The Impossible Astronaut

Doctor Who2011: Amy and Rory (having settled into life on Earth following their honeymoon) and River Song (still in her stormcage prison) receive numbered invitations consisting only of a date and a place. The place is the American plains, where the Doctor – presumably the sender of the invitations – awaits. But to their horror, an astronaut – clad in a vintage Apollo spacesuit – emerges from a body of water and shoots the Doctor, triggering his regeneration. The astronaut then shoots the Doctor again, killing him before the regeneration is completed, and returns to the water. An elderly man named Canton Delaware III appears, bearing his own numbered invitation and convenient means for disposing of the Doctor’s body. The Doctor’s stunned companions then discover the Time Lord alive and well, blissfully unaware of what’s just happened – in his own future, of which they can divulge nothing.

1969: A scant trail of clues leads the time travelers to the White House, mere months before the launch of Apollo 11. President Richard Nixon has been receiving strange phone calls, almost always on a phone line that happens to be nearest wherever he is, from a child terrified of a spaceman who has appeared nearby. Despite the Secret Service’s lack of enthusiasm about the four apparently British visitors who have popped into the Oval Office without warning, the Doctor appoints himself the chief investigator of the case of the mysterious phone calls. He deduces the location from which the phone calls must be coming, and with a younger Canton Delaware III aboard the TARDIS, goes to find the child who’s placing the calls.

At the White House, Amy sees a creature – a creature of which she saw only a glimpse in 2011. At the abandoned warehouse from which the calls are being placed, Rory and River both see the creatures as well. There’s only one problem: they’re fully aware of who the Doctor is, and of the fate he will suffer. And anyone who sees them, once they look away, doesn’t remember having seen them. Are these the assassins who have killed the last of the Time Lords?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Toby Haynes
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Alex Kingston (River Song), Mark Sheppard (Canton Delaware), William Morgan Sheppard (old Canton Delaware), Marnix van den Broeke (The Silent), Stuart Milligan (President Richard Nixon), Chuk Iwuji (Carl), Mark Griffin (Phil), Sydney Wade (Little Girl), Nancy Baldwin (Joy), Kieran O’Connor (Prison Guard), Adam Napier (Captain Simmons), Henrietta Clemett (Matilda), Paul Critoph (Charles), Emilio Aquino (Busboy)

Notes: The interior of the alien spacecraft was glimpsed last season in The Lodger. The TARDIS has landed as an invisible object before, in 1968’s The Invasion, though the second Doctor was able to find both the time machine and its entrance a bit more gracefully in that story. Guest star William Morgan Sheppard – often credited as W. Morgan Sheppard in the U.S. and as Morgan Sheppard in the U.K. – has guest starred on nearly every genre series under the sun, from several “generations” of Star Trek, Babylon 5, seaQuest and more, to a memorable regular role on Max Headroom in both its British and American incarnations. He is the real father of actor Mark Sheppard, of whose character he portrays a much older version. Mark Sheppard is familiar to followers of such series as Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, The Middleman, Warehouse 13 and Firefly. Where both the Sheppards were born in the U.K., Stuart Milligan was born in Boston and has portrayed several Presidents of the United States during a career which has seen him do much of his television work in Britain.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Day Of The Moon

Doctor WhoAmy, Rory and River are on the run after the Doctor is captured by the unknown, skull-faced aliens, who seem to have Canton Delaware under their control. But the Doctor and Canton are secretly working together, and stage the “capture” of the rest of the TARDIS travelers. The only way any of them have been able to remember anything about the aliens on Earth is to mark their own skin each time they see one – but no other information remains until Amy’s cell phone photo of one provides the means to construct a hologram of one of the aliens inside the TARDIS. The Doctor equips each of his friends, including Canton, with recording devices, and is forced to take President Nixon into his confidence about the alien invasion. Even Nixon is hard-pressed to explain the Doctor’s presence when the Time Lord is found rewiring the Apollo 11 capsule. The other time travelers try to discover where the missing girl came from, leading to an abandoned orphanage who doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s no longer 1967. Amy finds the girl – still in a NASA spacesuit – but is taken prisoner by the aliens.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Toby Haynes
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Alex Kingston (River Song), Mark Sheppard (Canton Delaware), Marnix van den Broeke (The Silent), Stuart Milligan (President Richard Nixon), Kerry Shale (Dr. Renfrew), Glenn Wrage (Gardener), Jeff Mash (Grant), Sydney Wade (Little Girl), Tommy Campbell (Sergeant), Peter Banks (Dr. Shepherd), Frances Barber (Eye Patch Lady), Ricky Fearon (Tramp), Chuk Iwuji (Carl), Mark Griffin (Phil)

