Tag Archives: doctor who

The Best Days of Twelve

We’ve been rewatching the Peter Capaldi episodes of the last 3 seasons of Doctor Who, leading up to the super exciting regeneration episode that’s coming tomorrow.

Australians only get to celebrate Doctor Who Christmas on Boxing Day because of the inconvenience of living in the future. So to get a little Doctor Who into my Christmas Day… recovering from a virus combined with my kids enjoying a new game system means that I have nothing to do this afternoon but blogging or napping… here’s my top 12 Twelfth Doctor episodes!

Deep Breath
A fantastic action-and-humour fling with Madame Vastra doing a lot of the emotional heavy lifting, a sharper soft-reboot for Clara’s characterisation, and a giant dinosaur in Victorian London. But mostly for the Doctor himself, all fierce personality and Scottish sleepy ranting. This was his Robot; his Spearhead from Space. It set up the Twelfth Doctor as an uncompromising grump with a sharp wit, but did so in a more entertaining way than many of the episodes that followed in the same season.

Trapping the Doctor in his own TARDIS and letting Clara play him in an adventure of her own made for a fun rapport and was less frantic than some of the other attempts at letting this ferocious Twelfth Doctor be funny in Season 8. His acid relationship with Rigsy was a lot less unpleasant than his unpleasant dynamic with Danny in the same season, and there’s actually nothing more entertaining than Capaldi entertaining in a box, so.

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The Fourth Doctor & His Metal Pals

June is all about robots for me!

I’m one of the co-editors of Mother of Invention, an epic anthology of stories about gender dynamics and artificial intelligence — currently running a Kickstarter campaign.

We’re raising $20,000 to pay our authors and other upfront costs of this book, which will be published by Twelfth Planet Press alongside such previous fantastic publications as Kaleidoscope, and Defying Doomsday.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about fictional robots (and megalomaniacal talking super computers), and who actually designs those robots, in the stories. In Doctor Who as much as the rest of pop culture, there are a lot more Professor Kettlewells than there are Madame Lamias.

madame lamia

Doctor Who is full of vivid stories of women interacting with robots, cyborgs and AI gone bad — think of the little girl from Remembrance of the Daleks, or Tomb of the Cybermen which not only gives us the villainous Kaftan, but features the iconic moment of Victoria Waterfield placing a Cybermat in her handbag. In New Who (we’re still separating them, right? Even though “new” refers to a span of 12 years? Ok good), we had Miss Hartigan & the Cybermen, or the brilliant Oswin interacting close enough with the Daleks to hack their systems from the inside…

But it is rare we get to see Woman As Robotics Engineer, in Doctor Who as well as SF generally. Hence: Our Book. Do women build robots differently to men? Do they want something different from artificial intelligences than male creators do? What gender are computers anyway?

I wanted to make you a list of my favourite artificial intelligences in Doctor Who, and then I realised that most of them were from the Tom Baker era. Like, almost ALL of them. So I decided to lean into the nostalgia instead of, as I usually do, running away from it.


The Tom Baker Edition.

In reverse order, for the sake of the dramah. Be aware that the text of many of these answers will be spoilery for the episode listed in the title so if you haven’t seen it, read at own risk!

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River Song: in the Hero Seat

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river-songRiver Song: in the Hero Seat (finally)

I have felt more and more defensive of my love of Professor River Song over the last couple of years. This wasn’t always the case – while she has always had something of a controversial/’problematic fave’ status in Doctor Who fandom, on the whole the pro-River voices were loud enough that I didn’t mind so much that there were so many fans who didn’t like what she represented – either the idea of the Doctor having a future romantic history at all, or there being a woman in his life who is better at stuff than he is.

River and her relationship with the TARDIS is an absolute gift, and I refuse to see it otherwise. Ditto: her dress sense, her attitude, almost all of her dialogue, the splendid actress who plays her, the rare occurrence of a confident female action hero who is over 40, and, well. I just really like River, okay?

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Friday Links Loves The Gallifreyan Shopping Network

Xena_Eternal_Bonds20 years on (wow), the Mary Sue looks at some of the ways that Xena: Warrior Princess changed television. Also, a message from Lucy Lawless. Xena is the definitive best. Thank goodness for my DVD collection! She will never leave me.

A new Uncanny Magazine is out, and the article everyone’s talking about this week is Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box by David J Schwartz. There isn’t nearly enough intelligent discussion about toxic masculinity and its cultural influence, so this piece is definitely worth a look.

I’ve subscribed to Tremontaine, an upcoming fiction serial based in Ellen Kushner’s beautiful swashbuckling, queer-friendly Riverside, incorporating art by Kathleen Jennings and writing by Malinda Lo, Alaya Dawn Johnson and others. Come and join me, this is going to be fun! Here’s Kathleen talking about her artistic process.

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Listening To Random Musketeers (2002)

marie-de-rohan-duchesse-de-5One of my favourite, more obscure characters from the original The Three Musketeers novel is Madame de Chevreuse – AKA Marie de Rohan AKA Mademoiselle Monbazon AKA the Duchesse de Chevreuse.

She’s the queen’s friend, the cardinal’s enemy, the Duke of Buckingham’s co-conspirator and romantic enabler and oh yes, she has romantic/sexual ties to two of the Three Musketeers. Fair enough that most movies don’t include her in the adaptation since Dumas never let her appear in person in the novel. But she’s SO IMPORTANT.

Ahem. My point is, she’s not commonly found in Musketeer adaptations. So imagine my surprise on relistening to Big Finish’s Doctor Who/Musketeer adventure, “The Church and the Crown,” to discover that this particular story features Chevreuse, but none of the actual named Musketeers from Dumas’ story.

