Archive for the ‘Speculation’ Category

The Next Doctor   Leave a comment

SO MUCH SPECULATION!

It’s possible the casting is done and an announcement imminent. It’s possible we have months more to wait. The Internet loses its collective marbles at every opportunity. Rumors! Bookies! Fancasts! It’s all really too much.

And yet here I am adding to the noise.

I don’t have a pick. A lot of the names I see would do just fine, if not great. There’s at least a decent chance the winner will turn out to be someone I’ve never heard of. It’s likely that whoever it is will be amazing. Of course there are a few I’d love to see, but I’m perfectly happy to be surprised.

I still believe, however, it can’t be another white man.

It’s been a tough year for decent people. Racism, misogyny, and violence have won hearts and minds on both sides of the pond. But the Doctor represents the opposite of that. He’s about the best humanity has to offer. Right now the best of humanity is taking a pounding. The Doctor has to take a stand.

Wonder Woman has shown us how much the world needs a new kind of hero. We’ve been starved for goodness and love and doing the right thing – not for credit or fame but because it’s right. As much as I love the Marvel universe, only Captain America comes close – and he’s the Aryan ideal of manhood.

It’s time to pass the torch to someone new.

There’s a lot of pressure on Chris Chibnall right now. Taking on a show of this scope and intensity – and a fanbase this raving – is a mad task in any case. Taking on a show about hope in these times, even more so. There’s no safe space to fall back on – it’s only illusion. The only way out is through. The only way home is forward.

It will be an act of courage. It’ll get him in a world of shit. But it’s his only choice. Anything else would be failure on an epic scale. Temptation must be resisted. The new Doctor must represent a new era, one that includes all kinds of people.

I haven’t seen enough of Chibnall to know if he’s man enough for the task. But I know the Doctor is.

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Posted July 3, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Speculation

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Eaters of Light and other monsters   Leave a comment

Lady creators are on my mind of late. I’ve seen Wonder Woman twice, with a possible third pending later this week. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are heroes of the hour. Rachel Talalay’s third two-part season finale blasts into space next week. And now, I’ve finally spent some time with Rona Munro.

First, “Survival.” The ironically-titled final serial of classic DW is – like much of the rest of DW – a good story marred by questionable effects and costumes. Still, its heart is there. The final line – written not by Munro but by script editor Andrew Cartmel once he learned that the show was definitely not coming back – is a lovely bittersweet conclusion to 26 years of madcap adventure. The influence of Ace on Rose is glaringly apparent. Costar Anthony Ainley and showrunner John Nathan Turner would not live to see the show’s return. Lisa Bowerman, who played furry Karra in blazing heat, returned as Bernice Summerfield for 50-plus (and counting) Big Finish audio stories – a few with Ace and the Seventh Doctor, but most on her own. Rona Munro went on to a full and fruitful career writing stage plays and radio dramas. And now she’s back.

“The Eaters of Light” features a strange segment of history with which I was not previously familiar: the disappearance of the 9th Roman Legion sometime in the second century. The episode makes fun use of the popular (if slightly out of date) theory that the 9th was annihilated by Celtic tribes in northern Britain. The tribes, in this case, had the assistance of an inter-dimensional photon vampire.

(I’m not sure about the physiology of this. There was a bit of hand-waving.)

First of all, I love the bookends of this episode. The Scottish setting (actually Wales according to guest star Rebecca Benson) is brooding and ethereal. The little girl who hears music coming out of the ground sets a creepy stage – and the truth about that music is at turns inspiring and sad.

I also really enjoyed the crows. (We replayed that one bit – it DID say “Master!”) Our neighborhood is full of crows: waking up to cries of “Kar” the following morning made me smile. I’ll certainly never listen to them the same way again. I also enjoy that the Doctor was wrong about them – “They’re not brooding, they’re remembering!”

I did wonder if the non-white Roman soldiers were going to cause a flap among that more annoying segment of fandom. I know very little of history generally, but given how widespread Rome’s impact and influence was, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that their garrisons would include people from all sorts of backgrounds. And if I’m wrong about that, I still think a show that features an inter-dimensional photon vampire can get away with a couple of black Romans. I appreciated that they weren’t both killed right away; I had my doubts after the first one.

The side characters in this episode get some wonderful depth. Of course to the Doctor all humans are children: our lives too short, our experiences too limited. But these “soldiers” are children even to Bill, young people far out of their depth and with a weight of responsibility on their untested shoulders. Together Bill and the Doctor take their hands and help them grow – and in the end, when the Doctor wants to keep holding on, to save them from the burdens of adulthood, Bill and the young people themselves demand that he let them go, to make their music under the hill for eternity.