Amy alarmedNotes: Dwarf star alloy is very handy for trapping time travelers; Rorvik and his crew landed a ship with an entire outer hull made of dwarf star alloy – said to be super-dense material – to enslave the time-hopping Tharils in 1981’s Warriors’ Gate, at least until the fourth Doctor and Romana helped to free them. Guest star Frances Barber put in another surreal appearance in a 1989 Red Dwarf episode, the fan favorite Polymorph. Apparently President Nixon’s near-obsessive taping of his Oval Office activities was the Doctor’s suggestion – perhaps future episodes will tell us what the Silence were up to during the missing 18 minutes of the Watergate tapes.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Curse Of The Black Spot

Doctor WhoCaptain Henry Avery and his pirate ship crew have fallen upon hard times, haunted by a deadly curse: any man among them who sheds so much as a single drop of blood sees a black spot appear on his hand, and the next time the seafaring Siren appears on the ship, that man will be destroyed by her. Worse yet, a large blue box is found in the hold, containing three stowaways who, despite their insistence that they’re here to help, must be trying to take Avery’s loot after waiting for the Siren to pick off the rest of his crew. Another stowaway is revealed: Avery’s young son, convinced that his father is a fine, upstanding Naval officer and unprepared for the truth. When Rory’s hand is cut and the black spot appears on his hand, the Doctor and Amy are fighting not just to keep the Siren from devouring Avery’s crew, but one of their own as well.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steve Thompson
directed by Jeremy Webb
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Hugh Bonneville (Captain Henry Avery), Oscar Lloyd (Toby Avery), Lee Ross (The Boatswain), Michael Begley (Mulligan), Tony Lucken (De Florres), Chris Jarman (Dancer), Carl McCrystal (McGrath), Lily Cole (The Siren)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Doctor’s Wife

Doctor WhoA telepathic distress call-in-a-box – a technology used only by the Time Lords – tracks down the Doctor’s TARDIS in deep space. Eager to find out if the sender of the distress call is still alive, the Doctor follows the call to its point of origin: an asteroid that exists outside the boundaries of the universe in its own “bubble universe”. But upon making the trip, the TARDIS’ energy – and, according to the Doctor, its soul – is drained, leaving the ship immobile. A very strange couple of humanoids, with a green-eyed Ood servant they refer to as “Nephew”, occupy the living asteroid, while a woman named Idris exhibits wildly unusual behavior near the Doctor. The Doctor sends Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS for their own safety, and soon enough discovers that he’s walked into a trap: the couple inhabiting the asteroid have several Time Lord distress call boxes stowed away, which they’ve used to lure many Gallifreyans to their deaths. The Doctor also finds that Idris’ body is inhabited by another life form: his own TARDIS. The mind of the living asteroid is taking her place as the controlling force in his TARDIS, while the timeship’s actual living essence is trapped in a human body never meant to hold it. Now his companions are trapped in the TARDIS with a malevolent entity, and time is running out to return the TARDIS’ own energy to it.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Neil Gaiman
directed by Richard Clark
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Suranne Jones (Idris), Michael Sheen (voice of House), Paul Kasey (Nephew), Adrian Schiller (Uncle), Elizabeth Berrington (Auntie)

The TARDISNotes: The Time Lord telepathic distress call boxes haven’t been seen since the Doctor himself summoned the Time Lords with one in 1969’s The War Games. This is the first new series episode to show areas of the TARDIS other than the console room or the wardrobe glimpsed in The Christmas Invasion. The “junk TARDIS” console, like the Abzorbaloff before it, was designed by a young Blue Peter competition winner. The Doctor’s Wife was a title that the late producer John Nathan-Turner kept poster on a bulletin board in the Doctor Who production office in the 1980s, credited to writer Robert Holmes. There was never any such story in the planning: it was a ploy to try to discover the identity of a mole in the production office who was leaking advance information to fanzines. The Doctor’s Wife won the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, Hugo Award in 2012, beating out two other episodes from this season (The Girl Who Waited and A Good Man Goes To War).

