The Eleventh Hour

Doctor WhoFollowing the Doctor’s regeneration, the TARDIS plummets back to Earth, damaged and out of control. The time machine comes to rest in the 1990s, where the Doctor has to seek the help of the first person he finds – namely, a little girl named Amelia Pond who is home alone. In exchange for her help, the Doctor investigates something that’s been troubling Amelia: a crack in her wall through which she says she can hear voices. It turns out that her fears aren’t unfounded: the Doctor finds something from another dimension behind her wall, but he seals the crack and seems fairly sure he’s solved the problem. He promises to return in five minutes; Amelia packs a bag and sits in her garden, waiting for the TARDIS and the mysterious Doctor to return…

The TARDIS rematerializes in the garden, but it’s been only moments for the Doctor – he’s just realized the significance of the crack in the wall. But 12 years have passed for Amy Pond – and for the being behind her bedroom wall. The Doctor finds a door where no door should be in Amy’s house, containing a being known only as Prisoner Zero, which then escapes. As the Doctor works to find the dangerous escapee, Earth receives a signal from an alien race called the Atraxi: if the people of Earth cannot contain Prisoner Zero, the Atraxi will wipe out all life on the planet, just to make sure the escaped prisoner is dealt with. There are only 20 minutes left to save the world, and the Doctor isn’t exactly in peak condition…

Season 5 Regular Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond)

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Adam Smith
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Arthur Darvill (Rory Wiliams), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia Pond), Nina Wadia (Dr. Ramsden), Marcello Magni (Barney Collins), Perry Benson (Ice Cream Man), Annette Crosbie (Mrs. Angelo), Tom Hopper (Jeff), Arthur Cox (Mr. Henderson), Olivia Coleman (Mother), Eden Monteath (Child 1), Merin Monteath (Child 2), David de Keyser (Atraxi voice), William Wilde (Prisoner Zero voice), Patrick Moore (himself)

The eleventh DoctorNotes: The lightning and thunderclaps in the new opening titles hearken back to the very origins of Doctor Who; the unaired pilot version of An Unearthly Child featured thunderclaps in the theme music, though these were removed before the remount of the series’ first-ever episode. The redesigned TARDIS exterior resembles the police box as seen in the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies in the 1960s, while the new set for the TARDIS console room includes elements that recall the early William Hartnell stories (the large metallic light fixture above the console), the Davison/Colin Baker era TARDIS (a sound effect that occurs several times in The Eleventh Hour’s final scenes) and even the TARDIS as seen in the 1996 TV movie (the scanner screen as an old TV hanging above the console). Caitlin Blackwood is a good fit as young Amy because she’s Karen Gillan’s cousin in real life.

A made-for-DVD short, Meanwhile In The TARDIS, bridges the gap between The Eleventh Hour and The Beast Below; it’s a bonus feature on the series 5 DVD box set.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Vampires Of Venice

Doctor WhoThe Doctor returns Amy to her own time, and decides to take her and her fiancee Rory on a romantic getaway – namely, Venice in 1580. But almost as soon as the TARDIS brings them there, it’s obvious that something is amiss. Venice is under the thrall of the reclusive House of Calvierri, from whose elite school no pupil ever returns. The father of one girl who has been enrolled in this school is demanding to see proof that his daughter is alive and well, and his demands are met with threats of violence. The Doctor and Amy both see members of the Calvierri inner circle reveal vampire-like teeth, but the despite all the traditional signs of vampires – no reflections in a mirror, sharp teeth, drinking blood – the Doctor thinks these vampires are actually aliens. When he discovers a plan to repopulate a nearly-extinct species by transforming Earth into a suitable environment, the Doctor may be left with no choice but to ensure their extinction to save humanity.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Jonny Campbell
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Arthur Darvill (Rory), Helen McCrory (Rosanna), Lucian Msamati (Guido), Alisha Bailey (Isabella), Alex Price (Francesco), Gabrielle Wilde (Vampire Girl), Hannah Steele (Vampire Girl), Elizabeth Croft (Vampire Girl), Sonila Vieshta (Vampire Girl), Gabrielle Montaraz (Vampire Girl), Michael Percival (Inspector), Simon Gregor (Steward)

