Doctor Who – Season 8 Review

doctor-who-season-8-premiereNow, I know my standards on how I discuss this show have been both positive and negative, but I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to get some closure out of it. For all I know, I just got over 100 views, which is a really good start for me in my first year of Some Review Site! I just want to say to you all that I am very thankful for all of you who do come and read some of my reviews. However, even though I get some of my writing influences from a few people on That Guy With the Glasses site, as well as SF Debris, I try not to fully become a clone of those guys. Yes, they are negative with so many of their reviews, but the thing you need to remember is that what they are doing is a shtick that they are good at doing, which is pointing out the badness of their material that they are reviewing. Not only that, but bringing up what doesn’t work in a show/movie/video game just doesn’t work when you don’t act all angry and judgmental. From there, you can come up with any joke that can make fun of the bad and stupidity that you see in front of your eyes. That’s what makes someone like the NC and the AVGN funny. As much as those people have that kind of side to stick with, I try to be neutral of both.

Season 8 of Doctor Who (season 32, IF you want to be technical), is kind of the same thing. It’s both good and not good. Not good, because this season could have been a whole lot worse. This season introduced to the world the new 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, the return of the clockwork robots from The Girl in the Fireplace, and the newest incarnation of the Master. It ran from August 23 of this year to November 8, with 12 episodes. I already wrote about my first thoughts about the 12th Doctor, but I can officially say that he might be my new favorite Doctor. He is charismatic, eccentric, energenic for his age to the point he can carry the show by himself, and has a great balance of how comedic and serious he should be. He acts as if he was always the Doctor from when the show began, as if he found every flaw and strong point of the character, learned from them, and became this great mold of the Doctor. As much as I mentioned how much I love David Tennant, and as much as I love Patrick Troughton, I believe Capaldi should take the throne as my favorite. I’ll give him some more time for me to confirm that.

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Capaldi’s first episode starts off in Deep Breath, which turns out to be okay. The TARDIS lands in Victoria London, teaming up with Vastra, Jenny and Strax. I don’t like Vastra, I don’t like Jenny, but Strax on the other hand….   I like Strax. Yes, I can understand why some people don’t like him, but he can still give a smile on my face. It contains the clockwork robots from Girl in the Fireplace as the main monsters, and a T-Rex in a size that doesn’t make any sense.  Plus, you do get to see the Doctor dressing up as a hobo, trying to figure out why he has a Scottish accent (even though he already had one as 7), being more aggressive as 6, and killing a half-man, half-robot in the end. Again, this episode is okay. There are some unnecessary things in it, the story was nothing to write home about, and both Jenny and Vastra are still intolerable for me. However, there are enough for me to give it as, well, watchable. This season has three categories: good, bad, and okay.

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This one was good. It was written by both Steven Moffat and returning writer of The Waters of Mars, Phil Ford. This episode revisits (I’m saying this, because it has been attempted before in Evil of the Daleks and Dalek) on the idea on what if a Dalek can be good. It features the Doctor rescuing a soldier, Journey Blue, who leads him into the military station that is in an asteroid. She asked the Doctor for their assistance to help the Dalek because their last doctor died. The Doctor, for some reason, brings Clara with him inside of the Dalek. I say some reason, because I think this episode can do fine without her. They go inside, because they believe that this Dalek is good enough to be healed, and they have to heal it from the inside. I’m not going to give away what happens in the end of the episode, but I will say that the way how the Doctor tries to make the Dalek become good was just great to me. However, the end to what the Doctor did with Journey kind of upset me. If you haven’t seen the episode, then you will understand why. If you have seen it, then you might understand what I mean.

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This episode was written by long time writer of the show, Mark Gatiss. In this episode, the Doctor takes Clare to wherever she wants to go in the past, and she chooses to meet Robin Hood.  The Doctor denies the existence of Robin Hood and his merry men, just because he doesn’t believe he ever existed. The Doctor actually succeeds into doing so, revealing the movies and stories that are based off of him. Newsflash Gatiss, Robin Hood did exist:

http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/robin-hood

The only reason for why we THINK he didn’t exist is through the many different interpretations of Robin Hood. This can pretty much be compared with the popularity of Black Beard of how Hollywood made him look like he was just a character out of fantasy. The main monsters in this episode are the robots who have such a great design that it is probably the best thing about this episode, outside of the moments that both the Doctor and Robin Hood had.

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I know that I’m making this episode sound decent, but it really turns out to be forgettable. The robots are trying to harvest enough gold to power up their ship. Yeah, I don’t think you this, but this isn’t Minecraft, where gold can help as an acceptable conductor. I’m sure that copper could work much better. Just saying. Plus, the villain in this episode is also forgettable too, and I don’t recommend this to anyone. However, it is harmless. The next one is not.