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Rebel Flesh

Doctor WhoA solar storm brings the TARDIS down on 26th century Earth, at an isolated castle which is now the site of a small team overseeing a large vat of Flesh – an acidic, sentient liquid which can shape itself into Gangers, perfect copies of any of the team members, capable of performing dangerous tasks without endangering the original human technician. The violent solar flare that forced the TARDIS to land will soon impact Earth, and the Doctor tries to offer his help to the castle’s crew. When it arrives, however, the solar storm front impacts Earth more violently than expected, and everyone including the Doctor is knocked out cold before his plan can be put into action. When everyone comes around, something has changed: the Gangers have become aggressive, demanding that their existence is at least as valid and precious as the lives of the humans of whom they are copies. Worse yet, by coming into physical contact with the Flesh, the Doctor has inadvertently provided the template for a new Ganger, one with his intellect and instincts.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Matthew Graham
directed by Julian Simpson
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Mark Bonnar (Jimmy), Marshall Lancaster (Buzzer), Sarah Smart (Jennifer), Raquel Cassidy (Cleaves), Leon Vickers (Dicken), Frances Barber (Eye Patch Lady)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Almost People

Doctor WhoTrapped in the castle with a group of hostile Gangers imitating the physical forms and personalities of the humans of whom they’re copies, the Doctor is now faced with a copy of himself, though the Doctor’s Ganger seems benign and helpful no matter how much suspicion he receives from the humans. An evacuation flight is dispatched to the castle, and the race is on to greet it when it lands. The Gangers, fighting for their right to continued existence rather than the inhumane “decommissioning” that usually awaits them, are content simply to wipe out their former masters. Despite the humans harboring much the same sentiment toward the Gangers, the Doctor – and his duplicate – try to maintain the possibility of a peaceful solution. But as the humans – even Amy – continue to ostracize the surplus Doctor, he begins to wonder if he’s on the right side. And the Doctor and Rory make the horrifying discovery that there’s one more Ganger in their midst than they realized.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Matthew Graham
directed by Julian Simpson
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Mark Bonnar (Jimmy), Marshall Lancaster (Buzzer), Sarah Smart (Jennifer), Raquel Cassidy (Cleaves), Leon Vickers (Dicken), Frances Barber (Eye Patch Lady), Edmond Moulton (Adam)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

A Good Man Goes To War

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Rory hunt tirelessly through time and space to find the real Amy Pond: the Amy who has been aboard the TARDIS since the trip to America has been a Ganger all along. Enlisting the help of unlikely allies – a Sontaran pressed into service as a combat nurse, a Silurian at large in Victorian London, even a fleet of Cybermen – the Doctor gathers an army to help him rescue his kidnapped companion. Held captive by the mysterious Korovian, Amy has already given birth to a daughter, Melody. Fully expecting the Doctor’s arrival, Madame Kovarian has assembled an army of her own, with the deadly headless monks to strike fear into anyone who doubts their duties. Just when the Doctor thinks he’s rescued Amy and her baby without any bloodshed, Kovarian springs her trap: the baby that the Doctor has rescued is a Ganger as well, and Kovarian has Amy’s real baby: a human child with TARDIS-altered DNA that can be traced back to Gallifrey itself, a child Kovarian intends to raise as the perfect weapon to fight the Doctor. Little do the time travelers know that they’ve already met Melody Pond, all grown up.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Peter Hoar
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Charlie Baker (Fat One), Dan Johnston (Thin One), Christina Chong (Lorna Bucket), Joshua Hayes (Lucas), Damian Kell (Dominicus), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny), Richard Trinder (Captain Harcourt), Annabel Cleare (Eleanor), Henry Wood (Arthur), Dan Starkey (Commander Strax), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Danny Sapani (Colonel Manton), Hugh Bonneville (Henry Avery), Oscar Lloyd (Toby Avery), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Cybermen)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Let’s Kill Hitler

