2013 Year of Review
A Golden Age for Who?
“And now it’s time for one last bow, Like all your other selves, Eleven’s hour is over now, The clock is striking Twelve’s.”
As the twelve chimes of Big Ben signalled the arrival of 2013, the countdown to Doctor Who’s Big 50 and the twelfth chime of the Doctor had begun.
2013 was a year that had promise. It was set to be the biggest year of The Greatest Show In The Galaxy. Doctor Who was to reach 50 in just 11 months time. But nobody could predict which direction the show would take this year.
Change of Cast:
The Girl Who Never Blinks
“Run… Run you clever boy. And Remember.”
Jenna-Louise Coleman made her return as Clara in the mid-series opener, The Bells Of Saint John. Jenna was previously seen in two other adventures of the previous year, including the series 7 opener, Asylum Of The Daleks, where she played the flirty and quick-witted Junior Entertainment Manager of the starship Alaska, Oswin Oswald, whom was revealed to have been converted to a Dalek. Then she was re-introduced as Clara in the 2012 christmas special, The Snowmen. This woman had the same characteristics as Oswin and saved the Doctor from his deep depression over the loss of the Ponds. Shortly after the Doctor gave her a Tardis key and invited her to join him in time and space, she was dragged by the Ice Governess off of the Tardis and the cloud and fell to her death…. again!
In all of the show’s 50 year history, this was the biggest mystery surrounding a companion of the Doctor.
In the mid-series opener, The Bells Of Saint John, we met a modern-day version of Clara, this time named Clara Oswin. At first, she seemed much more realistic than all of her predecessors. But then she did begin to become a bit more annoying. She met the Doctor in one of the strangest ways and yet she seemed almost alright about the whole thing. She wasn’t at all bothered about the fact that a stranger had carried her to bed and sat outside the house with her laptop and a police box. Then, she began to flirt with him and teased him about the police box being his ‘snog box’. Later on in the episode, she seems to be getting used to the whole situation, as if this is the sort of thing that she does everyday.
The character progressed slightly in my opinion, with The Rings Of Akhaten being the episode in the series that Clara was best-written and took an in-depth look at her past and partially explains why she seems to be so smug and full of herself.
In the episodes that followed, Clara was under-developed, with her hardly being used. Whilst trapped and at first taken hostage in a sinking submarine, she still manages to give smart remarks. When Clara was trapped in the Tardis, she opened the wrong door which lead to a tunnel of fire darting towards her, she still had time to make a smart remark and then run, as if she wasn’t phased by anything. In the penultimate episodes of the series, Clara was heavily underused and still managed to give the smart and annoying remarks, even when the children she was looking after were being controlled by Cybermen.
In the series finale, The Doctor and Clara crash land on Trenzalore, where the Doctor is buried. After the Doctor’s arch-nemesis, The Great Intelligence walks into the Doctor’s time stream, Clara is also forced to run in to save the Doctor from dying at different points in his life. Once entering his time stream, Clara is scattered into a million versions of herself across the Doctor’s life to save him, which explains the Dalek Oswin and Victorian Clara. Doctor Who’s producer, Marcus Wilson stated that nobody had figured out the Clara mystery, although before the series 7 finale aired, I had already figured it out.
Jenna Coleman does a brilliant portrayal as Clara and her acting is brilliant. But the writing for Clara is very poor and her character has been under used and she was basically in every episode as a piece of furniture or an oil painting, just there to look pretty. It’s a shame that Clara has not had the best start and is unbelievable unrealistic. But luckily, the character is progressing a lot more as the episodes go on.
The Paternoster Gang returned for two episodes of the 2013 series, appearing in The Crimson Horror and The Name Of The Doctor. Neve McIntosh, yet again did a fantastic performance as Silurian Madame Vastra. The character played quite a big part in all of the episodes and we got to see more of her relationship with Jenny and Strax. Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) finally got more of a part to play, when she got her solo scenes and scenes with just her and the Doctor and we even got to see more of her talents in fighting. We also got a brilliant performance when the sad fate of Jenny was revealed at the beginning of The Name Of The Doctor. Dan Starkey also did a brilliant performance as the hilarious Sontaran, Commander Strax. Many love him, yet many hate the way that Sontarans are being turned into a joke. I think Strax is absolutely brilliant and has some of the best lines.
In the mid-series opener, it was revealed that Clara was a nanny for two children, Angie and Artie Maitland. They only had a scene or two in their first episode and returned later in The Crimson Horror for the last scene of that episode, in which they had found pictures of Clara during her travels and blackmailed her into taking them with her. A very unlikely scenario occurred, because she did. Angie found the Tardis (which is alien and bigger on the inside) boring and Artie didn’t really say or do much. Thankfully, they were taken home at the end of that episode and only had one scene in the finale and fingers crossed, that was their last. A pair of unrealistic characters.