The Vampires of VeniceNotes: This episode marks the first appearance of the ninth and tenth Doctors’ psychic paper in the eleventh Doctor’s possession. He also has a library card, under the name of Dr. J. Smith, bearing a photo of his first incarnation. The Doctor has visited Venice in previous incarnation in a variety of audio stories; the fourth Doctor has a fateful encounter with alien insects there in Hornets’ Nest: A Sting In The Tale, while the eighth Doctor visited Venice in the future in The Stones Of Venice. With the exception of a few background shots, none of this episode was actually filmed in Venice itself; a city in Croatia proved to be a more cost-effective location, with a variety of lighting tricks and digital effects evoking the look of Venice. The documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, however, did take Matt Smith and writer Toby Whithouse on location to Venice, stirring up election-year controversy over whether the BBC was making the best use of the funds it gets from the British public via the televison license tax.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Amy’s Choice

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS lands in upper Leadworth, outside the home of former TARDIS travelers Rory and Amy, who are now expecting their first child. The Doctor is pleased to see them both, they’re both perplexed to see him, and the excitement of the impromptu reunion lulls them all to sleep. They wake up aboard the TARDIS, still traveling together and decidedly not expecting a baby, mystified by what must surely be a dream. A being called the Dream Lord appears, demanding that the three travelers choose between the reality they’ve just seen, and the reality of travel in the TARDIS. The time travelers slip back and forth disconcertingly between the increasingly strange earthbound setting and the Doctor’s timeship, which is growing increasingly cold. The Dream Lord insists that time is running out… and the one person who can decide which scenario is real isn’t the Doctor, but Amy.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Simon Nye
directed by Catherine Morshead
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Toby Jones (Dream Lord), Nick Hobbs (Mr. Nainby), Joan Linder (Mrs. Hamill), Audrey Ardington (Mrs. Poggit)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Pandorica Opens

Doctor WhoA series of events ripples through time and space upon the completion of Vincent Van Gogh‘s latest painting depicting the fiery destruction of the TARDIS. Many of the Doctor’s friends and allies encounter the painting through time, from Winston Churchill to Liz 10 to, finally, River Song. River draws the Doctor to Earth at the time of the Roman Empire to show him the painting, which she believes is a warning Van Gogh received in a vision. Within the painting itself is a time and a location, leading the Doctor, Amy and River to Stonehenge.

The Doctor finds a chamber beneath Stonehenge, containing a large, cubical object of alien origin: the Pandorica, something which River has mentioned before but the Doctor believed was a myth. But before the Doctor can investigate or open the Pandorica, dozens of alien ships descend into the sky over Stonehenge: many of the Doctor’s enemies have come to call. While he bluffs his would-be captors into leaving, River attempts to move the TARDIS closer to the Pandorica, but the timeship begins behaving erratically and is flung violently through the time vortex. It begins to seem as though the Doctor is destined not to be at the controls of the TARDIS when it suffers the fate forseen by Van Gogh.

The Doctor’s enemies return to Stonehenge, and only then does the Doctor realize the horrifying truth: the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and many more have set aside their differences to conspire against their greatest enemy. With their combined forces against him, the Doctor may be doomed, and the universe along with him.

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

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Tony Curran (Vincent), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Sophie Okonedo (Liz Ten), Marcus O’Donovan (Claudio), Clive Wood (Commander), Christopher Ryan (Commander Stark), Ruari Mears (Cyber Leader), Paul Kasey (Judoon), Howard Lee (Doctor Gachet), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek), Simon Fisher Becker (Dorium), Joe Jacobs (Guard), Chrissie Cotterill (Madame Vernet), David Fynn (Marcellus), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek / Cyberman / Judoon voices)

