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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.11 “Heaven Sent”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.11 Heaven Sent BBC

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 11 “Heaven Sent”
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Written by Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Jami Reid-Quarrell
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 28, 2015

WARNING: SPOILERS for Season 9 of Doctor Who

This week on Doctor Who, Episode 9.11 “Heaven Sent,” we are forced to consider the myths of Prometheus, the Greek Titan. In an episode featuring only three actors, the Doctor is trapped in a prison apparently designed to both punish and tantalize him. A method of escape apparently exists, but it comes at a horrible price. It is a beautifully atmospheric piece of Gothic horror with a clockwork castle, an amorphous death-like adversary, and plenty of chills that bite deeply enough to hit bone.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.10 “Face The Raven”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.10 Face The Raven BBC

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 10 “Face The Raven”
Directed by Justin Molotnikov
Written by Sarah Dollard
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Joivan Wade, Maisie Williams
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 21, 2015

WARNING: SPOILERS for Seasons 8 & 9 of Doctor Who

This week on Doctor Who, Episode 9.10 “Face The Raven,” we finally start to see the end of the season in the distance. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, we can say that now is not the end, but it is, in one sense, the end of the beginning and, in another, the beginning of the end. Both concern one piece of business that must be dealt with: the departure of Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl. One actress sets that end in motion, and another brings it to its conclusion. Along the way, both discover that while they aspire to be with the Doctor or like the Doctor, there is price to pay whenever someone who is not the Doctor acts as the Doctor does. That’s a powerful idea, but it gets lost in an episode that was merely good and not great.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.9 “Sleep No More”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.9 Sleep No More BBC

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 9 “Sleep No More”
Directed by Justin Molotnikov
Written by Mark Gatiss
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Reece Sheersmith, Elaine Tan
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 14, 2015

This week’s episode of Doctor Who, 9.9 “Sleep No More,” seems to pose a question: Can the Doctor ever lose? In over 50 years, we’ve seen some rather pyrrhic victories (as in “Doctor Who And The Silurians” or “A Good Man Goes To War”), some inevitable stalemates (as in “Genesis Of The Daleks), or even the occasional tragedy (as in “Earthshock”), but we’ve rarely, if ever, seen him lose. What would a loss look like? Would the Doctor escape? Would anyone be hurt? How would the Doctor fail to grasp the full scope of the situation?

Writer Mark Gatiss presents us with such a situation this week. Framed as a sort of found-footage horror film, the Doctor and Clara escape with their lives but allow their enemy to achieve its goal. This raises two competing sets of issues. First, there are matters of plot convention; the twist ending that sets up an escape and/or sequel to a horror film is a pretty stock affair at this point. At the same time, this competes with the fact that the Doctor’s success rate averages somewhere very close to 100 percent of the time. An entity that defeats the Doctor had better be something pretty special, and sadly, much of “Sleep No More” is worse than average. Given Gatiss’ track record with the series, as well as his work on Sherlock and An Adventure In Space And Time, one should hope for better. This time, he pretty well missed the mark.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.8 “The Zygon Inversion”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.8 The Zygon Inversion BBC

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 7 “The Zygon Inversion”
Directed by Daniel Nettheim
Written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 7, 2015

In 1882, an author by the name of Frank R. Stockton wrote a now famous short story called “The Lady, or The Tiger?” In it, a barbaric king decides to mete out justice using trial by ordeal. The accused of crime is placed in an arena with two doors. The accused must open a single door. Behind one, there is a lady that the king decided is an appropriate match for the accused, that accused must marry if the door is opened. Behind the other is a fierce, hungry tiger that will devour the accused if the other choice is made.

That is very much the sort of conundrum that is the presented in Episode 9.7 “The Zygon Inversion” this week on Doctor Who. Does the world end in fire and violence? Or does everyone go on, committed to something different? How do you choose? Which do you choose, the Lady or the tiger?

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.7 “The Zygon Invasion”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.7 The Zygon Invasion BBC America

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 7 “The Zygon Invasion”
Directed by Daniel Nettheim
Written by Peter Harness
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, October 31, 2015

Doctor Who is not a series that generally tackles contemporary issues head-on. It was primarily started as a children’s entertainment designed to educate and inform, where possible, but not directly enter into controversy. So the Daleks can attempt genocide, we can all boo and hiss, and the Doctor can stop them, commenting about why they are so very wrong along the way. Looking back over the last 50-plus years, there are only a handful of serials that take stands on pressing political or social topics of the day. The Jon Pertwee serial “The Green Death” is remembered for its mention of environmental issues, as one example. The Tom Baker serial “The Sun Makers” dealt with the high British tax rates that made musical artists like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin into tax exiles, as another.