Need A Doctor?:
Series 7 Part 2
After waiting nearly four months for the mid-series opener, The Bells Of Saint John, it was a relief after it had arrived. The episode began with the Doctor being a monk, then being phoned by Clara, then scaring Clara and then taking her on a bizarre journey around the biggest city in Britain, London. One minute, they were here, the next, they were there. The episode was too fast paced and rushed. But it did have some great characters, including the villainous Miss Kizlet and had quite a lot of humour. It is not to the usual standards of Mr. Moffat, but it wasn’t too bad and is easily watchable if you try to ignore the negatives.
Steven Moffat had employed a new writer, Neil Cross (Luther, Mama). I was unsure what The Rings Of Akhaten would be about, but I was truly looking forward to watching it. It had a good start, with the Doctor learning more about Clara and Neil got it spot on for writing Clara. But after the opening titles, the episode just went more and more down hill. There was a lot of singing, too much singing and a lot of things just didn’t fit in and it just wasn’t one of the stories Doctor Who has produced. The Doctor’s speech at the end was ok, nothing too great. The whole episode was just a bit of a mess and badly written. Hopefully, Mark Gatiss’ Cold War, which marks the return of the Ice Warriors will be better. No!
It has a poor start, Mark writes the Doctor in a similar and stereo-type style and you can usually guess what the Doctor’s going to do or say next. His actions are predictable. Clara was under-used, one minute the Ice Warrior was in ice, then quietly makes it to cockpit, then gets chained, then escapes from the armour, because he thinks he has lost his honour, then goes around the ship killing people, then he’s back in his suit after, then he goes back to his armour, then he threatens to blow up the ship, then the Ice Warriors find him and transport him aboard their spaceship. A total mess and how did a tall Ice Warrior manage to walk around a small submarine?
Hide had a brilliant cast, just four people and they were all brilliant… and then came the fifth. It did not scare me at all and it did not make sense how the Tardis managed to fly to the pocket universe without being piloted, why did the Tardis hate Clara in the first place? And the love story at the end just ruined any chance of a good story. Neil Cross, yet again failed us Whovians.
Stephen Thompson was invited back to Doctor Who, after his failure of an episode, The Curse Of The Black Spot. Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS suffered from poor actors and a poorly written story. It didn’t feel like it was the Tardis that the Doctor, Clara and the Van Baalen Bros were exploring. Stephen, stick to Sherlock!
The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss had brilliant acting, a brilliant story, but was quite predictable and then was ruined. It was revealed that an alien called Mr.Sweet was living on Miss Gillyflower’s chest, weird or what?
Nightmare In Silver had a lot of promise and would hopefully be an improvement on Neil Gaiman’s previous story, The Doctor’s Wife (which was ok-ish). The new Cybermen looked too Iron-man like and just didn’t feel like Cybermen. The story was a complete mess, the Cybermen weren’t even scary, which was promised. The Cybermen hardly did anything in this episode and were made into a cheap joke. The Cybermen can now run, and not just at the average speed, but at the speed of light. They can detach and reattach different body parts and even turn their head around 360 degrees. They are also pretty useless as gold is not on their side. The Cyberman that got into the Doctor’s head was a daft idea, as Cybermen don’t have emotions, yet it was teasing the Doctor and playing with his mind. And Porridge’s (Warwick Davis) proposal to Clara was just completely and utterly random and just came out of the blue. It did not fit into the story, in any way. The Maitland kids gave me a headache and so did the episode. Neil, get a life!
The finale we had all been waiting for finally arrived. The episode title, The Name Of The Doctor, got fans talking about the episode. This was the one that would tie a lot of plot threads, conclude the Clara mystery and reveal the Doctor’s true identity. This was the episode that the show’s bosses wanted to keep under wraps!
And then the series 7 part 2 box set was released early and the series 7 finale was leaked. Oh well, atleast we got a fitting end to a rubbish series. The writing was superb, it was such a brilliant story that had a lot of great actors and characters in it. We got to see Matt Smith’s last seen with Alex Kingston, whom fantastically plays the cool and amazing River Song. The Clara Mystery was a bit of a let down, as I had hoped for more. And at the very end of the episode, we got a great cliffhanger that got everyone talking. People were asking who it was, funnily enough, I knew, again. But who was this mysterious man? The episode ended stating:
Introducing John Hurt As The Doctor!
Series 7 Part 2 has to be the poorest series in Doctor Who’s eight year revived history. Let alone it’s 50 year history. Hopefully, the writers from this year’s will not return, although they have said they will. Hopefully, series 8 will not suffer from the bad stories that seven did and hopefully Clara will get better next year. Here’s to Series 8!