Twelfth Doctor

Dimensions in Lego Time

With Christmas less than a week away and the prospect of a festive episode, I’m quite excited already. Knowing that River Song will be centre stage makes it even better, in my personal opinions. However, better yet – Lego has gifted us, in 2015, with Doctor Who sets; I got a chance to open a Christmas present early today – the Lego Dimensions Doctor Who expansion pack.

I’m not overly bothered by the game (I rarely get the chance to sit down in front of a console and give any game the attention it deserves), but I really wanted to pick up whatever Doctor Who Lego materializes.

I have the main TARDIS set to open and construct come Christmas week (and a period of well-earned holiday), so this serves as a taster. It also helps ‘complete’ that set, as the Peter Capaldi version of the Doctor in the TARDIS set only comes in post-regeneration outfit… effectively wearing Matt Smith’s old clothes. The Dimensions set includes the dark blue frock coat with red lining (which he’s even now moved on from in the series!). I like the look – though the coat bottom only appears on the front, not on the side or back.

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The set includes the Doctor with the old incarnation of the sonic screwdriver (and, as a small component, you get a spare screwdriver, which I thought was nice). You also get K-9 – possibly a little over scale – and the TARDIS – somewhat under scale. Perhaps with this TARDIS you can recreate Logopolis and the shrinking time machine?

The K-9 model has sloped side panels, a movable head and tail, plus a smooth tile with his name. The build includes a silvery circular tile on the front that looks like K-9’s collar tag. Oddly, the same spot on the back is left uncovered and, as a result, appears to my warped mind like the robot’s arse. I’ve covered it with one of the spare light grey bricks. It seems only decent.

As mentioned, this set connects to the Lego Dimensions game, so they all come on bases with near field tags embedded inside. However, they also serve as perfect good and solid bases for the minis.

Awkwardly, the instructions with the set only instruct you how to build the Doctor – which, in all truth, isn’t something that really needed any sort of guidance. It isn’t as if you might make a mistake putting his body on the wrong way around and then spending hours puzzling how to sort it out.

You have two options:

— You can go to the Lego website and access individual instructions for the standard and alternate builds. Go to the Building Instructions for 71204 and select the book icon that matches the item you want to build – like TARDIS or K-9. Once you’ve selected the desired item, scroll down and click the black Download PDF button to get the instructions.

— Build the items by staring really hard at the pictures on the box – which was my preferred option. You can figure out K-9 pretty easily with this option. The various angles and alternate builds shown provide enough of an idea for you to work out what pieces you need and how to sling them together.

The TARDIS needs a little more thought. Once you built K-9, you have a pile of pieces left and most of those go into the build with a spare of every small, single-spot piece. The “inside” of the TARDIS involves layering the angled black brackets with small piles of the other various small components and cones. I won’t say any more than that – to retain the challenge – but, it did take me a little while to work it out!

Neat, fun and massively over-expensive due to the tie-in and components related to the console game. However, completists will want it for the K-9 and Doctor minifigs.

Hell Yes

Hell-Bent-12th-Twelfth-Peter-CapaldiIf anyone cares about my opinion, I enjoyed Hell Bent.

I liked the stand-off at the beginning, with connections back to earlier episodes in the ‘barn’ – and the sense that the Doctor had the people behind him as a hero. The line in the sand and the escalating interest from the Time Lords… that worked for me, and I found it amusing.

The resolution of the Hybrid might not have necessarily been quite as expected, but I guess that was the point. It shouldn’t have been as expected, as then we would have been complaining it was all obvious. I think this sort of harkened back to the unofficial history of Gallifrey and The Other. The Doctor is a figure of significance in the history of Gallifrey, but not one who stands front-and-centre such as Rassilon or Omega.

I liked the Cloister Wraiths. I look forward to seeing more of The General – if for no reason other than the increasing possibility that The Doctor really might one day regenerate into a female form (Missy, The General and Romana show you just how brassy and ballsy a female Time Lord can be, so I say, why not?!).

I really liked the end because it turned the tables and left us knowing something The Doctor doesn’t. Personally, I’m all for the notion of what happens and the possible adventures ahead for The Diner.

