Smile

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WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!

Ok so we all took a moment to compose ourselves when it turned out The Pilot was better than we thought. We have all managed (I think!) to compose ourselves with the revelation that John Simm is returning as the Master, so now its time to plow on with the next episode. The last time Frank Cotterall-Boyce wrote for Doctor Who was 2014’s In the Forest of the Night which I quite liked and now he’s back with Emojibots. Yes, Emojibots. In 2063 when the show is celebrating its 100th anniversary, I wonder how many people watching TV in their eyes and flying around in their hoverjets will know or remember what Emoji’s are?

Anyway, like when a new companion joins the show we are treated to a trilogy of stories. There is the first story which is typically set in the modern era, the two episodes are a futuristic one and the other is a historical one. This time we have a futuristic and its one that features quite a lot in the trailers. The story sees the Doctor and Bill (minus Nardole who is sadly under-used in this episode) arrive on a world that is about to colonised by humans but the people who set things up are being killed by the Emojibots. That is the plot and its a lot more memorable than Pilot.

There are many things that I like about this episode and I think it should come as no surprise that I like this episode. Its a solid and more importantly, fun episode. First thing I like is that its another episode where Peter Capaldi is free to play the episode with a  bit more humour than he has in the past. The more I think about his performance in this episode and the previous one, the more annoyed I get that he couldn’t play this version of the Doctor in the previous two series. The relationship between the Doctor and Bill continues to be strong and continues to be a source of good in the show. Pearl Mackie continues to impress as Bill and her continuous questions aren’t bugging me which would have happened had it been Clara doing the asking.

Another thing I like are the Emojibots. I know I’m not sure whether Emoji’s will be fashionable in 2063 but here and now they work. The idea of robots getting the wrong end of the stick isn’t anything knew but the way that they are used and use Emoji’s is quite clever and as a villain (of sorts), they were far more effective than whatever it was in Pilot.

There are things that I don’t think worked quite as well as they could of done. Firstly the location for the colony was beautiful. It was filmed in Valencia and where they filmed looked stunning in every single shot. There’s no way that they could have filmed that in the UK cause it would just feature lots and lots of cement and look very glum. Whilst I loved looking at it, I did find myself slightly distracted by what I was seeing and found myself snapping back into what was going on. Also I thought the colonists that appear towards the end were a bit pointless really. I understood why they needed to be there in terms of plot, but they didn’t add anything to it and Ralf Little’s role could have been played by anyone.

Apart from those minor niggles, I thought Smile was another solid episode and actually better than Pilot. I liked how at the end of the episode, it moved straight into the next episode which is in keeping with the Hartnell era and also the Davison era. I hope this becomes a regular thing because its not something that tends to happen in new Who but two episodes in and I am still impressed with this series. Smile was well written, well directed and well performed but come back in April 2063 and we’ll see if we are talking normally or using Emoji’s.

Pilot

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MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!

Well, every Saturday (almost) I go to my friends house to watch movies and Doctor Who and I got asked on more than one occasion “What time is Doctor Who on?”. I have missed being asked that question. I had to watch the last 10 minutes of Pointless with ‘celebrities’ that I didn’t recognise. I couldn’t even bothered to Google who they were. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Doctor Who is back!

I have been looking forward to this for weeks. I haven’t been this excited for a new series for a long time. I don’t think that its because we didn’t get a series in 2016 but more because this is the first series not to feature Clara and I am warming to the dislike for here character. I also think that the buzz around who the new Doctor will be is added to the excitement.

I thought that the episode was ok. I enjoyed it don’t get me wrong but I would be lying if I could say it was the best opening story but to be it was more what it represented than the actual plot. The introduction of Bill was the most important aspect of this story in my mind because it needed to introduce Bill in the right way. Clara never really got that sort of time and so if you think about it, its been seven years since Amy got to drive the story. I thought that Bill was a good character who asked a lot of questions and normally that would annoy me but actually worked and it was the questions she asked that made it work. Her sexuality also got used in this story but I wondered how this was going to be dealt with at 7:20 on a Saturday evening. I thought it was dealt with in a good way and used quite creatively to get Bill into the story without making it seem contrived.

