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Season 5

Who’s the New Guy? – “The Eleventh Hour” & “Doctor Who”

Isn’t that just the way?  You’re waiting and waiting for a new Doctor and then two come along at once.

Yes, the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, makes his debut alongside Karen Gillan as new companion Amy Pond, both spouting the dialog of new showrunner (and NNTMP darling) Steven Moffat.  It’s an extra long Who season premiere doing what Moffat does best – firing ideas and sharp dialog at you at a breakneck pace.  We’ve got cracks in walls, alien prisoners, alien prison guards, Kissograms, nurse fiances, Oscar winners, handsome hunks, and new culinary creations all vying for our attention but all paling in comparison to Matt Smith’s completely owning the role within about 15 minutes.  Was our enthusiasm for Who sagging just a touch?  Well thankfully Smith, Gillian, Moffat, and co. swoop in to revitalize us at… The Eleventh Hour!

But this isn’t the first… or even the second… Who “reboot” (that’s not a real reboot) on our agenda.  We go back to the heady days of 1996.  The Cold War was over, Bill Clinton was president (pre-scandal), John was studying for his AP Bio exam (not the whole year), and Doctor Who was returing to our screens on… Fox?!  Look, the 90s were a weird time, OK?  We were still trying to work out what the hell happened in the 80s.  Anyway, Doctor Who had miraculously risen from the dead as a Fox-BBC co-production which answered the question, “What do American audiences want?” with a resounding, “A confusing mess with Eric Roberts.”  Fortunately, they also cast Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, who – accompanied by his cardiologist – goes in search of an atomic clock for… reasons… and then something happens and then some other things and then the Master falls in a hole and oh yeah Sylvester McCoy was in it for a really long time and also apparently there was a bombed out hospital in San Francisco.  And that right there is a relatively simple summary of the cleverly titled Doctor Who The TV Movie.

Categories
Season 5

Who Gotta Get Outta This Place – “The Beast Below” & “The Ark”

But look… this Podcast is meant to be a light distraction from the troubles of life, so we’ll just gloss over the fact that they both start on the premise that, you know, Earth has exploded.  Let’s accentuate the positive here and focus on the survivors… who unnecessarily enslave and torture a kindly space creature that was trying to help them.  Whew.  Ok, let’s, um, focus on Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, still acting their socks off as they explore a floating UK in space with some bizarre Zoltars who serve… a function, apparently.  We also get the superb Sophie Okonedo as the bloody Queen (her words) resisting the urge to hit the Abdicate button (like all queens do).  It’s a high-concept light-hearted romp in space… if you ignore the plight of The Beast Below.

Of course, maybe more people escaped from Earth than we thought because Doctor Who has been tracking arks fleeing Earth left, right, and center – there must be one heck of a traffic jam in space with all these arks.  We go back to Doctor Who’s early days and William Hartnell‘s final season as the First Doctor as he and Steven and brand new companion Dodo arrive on a space Ark where they hand in a 2-stories-for-the-price-of-one Groupon.  The result is half a story about trying to cure the common cold (which the Doctor does quite easily, which must be a bit embarrassing for Merck), and then a second half about one-eyed Beatles impersonators who take over and enslave humanity because that’s what you do when you have one eye….  Will John and Porter be compelled to flee the Earth in disappointment (or excitement)?!  To find out, join them in climbing on board The Ark!