For me, this was Maisie William’s strongest performance. Me felt self-assured and Maisie came across really well. It might have been the intention all along, but her turn as Ashildr has never really convinced me. Even in ‘Face the Raven‘, Me didn’t quite have the solid sense of the actor in control. I’m not quite certain what it was. ‘Hell Bent‘ finally served up the character played right and Maisie acting with the confidence you feel in Thrones. Heck, maybe I’m misplacing the blame and should aim my finger toward the director or the script? Who knows…

I hope that we can now have an accessible Gallifrey and a prospect of Time Lord intervention now and then. I sort of liked the arrogant and mildly incompetent touch of old. With Rassilon gone, why can’t we have a Gallifrey once more without the sense of being the greater evil?

Under the Lake

Doctor_Who_Under_the_LakeOtherwise known as Echoes of the Baker.

Seriously, for all the right reasons, this could easily have been an episode featuring Tom Baker as The Doctor with his trusty screaming, but supportive, companion Sarah-Jane Smith.

An undersea base – once a military base in a village drowned by a broken dam – has been reopened because of the potential for profit. It would appear fuel reserves under the valley make a visit by a survey team worthwhile. Alas, they come across an alien spaceship containing an indecipherable message – and things go wrong from there.

Ghosts! Spirits of the dead, I tell you!

In short order, the ‘base under siege’ plot kicks in, with The Doctor and Clara as trapped as a crew – though, perhaps our time travels entrapment comes down to curiosity and the need for adventure more than physical restriction.

From the point of view of tie-in novels, the gap between here and the last episode must be huge. Clara seems positively buzzing on the potential for more excitement and adventure – which, upon arrival at the base, a gloomy and silent corridor doesn’t seem to offer.

However, once the traveller come face to face with the ghosts and then the crew, the excitement ramps up enough for Clara to stay.

Best bits?

Well, the gloom, claustrophobia, detective-work monologuing, and the sense of the alien about The Doctor harken back to Tom Baker’s turn as the Time Lord. Ghosts and mystery clash with technology and profiteering.

Clara has clearly set herself a goal of giving The Doctor a better bedside manner, providing him with convenient flashcards with calming and reassuring statements – which he proceeds to delivery in the most mechanical and unconvincing way. Lovely stuff.

Yes, we have been in the siege situation before. However, isn’t there some old truth about only a finite number of plots existing, so you have to recycle them eventually. Nothing wrong with that. I personally love the opportunity to run around the same lengths of a dimly-lit corridor from different angles time and time again. A curve, a junction and a couple of doorways – and voila! A whole base to have fun in.

You get Alien, Aliens and Alien3 thrown in for good measure, with the crew hunted, the gobby military personnel, the profiteering rep of the company with only his interests in mind, and the attempt to lure the adversary into a trap. Thankfully we pulled short of emulating Alien Resurrection – perhaps with The Doctor playing an over-enthusiastic and brutal game of tiddly-winks.

The episode just felt packed with nice touches and gentles nods at firm favourites – the TARDIS uneasy and the sound of the cloister bell, The Doctor quite forward about who he likes and who he has no time for, the brainstorming session for ideas where The Doctor just needs people to bounce his own ideas off, the House-style realisation that what The Doctor thought was completely wrong and suddenly the clues all fall into place.

And UNIT. The psychic paper flashes a UNIT ID and one of the personnel in the station has heard of The Doctor. No need for the traveller to worry they lack the credentials to take charge – UNIT still pack some clout and they’re not to be argued with.

Oh, and interesting to see the reuse of a known quantity in the Tivolian ghost. David Walliams played the Tivolian Gibbis in The God Complex – so we have a baseline understanding (assuming you’ve seen the episode) that they’re meek and pathetic by way of a defence mechanism. As The Doctor muses, what would turn such a cowardly alien into such a menacing and psychotic ghost?

I loved it and I can’t wait to see the next episode. The cliff-hanger ending was excellent… and simply leaves me wanting more, more, more.

Bigger Hair

There’s one thing I like about the second series of each new Doctor – and that’s the business of making the character their own. Somehow, the first appearance isn’t enough.

From the scant pictures we’ve had of Peter Capaldi so far, it seems like he has more of a personalised image. I especially like what I’ve seen of his hair. It seems to be growing, bigger and wilder. That works for me. The mop of hair thing worked big time for Tom Baker – but that isn’t exactly what we’re doing here. This is all Capaldi’s own thing.

I also like the continued sense of channelling Pertwee’s red-lined jacket. I really like that. Maybe there’s a touch of the Third Doctor in the hair. Maybe.

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