Archive for Review

The Rose Colored Glasses of Rassilon

Posted by: Dr. Geek

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There is a universal phenomenon in fandom. It is generically called retroactive continuity, but it has many names. It is the effort to make sense of a story or plot point so that it will fit existing continuity. It is an odd phenomenon, because it compels fans to find some way to save their favorite show from plot holes you could fly a starship through. In Doctor Who fandom, I call it, the Rose Colored Glasses of Rassilon, and it is in full force when fans review The Doctor Who television movie from 1996.

Recently, I experienced this phenomenon while recording a podcast for The Articles of the Shadow Proclamation. Over its nearly 50 year history, Doctor Who has never been absolutely faithful to continuity. Just ask a long term fan how many origins there have been for the Loch Ness Monster or when exactly the UNIT stories took place. So why does the 8th Doctor movie cause so many headaches? I think it is because, for the longest time, this was the entire run for this Doctor, and as such people looked very closely at the movie trying to figure out all they could about this regeneration, and where the show might have gone had the movie spun off into a new series. The show had been cancelled, or on a protracted hiatus for quite some time, and fans really hoped this movie meant the show was coming back.

I should probably take a moment here and declare that I really like this movie, especially Paul McGann’s 8th Doctor. Oh and don’t get me started on how cool the console room is. That said it is hard to ignore some of the film’s oddities, like The Doctor being half human, or The Master turning into some sort of snake. So like any good fan, I try and focus on the good things, and try my best to make sense of everything else.

The thing that struck me though is that over time, the cannon of Doctor Who has found a way to absorb some of those ’96 television movie oddities. For example, the gold pixie dust energy which revived Grace appeared to come from nowhere. The TARDIS can choose to bring people back from the dead? in 1996 this was wacky but here in 2012 we have countless examples of similar gold energy being used by the TARDIS to do all sorts of things, including giving a monster a second chance at life. Oh and all of a sudden being half human is not so crazy. After all, a half human Doctor does exist with Rose in another dimension.

Maybe it’s those rose colored glasses I am wearing or maybe in an appropriately Timey-Wimey way, the cannon of Doctor Who is healing itself. The Doctor’s Wife episode was a much better explanation as to The TARDIS’s sentience, and therefore it is so much easier to think that perhaps Idris was behind the odd resurrections. As time goes by, the wacky aspects of the 1996 television movie seem less and less wacky.

Okay, this is not a perfect process. Where was that semi truck full of chickens going in San Francisco at that time of night? At least Doctor Who Cannon seems to weather curve balls better than other shows. If only us Highlander fans could be so lucky.

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Day 14: Review of The Lazarus Experiment (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 14: Review of The Lazarus Experiment (10th Doctor)
The Lazarus Experiment - Episode 3.6

Where to begin? This time around there’s poetry, references to Classic Doctor Who, and even a Spinal Tap reference. (The poem quoted in this episode is The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot.) Also? Mark Gatiss!

Ah well. Just dive right in. It’s the only way to experience things, right?
 

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Day 19: Review of Evolution of the Daleks (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 19: Review of Evolution of the Daleks (10th Doctor)
Evolution of the Daleks - Episode 3.5

This episode gets started and it doesn’t really slow down. Quite a ride, eh? There’s so much to talk about. Let’s get started, shall we?
 

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Day 20: Review of Daleks in Manhattan (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 20: Review of Daleks in Manhattan (10th Doctor)
Daleks in Manhattan - Episode 3.4

Daleks in Manhattan is part one of a two. The title itself could be considered a spoiler, really, as it tells you where the episode takes place and who the baddies are. I wont say too much more here except that I enjoyed the variety of American accents that they came up with, and did you know that the guy who plays Solomon was in the first Highlander film? Right then, on to the review!
 

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Day 26: Review of Gridlock (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 26: Review of Gridlock (10th Doctor)
Gridlock - Episode 3.3

Ah, Gridlock. The one with the sneaky Bad Wolf reference that threw folks into a tizzy. The one that not many folks liked, but contains so many bits that get referenced often…

Hey Look! Zeppelins! *sneaks away*
 

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Day 27: Review of The Shakespeare Code (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 27: Review of The Shakespeare Code (10th Doctor)
The Shakespeare Code - Episode 3.2

I really enjoy this episode of Doctor Who, and I would gladly watch it several times in a row. Perhaps this has something to do with my Shakespeare obsession. Who can say? This episode even has a fellow playing a lute in it. I’ve always wanted to play the lute. Maybe I should have kept up with those guitar lessons all of those years ago. Sigh. All right, enough with my fixation on things Renaissance. (Did I mention that I was once a Medieval Studies major?) This episode is fun and full of pop culture references. What do you think of it?
 

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Day 33: Review of Smith and Jones (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 33: Review of Smith and Jones (10th Doctor)
Smith and Jones - Episode 3.1

At last, here is my review of Smith and Jones. Would you believe it took me four tries to finish this for some reason? In any case, this episode contains the introduction of Martha Jones to Doctor Who. Knowing what we do now about Martha’s future, it’s interesting to look back at the beginning.
 

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Day 34: Review of The Runaway Bride (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 34: Review of The Runaway Bride (10th Doctor)
The Runaway Bride - 2006 Christmas Special

This is (finally) my review of the second Doctor Who Christmas Special. Like The Christmas Invasion, it is a bit longer than a normal episode, and it is also a bit of a departure from the normal course of things. There’s a lot to talk about, so if you would like to know what I think (and see why it generally takes me 2 hours to do one of these) click on through to the other side.
 

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Day 37: Review of Doomsday (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

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Doomsday - Episode 2.13

We’re counting down the the start of this season of Doctor Who with lots of random Who goodness. It’s Day 37, and today we’re offering a review that is a look back at the last episode of season two. Interesting to note that as shown in the USA, there were a few tiny pieces missing. Seconds and interesting lines were shaved off of scenes. Luckily, the DVD set, with the British version intact, is readily available. I love this episode, and wow did it hurt me the first time through. (Okay, it actually hurts me every time.) All hail Russell T. Davies for the script and Murray Gold for the incredible music.
 

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Review of Army of Ghosts (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Review of Army of Ghosts (10th Doctor)
Army of Ghosts - Episode 2.12


Russell T. Davies himself wrote this episode. It’s fabulous. It’s equal parts silly, scary, and thought provoking. It’s also part one of two. So, let’s get to the discussion, shall we?
 

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