Doctor WhoAmy and Rory use decidedly unconventional means to summon the Doctor for a progress report on his search for their daughter Melody, only to be interrupted by Melody herself – or at least one of her future incarnations, who has grown up alongside her own parents as a troubled child. She forces the Doctor and his friends to take her into the TARDIS with no more of a destination in mind than “let’s kill Hitler.” But when the TARDIS arrives in Berlin, 1938, there is already an alien presence among the Third Reich attempting to do away with the Fuhrer – an assassination attempt that the Doctor’s arrival foils. Wounded in the ensuing firefight, Mels regenerates into River Song before her parents’ eyes, but her new incarnation is mentally unstable. The self-proclaimed psychopath poisons the Doctor and continues to wreak havoc across Berlin, oblivious to any ripples she might be leaving in the timeline. Amy and Rory are taken into the custody of the alien police force which has now shifted its attention to River, and they now have two seemingly conflicting objectives: save the Doctor and somehow keep River alive when the authorities catch up with her.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Richard Senior
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Alex Kingston (River Song), Nina Toussaint-White (Mels), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Maya Glace-Green (young Mels), Ezekiel Wigglesworth (young Rory), Philip Rham (Zimmerman), Richard Dillane (Carter), Amy Cudden (Anita), Davood Ghadami (Jim), Elia Kenion (Harriet), Albert Welling (Adolf Hitler), Mark Killeen (German Officer), Paul Bentley (Professor Candy), Eva Alexander (Nurse), Tor Clark (Female Teacher)

Notes: The “state of temporal grace” – a long-standing piece of obscure Doctor Who continuity from the Tom Baker years that supposedly prevents weapons from being fired inside the TARDIS – is said to be fictitious here, although it did work at one point; the first time it failed to work was in the Peter Davison story Earthshock (after a Cyberman blasted the TARDIS console), and it’s been consistently failing to work Let's Kill Hitlersince then. Hitler doesn’t recognize the Doctor, who has regenerated four times since the two were uneasy allies during the events of the second New Adventures novel, “Timewyrm: Exodus“; even without the changes in appearance, that book’s alien interference in Hitler’s mental state would account for his inability to remember the TARDIS, so the two adventures don’t necessarily conflict. The River Song we’ve seen so far is at least the third incarnation of Melody Pond. For the first time in Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, we see Rose, Martha and Donna, though they’re familiar publicity photos presented as “holograms” by the TARDIS, which finally settles on the avatar of little Amelia Pond (still played by Karen Gillan’s younger cousin) to interact with the Doctor.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Night Terrors

Doctor WhoThe Doctor receives an unlikely message – “save me from the monsters” – via his psychic paper, and follows it back to an apartment on present-day Earth, certain that it comes from someone very young. The source of the signal turns out to be a seemingly ordinary Earth boy named George, whose family situation, while loving, isn’t quite ideal. The Doctor convinces George’s father to let him find out what’s causing George’s monster nightmares, but this only reveals that George’s imagined monsters may be very real and very dangerous. Amy and Rory are sucked into the child’s nightmares, where they find other victims who have already fallen victim to the Dolls that stalk the darkest corners of George’s psyche. In the end, it’s not the Doctor, but George’s father, who holds the key to freeing everyone from this nightmare world.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Mark Gatiss
directed by Richard Clark
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Daniel Mays (Alex), Jamie Oram (George), Emma Cunniffe (Claire), Andy Tiernan (Purcell), Leila Night TerrorsHoffman (Mrs. Rossiter), Sophie Cosson (Julie)

Notes: The Doctor’s mention of “Snow White and the Seven Keys To Doomsday” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 1974 stage play Doctor Who and the Seven Keys To Doomsday, which starred Trevor Martin as an alternative post-Pertwee Doctor fighting the Daleks; the play was written by ’70s Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks, and was more recently revived in audio form by Big Finish Productions.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Girl Who Waited

Doctor WhoPromising Amy and Rory a glimpse of the second most popular vacation destination in the universe, the Doctor miscalculates slightly, landing the TARDIS in the right place at the worst possible time: the planet is in the thrall of a global plague, and robotic medics have been mobilized to contain and treat those with the illness. A system of vast temporal engines has been set up to keep the victims alive by altering the speed of their timestreams. Amy is separated from the Doctor and Rory, and worse yet, when they go to rescue her, the Doctor can’t step outside the TARDIS due to the brute-force temporal engineering taking place. Rory has to find Amy himself, and indeed he does: she has aged 36 years since she last saw her fellow TARDIS travelers, and she’s not happy about it. The Doctor devises a plan to go back and undo this timeline, but the older Amy objects strenuously: if Amy Pond is going to resume her travels in the TARDIS, it’ll be Amy in her fifties, not Amy in her twenties. The Doctor leaves it up to Rory to make the agonizing decision.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Tom MacRae
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Josie Taylor (Check-In Girl), Imelda Staunton (voice of Interface)