The Pandorica OpensNotes: This marks the first time Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans have all shared the screen in anything other than a flashback (if one wishes to count flashbacks, however, the first time would have been during the flashbacks experienced by the fourth Doctor at the end of part 4 of Logopolis). Classic Doctor Who aliens name-checked but not seen include Drahvins (Galaxy Four), Zygons (Terror Of The Zygons), and curiously, the Chelonians, a reptilian warrior race introduced in the New Adventures novels published in the 1990s (specifically, in “The Highest Science”). This marks the first time that an element specific to the New Adventures has been acknowledged by the new TV series. The Slitheen are also mentioned, but are not seen.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Big Bang

Doctor WhoTrapped in the Pandorica by his enemies, the Doctor is powerless to prevent the universe from ending. The collapse isn’t instantaneous, and Earth is at the epicenter, growing cold and dark as every star in the universe vanishes. Young Amelia Pond remembers the stars, though, despite what everyone tells her as the changes ripple backward through time.

Freed from the Pandorica, the Doctor embarks on an elaborate attempt to manipulate the timeline; while Earth still exists, he can influence its history and make changes to the present. But he’ll need help, and there’s where the problem lies: Amy is dead, River has probably died in the cataclysmic explosion that has ripped the TARDIS apart, and Rory isn’t who anyone thought he was. Time is running out, even for the Time Lord.

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

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia), Susan Vidler (Aunt Sharon), Frances Ashman (Christine), Barnaby Edwards (Stone Dalek), William Pretsell (Dave), Halcro Johnston (Mr. Pond), Karen Westwood (Tabetha), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voice)

Notes: Notes for this episode could spoil major elements of the story, so you’ll find the notes below.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

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?

Series 6 Regular Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory)

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

Guest Cast: 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

Guest Cast: 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 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

Guest Cast: 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

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

Guest Cast: 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

Pond Life

Doctor WhoIt’s just another day in the life of Amy and Rory – a life that’s routinely thrown into disarray by the comings and goings of a rogue Time Lord, that is. As if it’s not enough that he’s constantly calling and leaving messages about his adventures, he leaves them a gift: a subservient Ood to help out around the house. But between their discomfort with typical Ood behavior and the Doctor’s frequently ill-timed visits, life with the Ponds is anything but normal, and increasingly it’s anything but relaxed and pleasant.

Doctor Whowritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Paul Kasey (Ood)

Notes: The Doctor says that the Ood wandered aboard the TARDIS during “the Androvox conflict,” a reference to an intergalactic war criminal and refugee encountered by Sarah Jane and her young friends in the Sarah Jane Adventures stories Prisoner Of The Judoon (2009) and The Vault Of Secrets (2010), and whose ship was at the heart of the Doctor Who universe’s interpretation of the Roswell UFO incident (the animated adventure Dreamland, 2009). Pond Life premiered as five short segments during the week prior to the premiere of Doctor Who’s seventh season, with an “omnibus” edition collecting all five segments into a five minute mini-episode available shortly before Asylum Of The Daleks.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Asylum Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoOne by one, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are abducted by the Daleks and brought to a ship housing the Dalek Parliament. Fully expecting extermination, the Doctor and his friends are shocked to hear the Daleks demanding that the Time Lord save them from an unspecified threat – namely, the Daleks’ own past. On a remote planet, the Daleks have imprisoned the most insane, battle-scarred members of their own race, sealed in with a shield. But a ship has managed to crash there, and is broadcasting a signal that could give away the planet’s secret. The Daleks have captured the Doctor and his friends to send them to deal with the crashed ship, facing an onslaught of mad Daleks along the way.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Oswin), Anamaria Marinca (Darla), Naomi Ryan (Cassandra), David Gyasi (Harvey), Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2)

Doctor WhoNotes: The Daleks in the “intensive care unit” are survivors of conflicts with past Doctors; Oswin points out that they’re veterans of Spiridon (Planet Of The Daleks, 1973), Kembel (The Daleks’ Master Plan, 1965/66), Aridius (The Chase, 1965), Vulcan (Power Of The Daleks, 1966), and Exxilon (Death To The Daleks, 1974). Despite this, and despite much pre-publicity stating that nearly every style of Dalek ever seen in the original series would be seen here, the Daleks seen in this area are all the up-armored Dalek casings introduced in 2005’s Dalek. Glimpsed in the part of the asylum first visited by Rory is the Special Weapons Dalek (Remembrance Of The Daleks, 1988), a legendary major variation on the standard Dalek casing despite this being only its second on-screen appearance in the history of the series.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

