Deep Breath – Some Quick Thoughts

Deep Breath is, at its core, a fairly typical regeneration debut story. The story itself wasn’t bad, but wasn’t exactly anything special either. But a regeneration story has the primary function of successfully introducing the new Doctor to the audience. This is the single most important thing we needed from Deep Breath, to break in Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, and, as such, the episode did an excellent job of it. Everything else is secondary, in my opinion, although there were definitely both plus and minus points.

As I’ve said, the story was nothing exceptional, not exactly setting the world on fire for me. However, there were some nice scenes in it. The character set-pieces and interaction were generally excellent (with the exception of one thing). There were also quite a few nice bits of humour in among all the sad bits, and I also really liked seeing Lady Vastra, Jenny and Strax again. I enjoy these characters a lot, and I think that Strax is absolutely hilarious.

On the negative side, the plot itself was definitely a bit thin, there were at least a couple of glaring plot and character inconsistencies, particularly Clara’s aggressively negative overreaction to the new, older Doctor, which was TOTALLY out of character. Any other companion, yes, it might’ve actually been more realistic, but not the Impossible Girl. She’s met them all. And even if, as some people argue, she has no memories of her other lives (which I disagree with), her reaction was STILL over-the-top and totally out of character.

Hey, she’s already pretty familiar with regeneration and different Doctors, she’s even been in an adventure with three different Doctors (Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt), in The Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special, and having already met (and liked) an older Doctor (Hurt), her overly-negative reaction to Capaldi because he is “old” is totally unrealistic and out-of-character.

The shame is that Jenna Coleman is a pretty good actress, and Clara, as a companion, is quite likeable. But Steven Moffat didn’t come up with the writing goods for her on this occasion, writing her not as herself, but reducing her to some kind of a one-dimensional cypher, a dig at and representation of fans who can’t handle regeneration and the replacing of “their” Doctor with a new one. In her defense, I have to say that this is NOT Jenna Coleman’s fault, and the young lady can only deal with the scripts she’s been given.

Another major plot flaw was actually one of the nicest scenes in the entire episode, the phone call from the Matt Smith Doctor on Trenzalore to Clara, said call obviously being made before or during the events of The Time of the Doctor. It’s all very poignant, heart-tugging and well-acted, until you actually stop and think about it, and you realize that it simply couldn’t have happened. It was was a major continuity flub and sloppy writing by Moffat. Nice, emotional, tear-jerking writing, but sloppy and wrong, wrong, WRONG.

MattDoc says to Clara that “the time is getting close”, and “it’s going to be a real whopper” (he’s obviously referring to an “upcoming regeneration”). But remember back to what happened at the end of The Time of the Doctor. The whole crux of the story was that the Doctor was coming to the end of his final incarnation. There weren’t going to BE any more regenerations. As far as MattDoc was concerned, for pretty much the ENTIRE episode, he’d run out of regenerations, and he was going to die. That was the whole point of the story. Which is what would’ve happened if Clara hadn’t begged the Time Lords to save him, as they did right at the end, by popping up at the last minute and giving the Doctor a new cycle of regenerations. So Matt Smith’s Doctor couldn’t have made that phone call. He didn’t know he was going to regenerate before it actually happened. Very sloppy continuity mess-up on Moffat’s part.

Those were my two main gripes, and the rest I can live with. However, one thing I couldn’t complain about was Peter Capaldi’s performance as the new Doctor, which was excellent, top notch. I think he’s going to be an excellent Doctor. For that reason alone, I’ll give Deep Breath a B instead of the C that I thought the fairly average story by itself actually deserved.

Doctor Who: 50 Years in Space & Time (Part 11)

Here’s the penultimate part of my look back at Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary:

  • The Radio Times Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special
  • The TV Times Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special

11. Radio Times 50th Anniversay Special

The Radio Times Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special is a real doozy, with no less than TWELVE variant covers featuring all of the Doctors, including “War Doctor” John Hurt.

