BBC TV: The Doctor’s Ninth Season and Sherlock goes Victorian (#SFWApro)


So I finished the ninth 21st century season of Doctor Who (all rights to image remain with current holder) and I found it a very mixed bag. Among the good:

•The return of Missy (Michelle Gomez), the Master’s new identity (we also see another timelord switching genders on regenerating—I wonder if they’re setting us up for a woman to replace Capaldi?).

•I love Clara (Jenna Coleman).

•The two part Zygon episode is great. And I don’t think of the Zygons as really having greatness in them (they’re definitely a second-string adversary). And I love seeing Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) again after her supposed death at Missy’s hands.

•The Dalek/Missy/Davros story kicking off the season, “The Magician’s Apprentice,” was good.

Now the less satisfactory part:

•Part two of the opener, “The Witch’s Familiar,” didn’t work at all. We get a lot of background on the Daleks but it’s all just set up for the ending twist and I found it forced.

•”Sleep No More” is a found footage episode that doesn’t work at all. The concept of monsters formed from eye mucus would have been great if the episode worked … but it didn’t.

•The final two-parter, “Heaven Sent” and “Hell Bent,” includes a spectacular solo episode by Peter Capaldi, but the story left me flat. It didn’t help that we have the return of Gallifrey just hand-waved as nothing worth discussion. However I will say the final fate of Clara and the immortal Me (Maisie Williams) is probably the best write-out for a companion in the reboot series.

Looking at it overall, we have more pluses than minuses, which I’d forgotten after watching the disappointing ending.

I also got around to watching SHERLOCK: The Abominable Bride which is what the Beeb offers to tide us over until the fourth season. In this TV movie, Sherlock starts imagining himself and Watson as Victorian detectives investigating the case of a dead bride who somehow rose from the dead to kill, and kill again (this is loosely inspired by one of Watson’s untold tales, “Ricoletti of the Clubfoot and his Abominable Wife”). This was fun, though while they crack a lot of jokes about the classic series, I notice they don’t bat an eye at Sherlock wearing a deerstalker (he only wears one occasionally in the illustrations for Doyle, and never in London). A fun diversion.

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