Doctor WhoWith a motley retinue of companions and helpers in tow – ranging from Amy, Rory, and Rory’s bewildered dad to a big game hunter and Queen Nefertiti of Egypt – the Doctor boards a spaceship on a collision course for 22nd century Earth, quickly discovering that it has a live cargo: dinosaurs from Earth’s past. The Doctor, Rory, and Rory’s dad find themselves in the ship’s control area, herded by strangely-behaved robots toward a meeting with the ship’s captain, while Amy and the others discover that whoever’s in charge of the ship now isn’t the one who loaded and launched it. The man in charge, a vicious space pirate named Solomon, hijacked the ship from its Silurian crew and killed them, intending to sell the specimens of the extinct dinosaur species on the black market. Solomon wants the Doctor to heal the injuries he suffered as a result, but the Doctor knows something he doesn’t: the Indian Space Agency has launched missiles toward the ship to destroy it before it collides with the planet. No matter what threats Solomon makes, the dinosaurs, along with the last Time Lord, may be facing extinction once more.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Doctor WhoCast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Rupert Graves (Riddell), Mark Williams (Brian Williams), David Bradley (Solomon), Riann Steele (Queen Nefertiti), Sunetra Sarker (Indira), Noel Byrne (Robot 1), Richard Garaghty (Robot 2), Richard Hope (Bleytal), Rudi Dharmalingam (ISA Worker), David Mitchell (Robot 1 voice), Robert Webb (Robot 2 voice)

Notes: Mark Williams is probably best known now for appearing as Ron Weasley’s father in the Harry Potter movies; longtime fans of British SF may also recognize him as Red Dwarf’s Swedish crewmember Petersen, or as one of the wayward alien leads of Red Dwarf co-creator Rob Grant’s short-lived SF comedy The Doctor WhoStrangerers. This is the first on-screen evidence that the Silurians were capable of space travel; the Doctor’s previous encounters with them all involved enclaves of Silurians who opted to wait out the Earth’s extinction event in underground chambers. It could be that the Silurian space ark was a more desperate, radical attempt to preserve the Earth’s species. Ironically, this also gives the Silurians – normally enemies of the human race – something in common with their foes: both species, faced with imminent extinction-level events on Earth, took to space to preserve the planet’s life forms (also see Nerva Beacon in The Ark In Space). There seems to be no indication that other Silurian ships were launched. The notion of an artificially constructed beach providing the ship with hydroelectric power matches up well with previous evidence of Earthbound Silurians utilizing geothermal power. The Doctor’s warning about messing with Egyptian queens comes from experience; this may be a reference to the Big Finish audio stories, in which the fifth Doctor traveled with Erimem, the first female Pharaoh, following an attempt on her life.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

A Town Called Mercy

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Amy and Rory to the old west, where they find an entire town that seems to have walled itself in. The locals are more suspicious of the three strangers than the time travelers expect; they’re warned that stepping outside the barrier at the edge of Mercy leaves one open to the mysterious Gunslinger. Only the sheriff, Isaac, prevents the townsfolk from throwing the Doctor across the barrier and leaving him to his fate. The Doctor learns that the Gunslinger wants the locals to hand over a stranded Kahler named Jex, who has helped the people of Mercy install electricity decades ahead of time, powered by his crashed ship. But Jex doesn’t dare stray outside of Mercy, and a visit to his ship shows the Doctor why: Jex was a military surgeon performing augmentations on Kahler soldiers, and the Gunslinger was among his patients – and is one of the few who lived. The saviour of Mercy is a war criminal, and the Doctor feels an obligation to see that justice is done. Isaac dies protecting Kahler Jex from the Gunslinger’s next attack, and leaves the Doctor with the sheriff’s badge, a tough decision to make, and a slowly growing lynch mob to face.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Andrew Brooke (The Gunslinger), Adrian Scarborough (Kahler-Jex), Dominic Kemp (Kahler-Mab), Joanne McQuinn (Sadie), Byrd Wilkins (The Preacher), Garrick Doctor WhoHagon (Abraham), Ben Browder (Isaac), Sean Benedict (Dockery), Rob Cavazos (Walter)