I thought that Peter Capaldi was really good in this episode. There seemed to be a freshness to his performance that we haven’t seen before. I don’t know if its the fact there was a gap between series or he knows he wont be doing this for much longer but there was a different vibe from him in this episode. Matt Lucas is a very good addition to the TARDIS crew and I suspect in years to come he wont get much of a mention because he is essentially the comedy relief but he isn’t wasted and works well with Capaldi. As a trio, I think that they work well together and there is a different more refreshing dynamic to the TARDIS crew.

The whole thing about the puddle and the water was perhaps the one aspect of this story that didn’t quite work. I kind of lost interest with all that as I was paying more attention to how the Doctor and Bill were working together. I think the idea of making a menace out of a puddle will make young kids scared of puddles. There scorch marks around the puddle did remind me of the scorch marks in Remembrance of the Daleks and the Daleks did make an appearance which was sort of suggested but this story saw the return of the Movellans who previously appeared in Destiny of the Daleks back in 1979. I liked the idea of them coming back and would have liked to have them feature a bit more in a story in the future.

The Pilot hits the refresh button for the show and does so in a good way. I thought it was well written by Moffat and well directed by Lawrence Gough making his debut in the series. The big reveal in the run up to the series was that John Simm would be returning as the Master as well as Michelle Gomez’s Missy. He appears in a blink and you’ll miss it shot at the end of the coming up bit. There is a nice sense of mystery about what is in the vault, I don’t know if this is the series arc but it was nice wondering just what could be behind the doors.

So Capaldi’s final series starts off very well. Not a classic but still something to enjoy just for what it manages to get right as opposed to what it got wrong. I don’t think those that hate Moffat will want to admit for a second that he wrote a good episode (i’m imagining a shrug of shoulders) but he did and next week’s episode is one that makes emoji’s seem evil.

Why the big deal?

As I write this, there is less than two weeks until Doctor Who returns with its 36th series and Pearl Mackie makes her debut. This week it was announced that Bill would be the first openly gay companion in Doctor Who and there was a lot of people questioning this because they mention Captain Jack. Well at the risk of being pedantic, he was never openly gay. It was sort of accepted and acknowledge that he was but it was never (ever) hidden but it was never mentioned that he was gay. Whether you buy that argument or not, it doesn’t change the fact that neither Doctor Who or Torchwood lost anything by Captain Jack being gay.

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As far as a fan of a TC show, I don’t think that its a big deal. It’s 2017 and there have been LGBT characters in TV shows before and have survived to tell the tale. I think the fact that the character is gay doesn’t change anything.

Will it stop me watching the show? No

Does it make me view the character any differently? No

Am I looking forward to the series just as much as I was before the news was announced? Yes.

There are so called fans that have said they wont watch the show because Bill is gay. Good, I hope that you find comfort in that cave you clearly live in. I accept that there are people that might not be comfortable with seeing a gay character but they exist in the real world and are in most TV shows so just don’t watch TV or leave the house and you’ll be fine. These are probably the same dimwits that stopped watching the show when Peter Capaldi was cast because he was older than the other Doctors although he was the same age as William Hartnell when he was cast as the Doctor. These are the sort of fans I really don’t like because this is suppose to be your favourite show (or one of) and to decide to stop watching the show because someone is cast that you don’t like is quite frankly stupid.

Twitter was largely positive. I say that but I am basing that comment on the people I follow who are clearly smart intelligent people. There was the usual trying to make a joke out of it and generally taking it as a positive piece of news.

I am looking forward to this series and I haven’t looked forward to a series for quite a long time. The news about Bill hasn’t changed that either way but I think that the best way to end this entry is to show this tweet. Krynoid PodCast, I salute you!!

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The Doctor Who Experience

I visited the Doctor Who Experience this week and never has a word been more appropriate. It was definitely an experience and it is one that I will never forget. It is set to close pretty soon so if you haven’t been then I urge you to take the time (and money) to got down there because it is one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was the main reason why I decided to go to Cardiff. I had decided not to find out too much before I went there by avoiding anything on YouTube or social media. That was a wise choice because it meant everything I saw was a massive surprise although I have since learnt on YouTube that it has change quThe Bay (15)ite a bit.