Notes: This episode summons memories of numerous iconic Doctor Who adventures past: the Doctor and his The Girl Who Waitedcompanions were accosted in a blank, all-white space by all-white robots in 1968’s The Mind Robber, while the TARDIS toolbox (a fixture dating back to Tom Baker’s era) was last seen in the 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann. That movie was also the last time that the TARDIS was seen to have an alarm-clock-style split-flap display was seen roaring backward or forward in time at full speed. The free-standing gateways to other dimensions are slightly reminiscent of the Iconian gateways in Star Trek lore (TNG: Contagion, DS9: To The Death), though anyone who’s ever been to Narnia can attest that Star Trek was hardly the first SF or fantasy epic to use the device.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The God Complex

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Amy and Rory to a chintzy hotel, but their destination suddenly seems less relaxing when three people – two humans and one alien – burst into the hotel lounge with warnings about the hotel. No one who goes into a room alone comes out the same – those who survive chant “Praise him” and eventually meet a horrible fate. A monster stalks the halls, seeking its next victim and their worship. The surviving hotel guests warn that to go into a room alone invites one’s worst fears to appear all at once, but what nightmares await time travelers who have survived the worst horrors the universe has to offer… and who demands their praise?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Sarah Quintrell (Lucy Hayward), Amara Karan (Rita), Dimitri Leonidas (Howie Spragg), Daniel Pirrie (Joe Buchanan), David Walliams (Gibbis), Dafydd Emyh (P.E. Teacher), Spencer Wilding (The Creature), Rashid Karapiet (Rita’s Father), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Roger Ennals (Gorilla)

Doctor WhoNotes: David Walliams is either making his first or second Doctor Who appearance, depending on how you look at it; he starred alongside writer/actor Mark Gatiss in The Web Of Caves, a spoof of Hartnell-era Who that Walliams co-wrote with Gatiss for BBC2’s Doctor Who Night in 1999. That same year, he and Gatiss also appeared in Gatiss’ first Doctor Who script for Big Finish Productions, Phantasmagoria (the second story produced in Big Finish’s long series of audio plays based on the Doctor’s previous incarnations). With comedy partner Matt Lucas, Walliams is best known as one of the creators and stars of Little Britain.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Closing Time

Doctor WhoAware that the clock is counting down to his appointment with a killer astronaut in America, the Doctor pays a last visit to his friend Craig, discovering that Craig’s become a dad – and a somewhat befuddled one at that. But no house call from the Doctor ever goes quite as smoothly as planned. Strange power outages have plagued the area, with a local department store at the epicenter of the disturbance. The Doctor does what he has to in order to investigate the store without raising suspicion: he gets a job there. Soon enough, between mentions of a “silver rat” roaming the store and a string of employees going missing, the Doctor discovers that Cybermen are lurking here. The Doctor’s plans for a quiet visit with his friend are further complicated when Craig insists on involving himself in the Doctor’s impending battle with the Cybermen. The lives of the Time Lord’s companions are nearly always in jeopardy, but if the Doctor doesn’t win this time, it could cost a baby his father.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Gareth Roberts
directed by Steve Hughes
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy), Arthur Darvill (Rory), James Corden (Craig Owens), Daisy Haggard (Sophie), Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Seroca Davis (Shona), Holli Dempsey (Kelly), Chris Obi (George), Lynda Baron (Val), Paul Kasey (Cyberman), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Cybermen)

Closing TimeNotes: Craig and Sophie first appeared in the previous season’s The Lodger. Cybermats first appeared in 1967‘s Tomb Of The Cybermen, and were last seen in 1975‘s Revenge Of The Cybermen; they’ve had some dental work done in the intervening years, and arguably need to go back for a second round. Lynda Baron makes her third Doctor Who appearance here: as pirate captain Wrack, she tried to make the fifth Doctor walk the plank in 1983‘s Enlightenment, while her first Doctor Who “appearance” was audio-only, as the unseen vocalist warbling the sung narrative throughout the first Doctor story The Gunfighters in 1966 – which also saw the Doctor wearing a Stetson.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Wedding Of River Song