It’s not an adaptation of The Three Musketeers at all, in other words, but a Doctor Who story set in the time period that inspired the book. The main historical characters from Real History™ – King Louis, Queen Anne of Austria, Madame de Chevreuse, the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu – are all in play, but even the real life Musketeers who supposedly inspired our boys: Auteville, Aramitz & Du Vallon, are absent.

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New Who In Conversation: A Good Man Goes to War/Let’s Kill Hitler

We would like to thank everyone who nominated our “New Who in Conversation” series for the William Atheling Jr Award again this year – it’s a great honour to be on the ballot! Voting for the annual Ditmar Awards (which the Atheling is included in) is open to all members of Continuum X (2014 Natcon – Melbourne) and Swancon 40 (2015 Natcon – Perth), and can be done online.

Jenny and VastraDAVID:
I really enjoyed the introduction to “A Good Man Goes to War”. I do think that there are times when Amy puts the Doctor in roles that by rights are Rory’s, and it was great that he was the subject of her speech and, unless, I am way off, the “good man” of the title and the prophecy. The scene where they confront the Cybermen is quite effective, though you do have to ask about the ethics of blowing up so many of them just to get information – it’s even more casual slaughter than we are used to. I actually had already seen this scene when it was played during the Hugo ceremony, but I had managed to blank it out and it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this.

Rewatching the beginning I’m just all “RORY ROCKS”! Which is, almost certainly, the idea.

I love that Rory uses his Roman Legionary costume and identity when he needs to kick ass, and I do like this scene very much – of course, as soon as you start thinking about the ethics of exploding the whole army it’s a bit icky. Looking back to 2011, when this episode aired – this was the point very much at which fandom accepted Rory as officially awesome instead of complaining about him being a doormat or another Mickey. I’ve always given a bit of a side-eye to this group reaction, as it seems to me that Rory became a lot more popular as a character as soon as he became more traditionally macho – waving swords and uttering threatening lines. Which is a shame, because I love squooshy, sensitive Rory too.

I am very glad that they seem to now have dropped the whole thing with Rory feeling jealous of the Doctor – it feels like discovering Amy’s abduction has led him to finally drop that very boring narrative thread, so he can concentrate on what’s important.

PS: the ‘A good man’ of the title is the Doctor I think, but it also refers to Rory, and takes on different meanings for each of them.

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Watching New Who: The Doctor’s Wife

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.

We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun!

Find Tehani’s post here, and David’s post here.

wife2“The Doctor’s Wife”

Series 6, Episode 4

The Doctor – Matt Smith

Amy Pond – Karen Gillan

Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill

Suranne Jones – Idris/The TARDIS

So, much as we could happily talk all day about different episodes, we’re going back to our original remit of Hugo Award nominees, season openers and closers and specials. That means we’re skipping “Curse of the Black Spot”, which most conventional fandom wisdom will have you believe is a really rubbish episode, a condemnation I actually quite disagree with, but we’re not TALKING about that one, so that’s okay! 🙂

Pirates and swords and sirens, what more can you ask for? I quite liked “Curse of the Black Spot”, which just goes to show I continue to be completely out of touch with conventional fan wisdom!

Say it with me: “Conventional fan wisdom can bite me”!

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Friday Links Meets Chris and Roz

Damaged_Goods_book_coverA blast from the past for this week’s Friday Links – Big Finish are finally admitting that they really want to drag more New Adventures material into their stable, with a series of audio adaptations of the mostly-out-of-print original novel range from the 90’s. They recently announced that they were adapting the excellent Gareth Roberts novels featuring the Fourth Doctor and Romana – finally bringing Tom Baker and Lalla Ward in to work together for the first time since their divorce in the early 80’s – but the next announcement was even more exciting for me.

Big Finish recently recorded an audio adaptation of Damaged Goods, the only New Adventures novel to be written by Russell T Davies (and correct me if I’m wrong, but also the first canon appearance of a blowjob in the Doctor Who universe?). This is exciting because we finally get audio casting for Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester, who were the Seventh Doctor’s companions for a good chunk of the 90’s. Given the phenomenal success of Lisa Bowerman’s Bernice Summerfield as a flagship hero and all-around iconic character of the Big Finish range, it’s amazing that they waited fifteen whole years to bring back our favourite Adjudicators.

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Watching New Who: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

We are incredibly honoured to have tied for the William Atheling Jr Award, alongside Galactic Suburbia. Thank you to everyone who voted for us, and to all our readers for your support and for spreading the word. We also want to thank Lynne Thomas, Jo Anderton and Kathleen Jennings for their guest contributions. Congratulations to not only Galactic Suburbia on their well deserved win, but all the amazing nominees – you are producing some wonderful writing! We are looking forward to writing many more reviews about the show we love, and hopefully catching up with the new season soon.

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.

We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun!


“The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon”

Series 6, Episodes 1 and 2
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill
River Song – Alex Kingston
Canton Everett Delaware III – Mark Sheppard
President Richard Nixon – Stuart Milligan

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Verity! Extra! – Doctor in a Strange Land

VerityExtraDrStrangeLand-210This week’s Extra! features crossover madness! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Tansy, as we muse over what it would be like to plop the Doctor into other fictional worlds. What makes a good crossover? Which Verity isn’t really comfortable with crossovers? Who coins the term “Capaldi-flicted”? And who observes that Capaldi “gives good cape”? Listen and see!

Then let us know in the comments what fictional worlds you’d like to see the Doctor (and/or his companions) visit. Inquiring Verities want to know!

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