In this context, “The Zygon Invasion” that we see this week is a very rare bird indeed. It is a UNIT story, perhaps the first real UNIT story in a very long time. It is also one with a very contemporary edge. With the Zygons now settled on Earth through a treaty created in “The Day Of The Doctor,” this episode takes on what happens next… which turns out to tie in very neatly with issues of terrorism and surveillance in a post-9/11 world, the ethnic and social identity of refugees, and social reactions to the Syrian refugee crisis. How does the episode perform? Let’s find out.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.6 “The Woman Who Lived”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.6 The Girl Who Lived BBC

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 6 “The Woman Who Lived”
Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Written by Catherine Tregenna
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Maisie Williams, Rufus Hound
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, October 24, 2015

If I talk to my mother about growing old, one of the things she reports about getting old is the annoying sensation of seeing people make the same mistakes over and over again. It is that sort of insight that raises questions about immortality in Doctor Who 9.6, “The Woman Who Lived.” How do you deal with the fear and ignorance of those around you? How do you form relationships with individuals whose status can only be transient? Do you have children when you know that you may see them grow old and die? How do you react to a world that seems to lurch often backward and only occasionally forward? These are all tremendously fertile questions to examine through drama, and while the episode frequently does a more than competent examination, it is let down by some uninspired elements that pop up in its last half.

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TV Review: Doctor Who 9.5 “The Girl Who Died”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Doctor Who 9.5 The Girl Who Died BBC America

Doctor Who
Season 9, Episode 5 “The Girl Who Died”
Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Written by Jamie Mathieson & Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Maisie Williams, David Schofield, Simon Lipkin
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, October 17, 2015

I’ll say this up front: watch this episode.

I guess I could stop there, but it wouldn’t be much fun to do that, now would it? Doctor Who Episode 9.5 “The Girl Who Died” is a pocket symphony running at tempo molto vivace. It deconstructs and reconstructs the themes behind modern Doctor Who at the same time. It takes what could have been a significant guest star part and turns in the best episode of the season so far. It reveals something of the Doctor’s past and finally brings this current incarnation of the Time Lord into sharper focus. It is, in short, the best that I think Steven Moffat-era Doctor Who can offer.

I’ve been a bit of a hard case on Doctor Who so far this season. Where I know other reviewers on the Internet have spoken about the first, third, and fourth episodes of this season in strong terms, I deliberately played up the negatives. Episode 1 was shock and awe, but it gave little solid ground for viewers to stand on. Episodes 3 and 4 were praised for their strong performances and paced, economic storytelling, but I thought they veered a little too close to formula. I thought that only episode 2, with its carefully constructed constraints, represented a strong offering for this season.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams To Guest On ‘Doctor Who’
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Maisie Williams Doctor Who

Geeks should already be familiar with the name Maisie Williams. She appears as Arya Stark on this little HBO show called Game of Thrones. Now, to further solidify her name in the geek community she will take a little trip over to BBC where she will have a guest starring role on Doctor Who.

Now I am not an avid watcher of the show, but this is pretty big news for fans of the immensely popular British series, which has built a massive worldwide fanbase. Hit the jump to see what Williams and series executive producer and writer Steven Moffat (Sherlock) had to say about the guest starring role.

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‘Orphan Black’ Season 3 Teaser and Premiere Date
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Maximus Prime   |  
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Orphan Black Season 3 Teaser Image

The sestras are back! BBC America has just released a teaser trailer for Season 3 of Orphan Black. With the plethora of revelations and betrayals that were strewn about the whole of Season 2, it’s safe to say that Sarah and the Clone Club will have no shortage of challenges to face when the show returns.

Check out the trailer here below.

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‘Doctor Who’: The TARDIS Lands In New York City (Photo)
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary BBC America New York office

Yesterday, a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary TARDIS Cake was delivered to BBC America’s New York office. The cake, which was created by New Jersey’s Pink Cake Box, featured the Eleventh Doctor standing outside a beautiful, edible TARDIS.

But the Doctor Who-themed cake wasn’t yesterday’s only arrival. The actual TARDIS also landed at the BBC America office! Check out the photo here below of the TARDIS, which arrived straight from the television show’s set.

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