When I started my trip to the DWE, it was from the Quay and the first thing that struck me is how it stands out quite a bit on the landscape. I had been in Cardiff a couple of days before I visited the DWE and everytime I saw it on the landscape I wandered just what was contained in that place. There was a small amount of worry that my expectations would be too great.

It’s quite a walk to the DWE but it just helped build up the excitement. I wondered how many people would be there and if anyone would be dressed up. The answer to the first part is about 20 people and there was one person dressed as Osgood. What I liked was there was a wide selection of ages. There were people in their early 20’s and a couple of people in late 40’s/early 50’s. I am in my early 30’s and was delighted to see a wide selection.

I arrived at the DWE about half an hour early and so had to wait in the reception area but I could have spent longer than half an hour there. There was a pinball machine which I had played when I was on holiday near Borth back in 2009. I don’t know if it was the same pinball machine but its a nice bit of nostalgia and worth playing if you get the chance.

There isn’t just the pinball machine to enjoy but there are several hand prints of Doctor Who stars. There are prints of past Doctors and Companions but what I found quite interesting is that Steven Moffat’s hands are there and the date of his time on the show hDW Experience (17)as it listed as 2010-2017 yet Peter Capaldi’s is listed as 2013-Present.

DW Experience (18)Before you get to see the exhibits there is a little show that you have to watch. I say that like it was a bad thing but it wasn’t, it was quite good although the actor’s mic kept cutting out a bit so that was an issue but it was quite fun. You walk into a room where you look at a video and its narrated by Lalla Ward and it shows lots of clips of various episodes from both the classic and new eras. In the room there was the box used as the bomb in Day of the Doctor and also the book on the Time War seen in one of Matt Smith’s stories.

As the tour continues you go from room to room and occasionally Peter Capaldi appears and interacts with the actor leading us and we have to collect some crystals. We go into one room which acts as Skaro and there are several Daleks around and one of them has a crystal on them. The actor gets one of us to collect it and then moments later gets a few of us to jump on a pressure pad to open a door. I did the latter.

The next room saw us wander through Weeping Angels. As you would expect one of the Angels has a crystal which someone gets. We then find ourselves in the Junkyard from An Unearthly Child an walking through the gates with the massive I.M.Foreman written on it was one of the many times I said ‘unbelievable’. We had to wear 3D glasses which bearing in mind I already wear glasses was a bit of a pain but it was worth it because we got to see the conclusion of the show and someone grabbed the third crystal. The whole thing was quite fun although I was slightly annoyed that we weren’t allowed to take any pictures. I think it would have added to the experience. That was the only thing that could have changed.

Now that was out of the way we got to experience everything that Doctor Who had to offer. The first thing that you see when you start is this….DW Experience (37)

I just stood and looked at it for a few moments and its impressive. That wouldn’t be the only time that I stood and looked impressed. Not too far there is a set display from Dalek IDW Experience (51)nvasion of Earth.

I took something like 350 pictures of pretty much every display that they had. Well they did say before the tour started that once we made it out of the show that we could take as many photos as we liked! Some of them are a little blurred and there were a couple that were unusable.

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I spent close to 2 hours there in total and as I walked outside and away from the building I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I felt really happy because it was worth the money and worth coming to Cardiff for. It made me want to watch Doctor Who episodes as soon as possible (difficult being in a Travelodge). On the other hand there was sadness because it is the only time I will ever get to go there. Hopefully the experience will move somewhere else but at the time of writing, there is no news.

Due to the fact that it is closing soon, I decided to splash the cash and get the upgraded ticket which would give me a goody bag. The bag itself was good but what was in it was worth it. There was a Guide book which was in the reception but costs about £7. Then there is a TARDIS key in a lovely little box, a certificate saying that I was a companion and then there was a ticket for the experience which is good because I just had the printed computer ticket that I ordered online. There was also a T-Shirt which is still in the plastic wrapping.

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So the main reason for me going to Cardiff was the best thing about the trip. Even though I was only in Cardiff for two and a half days, I thought it was a lovely place to visit. Maybe in the summer time it is a busier place but even in the cold windy March it has enough to entertain people.