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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.8 “The Lie Of The Land”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.8 The Lie Of The Land BBC Simon Ridgway/Stuart Manning

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 8 “The Lie Of The Land”
Directed by Wayne Yip
Written by Toby Whithouse
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez
BBC America
Air date: June 3, 2017

Ever since the dawn of modern mass media, there has been this concern that media has a meta-textual element designed to mislead the public. Call it subliminal advertising or even the Discordian fnord, but there is always this notion that the newspapers, the TV, the Internet that people so willingly and gleefully consume is actually putting us to sleep somehow. Though it informs us, that very act also allows it to control us. It creates a method for the direct manipulation of the human psyche, and since mass media systems make the replication of controlling information so easy, the many can be controlled by the very few.

This dystopian idea of control through mass media is what Doctor Who examines with Episode 10.8 “The Lie Of The Land.” Having established last week that a new alien species (the Monks) has arrived on Earth that behave something like a shadowy, Illuminati-like group, the gimmick of “The Pyramid At The End Of The World” was the setup for a choice. Bill (Pearl Mackie) must pick the uncertain future of life on Earth with the Monks, or let the Doctor die. She chooses the former, and now we see what life with the Monks looks like.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.7 “The Pyramid At The End Of The World”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.7 The Pyramid At The End Of The World BBC

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 7 “The Pyramid at the End of the World”
Directed by Daniel Nettheim
Written by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Togo Igawa
BBC America
Air date: May 27, 2017

This week on Doctor Who, the Doctor continues his adventure in the world of the occult conspiracy thriller. An Egyptian-style pyramid appears in the middle of a hot zone in Central Asia. The Doctor and Bill are summoned to investigate. The Doctor is still blind, and has not yet told Bill about it.

What do they find? What does it all mean? The episode pulls together some interesting literary symbols and ideas in order to create jeopardy, but it falls apart a bit at the last minute. To find out why, read on…

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.6 “Extremis”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.6 Extremis BBC

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 6 “Extremis”
Directed by Charles Palmer
Written by Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez
BBC America
Air date: May 20, 2017

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term in extremis means in extreme circumstances; especially: at the point of death. After the horror and jeopardy of “Oxygen” last week, what does that mean for Doctor Who? It cannot mean the Doctor, can it? Given a fifty year history of the Doctor’s survival, that seems highly unlikely.

No, what we get with this week’s episode, “Extremis,” is part Dan Brown and part the Wachowskis as something new menaces Earth. We also learn a lot about the mysterious vault, and this season’s long story arc. Our twelve episode journey for the year is now half over. Let’s see what it is all about.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.5 “Oxygen”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who Episode 10.5 Oxygen

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 5 “Oxygen”
Directed by Charles Palmer
Written by Jamie Mathieson
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Kieran Bew, Mimi Ndiweni
BBC America
Air date: May 13, 2017

Ah, now that’s more like it. After a somewhat tepid attempt at atmospheric haunted house horror last week, Doctor Who brings us a full-throated example of zombie horror in Episode 10.5 “Oxygen.” Drawing on a diverse series of film influences that use horror and jeopardy to entertain as well as launch social and economic critiques, experienced Doctor Who hands Charles Palmer (“Smith and Jones,” “The Shakespeare Code”) and Jamie Mathieson (“Mummy On The Orient Express,” “Flatline”) create a tense, kinetic episode that is much of what Episode 10.4 “Knock Knock” wasn’t and raises the average quality of the episodes this season to a very respectable place. More about the episode and its influences after the jump.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.4 “Knock Knock”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who Episode 10.4 Knock Knock

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 4 “Knock Knock”
Directed by Bill Anderson
Written by Mike Bartlett
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, David Suchet
BBC America
Air date: May 6, 2017