(Again the precise logistics are mystifying – the Doctor claims his lifespan, his regenerative ability, make him the better choice to guard the gate, but somehow a handful of human soldiers can do the same job? Wave-wave.)

“I can’t promise you won’t die. But I can promise you won’t die in a hole in the ground.”

Other high points are the popcorn distraction and Nardole’s instant adaptation and acceptance into the community. I enjoyed Nardole more this episode than any since the Christmas special. The coming together of enemies as friends and partners is a trope I’ll never get tired of – and the Doctor’s speech on the topic is perfectly on point.

The denouement with Missy remains a mystery. I still don’t buy that she’s going to turn good, whatever the Doctor does. I think she’s fooling him on some level. But I also think she’s maybe going through something a little unexpected. Perhaps she’s really experiencing remorse or compassion in ways she thought herself safe from. Perhaps if not a full shift, she may still make a small one.

Husband and I expect her to sacrifice herself for the Doctor or a companion in the finale. (Will we see that regeneration – a new Master? or will it be a surprise for next time?)

Or will it be John Simm! When I first heard that he would return, I thought it unlikely; when I learned it was true, I realized we’ve had many multi-Doctor stories but never a multi-Master one, and how much fun would that be? We don’t know how the Master got from Simm to Gomez, or whether there were any versions in between, Simm’s Master having been sent back to the Time War with Rassilon in “The End of Time.”

On a related note, Derek Jacobi is returning as the Master for Big Finish. And in further speculation, there is the theory that in honor of Missy’s sacrifice the Doctor will next regenerate into a woman.

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The Doctor’s (Late?) Wife   Leave a comment

I’ve always wondered about Idris. Before she became the vessel through which the TARDIS speaks, who was she? How did she end up on House? Was she a collection of mismatched limbs like Aunt and Uncle? Or a whole being, transported, like Nephew? How did she alone retain her name?

Of course she was bait: the fragile frame in which to trap a timeship’s soul. But how did House come by her? What life was left behind? Who loved her, mourned her, missed her? Who searched for her? What place did she fill on that unknown world, before she was stolen from her life, and her life stolen from her?

Imagine:

EXT: MARKETPLACE

THE DOCTOR ambles among the stalls, hands in his pockets, taking in the sights and sounds and smells. Ahead of him, a slim, dark-haired woman moves quickly from merchant to merchant, her back to him as she haggles for her flowers and her fruits. He pays her little mind – until abruptly she turns, and they find themselves face to face.

THE DOCTOR: You!

IDRIS: I’m sorry. Do I know you?

THE DOCTOR is speechless

CUT TO: MAIN TITLES

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“THE DOCTOR’S GHOST”

Are you afraid?

Anticipatory Absurdity   Leave a comment

I was going to post a bunch of links related to the new trailer, but as it turns out, I only have to post one: Doctor Who’s Day Trailer Roundup

Missy’s reaction and of course The Fan Show were key for me. Michelle Gomez is a delight in everything she does, and Christel’s squee level nicely matches my own. But plenty of other stuff at the link looks fun too. And then there’s ANOTHER Fan Show waiting which I haven’t even seen yet: Fanimation

We are rapidly running out of weekends on which to screen “Survival” before the premiere. After such a long wait it’s hard to believe that it’s almost here. Knowing it’s Capaldi’s last makes it bittersweet, but my excitement remains undimmed – as does my intent to watch Rona Monroe’s classic before her triumphant return.

Posted March 17, 2017 by Elisabeth in Cool Stuff, Season 10, Speculation, Video

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The Doctor’s Big Love   Leave a comment

The Verity! Podcast on “The Girl in the Fireplace” brought up an idea that I had never seriously considered in the context of Doctor Who, but which is clearly relevant: polyamory, or the ability to love more than one.

American society is fixedly monogamous. Any type of relationship veering from the man-woman-marriage-children prototype gets a raised eyebrow at best, violent discrimination at worst. “Soul mates” are a trope many people attempt to apply to real life, often with painful results. Yet many people love more than once. The widowed or divorced person who remarries doesn’t (necessarily) stop loving their original partner. A person may love a long string or collection of people, each one different and unique.

It may not have been intentional on the part of either showrunner, but modern Who definitely pushes the boundaries.

In “The Girl in the Fireplace” (and in real life) Reinette is a married woman who is lover to the King. In the story she also falls in love with the Doctor. In her world of eighteenth century France, this is normal, as the Doctor tries to explain to his companions. But it’s also normal in the Doctor’s world. The Doctor loves Rose, but he also loves Sarah Jane. The Doctor marries River, but he also mourns Clara. The Doctor loves the TARDIS, but he equally loves his companions. The Doctor had a family once: does he ever stop loving them?