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This episode explores the concept of what if when we’re speaking to ourselves, we’re not really speaking to ourselves? What if somewhere in our lives, we are actually communicating with someone or something? This concept is so great, that it should work! But no. That idea alone was tossed away after the first third of the episode was over. It wasn’t even handled very well either. This episode features more of a character I should of mentioned on my paragraph of Into the Dalek, Danny Pink.

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I’m not alone whenever I say that he holds no interest for me to care for him, which is why I forgot to mention him earlier. You explore his past as a child, which did not work for me, mainly because Clara was the one who encouraged him to become a soldier and change his name from Rupert to Danny. The monster in this one was a massive letdown for me, and was ignored after it was “introduced”.

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I put that in quotes, just because we didn’t get to see it (which I’m okay with), but we know nothing about it, other than it just stands there under the bed sheets by doing nothing, and goes away by the victim not looking at it. Not gonna lie, that’s pretty stupid. The other moments with Clara and Pink in their date was uncomfortable, and seeing Danny’s future descendant wasn’t needed. That could have been anyone else, if you ask me. Plus, the ending was pretty unnecessary too. I’m not going to say, but if you do see it, you will understand what I mean. That, and I am going to review Listen with an iron fist and crush the hearts of those who for some reason love this episode. They love it more than the episode that came after.

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Time Heist is more of my cup of tea. This episode was another Steven Moffat episode, but with the help of Steve Thompson. Steve Thompson has been a writer for the show with nothing, but disappointments, such as Curse of the Black Spot and Journey to the Center of the TARDIS. It took him 3 seasons, and he has finally made a good episode. Just not by himself. The plot of this is very simple to understand. A mysterious silhouette of a man gathered Clara, the Doctor, and two other people to join forces to be part of a bank heist that later on becomes into a time heist. The other two are Psi, a humanoid, and Saibra, a shape shifting mutant. One of the biggest complaints about this episode is that Psi and Saibra don’t have that much of a character to them. What do I think about that? Personally, I don’t care at all. They’re not going to be seen again, nor do I see any reason for them to return. Another complaint is that this episode is a rip-off of Ocean’s 11. Never seen either version (but I might one day for this site), so I can’t comment on that. The other is that this bank is on a planet that is near a sun that causes solar flares from time to time, causing all running electricity, and…….yeah. That is very stupid. It is suppose to be the biggest and secured bank in the universe, and they built it there. The main monster in this is the teller, which is a monster that is very terrifying.

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Basically, it kills anyone by killing your brain. The only way how you can get away from it is by not thinking. Just thinking about that alone is a really horrifying thing to fight against. I even dare say its more scary than the Weeping Angels.

The villain in this episode is not half bad. She has a good secret that I won’t reveal, and I won’t reveal the ending either. Check it out for yourself.

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This is another one that I thought was okay for me. The Doctor takes on the role of a caretaker (janitor, for those of you who live in the US) in the same school that his granddaughter use to go to, Coal Hill, and tries to find a robot that is capable of destroying Earth in a single explosion. This does make me wonder if the robot has either a force field, teleportation, or if it’s a suicide bomber. Whatever, its a robot.

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Now, I would say that this design is great, but the bottom half just makes this robot look so stupid, to me, that is.

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The Doctor reveals that he is disgusted at Danny Pink going from a soldier to being a teacher. Some people think this is a reference to Mawdryn Unead, where when the Doctor first meets the Brigadier in 1982, displeased that he is retired from his duty. This all could of worked just fine for me, and I do accept it. I thought that whole bit was well thought out. IF I did not know that the first montage of the episode is where the Doctor briefly mentions that he hates soldiers. As much as I so far love Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, this really rubs me the wrong way. Doctors 2-5, 7 were great friends with the Brigadier, the 9th Doctor gained some help from UNIT to fight off some stupid snot farting alien race, and both the 10th and 11th Doctor called the Ice Warriors a proud, warrior race. But beyond that, its still hard to care for Danny, as we still don’t know enough to be invested in his character, and as for Courtney, I don’t think she’s a bad character in this one. She didn’t bother me as much as she did for other people. I didn’t care for her on the moon, though. And speaking of which,

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Kill the Moon should sound like a great episode. This title alone should make this episode to be great! But no. This episode is just bad and uninteresting. It has space spiders that doesn’t do anything for the story, a space team of three that only two of them are there as red shirts, an astronaut who works for NASA who DOES NOT HAVE AN AMERICAN ACCENT, and Courtney, just to build up the fact that she will become a US president around 2048. Plus, it is revealed that the moon is an egg, and they almost killed it with nuclear bombs, putting in an abortion issue in the UK, where there is no debate on the subject whatsoever. Most of this was kind of boring, the subject of abortion didn’t need to be there, and Courtney was useless. This episode also contains a moment where the Doctor leaves Clara, Courtney, and the non-American astronaut on the moon to die, and then leads the Doctor to show them all a corn-ball resolution at the end. That made Clara so mad, that she gives probably her best performance in this show, revealing that she never wants to travel with him ever again. But then she appears in the next episode.

