Top positive review
57 people found this helpful
Eight Episodes and no Christmas Special
on April 29, 2013
The 2012 Christmas special, "The Snowmen", and it's Prequels, will not be part of the May release of Series 7 - Part 2. "The Snowmen" MAY be part of the Complete Season 7 DVD/Blu-Ray release, but BBC has not said so yet.
(You can purchase "The Snowmen" on its own for region 1, in DVD or Blu-Ray.)
[Added later: Yes, the Complete Series 7 will have "The Snowmen" PLUS a new commentary track with Michael Pickwoad (production designer) and Paul Spriggs (art director).]
The 8 episodes are only 45 minutes each. Though I love Doctor Who, I think the shorter time-frame does hobble the story-telling. Lots of detail crammed into a short time.
Wouldn't it be great if some of the new series had a commentary track like the Classic Doctor Who DVD's?
[Added August 2013: The Complete Season 7 does have four new commentary tracks, including on "The Snowmen" mentioned above. Matt Smith (about time he does a commentary!) and Jamie Payne (director) do the commentary on episode 7.9 "Hide". Hooray!]
Here are the Extras on the DVD issue of series 7 - Part 2:
1. Prequel to "The Bells of St. John" (2 min) The Doctor glumly sits on a swingset in a park. A young girl joins him, noticing that he's sad. He tells her he's lost something: "The first two times I met her, I just sort of bumped into her. So I thought, maybe, if I just wandered about a bit I might bump into her again. You know, like, destiny." Who is this understanding little girl?
2. "Clarence and the Whispermen" (2.5 minutes) Prequel to "The Name of the Doctor". Clarence is in prison, set to be hanged on the morrow. He opens his eyes and three ghastly creatures in top hats are watching him. "I know you're not real," Clarence cries, "You're just voices inside my head. Leave me alone!" But they don't.
3. English Subtitles
EPISODE 7.6 - "The Bells of St. John"
Part 2 of Season 7 has an ongoing quest - the Doctor's search for the why and how of Clara Oswin Oswald. As the Doctor mutters in episode 7.7, "She's just a girl. How can she be? She can't be. She is! She can't be. She's not POSSIBLE." Does the TARDIS really not like Clara?
In this episode, Clara and the Doctor meet again in present day London. Not that Clara recognizes the Doctor, or trusts him - after all, he's inviting her into his snog box where the inside is bigger than the outside.
And that's after the Doctor rescues her from being uploaded to a data cloud by a walking wi-fi station "hoovering up people". A temporary rescue, as it happens. As the head hooverer tells the Doctor: "My Client requires a steady diet of living human minds. Healthy free-range human minds. He loves and cares for humanity.... The farmer tends his flock like a loving parent.... No one likes cattle like Burger King."
EPISODE 7.7 - "The Rings of Akhaten"
Clara asks the Doctor to take her somewhere and sometime spectacular. He complies with a visit to "the Pyramid of the Rings of Akhaten." They're just in time for the Festival of Offerings, held every 1,000 years when the rings align.
Clara gets to see aliens aplenty. And she befriends the Queen of Years, a young girl taught the song to wake up the god. But when it turns out that one of the Queen's duties is to be a sacrifice, the Doctor and Clara step in.
I love the idea of the currency on this system. They don't use money, as the Doctor explains to Clara, but trade in items of "sentimental value.... Psychometry. Objects physically imprinted with their history. The more treasured they are, the more value they hold."
EPISODE 7.6 - "Cold War"
After saving Akhaten, the Doctor and Clara are going to have some fun. The Doctor exits the TARDIS first, macho shades in place and crying out, "Viva Las Vegas...!" But instead of sunshine in the desert playland, they're immediately drenched and tossed about in a leaking submarine.
Clara: "Not Vegas then?"
Doctor: "No, this is much better."
Clara: "A sinking submarine?"
Doctor: "A sinking SOVIET submarine."
It's 1983, the height of the Cold War. Captain Zhukov prepares a test launch of the submarine's nuclear missiles. But he has two problems, the first being the Doctor and Clara's suspicious appearance.
Part of Zhukov's mission is to bring home Professor Grisenko and his chunk of 5,000 year-old ice containing ... what? They soon find out, because a crewman, against orders, applies a blowtorch to the ice, grinning, "Life's too short to wait." Life's too short, period. A metal arm cracks through the ice and grabs him by the throat.
That's the 2nd problem. A submarine's too small for everyone not to meet, and the Doctor is flabbergasted. "It's an Ice Warrior. A native of the planet Mars. And we go way back. Waaay back."
Oh boy, the Ice Warrior race abandoned Mars centuries ago. The Doctor might have been able to offer the Warrior a ride to their new home, but the TARDIS has disappeared. He might have been able to negotiate working together, but a Russian crewman stuns the Warrior and he wakes up in chains, an act of war. What's a soldier to do? Especially one who thinks he's been abandoned for 5,000 years.