In a long life one may love many times, or many people all at once. Love for one isn’t diminished by love for another. The Doctor has two hearts and dozens of lifetimes: it seems natural that he would love a lot. It seems natural too that anyone of his courage, compassion, and charm would be easy to love. (All of us have fallen for him, right?) And in this world, can too much love really be a bad thing?

All it takes is a big enough heart(s).

Posted February 11, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Companions, Piffle, Speculation, Themes and Ideas

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Imprinting of a Time Lord   2 comments

It’s been suggested by fans that a Doctor’s new face may be influenced by those most dear to him at the time of his regeneration. That the Tenth Doctor (and maybe the Eleventh?) got his youth and his estuary English from Rose. That the Twelfth got his Scottishness from Amy. This got me thinking: what if our new Doctor’s face is influenced by Bill?

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I’d be okay with that.

Ayoade’s name is already being tossed around by speculators. Okonedo has of course been on the show before, as Liz X in S5 – but if a prior appearance or two didn’t stop Capaldi, there’s no reason it should stop her. Either would be a refreshing variation on a 50-plus-year-old theme.

And both have amazing hair.

Posted February 7, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Speculation

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Loss of the Time Lords   1 comment

This has been a tough few days for Doctor Who.

On Friday, the world lost the War Doctor. John Hurt’s career has been long and varied: I suspect, given the depth and breadth of his filmography, that his are the footsteps in which David Tennant has been following. (Not too closely, David, Sir John was married four times!) But it is for this tiny slice of a role that so many of us will remember him.

The War Doctor was conceived in an emergency. Christopher Eccleston had declined to participate in the 50th Anniversary special, and so his Doctor’s experience of the Time War could not be portrayed. According to himself, Stephen Moffat asked, “What if there was an incarnation of the Doctor none of us knew about? And, coincidentally, he was played by the most famous actor in the world?” Hurt was Moffat’s idea of Wilderness Years stunt casting: the Doctor who never was. Also according to Moffat, Hurt was tickled by the opportunity. “So I am properly Doctor Who now. I am a Doctor Who. I can say it?” Clearly he was delighted by the role: one of my favorite anniversary-special accessories was a short video in which he affectionately refers to Matt Smith and David Tennant as “the boys.” As a result, every one of his scenes is magic:

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Yes, even that one.

On Monday, as we reeled, our beloved Twelfth Doctor disclosed his departure. While not surprising, it’s still terribly sad: he still feels so fresh, his tenure so brief, and he’s been such a delight in the role. I had hopes for Chris Chibnall’s powers of persuasion. Yet it was not to be: Capaldi is a film actor first, and not one for lingering television roles. (Film and TV are different worlds: the demands, the shooting schedules, the ongoing commitments of each suit different actors differently.) I will mourn and miss this Doctor, and feel grateful for the three seasons we got. (Will get? Will have gotten? Tenses are funny.)

Which I will watch over and over, as I have the single season my own first Doctor gave me.

Series 11 will be a jolt no matter what: new showrunner, new Doctor, for all we know a new companion. (Please, Pearl, stick with us!) It’s not as if this hasn’t happened before: Moffat’s era began so, and managed a reasonable amount of success. But DW was on an upswing of popularity at that time, new to BBC America and a blazing international audience. Now, if anything it’s plateaued, removed from streaming, with a whole year left fallow between seasons. Capaldi himself expressed misgivings about how his beloved show had been treated by its administrators; does it retain the strength it needs to overcome the trauma of this change?

And what will this change look like?

For years fans have clamored for someone other than a white man in the role. The opportunity here is of course immense, for Chibnall and the BBC. But so is the risk. America demonstrated this past autumn how much it still hates and fears women and people of color. In spite of its Queen is Britain really so different? Will the BBC have the courage to make this kind of statement with the crown jewel of its history?

Somehow I doubt it.

Current fan speculation is not without its bright spots. Richard Ayoade, Miranda Hart, and Olivia Colman make the short list. Other suggestions are more bland and typical. I’m sure we’ll ultimately be surprised, not necessarily unpleasantly, but I don’t expect to be inspired.

My personal one-two are Helen Mirren and Alexander Siddig. Both have the charm, the flair, the gravitas, and the range the Doctor demands. Mirren has expressed how much she’d love the role – and as much as I’d love to see her in it, I can’t help thinking of the statement Siddig would make. Refined and British he may be, but does television have the vision in these times to cast Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi in that most beloved and iconic of British roles?

Star Trek would do it. The play is yours, Doctor Who.