Why the world loves the many resurrections of ‘Doctor Who’

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Doctor Who,’ what, where? Your dumb questions about the BBC show answered.

Doctor Who is one of those shows that you either really get — as in, you’re obsessed, have a crocheted TARDIS on your desk and can rank the different Doctors on the basis of age, tenure on show, charisma and looks in a moment’s notice — or you just have no idea what’s going on in the sci-fi BBC America series.Anyone with fanciful ideas about a free press need only look to the violent squee that bubbles over when fans of shows like Doctor Who (Saturday, 7.40pm, BBC1) are wronged by an illusion-shattering reality check. Here at Entertain This, we have people who fit squarely in those two categories: Kelly Lawler is the Whoxpert, while Carly Mallenbaum is the Whovice (Like “novice”? Ungodly Acts (8 p.m., Lifetime) – In this Lifetime movie, inspired by actual events, a fanatical “end times” preacher is accused of killing his wife and making it look like a suicide.

But they’ve battled monsters, and survived cohabiting in a police box to arrive at a new stage in their relationship. “They’ve had some conflicts and challenges, but generally if you can weather the storms, you often find that your relationship is much stronger. This fall, I’ve seen so many ads on buses, subways and Times Square billboards in New York for the second coming of Peter Capaldi — the show’s 12th Doctor (No, we aren’t counting the War Doctor.) — that you’d think he’s visiting the city in a few days and not the pope. Just go with it.) So, in anticipation of tonight’s season 9 premiere of the sci-fi cult hit, we had Carly watch an episode of the series, and then had Kelly answer her questions about it. Say a word against the Doctor and before you know it they’re knitting you death threats and lining up Forbidden Planet’s finest plastic tat – I mean toys – outside your front door to glare menacingly at you when you leave for work.

Now in its sixth decade, the longest running and most successful sci-fi series in television history returns with a fresh wave of international media acclaim. Playing out like an epic finale, The Magician’s Apprentice bangs out the shocks and surprises like you wouldn’t believe with characters returning and an horrific new monster to be faced.

They are deeply bonded.” “They’re a proper team,” agrees Jenna Coleman, 29, who plays Clara. “There’s an ease between them, a shorthand, and she is becoming more and more like him. For those unfamiliar with the show, whenever the Doctor dies, he regenerates into a new incarnation of the same man (hence, the genius behind the show’s longevity). From perhaps Doctor Who’s most enthralling opening minutes to a shocking finale, it’s no wonder that fans who have been lucky enough to see this one already are dubbing it a modern classic.

I think they’ve always been a lot more similar than perhaps other Doctors and their companions have been.” At the end of the last series we saw the shocking death of Danny Pink (Clara’s teacher boyfriend) and the parting of ways between her and the Doctor. “It’s a fabulous episode,” says Peter. “The story is going to take us across the universe to all types of dark, terrifying and funny places with lots of old favourites.” There’s also a scary return of the Daleks, who arrive from different decades to battle with the Doctor, but the situation becomes so desperate Clara has to contact her greatest enemy, Missy (aka The Master played by Michelle Gomez). The Doctor, (also known as a rebel alien Time Lord) and his companion, currently Clara Oswald, travel in the TARDIS, a time and space traversing vessel disguised as a blue 1960s-era British police box. I think I get it: It the Doctor kinda like the guy from Time Traveler’s Wife, where he doesn’t have a linear life, and just randomly goes forward and backward in time?

This adventure features ghosts in an underwater base and stars comedian Paul Kaye as a Tivolian (a mole-like species last seen in 2011, and played by David Walliams) and includes an alien used previously in both Doctor Who spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are Doctor Who’s greatest couple, for sure, and this Series 4 debut was packed full of why we still heart them so much.

They then have to work together to find the Doctor. “The dynamic between Missy and Clara takes on a whole new shape, and not one I had imagined,” reveals Michelle, 49. “It all makes for slightly unnerving viewing.” This series will also see our heroes battle terrifying ghosts, visit Viking villages and explore underwater bases. Also features a deaf character, played by deaf actress Sophie Stone, and the tallest man in Britain, Neil Fingleton (who starred in Game of Thrones), playing the Fisher King in Before The Flood. In response to the new book I co-edited, “Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who,” someone asked a good question on Twitter: “Do these things even go together?” I think they do.

Starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams as an unknown character (at the moment), we will see Vikings on a spaceship, a Highwayman, new aliens, and a fire-breathing monster. We have the insane, comedic Missy returning, while Maisie Williams (Game Of Thrones) takes up a new role which challenges the Doctor.” “Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) is brought back from the dead in Episode 7 having been vaporised in the previous season’s finale. Fan favourite Osgood, played by the wonderful Ingrid Oliver, is back with UNIT to help the Doctor in a global-spanning adventure akin to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

We know this because a character in an oversized hoodie and with an unfortunate complexion of the “turkey skin bound with a few strands of old dental floss” kind is slithering around looking for him. “Where eez theee Doctaar,” he lisps o’er space mountain and down dale. Yes, he is a dying and rising “god” who is perpetually suffering for the sins of the world, which was especially true of David Tennant’s portrayal of the 10th Doctor (2005-2010).

Written by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss it stars his League of Gentlemen alumni Reece Shearsmith and, in another first for Doctor Who, a transgender actress (Bethany Black). The Zygons themselves are a stunning creation and surprisingly they didn’t return to Doctor Who (on television anyway) until 2013’s The Day of the Doctor (they’re back again later this year). To be fair, this guy doesn’t seem overly popular (he calls himself Colony of Sahff, but what with the cloak and everything, this smacks of a pseudonym. TARDIS stands for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space.” It is supposed to change it’s outside depending on where in space in time it lands, but that circuit broke when the Doctor was in London in 1963, so for now until forever it looks like a 1960s British police phone box.

Honey roasted?) doesn’t generate much of a response from those around him, and if that isn’t a telling indication of character I don’t know what is. I’m not saying amplified musical instruments shouldn’t be played by anyone over the age of 27, I just feel that at the stage in your life when white tufts emerge from your temples and your entire skin hangs dejectedly from your midface, a pair of Ray-Bans and a Stratocaster aren’t the most flattering accessories.

William Hartnell’s opening gambit as the crotchety old man (you wouldn’t get that now, eh?) was spellbinding in an instalment dripping with mystery and intrigue. He is alone in the universe, without peer, which is both exciting and deeply troubling for the viewer. “Doctor Who” is compelling to us subconsciously because, unlike other hero stories in fantasy literature, the Doctor doesn’t have to reckon with his parents. Maybe there’s more to the Doctor than just a newly acquired Now That’s What I Call Drivetime Classics CD and leather trousers, I start to think, as he noodles on the guitar.

In one storyline, the Doctor alters the course of human history, changing the time stream of a key figure in history, to satisfy the the whims of his own conscience. When she turns up, halfway through this opening episode (“Cutting to the chase: not dead, back, never mind,” she helpfully explains) it’s clear that she really is a top-notch Time Lord; dressed like a deranged Victorian schoolmistress in leg-of-mutton sleeves, vaguely reptilian and exhibiting the kind of sociopathic tendencies that keep the annoying, girlish Clara in check. “Good?” she screams at her before vapourising a couple of innocent security guards. “No, I’m not good,” replies Clara.

Recently his companions have mostly been young, attractive women from the 21st century but he’s traveled with married couples, aliens, people from the past and from the future. For years, the series has obsessively asked itself and viewers, “Who is the Doctor?” Is he a “good man?” The Doctor’s enemies are keen to establish moral equivalence between themselves and the Time Lord.

In last season’s finale, the Doctor’s archenemy gives him the “gift” of an army, based on the premise that only a man who thinks he is righteous should have battalions of soldiers to carry out his crusade. Even when Clara lies to him and puts his life and the TARDIS in jeopardy, the Doctor responds with a Christ-like compassion: “Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” In the tantalizing “Prologue” teaser trailer to this upcoming season, the Doctor says to a mysterious character, “An enemy is just a friend you don’t really know yet.” That sounds remarkably like something Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount, “Love your enemies, and do good to those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. … For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” If I don’t miss my guess, that’s more than enough scripture for us all to work on for the foreseeable future.

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