EPISODE 7.9 - "Hide"
Major Alec Palmer, retired, has ghosthunting equipment set up in an elegant house. He and Emma Grayling, an empathetic pyschic, begin, as he puts on headphones and speaks into a microphone: "Caliburn House, Night 4, November 25th, 1974, 11:04 pm." Emma walks towards the dark hallway, saying softly, "I'm speaking to the lost souls that abide in this place. Come to me."
The Major's instruments start going wild. Then they're startled by loud knocks on the big wooden doors. The Major opens the front door. "Bob! Hello! I'm looking for a ghost!" It's the Doctor and Clara, and they've come here on purpose (for once). What is the scary emanation they see, crying, "Help me!"
At one point, the Doctor says, "We need some sturdy rope, plus a blue crystal from Metebilis Three." We know when he got that - in a funny sequence in "The Green Death" with Jon Pertwee!
This is one of the very very few episodes where Doctor Who shows fear, which made it doubly interesting to me. See capture shot I've added as a customer image.
EPISODE 7.10 - "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"
The Van Baalen brothers run a salvage operation. Their giant ship uses a Magno-Grab, "outlawed in most galaxies", according to the Doctor, to pull in the TARDIS. The Doctor makes it out, but the TARDIS is leaking poisonous fuel and Clara is stuck inside. The Doctor bribes the brothers to help him rescue Clara. They'll get the TARDIS, "the salvage of a lifetime", if they get her out.
The rescue part isn't going well, and one brother asks the Doctor, "So you're telling us we're safe?"
Doctor: "Safe - ish. Apart from the monsters and the TARDIS reinventing the architecture every five minutes." Monsters as in molten creatures with red fissures like flowing lava and a deep rolling growl that terrifies.
EPISODE 7.11 - "The Crimson Horror"
It's 1893 and the Paternoster Gang (see "The Snowmen" Christmas special) is hired to find out why Edmund Thursday, newspaper reporter, went to the Sweetville factory town in Yorkshire, and came out dead, his skin hardened and turned a brilliant waxy red.
His brother asks Madame Vastra: "Do you know what an optogram is?"
She smiles, "It's silly superstition, Sir. The belief that the eye can retain an image of the last thing it sees."
He pulls out a photo of Edmund's eyeball, and the last thing the dead man saw was - the Doctor!
Jenny goes undercover, attending a rousing recruitment speech by Winifred Gillyflower, the owner of Sweetville. Sweetville, she declares, the "shining city on the hill", is the place to be when the Apocalypse "rains down upon us all." Just who is going to bring the end of the world? What kind of rain are we talking about? Who is Gillyflower's silent partner? And does the Doctor need rescuing?
"I'm the Doctor. You're nuts. And I'm going to stop you."
EPISODE 7.12 - "Nightmare in Silver"
A special treat! The Doctor takes Clara and her two young charges, Angie and Artie, to Hedgwick's World of Wonders, a whole planet turned amusement park. Well, it would have been a treat, except when they get there the park is in ruins, guarded by a troop of reject soldiers. Their Captain tells them, "This planet is closed by Imperial Order."
But fun can still be found. They meet Webley, a traveling carney, and his ship of "Webley's World of Wonders". Webley goes into Impresario mode: "Let me demonstrate to you the wonder of the age, the miracle of modernity. We defeated them all 1,000 years ago. But now, he's back to destroy you .... at chess."
Yow! It gives the Doctor a scare, but, whew, it's an empty Cybershell chess-playing machine. But wait a minute. What are those electronic silverfish climbing the walls. As the VERY impressed Doctor says when he catches one, not a Cybermat, but a Cybermite. But where there's Cybermites, there must be Cybermen. This does not look good.
This episode is fun, but it could have been GREAT in a longer time frame. More time to explore Angie's refusal to let the Doctor impress her (teenagers!). Expansion of the personalities of a couple reject soldiers. The hyper-patriotism of the Captain played off against her admitted insubordination - which lead to her posting to this backwater. And don't upgrade the Cybermen willy-nilly; make it an integral part of the plot.
But, on the plus side, Matt Smith does a terrific job of playing a split personality Doctor.
"Hail to you, the Doctor. Savior of the Cybermen!"
EPISODE 7.13 - "The Name of the Doctor"
The prologue is Clara's narration accompanying a montage of Clara seeing Dr. Who through the ages and his regenerations. It ends with "I blew into this world on a leaf. I'm still blowing. I don't think I'll ever land. I'm Clara Oswald. I'm the Impossible Girl. I was born to save the Doctor."
The Great Intelligence kidnaps Vastra, Strax and Jenny to force the Doctor to open his tomb on Trenzalore. The purpose of THAT I won't give away as it's a major plot point, but I will say that G.I.'s frame of mind does not make sense.
This episode supposedly "revealed the mystery of Clara Oswald". I watched it twice, and all I've got are more questions, starting with: Where did the leaf come from?
Strax has a hilarious scene in the beginning, and every scene with River Song is a marvel.