Notes: American actor Ben Browder is best known for his starring role in another popular science fiction series, Farscape, and for taking on the thankless job of succeeding Richard Dean Anderson as the star of Stargate SG-1 in its final two seasons. Garrick Hagon has previously appeared in classic Doctor Who (1972’s The Mutants), a few years before being cast as Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars, and more recently in the Big Finish audio Doctor Who story Axis Of Insanity.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Power Of Three

Doctor WhoThe Doctor returns to Earth to discover that black cubes have appeared all over the planet, mystifying the entire world: is it an alien attack or some kind of viral marketing ploy? When the cubes show no sign of activity, the Doctor decides to move in with Amy and Rory to observe the cubes over time. The cubes’ inactivity – and his own – drives the Doctor to distraction. Even when Rory’s dad Brian pitches in to observe the cubes, the cubes do nothing. The Doctor is surprised when UNIT arrives to question him, led by Kate Stewart – Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter. When they do awaken, the cubes’ behavior ranges from benign to deadly to baffling, and the attention of the entire human race is riveted – which is exactly what the mind behind the cubes wants. The slow invasion of Earth is about to speed up, and even the Doctor can’t stop it.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Mark Williams (Brian Williams), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Steven Berkoff (Shakri), Selva Rasalingam (Ranjit), Alice O’Connell (Laura), Peter Cartwright (Arnold Underwood), David Beck (Orderly 1), Daniel Beck (Orderly 2), David Hartley (UNIT Researcher), Professor Brian Cox (himself)

Doctor WhoNotes: The character of Kate Stewart was established in the 1995 direct-to-video spinoff Downtime, on which occasion she was played by Beverley Cressman. At that point, Kate showed no interest in UNIT, though obviously her priorities changed, perhaps as a result of UNIT’s intervention in the Yeti incursion at NeWorld University in that story. (It’s entirely possible that the two iterations of Kate Stewart weren’t meant to be the same person, but for those who like a wider Doctor Who universe, nothing in either this episode or Downtime directly contradicts the other story.) It is strongly implied that Kate has reformed UNIT somewhat (previous Doctor Who and Torchwood episodes had depicted UNIT becoming more ruthlessly militaristic).

Original title: Cubed

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Angels Take Manhattan

Doctor WhoA visit to modern-day New York City takes an unexpected twist. While Rory goes for lunch, the Doctor and Amy realize that the mystery novel that the Doctor is reading was, in fact, written by River Song, and describes Rory’s sudden abduction through time into the 1920s. The Doctor and Amy follow, discovering that River has become embroiled in shady dealings with a sinister collector of statues who happen to be Weeping Angels. Even the Statue of Liberty stalks the streets of New York at night. After escaping their immediate predicament, they find Rory – in his 80s, dying in a hotel room – even though they’ve rescued the younger Rory. It seems that he is fated to die, the temporal energy from his time travels feeding the Angels of New York. Amy and Rory take drastic steps – and, the Doctor warns, very ill-advised ones – to end the Angels’ reign by creating a dangerous paradox in their personal history. But this time, even the Time Lord can’t help his friends escape their inevitable fate.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Alex Kingston (River Song), Mike McShane (Grayle), Rob David (Sam Garner), Bently Kalu (Hood), Doctor WhoOzzie Yue (Foreman), Burnell Tucker (Old Garner), Zac Fox (Photoshoot PA)

Notes: This episode, featuring the long-anticipated, heavily-hyped exit of Rory and Amy, is the end of “Series 7A” (a term coined by the production team; following the Christmas episode, the remainder of the season aired in 2013). Location filming was done in New York, the second time a Doctor Who film crew, complete with the show’s stars, has filmed on location in the United States.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More