What do “normal” days in the world of Doctor Who look like? It’s an interesting question. Exposure to the Doctor and his magic box seems to create a hyper-real existence where you meet aliens, humans, leviathans, and gods. Embarking on the hero quest, one cannot help but be changed by it. Does that mean that the TARDIS is a Pandora’s Box? Once that box is opened, the forces unleashed do not seem to be something that can simply be turned on and off like a switch… or can they? In Episode 10.4 “Knock Knock,” we see Bill try to have an ordinary day, with the Doctor along for the ride as little as possible. Luckily for us, she fails.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.3 “Thin Ice”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.3 Thin Ice Peter Capaldi Pearl Mackie

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 3 “Thin Ice”
Directed by Bill Anderson
Written by Sarah Dollard
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Nicholas Burns, Asiatu Koroma, Peter Singh
BBC America
Air date: April 29, 2017

This week, Doctor Who Episode 10.3 brings us a veritable melange of different topics. We get some costume drama. There is also some criticism of the class structure of British society. There is even some [gasp!] confrontation of race issues. Yet somehow, we also get to have a good deal of fun. The show feels quite sure of itself and is willing to take a few risks (albeit small ones). Those gambits largely pay off and take the Doctor and Pearl to a few places the show rarely goes. It’s thin ice, in more than one sense.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.2 “Smile”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.2 Smile BBC

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 2 “Smile”
Directed by Lawrence Gough
Written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas
BBC America
Air date: April 22, 2017

What is the meaning of history? What is happiness? How do humans survive in an automated society? These are some of the weighty topics examined in Episode 10.2 “Smile,” the new installment of Doctor Who this week. With so much potential ground to cover, this episode could easily bog down in a mess of tangled subplots and ideas. Instead, thanks to some strong direction for the second week in a row, director Lawrence Gough turns in some classic “meat and potatoes” Doctor Who that covers ground that is at once fresh and familiar at the same time.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 10.1 “The Pilot”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 10.1 The Pilot BBC

Doctor Who
Season 10, Episode 1 “The Pilot”
Directed by Lawrence Gough
Written by Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Stephanie Hyam
BBC America
Air date: April 15, 2017

At last, at last, Doctor Who returns to the airwaves regularly for the first time since December 2015! The long wait is over. We finally get to see Peter Capaldi kick off his last season playing the Doctor. We also start to find out what Steven Moffat has in store for his sixth and final tour through the Doctor Who universe. To top it off, we are introduced to new companion Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie. The result is fairly wonderful introduction to a textured new companion, told with a grace and charm that highlights the strengths of the show.

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‘Doctor Who’: Peter Capaldi Stepping Down As The Doctor
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Peter Capaldi To Step Down After Next Season Of Doctor Who

Peter Capaldi revealed on Monday night that the coming season of Doctor Who will be his last as the Doctor.

Speaking to BBC Radio, he said to Jo Whatley that “I feel sad, I love Doctor Who, it is a fantastic program to work on, but I don’t know how long I can give it my best, and if I’m not giving it my best, I don’t want to do it.” As there is no final word on the schedule for the next season of Doctor Who, the exact date of his last episode is unknown. If it sticks to the traditions of the modern series however, the Doctor will regenerate either during or immediately before the 2017 Christmas episode.

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‘Doctor Who’ Coming To Amazon Prime On March 27th
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who logo and TARDIS from the Netflix web site

It’s been a rough few months for Doctor Who fans in the United States who want to watch their favorite show. First, the news came in late January that only a single episode of new Who, the Christmas Special, would be broadcast in 2016 with Season 10 following in the spring of 2017. Then, both Hulu and Netflix announced a few days later that Doctor Who was disappearing from their respective rosters at the end of January. That left Doctor Who fans in the United States with no ability to stream the program legally. Doctor Who went dark for much of North America starting in early February.

The time of darkness is now over. Amazon announced today that it reached an agreement with the BBC to exclusively stream Doctor Who in the United States on Amazon Prime starting on Sunday, March 27th. Prime customers will be able to watch seasons one through eight and their associated holiday specials starting that day, with the ninth season being made available this fall. Presumably, Classic Doctor Who will appear sometime in the near future.

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