7%)

The Rani
3 (50.0%)

River Song
0 (0.0%)

Miss Evangelista
1 (16.7%)

Susan
0 (0.0%)

Romana
1 (16.7%)

Someone else from the Doctor's past
1 (16.7%)

Someone whom the Doctor's never met
1 (16.7%)

The Doctor herself
1 (16.7%)

Someone I've not mentioned
0 (0.0%)

I don't know what you are on about
0 (0.0%)

I am supremely indifferent to what you are on about
1 (16.7%)

Supreme Commander Servalan
2 (33.3%)

Oh look, a box
2 (33.3%)



20.03 01:11:2014 - poll now closed.
.

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