doctor who the haunting of villa diodati review

It turns out lightning can strike twice with Doctor Who, which makes an electric return to form with “The Haunting of Villa Diodati.” Last week saw Season 12’s hot streak of episodes come to an end, but Doctor Who resuscitated its high-quality run with a perfect old-fashioned ghost story that pitted Frankenstein’s author against a modern Prometheus of Doctor Who‘s own making.

Doctor Who has long delighted in doing on-the-nose tributes to famous literary figures, which range from the good (Charles Dickens meeting ghosts in “The Unquiet Dead,” Shakespeare battling witches in “The Shakespeare Code”) to the amusingly bad (Agatha Christie solves a whodunit in “The Unicorn and the Wasp”). “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” falls in the good category — dare I say, one of the greats — thanks to its healthy dose of mood and atmosphere and its sinister reimagining of one of Doctor Who‘s oldest villains. You either love or hate The Cybermen, but you can’t deny that they’ve been overused nearly as much as the Daleks in the past 15 years. Though their last outing was decently horrific, “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” does for Cybermen what the season 1 episode “Dalek” did for Daleks: make them feel like a real, terrifying threat.

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doctor who can you hear me review

Chris Chibnall the overcompensating writer is back with “Can You Hear Me?” — a bloated Doctor Who episode that fumbles its message on mental illness with retro callbacks and far too many mysteries.

The seventh episode of season 12 ends the hot streak that Doctor Who had been on lately, due to showrunner Chibnall, who co-writes the episode with Charlene James, reverting to his worst tendencies: overstuffing and overcomplicating a promising premise. “Can You Hear Me?” is about dreams, but’s also about mental illness, but it’s also about mythic figures tapping into our primal fears. In the end, the story is about none of these grand ideas and we’re left with a jumbled mess of an episode.

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doctor who praxeus review

Doctor Who is inherently a cheesy and sentimental show — despite its sci-fi label, it’s about as far from the hard science and technological imaginings that the genre offers. The series has always been about a quirky time traveler who saves the day with compassion. Doctor Who is often at its best when its leaning into its big, overwrought emotions and delivering a humanist vision of sci-fi and, yes, when it lets the Doctor save the day with love.

“Praxeus” is an explosive, big-budget episode that feels like Doctor Who is firing on all cylinders in both action and emotion. But once the globe-trotting excesses fade away, a potent ecological message shines through.

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Making of Rocketman

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, Rocketman production designer Marcus Rowland explained how he turned part of London into a 1970s Los Angeles setting for the Elton John biopic. Plus, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker answers questions from fans on Twitter about the TARDIS and more. And finally, Pixar shows you how to make your own bao from the Pixar short film Bao. Read More »

doctor who fugitive of the judoon review

Well, that certainly was a lot. Doctor Who has been firing on all cylinders this season after a lackluster season 11, and the latest episode “Fugitive of the Judoon” was the most explosive yet. It’s a wildly marked difference between seasons for showrunner Chris Chibnall, who seems to be taking critics’ words to heart after his inaugural season of underwhelming standalone episodes; this time, it’s all season-long mysteries and arcs, baby. But can Chibnall pull off such an ambitious arc that involves the Master, the destruction of Gallifrey, and now a brand new Doctor? Time will tell.

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parasite scene breakdown

In this edition of TV Bits:

  • Bong Joon-ho teases more details about his Parasite HBO miniseries
  • Jodie Whittaker confirms her return for Doctor Who season 13
  • Impeachment: American Crime Story adds new cast members
  • And more

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How to Make Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Drinks

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, Find out how you can make the unique libations from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at home. Plus, watch as the cast of Doctor Who recaps the previous season of the show so you can be caught up for the current 12th season of the series, and listen as Eddie Murphy remembers the worst advice he ever got and much more. Read More »

doctor who nikola tesla's night of terror review

Doctor Who is a show of sky-highs and deep lows, and baby, we’re back up in the air again. After last week’s episode wasted a fantastically creepy monster design and an ambitious premise, Doctor Who is back to the well trod historical. Doctor Who has had an unusual history with its historical episodes — early seasons of the Classic series infusing as little sci-fi elements as possible, while the Doctor Who revival went full-tilt on “Shakespeare battles alien witches,” etc. In their inaugural season, Chris Chibnall and his writing team attempt a return to those period-accurate historicals, with the Doctor and Team TARDIS barely making a dent on history as it happened in front of them. It was educational, it was thoughtful, but it was boring. But this season is changing all that, first with the season premiere bringing in three important female figures in the invention of computers (before erasing their memories, boo), and now with the Nikola Tesla-centric episode, “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror.”

This season of Doctor Who has swung way in the opposite direction of last season’s reverent but stiff historical episodes — now we get Tesla battling an army of scorpion aliens, and it rules. But most disarmingly, it’s sweet and endearing to Tesla in a way that Doctor Who hasn’t been to a real-life figure since the all-time great 2010 episode, “Vincent and the Doctor.” Is this Jodie Whittaker‘s own “Vincent and the Doctor”? It’s not quite on par with the Richard Curtis-penned episode, but it’s almost up there.

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doctor who orphan 55 review

After the rip-roaring two-part premiere of Doctor Who, which managed to bring a new level of excitement to the series while filling me with a white-hot fury, the sci-fi series is taking a little vacation. But, this being Doctor Who, that vacation is far from restful.

The latest episode, “Orphan 55,” is an ambitious sci-fi epic made on a micro budget in a dumb location — which admittedly is very Doctor Who. But despite its grand ideas and noble messages about climate change and the future of humanity, the Ed Hime-penned episode unfortunately settles back into the bland forgettable-ness that characterized a lot of showrunner Chris Chibnall’s first season. And, in a thematic continuation of last week’s continuity-busting episode, “Orphan 55” manages to do away with much of the rules established by Russel T. Davies and Steven Moffat’s eras — because Chibnall doesn’t care about your canon.

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doctor who spyfall part 2 review

Doctor Who has never been one to stick to canon, or even really pay attention to continuity. The Doctor’s biggest villains, from the Daleks, to the Cyberman, to yes, even the Master, will return with little to no explanation after seemingly permanent deaths, and the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey is all-important until it’s not. When you boil down this show, it’s just a lovely sci-fi adventure about a time-traveling alien who goes on adventures through time and space with human companions. Which, at a basic level, “Spyfall, Part 2” succeeds at.

Jodie Whittaker‘s debut season last year consisted of showrunner Chris Chibnall and his writers tiptoeing around anything potentially controversial with the show’s first female Doctor, resulting in one of the blandest and least memorable seasons of Doctor Who to date. But in the season 12 premiere two-parter, it seems that Chibnall and co. have gotten over their hang-ups over what to avoid, and finally started thinking about what to do with this new Doctor and her unique persona. The result: a zippy, time-hopping episode with moments of contemplative emotion that pays tribute to Classic Doctor Who while attempting to forge ahead with new season-long mysteries. While I’m relieved that we have a season-long arc again (as messy as Doctor Who‘s arcs could be, I enjoy the unifying storylines), I dislike that Chibnall has to burn down all the work that Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat have done up until now. Justice for Missy!

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