This week sees the second week of my stint at - 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:

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Also published at
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 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 seem to be reviewing for the Doctor Who News Page again, despite having said I wouldn't until another piece was done for another publication - let alone the demands of work. Here is something on Colin Brockhurst's fan art work, Changing the Face of Doctor Who - an alternative look at Doctor Who history, from Geoffrey Bayldon to Rik Mayall.
I've taken note of some of the criticisms of Into the Dalek I've seen and where I agree with them, again at The Event Library.
As I've been saying everywhere, I planned to be in bed three hours ago, and had pledged my Doctor Who writing time elsewhere; but began to put down a few words on Into the Dalek and wrote something down over at The Event Library.

ETA: I've added another paragraph at 3.30am BST.
My review of Big Finish's The Library of Alexandria, over at The Doctor Who News Page's reviews wing.
No long-form review for another site from me this week, but instead a few words of praise for Mark Gatiss's best script for the programme since The Unquiet Dead, Douglas Mackinnon's best episode as director full stop, and a claustrophobic set which nevertheless allowed cast and camera to move around. The lighting was a character in itself, cold and blue, green and red and Martian by turns. There was of course a huge amount of programme-literacy and fan literacy, from the reference to the HADS (we all knew what had caused the TARDIS to disappear straightaway, I'm sure) to the expansion of Martian lore building on the little stated on screen in their four previous appearances. Mark Gatiss surely knew, too, of the expectations of fans back in 1983 that the impending Warriors of the Deep would feature the Ice Warriors, and now that the Cold War can't be projected into the distant future of the twenty-first century, here it is as a historical backdrop which efficiently gives form to the deftly-stroked but broad-brushed characters and gives fans of a certain vintage the reunion which they had longed for. Taking the armoured turtle shape of the Ice Warrior and deconstructing it to reveal (though not entirely) the fast, spindly Martian inside made minor acknowledgement to the Quatermass and the Pit Martians, but a greater debt to Alien. There was a clear debt to The Ice Warriors too; at war with the elements and the West, the submarine was besieged by ice and by its opposing power bloc and by the present temptation to bring destruction on the world.

The forty-five minute slot remains a minor problem; a few more minutes of reflection, development and tension would not have come amiss, though they were not missed as much as they were last week. Materialising the Doctor and Clara more in media res than is usual was an effective storytelling device; the Doctor explains and vindicates himself not by words or the rehearsal of actions but by his deeds even more urgently than before. As for the future, do Earth and humanity remain forfeit to the (former) inhabitants of Mars? Like its kin-story Dalek eight years ago, the demonstration of the capabilities of a single Ice Warrior argues the case for reacquaintance with the species as a whole in Doctor Who.
Still no new icon...

...but my review of The Rings of Akhaten should be up at the reviews section of the Doctor Who News Page soon.

edited to add: It's now up, and here's the direct link.
Officers and cars respond to urgent calls; or all calls, depending on how the TARDIS is feeling.

Anyway, my thoughts on the story will be appearing at the Doctor Who News Page reviews section, I hope, in the not-too-distant future. They are generally positive.

ETA: Here's the review: apologies for the lack of formatting and the use of 'St John' rather than the canonical 'Saint John'.


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