Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Doctor Who: Series 12

Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming.

I had the opportunity and took it, I sat down and rewatched all of series 12 after initially watching episode after episode every week because who wants to wait for the DVD release which I'm still going to buy? And let me just start by saying I told you so, set the wayback machine a few months ago, I said that the showrunners and producers wanted a very easy going and not very high stakes first series for their lady Doctor so they could gauge people, and they would hit us with the big stories later on. Turns out I was right! Series 12 is a definite improvement over the last one, though I actually did not hate it, I fully accepted it was an entirely different beast while still remaining positive and pointing out flaws. But this series immediately grabs you with a great 2 part opening that not only is a cute nod to the Bond series, but firmly sets up events for the entire series and no doubt the next one, reintroduces a new incarnation of the Master (and that's not a spoiler it happens at the end of the first dang episode), and gets you hooked to see what all will come next. I kinda feel that the writing is getting back to the Steven Moffat era, with plenty of references to past stories and carefully planted moments that get paid off throughout. Spyfall is an excellent opening, and I'm just gonna say it, gives us the best modern Master. Sacha Dhawan is spectacular, he crafts his own version but you see bits of Roger Delgado, Anthony Ainley, even bits of Eric Roberts, of course John Simm, and touches of Michelle Gomez, I just can't get enough of him. Might be my favorite part of the whole series. Granted it kinda rolls down a very steep hill after that with Orphan 55, a very blah episode that reminds me of the 7th Doctor story Paradise Towers (which I actually really enjoy) mixed with Aliens, will say however the monster design is damn good and thank the maker for practical effects, but here's a fun game: take a shot every time this old lady says the name Benni. I recommend vigorous water intake beforehand. Nikola Tesla gets a good episode that goes for an un-romanticized potrayal of both Tesla and Edison, it just tells the facts of who they really were and their ideologies while still throwing in a cousin species of the Racnoss played by a former Sarah Jane Adventures actor. Here comes the big one. I'm not gonna spoil it but Fugitive Of The Judoon works totally fine until a certain point. I understand why they showed what they showed but it does severely screw with the continuity of events, if they changed it I would have really liked it way more. Plus I was kinda hoping The Rani would appear, though I know Kate passed away a few years ago it would have been such a cool twist. And I'll fully commend the show for putting the Doctor in these very mentally draining and emotionally damaging situations, Jodie does such great work in this series and really does capture that wounded and severely hurt persona to the point where she kind of relapses into PTSD 9th Doctor territory. Praxeus was much of the same as Orphan 55, give a hoot don't pollute, got it, byeeee. Next! Can You Hear Me wasn't bad but also wasn't very good, kind of middle of the road and while I did very much love the name drops and dig that wonderful animated story sequence, it just sort of ends. In fact a handful of episodes do that, you think they're going to wrap up and give us some down time before credits roll but nope it's just over! It's very odd and I can't discern why it felt off for me, just feels like the ending was rushed. The Haunting of Villa Diodati was a great spooky bizarre ride with chilling moments and even got a scare out of me but it's really the first part of a triple feature finale. Ascension Of The Cybermen was quite good, had some off stuff here and there but I quickly got over it when seeing the new Cybermen designs. These are easily my favorite designs of the modern series, I didn't hate the Series 2 Cybermen but I didn't fall in love with the designs, I could not f***ing stand the Nightmare In Silver designs, so I finally got my own combo of retro and updated, scary, strong, badass Cybermen that I can call my favorite. And yes, I do ship Graham and his lady friend, I really want them two together. Make it happen BBC, I'll be your best friend! You make a tissue compressor toy, I'll do favors for you. And now we come to the finale. I loved it. I had no issues with it whatsoever, they did something bold and different but didn't piss away decades of lore. Now I will freely admit I read up on the lore, I read pages upon pages of Gallifrey and Time Lord history and origins, I knew it quite well with the three founding figures of Time Lord society. I read the famed Cartmel plan and originally took grievance with it but now I wouldn't have it any other way. They kept those bits intact but still told something new. It's actually worth rewatching the series I feel, cause you pick up on all the hints and moments that you get payoff for, and it goes beyond the finale just watch Sacha's performance in the season opener knowing what you know at the end of the second part, it's just awesome. The production side is not quite as cinematic as series 11 but there's still some very fine shots here and there and the effects are still strong. As I said Jodie continues to become better in the role and I really and truly wish for her to break the 3 series curse that almost every Doctor has endured before they leave. Bradley Walsh is still the best companion ever, though I still love you Wilf, he is the highlight of both series for me. I just call him King Graham now cause he is flippin' royalty (I hope you got a chuckle out of that King's Quest fans.)! Yas gets a bit of backstory and a few quite good character moments, yay! Ryan....not so much, it's kind of a trade off, Ryan got lots of moments in series 11 where Yas got hardly anything and now it's swapped. Balance in all things. Supporting cast ranges from bad to really good depending on the story, and the writing has ups and downs too. I still love it, I have had a LOT of fun watching it, yes it has a few duds but when it strikes true it's done so well. I'm gonna get hate mail over it, but I really would place this high up on my series rankings list. They did so much right, and while there were bumps I would say this was a great series. 4 stars, 8/10, cannot wait for the next special with our favorite screaming blobs in pepper pot casings, and no doubt we will see her again soon.

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