Current Episodes

Let’s Kill Hitler

Personally, I loved it. I loved the setting. I loved the sets. I loved the characters, including Mel. I loved the man-ship full of little people. I especially loved the people on Twitter who seemed upset about the throwaway use of Hitler and the retconned appearance of Mel.

I mean, what?

All of River Song’s history has had to be retconned into the series – she’s a character who knows the less about the Doctor the more he gets to know her. How was she ever going to be anything other than a bit on the retconned side of things? You couldn’t expect someone to have thought about the possibilities and mapped out the character in advance. Get too carried away with that and you would have tainted the series that came before, because they’d be full of inexplicable red herrings that you couldn’t quite account for and wouldn’t appreciate until later on.

Isn’t it enough to feature the first appearance of River’s Diary. And the throwaway comment about Temporal Grace for the fan-boys out there who always need a little bit more attention.

And Hitler? Honestly… in the series that last year included Churchill and the Daleks, do you seriously imagine that Hitler in a cupboard will be an end to this? Hitler did have an angle on mysticism and ancient relics of unimaginable power – and Churchill had a hankering to acquire the Doctor’s TARDIS for the good of Great Britain (and, no doubt, mankind).

So, stop whining and luxuriate in the moment. Mel regenerating into River Song. River coming to terms with her curves. A little nod to David T. in the clattering and muttering about the change in teeth. Crop circles in Leadworth. Classic German motorbikes. The return of that Big Hall in Cardiff that they seem to do everything in from Pompeii to Void Ships to meetings with Silurian elders and more besides. Could you really rattle on and bemoan the fact that you can’t quite account for something or it didn’t seem right when you have no clue quite where Moffat’s current intentions with the story arc lay?

Dear, dear me…

In The Library

Well, the two-parter kick-off for Season 6a certainly raised the stakes, opened up many new potentials, and thoroughly excited me. I could feel comfort in the writing and the acting. I thrilled at the interactions between the primary characters, including Canton, and The Silence provided a creepy opposition. And clearly we haven’t seen the last of this take on the Greys of recent sci-fi.

I really enjoyed the River/Doctor relationship, and the final comments left me wondering. I suspect River’s comments mean that the next time they meet, The Doctor won’t fair too well. And, at the same time, we know that River won’t last forever either. My mind drifted to that first meeting, and the name of the episode – Silence in the Library. I know the episode featured a different Doctor and a different companion – but, River died there and the reference to ‘Silence’ has a whole different angle now.

I’m left pondering the hidden (and abandoned) ship in the attic from ‘The Lodger‘. As the Doctor said, The Silence do not create their own hardware or tech, they borrow from the people they control and manipulate. So, who did The Silence borrow this technology from? Does the Gallifreyan appearance – i.e. the general TARDIS setup – suggest something stolen from the Time Lords? Did The Silence invade Gallifrey as well?

Ghosts

I didn’t say much about Christmas. What can I say? Katherine Jenkins – beautiful. A talented singer and a feast for the eyes. Matt Smith – sublime as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Gambon – cumudgeonly and appropriately Scrooge like, an old man tortured by the mistakes of the past. As with previous Who, the Doctor’s efforts, for a time, seemed to make things worse rather than better – his interference serving to convolute and complicate the situation. However, in the end, the spirit of Christmas won through and the Time Lord managed to save the day. Rory and Amy – well, they didn’t figure at all. Excess to requirements, they spent their time imprisoned in a ‘sinking ship’, standing around wearing cast off costumes without a reasonable explanation why – except that they’d lost their luggage.

The peek at the future seemed promising, with an American adventure complete with Greys by the looks of things, some River excitement and more promising glimpses. I’m certain all Doctor Who fans will take a keen interest in the impact of the new format, with the season split in two.

So, with the new year ahead and the prospect of two semi-seasons of Who to come, I return to the old chestnut of wanting to play a little Doctor Who role-playing. For the first time, I might have the option of playing with a completely new group, as I’ve been contacted by someone seeking to set up a new gaming group in my area. On the other hand, I still haven’t got anything going at home. The combo of two groups should be a positive thing, giving me the opportunity to try out more than one game at a time; or, I could GM with one and play in the other. However, neither’s going anywhere just yet.

I’m haunted by the Ghost of Gaming Past and reminded that I once spent long summers doing nothing but role-playing, and many years engaged in endless evenings of play-by-mail refereeing. I have committed to endless gaming before – so, why the difficulty with getting anything going now.

Open The Box

Less than an hour until the first part of the Doctor Who finale, it occurred to me a couple of days ago that this feels like Lawrence Miles Alien Bodies. Sam and the Ninth Doctor stumble on an auction for some ultimate artefact that everyone seems to want to get their hands on, whatever the cost. The Pandorica seems to be comparable with this, an artefact that aliens from across the galaxy want to get into their grasp. Mind you, that time ship from the last episode got me in mind of other time travelling adversaries from the past… then ‘Next Time’ with Roman Centurions. Could this be the return of the War Lords?

I watched the clip from the first episode of the finale and saw River Song reading off the types of ship in orbit around Earth… Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen – and Zygons! Brilliant. I suspect we won’t get to see a Zygon, but I think it’s bloody brilliant that they get a mention.

I’m looking forward to it and hope that the explanation for the events of this season all hang together and provide a satisfying conclusion.