The annual Doctor Who holiday specials are always a blockbuster-level event, with the BBC pouring all its money and resources into making this one-off episode as action-packed — but still family-friendly — as possible. This year’s New Year’s Day special was no exception, even as the special episode moved from its usual Christmas slot to the first of January. But that scheduling move turned out to be a boon for Doctor Who, which turned out one of the best episodes of season 11 yet, featuring the exciting return of the Doctor’s most fearsome foes: the Daleks. To continue the New Year’s festivities that the New Year’s special, titled “Resolutions,” kicked off, BBC has released two new Doctor Who featurettes that delve into the making of this explosive episode and the new makeover for the Daleks.
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The 11th season of Doctor Who ended with something of a whimper, so it was up to the New Year’s Day special to wrap up Jodie Whittaker‘s first year as the 13th Doctor with a bang. Thankfully, “Resolution” more than delivers.
The newly established New Year’s Day special already had a high bar to leap after the BBC sci-fi series moved from its beloved Christmas Day slot that it occupied for 13 years. It was a weird Christmas tradition, but a comforting one — Doctor Who‘s unique brand of heartwarming camp was perfectly suited to watching the Doctor go on big-budget, killer snowmen-fighting adventures after opening presents. So how does watching an explosive, bombastic Doctor Who New Year’s Day special hold up while you’re hungover? Pretty good, thanks to delightfully zippy writing and the return of an old enemy with a sinister new makeover. Penned by Chris Chibnall, “Resolution” reneges on the showrunner’s assurance that there will be no classic Doctor Who monsters, and it’s all the better for it. Read More »
Doctor Who has been changing things up all season, introducing new monsters, new universes, and a new sense of social relevance on top of the game-changing first female Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker. Showrunner Chris Chibnall has lived up to his promise that none of the classic monsters from the show’s 55-year run are showing up, though the writers started slowly introducing familiar elements in later episodes. But with the first Doctor Who New Year’s special, it seems that Chibnall is loosening up on his “no classic monsters” pledge and bringing back one of Doctor Who‘s most iconic monsters of all.
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You’re going to need a TARDIS to see the next season of Doctor Who. On the heels of star Jodie Whittaker confirming that she is staying at the helm of the TARDIS for at least another season, the BBC announced that Doctor Who season 12 is on its way…in 2020. That’ll be more than a year after the end of season 11, which wrapped last night. And yes, while we do have at least one Doctor Who episode to look forward to in 2019 with the upcoming New Year’s Day special, it’s hard to imagine living a full year without the Doctor coming to call.
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There’s a line from Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor that I keep going back to during this inspiring, but uneven, 11th season of Doctor Who: “Well to be fair, they cut out all the jokes!” This episode, and to an extent this season, could have done with a couple of laughs.
While Jodie Whittaker has injected new life into the show, uttering every line with a twinkling bravado and generally being the best, her strong performance has barely been enough to make up for what has been just an okay season. I had hopes for new showrunner Chris Chibnall to right the ship after Steven Moffat steered it into the eye of the hurricane, but it seems that Chibnall has taken the series to the most placid waters. Except for the historical episodes, this season of Doctor Who has been, for the most part, kind of bland. The show had only started to feel properly like Doctor Who — after treading around familiar monsters and nods to the show — in the past four episodes, which took the season (and in last week’s case, the show) to an all-time high. It’s no surprise that those four episodes were each penned by a different writer who wasn’t Chibnall. But the showrunner took to the pen again for the season finale, “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos,” and as a result, we end the season on an underwhelming note.
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Doctor Who has always been the weird, ugly stepchild of sleek, high-concept sci-fi shows. The show frequently nails a unique mixture of heart and camp, more so than the cerebral kind of sci-fi that frequently appeared on high-concept series like The Twilight Zone. But now and then, every once in a very long while, every day in a million days, Doctor Who gets downright surreal. And one of those days was last night with the ninth episode of season 11, “It Takes You Away.”
A Grimm fairy tale meets Greek myth meets Solaris, “It Takes You Away” may one of the most cerebral, weird episodes of Doctor Who I’ve ever seen — and at the very least a season best, if not a series best, for the show.
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After “Rosa” and “Demons of the Punjab,” it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that all of Doctor Who‘s historical episodes this season would be somber, pensive affairs. And that’s good, and great, and powerful! But this is Doctor Who, and I still want me some camp and creepy crawlies. And thank Satan, “The Witchfinders” delivers on all of that.
The latest historical episode of Doctor Who manages to tackle this season’s prevailing social issues while injecting it with a little classic Doctor Who camp, the latter of which is mostly handled by a gloriously foppish Alan Cumming. But the latest episode of Doctor Who isn’t without its weighty moments, of course. The episode deals with the unjust persecution of women, blamed for blighted crops and all other kinds of maladies, leading to the deaths of thousands. And most significantly, “The Witchfinders” is the first time that the Doctor has to face the obstacles of her new gender head-on — something that has been mostly handwaved off for the past seven episodes. But in an episode that deals with witchcraft and comes on the heels of “witch hunt” being over- and misused in the current political landscape, Jodie Whittaker‘s acknowledgement of the trials of womanhood couldn’t come at a better time.
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Doctor Who may very well travel in time and space, what with the shocking timeliness of its latest episode, “Kerblam!” The seventh episode of season 11 delivers a sharp critique of Amazon while tossing in several fun nods to David Tennant and Matt Smith’s eras, in a story that itself plays like a spirited throwback to Doctor Who of yesteryear.
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The holidays are coming and the Doctor is in – just not for the holiday that you’d expect. After reports surfaced that the BBC had scrapped the Doctor Who Christmas special for the first time in 13 years, the network has officially announced that Jodie Whittaker‘s 13th Doctor will have a holiday special after all: on New Year’s Day. Read More »
Fifty-five years ago, Doctor Who was created as a children’s educational program: a sci-fi series that took British children on whirlwind adventures to the far reaches of time and space with the express purpose of making history sexy. Along the way, that original intention got lost as the series — like most sci-fi franchises — got bogged down by a dense mythology and cohorts of child fans who had turned into adults. As the series entered the 21st century, Doctor Who had to compete with sleek, modern sci-fi series like Battlestar Galactica or Firefly, leading it to often reimagine itself to appeal to “mature” sci-fi fans who craved complex storylines (though still keeping its signature weird, campy flair).
But Chris Chibnall and co. seem intent on bringing us back to Doctor Who‘s roots. As with this season’s “Rosa,” “Demons of the Punjab” is here to educate and enlighten its viewers about a certain time period or person, aliens be damned. Well no, there are still aliens, but they’re secondary to the all-important historical lesson that Doctor Who has to impart.
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