Doctor WhoRather than marching quietly to his date with death, the Doctor goes on a series of missions to find out why the Silence wants him dead. Every piece of information simply leads to another question, until finally he arrives in Utah with Rory, Amy and River – and then his death fails to happen, thwarted by river. But history records the Doctor’s death at that moment, and when it fails to happen, history unravels, overlapping alternate histories with history as the Doctor and his friends know it. Amy, River and Rory now command a fighting force with orders to defend the Doctor from the Silence, and the mysterious Madame Kovarian has been captured – or has she really been pulling the strings all along? The Doctor’s fate is inescapable – but this time, that’s just how he wants it.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Jeremy Webb
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Ian McNeice (Emperor Winston Churchill), Richard Hope (Dr. Malokeh), Marnix van den Broeke (The Silent), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Dalek), Simon Callow (Charles Dickens), Sian Williams (herself), Bill Turnbull (himself), Meredith Viera (Newsreader), Niall Grieg Fulton (Gideon Vandaleur), Sean Buckley (Barman), Rondo Haxton (Gantok), Emma Campbell-Jones (Dr. Kent), Katharine Burford (Nurse), Richard Dillane (Carter), William Morgan Sheppard (Canton Delaware)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe

Doctor WhoThe Doctor sabotages a gigantic spaceship on a mission to destroy Earth, only barely getting a spacesuit on in time to ride to the planet’s surface amid the ship’s debris. Amazingly, he survives re-entry and the landing, but he has to enlist the help of a woman named Madge Arwell, who believes he’s either a spaceman or an angel.

Three years later, Madge Arwell has completely forgotten the otherworldly visitor. Days before Christmas, she receives a telegram informing her of her husband’s death in an RAF fighter during the war. Worse still, Madge and her children, Cyril and Lily, are evacuated to a country house to avoid the air raids. The Doctor is waiting for them, having renovated the house in his own unique way. Under the tree, a gigantic present awaits, but the Doctor insists that it remain unopened until Christmas. Naturally, Cyril opens it early and climbs in, finding himself in another world. When the Doctor learns of this, he and Lily follow, and the Doctor explains that it literally is another world, one where the trees grow their own organic Christmas ornaments. Huge footprints in the snow reveal that Cyril wasn’t alone here. The Doctor and Lily find Cyril in a domed, castle-like structure where a king and queen carved from sentient wood are sizing the boy up as a host body for the collected consciousness of the forest outside – a forest which will soon be clear-cut by acid rain induced by human harvesters from Androzani Major. But Cyril isn’t up to the task, and to his own surprise, the Doctor is judged unfit for the task as well.

That’s when Madge Arwell shows up, having followed the Doctor and her children to this world through the gift-wrapped gateway. She’s also managed to drive the crew from Androzani off-planet and commandeered their harvester. And the trees decide she is their ideal host, but she already has the weight of the world bearing down on her: she hasn’t told her children that their father has died in the war, until it’s revealed for her by the trees.

Download this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Farren Blackburn
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Claire Skinner (Madge Arwell), Maurice Cole (Cyril Arwell), Holly Earl (Lily Arwell), Alexander Armstrong (Reg Arwell), Sam Stockman (Co-Pilot), Bill Bailey (Droxil), Paul Bazely (Ven-Garr), Arabella Weir (Billis), Spencer Wilding (Wooden King), Paul Kasey (Wooden Queen), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory)

Notes: Androzani Major was the site of murderous political intrigue in 1984‘s The Caves Of Androzani, at the end of which the fifth Doctor was forced to regenerate. This story doesn’t make clear if the forest snowscape is on Androzani Major or not. Actor Alexander Armstrong has a long association with the Doctor Who universe, having provided the voice Doctor Whoof Sarah Jane Smith’s alien computer, Mr. Smith, for the entire run of The Sarah Jane Adventures. The set of Sarah Jane’s attic also makes an appearance here, heavily redressed as the attic of the house where the Arwells are celebrating Christmas. Arabella Weir also has a voice-only Doctor Who connection; she starred as the Doctor in Big Finish’s continuity-busting Doctor Who Unbound story Exile in 2003.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More