Future to the Back

The third, and likely last full trailer for Series 10 dropped earlier this week.  It’s certainly the trailer-iest, most ‘traditional’ one so far and is chock-a-block with all sorts of enticing images for the 12-episode run to come, a few of which we’ve seen before, most we hadn’t.  It all makes for an interesting, if temporary, gallery of caps for the trailer.

What’s striking is how many foes we’ve seen before appear to be coming back:  Daleks, (Cloth-headed) Cybermen, the Master, Ice Warriors, and the Pyroviles (we think).  Heck it could almost be 1985 all over again.  That’s probably not a compliment.

But there’s also lots of stunning imagery forthcoming.  After roughly 18 months away from the main action, we’re all-too-ready for this.

Hero, Not Zero, How Wonderful You Are

The second trailer for Series 10 dropped on February 25th, a mere seven weeks before a run of 12 begins.

Capaldi is looking as floofty as ever but the emphasis of the trailer at least is the newcomer Bill as she shares her impressions of the Time Lord.

There’s the usual amount of dissection going on about what it all means, from the narration down to the final foe-cloud, but what we here at the Tour know is we have birthed another temporary gallery of caps for the trailer.  They, like those from the first trailer at the beginning of the year, will be available until the season starts.

Trope on a Rope

Under the list of sub-genres that Doctor Who has attempted over the course of 53 years you can now check off ‘superhero’ from that list.  If that sounds disparaging it’s not intended to.  As a story which lovingly admires all of the historical conventions of the superhero mythos, The Return of Doctor Mysterio is a terrific bit of Christmas fun (even if it had nothing to do with Christmas), and a neat little twist on the 1978 Christopher Reeve film.  What it almost isn’t however, is Doctor Who.

The notion that the Doctor, however accidentally, created a superhero, is a nifty little plot conceit.  But it goes right up to the line, and almost certainly over it, into magic over ‘science fiction,’ however broadly you choose to look at it.  That, however, is just an excuse to get things started.  Once into the story it’s just a funfair of dual identities, love triangles, and zipper aliens all in gleeful measure.

One unexpected benefit from The Return of Doctor Mysterio was Nardole.  We suspect he’ll be getting the Mickey/Donna Noble ‘rehabilitation’ treatment into a companion with more depth and insight than we might have expected.  As always Capaldi was in fine form, more reactive than active in

As always Capaldi was in fine form, especially in his interactions with the young Grant, and generally more reactive than active in Mysterio, but that’s all right.  As we can all see in the Series 10 trailer, there’s plenty of action awaiting us.

Images and caps for The Return of Doctor Mysterio are now online.

Through the Looking Class

You could say it’s become a bit of a tradition. Each of the nu-Who Doctors, save for Eccleston, has now appeared in a Doctor Who ‘spin-off.’  Tennant and Smith made quite fulsome appearances in the ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’ (in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and Death of the Doctor respectively).  Now Capaldi gets his turn, albeit in more of an extended cameo, in the premiere episode of Class, For Tonight We Might Die.

But on the 10th Anniversary of the arrival of ‘Torchwood’ (an Anniversary which the Tour confesses we forgot to see coming–that’s on us), ‘Class’ brings with it its own set of issues regarding expectation.  Granting that it’s a first episode, and there are a legion of examples of programs for which the pilot episode, often a premise setter, turns out to be atypical of the program in hindsight, but here at THT Worldwide ‘Class’ seems like an awkward stepchild of both SJA and Torchwood.  ‘Class’ has effectively the rift from ‘Torchwood’, but aims for the youth appeal of SJA, albeit with an edgier ‘Torchwood’ tone for the teens to take.  SJA was never as graphic as ‘Class’ was from the jump, and, of course, there’s no comparison between the female leads.  None at all.

But then we remember that For Tonight We Might Die is just a first episode, important for setting the tone and template for what will follow, but not necessarily a harbinger.  The Tour has always been more partial to SJA as a Doctor Who brand extension because it seems more in keeping with the historical tone from classic Doctor Who.  And for Tour purposes we are treating For Tonight We Might Die just as we did it’s forbears, mainly that the direct presence of the Doctor in the story makes it worthy of Tour inclusion.

Images and caps for For Tonight We Might Die are now online.  We’ll keep watching ‘Class,’ especially in this barren year for nu-Who, and suspect you will too.

Headless Horseplay

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Tour gave to thee …

On the spectrum of Christmassy-ness, The Husbands of River Song definitely falls on the more distant side of the scale, but then again so did Voyage of the Damned, The Time of the Doctor, and The Runaway Bride for that matter.  It’s certainly not a prerequisite, but as our recent post re-stating our Christmas special rankings shows a relative bias towards the more Christmassy, Christmas specials are certainly judged on a continuum mostly distinct from the Series which they are more or less separated from.

And the lack of separation, in this case only 20 days between Hell Bent and The Husbands of River Song inevitably takes some of the special-ness away from Husbands.  In fact, The Husbands of River Song would seem to fit perfectly well within Series 9 as a perfectly serviceable one-off in-season story which, under the circumstances, is just a bit of unfortunate.

The Husbands of River Song rides almost entirely on the charm of the leads.  Capaldi and Alex Kingston play off each other terribly well (so much so it makes her interactions with Matt Smith seem just a bit odd in retrospect) and the plot moves along well enough, even though there’s some conspicuous box-checking going on throughout.  But the long shadow of a Series quite recently passed looms large here, unfair though it may be.  We here at the Tour suspect that The Husbands of River Song will resonate better with some time taken for reconsideration.

Images and caps for The Husbands of River Song are now online.

Mind-Vworp-Vworp-Vworp

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first.  Hell Bent is an absolutely satisfying conclusion to what has been the most consistently pleasing season since Series 5, and quite possibly in all of nu-Who itself.  The performances from the regulars as well as guest cast (and here the old-school tingles recognized Rasillion here as Commander Ridgeway from The Sea Devils).  The direction from Rachel Talalay was uniformly excellent as well.

We liked it …  a lot … and yet.

Here at THT Towers we’ve been getting the odd whiff of JN-Tism from Mount Moffat all this year.  In many ways Series 9 and Hell Bent in particular have been some of the most insular stories in all of Doctor Who history.  There’s more than a little bit of ‘fan service’ going on here, from the Diner taken from Series 6 all the way back to the Hartnell-ish Tardis.  All brilliantly executed.

But then there was Clara, and for her there was also a fair bit of ‘fan service’ going on as well.  Any long term fan will nod silently when you assert that there are companions, and there are ‘companions’ which are more important to the overall series ethos.  Clara, not just because of her longevity, but also for her various story threads going all the way back to being the ‘Impossible Girl’ and the way her story was woven throughout the whole of the series history, marks her as being the latter type of companion.

It was a neat conceit to turn the ending of Journey’s End on it’s head and have the Doctor being the one having to forget their association, but, and for this you’ll have to excuse our sense of just being old-fashioned, but Face the Raven should have been the end of Clara’s story.  We found it hard not think this was a bit of cop-out, ala the last second, largely unbelievable revelation that occurred to Peri at the end of The Ultimate Foe where the audience’s hard-rendered goodbye was subverted.  Is Clara now, along with Ashildr, immortal?  For someone who so willingly had accepted her fate to see that reversal had to cheapen all of the spent emotion from the last two stories surely.

We’ll soften a little we’re sure once we get some distance from Hell Bent (for whom images and caps are now online)  but also Series 9.

The annual Christmas Tour merriment beckons, and rather quickly too.  ‘The Husbands of River Song’ beckons in less than three weeks.  That’s no time a’tall.