There’s also a Steven Moffat article, on set with Tennant, Smith and Hurt, a celebration of 50 Years of Radio Times Doctor Who covers, a detailed overview of all eleven Doctors, and even a competition to win the Doctor’s bow tie. What’s not to like about this? Another nice one.

12. TV Times 50th Anniversay Special

The TV Times had their own 50 Years of Doctor Who Anniversary edition, which was also pretty good, although they didn’t go quite as overboard as the Radio Times, with only four variant Doctor Who covers.

There is a nice Classic Companions piece, interviewing Peter Purves (Steven) and Frazer Hines (Jamie), plus a mini-review of The Day of the Doctor. But the main piece of the Doctor Who anniversary is the five-page 50 Years of Doctor Who Special celebration, which includes interviews with not only David Tennant and Matt Smith, but also Tom Baker and Peter Davison.

However, my absolute favourite was the A Brief History of Time (Lords) timeline, which runs along the bottom of the entire five pages of the main 50 Years of Doctor Who Special section. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like my timelines. Lovely.

To Be Continued…

Doctor Who: 50 Years in Space & Time (Part 9)

Here’s the next part of my look back at the Best of the Bunch from Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary:

  • The Night of the Doctor – mini-episode prequel
  • The Last Day – mini-episode prequel

8. The Night of the Doctor

Commemorating Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary, and the first of two very good mini-episode prequels to The Day of the Doctor is The Night of the Doctor, which was released on Youtube and BBC iPlayer on 14th November. At less than seven minutes long, it is an excellent swansong for the Paul McGann Doctor and as an introduction to the War Doctor. It was also nice to see the Sisterhood of Karn make a reappearance again, as we hadn’t seen them since the Tom Baker era. Both McGann and the Sisterhood should have been given more airtime in past Doctor Who series, so it was nice to see them again, and particularly in McGann’s case, to see him have a nice, much-deserved regeneration scene at last.

9. The Last Day

The second of the two mini-episode prequels to The Day of the Doctor, and, at under four minutes, even shorter than The Night of the Doctor, is The Last Day, which first appeared on YouTube and BBC iPlayer on 21st November. Seen from the point of view of a Time Lord soldier wearing a headcam, this one elaborates on the “fall of Arcadia” during the Time War. The sequence with the commander bragging about the supposedly impenetrable “sky trenches” and Arcadia being “the safest place on Gallifrey” illustrates the overconfidence and complacency of the Time Lords. When the Daleks burst through in large numbers, I was almost cheering them on. 🙂

To Be Continued…

Doctor Who: 50 Years in Space & Time (Part 2)

Last time out, I talked about what TV has been dishing up for us to celebrate our favourite Time Lord’s 50th birthday. This time, I’m having a look at what’s been happening on the magazine front. In this first part, I’ll be looking at the Radio Times.

The November 23rd-29th edition of the Radio Times is a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, with no less than twelve variant covers, each one featuring a different Doctor (including the “War Doctor” John Hurt, which is why there are twelve covers, not eleven). So far, I’ve got the Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Tom Baker covers, and to be honest, that’s enough.

I honestly think it’s going a bit overboard trying to collect all twelve covers, unless you’re a reseller wanting to make a big profit, or a hardcore, dedicated fan or collector, who simply has to have every cover. I’ve always been a huge fan of the first four Doctors, so I’ve decided just to collect only the magazines with the covers of those four Doctors.

Inside the magazine itself, we’ve got:

  • A golden celebration of Radio Times Doctor Who covers, with fifty covers for all fifty years
  • A Steven Moffat article You Can’t Destroy the Doctor
  • On set with the Three Doctors (Smith, Tennant and Hurt)
  • A detailed overview of all eleven Doctors
  • And, finally, a competition to win the Doctor’s bow tie

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget that this issue is also interactive, if you happen to have an Apple or Android smartphone. Which I don’t. Life is so unfair! 🙁

This one is worth grabbing at least one copy of.

To Be Continued…