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Before I get into how great this episode is, I just want to clear out of the way that Clara in this one ruins the only good moment in Kill the Moon. I don’t blame the writer for this episode, though. I can accept that he saw how Kill the Moon ended, and thought that he had no choice, but to add in an explanation as to why she was still in this. Outside of that, this episode was great! The mummy on this episode picks people to kill in 66 seconds, but I won’t tell you how, which will result in me spoiling the twist to this episode. Nobody else, but the selected one is able to see it. Not only that, but this mummy loogs great.

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“Are you my mummy?”

The performances in this episode are great, especially for John Sessions as Gus, the AI of the Orient Express. Well, we can only assume that it was an AI doing the voice. We never get to see if there is a man speaking or not. The song in the beginning of this episode is a jazz version of “Don’t Stop Me Now”, being sung by Foxes.

I personally would have thought it could have been better if she was singing this:

But that’s just me.

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Both this and mummy are both written by Jamie Mathieson. So far, this guy is on a role, because this episode is just as great, if not, better than the last. In this episode, the aliens in this episode have taken the dimensions of the TARDIS to shrink the exterior.

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Talk about being smaller on the outside.

This idea was kind of done in the opposite way in The Time Meddler, where the Doctor messed with a timelord’s TARDIS by making the interior as small as it is on the outside.

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You have no idea how lucky I am to easily find this on a Google search.

Clara plays as the role of the Doctor for an episode to investigate where the missing people gone off to, only to figure out that the aliens are hiding in the walls in the second dimension. They suck up people and turn them into paintings, just so they can try to replicate a 3-D body. This idea is so good, that Mathieson is on a role to being a returning writer for this show. A lot of people sees this as the closest to Classic Who, and I can see it. This is definitely a must see and I’m really looking forward to seeing more from Jamie Mathieson.

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This episode starts with a girl entering into the TARDIS, somehow knowing who the Doctor is, telling him that a forest has overcome the world, even the ocean waters too, and somehow have the whole population of London disappear.

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I haven’t seen London this abandon since 28 Days Later.

This girl went out and about on her own from Clara and Danny’s class field trip, making these two the worst school teachers of Coal Hill. This makes Susan feel greatful that the show never started at this time and hour. Anyway, the whole episode revolves around the girl being lost, Clara and Danny’s students being either boring or aggressive in some scenes, and making you wonder how a tiger got loose from the London Zoo. It is later on found out that the little girl was chosen to be possessed by an alien being that says that it is trying to save the world from a solar flare, while the many governments of the world are trying to get rid of them all. I could question as to why they couldn’t take over an adult to warn people about this, but this episode was already stupid right when it started. And to further prove that, they believed and accepted this from a girl, which is hard for me to believe that they did as they were told within a second. This episode has a huge reputation right now for being absolutely horrid, and rightly so. The people who think that are not wrong.

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Dark Water is the first two part episode since the one with the dopplegangers. This is half-good and half-bad. First of all, the good parts. But beware:

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Danny dies in the start of this episode (this is not the good part), and Clara tries to take all of the spare TARDIS keys to threaten the Doctor in a volcano, I think that’s what that place is. I could have been Mount Doom.

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“Bring Clara back her precious!”

She throws all of the TARDIS keys in the lava until she gets her way by having him save Danny from his death. However, it was revealed that the Doctor tricked Clara by making her pass out before she did it to the Doctor. I’m glad that scene was all a dream, or I would of continued to complain why the Doctor couldn’t just snap his finger to open the TARDIS, or try to get the spare key on top of the TARDIS.

86656aac70cfd16bd681922c9c68cbf8Plus, I love how the Matrix returned back into the show. I even love how the dark water worked too, which only reveals organic matter. Even though it shows the stone chairs in the tombs.

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Chris Addison plays as Seb in this one, who is kind of a guide or a mentor in the Matrix for those who recently died. His role is great, and I wanted to see more of him.

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Now, what’s bad about this episode? Well, everything else. I already knew that the Cybermen were going to be in this episode, only because the commercial for this episode pulled a Bad Wolf, revealing who the monsters are going to be.

Plus, I don’t like Missy all that much either.

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Her incarnation is leaning towards the John Simms, who even my brother agrees with me when he said that his Master made the Doctor looked stupid. He was a clown, couldn’t take the role seriously, and he is pretty much, not a step down from the YANA Master (my personal favorite, by the way), but a huge drop in a bottomless pit away from the YANA Master.  However, I’m glad that she is not as equally bad as John Simms. She’s the closest to him, though.

