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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.

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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!

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Season 5

The Trojan Dalek – “Victory of the Daleks” & “The Power of the Daleks”

But before we come to grips with sneaky Daleks, let’s take a moment to celebrate our 50th episode!  Yes, many said we couldn’t do it.  They said the world was too saturated in Podcasts.  They said we lacked the requisite connections to turn NNTMP into nothing short of an international, dare we say, phenomenon.  Well, they were right – but we did it anyway!

As if 50 eps wasn’t momentous enough, our stories this week pack in the momentousness.  We begin with 11th Doctor Matt Smith’s historic first meeting with the Daleks – made even more historic by the inclusion of the historic Winston Churchill during the historic Blitz when the Nazis were trying to make the UK history.  The Daleks, themselves moved by all the historicness, decide to roll out a super fab redesign that answers the question, “What if the Daleks were the same color as M&Ms?”  The answer is that they would be deeply unpopular.  But not unpopular enough to thwart The Victory of the Daleks!

We then return rocket back to perhaps the single most important story in Doctor Who history – which must be why it was immediately lost by the BBC.  Anyhow… it’s the debut of Patrick Troughton as Doctor #2, confusing the hell out of the youth of Britain who were desperately trying to understand what had happened.  Ol’ Pat is not immediately helpful to his friends Ben and Polly or to the audience, but fortunately the Daleks are around to comfort us by sinisterly manipulating the colonists, driving a scientist insane, and then just mass slaughtering everyone in sight.  The Omnibot 2000 they are most certainly not.  Join Porter and John as they get a charge out of The Power of the Daleks.

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Season 5

Crash Into Me – “The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone” & “Full Circle”

Yes, it’s raining spaceships – hallelujah! – but the Doctor is there to pick up the pieces.  First, Doctor #11 and Amy Pond rescue the gorgeous and glamorous River Song, who returns to the series after dying in a library but not really dying (and trust us, it only gets more complicated from here).  Porter and John are running out of superlatives for the great Matt Smith by this point, which is ironic (sort of) as this is his first actual performance (in terms of recording order).  Yes, this sort of electrifying trivia is only part of the excitement as the Doctor, his friends, and some gun-totin’ Church folk tangle with a whole heapin’ helpin’ of Weepin’ Angels.  Check your watches, Probers, because it’s The Time of Angels (and Flesh and Stone).

It takes a little longer for the 4th Doctor and Romana to arrive at the scene of their spaceship crash (a number of generations, in fact), but per usual once they arrive they manage to up-end an entire civilization within hours.  It’s a lesson in evolution on Alzarius, which makes sense because the story is written by then 18-year old Andrew Smith, a Doctor Who fan who had probably only just studied evolution when he mailed in his script to the Doctor Who production office.  John is thrilled with some mildly homoerotic opening scenes, while Porter is delighted by the return of K-9 with whom he has been enamored since our very first, as yet unaired NNTMP Pilot episode.  So excited that even as he was dragged into a swamp (long story), he had the wherewithal to shout, “Tell John, we’ve come Full Circle!”

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Season 5

Vamplified – “The Vampires of Venice” & “State of Decay”

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Season 5

Night of the Living Elderly – “Amy’s Choice” & “Paradise Towers”

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Season 5

London Underground 2: The Sea-quel – “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood” & “The Sea Devils”

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Season 5

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Doctor – “Vincent and the Doctor” & “Castrovalva”

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Season 5

The Doctor Next Store – “The Lodger” & “Fury from the Deep”

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Season 5

Let’s Call It a Knight – “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” & “The Androids of Tara”