The only reason for why I’m mentioning her until now is because I did not care for her from the very start. I knew nothing about her to care, even for the total of 1:36 of her camera time (yes, I timed all of her on screen moments). Not only that, but there was never any reason for this whole season to build up her character or for this two parter either. If you get rid of all of her scenes or anything about the Promise Land (the Matrix), then you wouldn’t miss a thing. Not only that, but I already knew that Missy was the Master all along. Missy is short for Mistress, which is a feminine pronoun for Master. She’s dressed upperclass, because the timelords are all upperclass. I will admit that is a one-up for her incarnation compared to John Simms. Not only that, but Sylvestor McCoy already mentioned that the Master was going to be in this episode too.

As for the Master regenerating into a woman, this is nothing new. After Sylvestor McCoy announced that he was going to leave the show, one of the ideas for a replacement was to regenerate the Doctor into a woman before they were going to stick with Richard Griffiths, IF the show never got cancelled. In 1998, Steven Moffat wrote the comic relief special Curse of Fatal Death, where he wrote that the regenerated so many times until he became a woman, played by Joanna Lumley. This was probably the start of Moffat wanting this idea to happen, you can tell that he is nuts about this idea. He even tried to cast Catherine Zeta Jones as the 11th Doctor, which could have finally made the Nostalgia Critic watch the show.

Since that didn’t work, he even tried to cast Lara Pulver as 12. However, this was most of the audience’s reaction:

Since no one wanted that, I can only assume that he applied that idea on the Master.

The other thing that I should add about this before I forget is the controversial 3 words in this episode. “Don’t cremate me!” I’m not going to go into full detail about this moment, mainly because this has been complained to death about how offended some people were by this line. I’m with the majority who thought this was inappropriate and tasteless, even for a show that had the Doctor doing this:

If you want to fully understand why this moment was controversial to many, I suggest that you watch MrTARDISreview’s video about this scene. He has posted more about this topic than necessary on his Facebook page without any choice, and I feel very sorry for him to do this.

There was no suspense to be found in this episode. If there is only one word that can best describe Dark Water, it would be predictable.

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This…….was a mess. UNIT takes both the Master and the Doctor away, and puts the Master into custody. The Master unleashes a black fart cloud all over the world that only rains over the graves and corpses. The reason for this is that when it rains on the dead, it works like Cybermen pollen, turning the corpses into Cybermen,

Are they trying to tell me that the Cybermen’s armor is now organic too?  And for that matter, why just dead people? Why not rain on those who are alive? You could of conquered the entire Earth that way. And after they were assimilated, the Cybermen wandered around like zombies for some reason. You could say that they needed a human mind to take control of the Cybermen, but they never had this problem in the past. In The Pandorica Opens, a human skull fell right out of the Cyberman’s head, and it was functioning. That alone proves that they don’t act like wandering zombies with dead bodies. I’m only using a recent episode with the Cybermen, only because I assume that there are more New Who fans reading this who are not familiar with with Old Who yet.

Missy still acts a little bit stupid in this one, and there is a scene where she does this:

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She just didn’t turn her face into Anthony Ainley. That would have been a weird step too far.

Danny was assimilated as a Cyberman (surprise, surprise), has control over his mind and body (somehow), and saves the day. How? Missy was giving the Doctor the chance to lead the Cybermen as his own army, and he does. Just to give it to Danny to lead them all to blow up in a fiery death to incinerate the black fart cloud. Missy, what did you think was going to happen?! Anyway, Missy either gets beamed out, or she gets killed by a Cyberman. You wanna know who this Cyberman is? Are you sure? It’s the Brigadier! No really, it’s him. That, to me, is both insulting and shameless, not just to the character, but also to Nicholas Courtney. That man was a legend to the show, and this is how you try to bring the Brigadier back Steven Moffat? No! I’m not buying it! This is something that I know Russell T. Davies would never do. At least he brought him back in the Sarah Jane Adventures.

Enemy of the Bane (3)

Clara decides to leave the show, meaning that the Doctor will get a new companion.

Season 8 was half-good and half-bad. Fortunately, there were a little more good and alright episodes than bad. Peter Capaldi is so far a fantastic Doctor! This man alone can handle any situation on his own, proving what the rest of the incarnations didn’t have since Jon Pertwee, who was also well capable enough to do the same. As for a new companion, I prefer an 80s punk rocker with a mowhawk, or a metal head to join with the Doctor. Not only that, but it should be an alien too.

Best of season 8:

  • Into the Dalek
  • Time Heist
  • Mummy on the Orient Express
  • Flatline

Worst of season 8:

  • Listen
  • Kill the Moon
  • In the Forest of the Night
  • Death in Heaven
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