The Return of Doctor Mysterio
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This topic contains 93 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by Missy 5 years, 11 months ago.
25 December 2016 at 13:57 #54906Craig @craigEmperor
Merry Christmas to all you lovely people and thanks for sticking with us through what has been a rather quiet 12-month period. And once again apologies for not being around as much as I would have liked to have been this year on the forum. Real life has been getting in the way but I hope it’s been worth it. I may be up for a big promotion early next year and am keeping my fingers crossed.
But I digress. It’s Christmas Special time and the Doctor joins forces with a masked superhero. Brain-swapping aliens are about to attack, and the Doctor and Nardole link up with an investigative reporter and a mysterious, flying figure known only as the Ghost.
This is, more-or-less, a standalone episode and I hear if you like comic books and superheroes then there’s a lot to enjoy in this. There are gags and shout-outs to the classics and it may quite possibly be the most enjoyable Christmas Special ever. Here’s hoping so.
Once again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, or whatever winter solstice-type festival you may celebrate, and a very happy, much more Doctor-filled, New Year.25 December 2016 at 18:49 #54912
“Well, you wear a rubber suit with a big “G” on your chest”
Heh.25 December 2016 at 19:12 #54913
OK, I liked it. The doctor takes 24 years off for date night, fair enough in the circumstances. The doctor accidentally creates a superhero by handing a small child a small object saying ‘I’m a doctor, take this’ more or less. The doctor seems at least as interested in the love story as he is in the threat to earth- well the latter is a Christmas tradition and he’s just seen his wife for the last time, which only happened a couple of times before, maybe…
i said to my boyfriend near the end how I like the fact that with superman Clark Is the alter ego, so I liked the idea of ‘putting on his costume’.
And Matt Lucas is no Catherine Tate, but he had improved.25 December 2016 at 21:08 #54914Cath Annabel @cathannabel
Well, as is traditional with watching the Christmas special on Christmas Day, we had to contend with interruptions and distractions (the cat wanted to come in. and then out. and then in. Drinks needed replenishing, Grandma had the occasional random intervention to do with watchstraps). So I am certain I missed many of the finer points, but what I saw and heard I liked a great deal.
We watched the last 3 Xmas specials last night, and so the references back to Husbands of RS were very much in our minds, and we picked up on the first reference to 24 years, whereas we mightn’t have done otherwise.
We love superheroes, so that plot line was very enjoyable, with the whole trope of people not recognising the alter ego (and the Doctor thinking he was the first to spot that Clark Kent was Superman – ‘look, I’ve drawn specs on Superman!’), and the ‘You’re all wet’. ‘I prefer mild-mannered’.
Clearly the zip faced guys will be back… As will Matt Lucas, and whilst I dislike most of his output, especially Little Britain which I loathed, I like Nardole and feel a bit the same as I did about Catherine Tate, who I really didn’t care for at all in her sketch shows etc, but who I grew to love as Donna (and the end of her arc is something one can’t really speak about without choking up a bit).
We noted the subtle echo from Time of the Doctor to Last Christmas (Clara helps old Matt Smith Doctor to pull the cracker, the Doctor helps old Clara to pull the cracker) and from Last Christmas to Husbands (Danny to Clara – ‘Do you know why people get together at Christmas? Because every time they do, it might be the last time. Every Christmas is last Christmas, and this is ours.’ The Doctor to River – ‘Every night is the last night for something. Every Christmas is the last Christmas’). And in this one there were not only the references to Husbands but the theme of endings. The Doctor to Clara in Time of the Doctor: ‘Everyone gets stuck somewhere eventually, Clara. Everything ends.’ And in Hide, Clara says she’s just realised something she didn’t want to, ‘That everything ends.’ In this one, the Doctor says ‘“Everything ends and it’s always sad. But everything begins again and it’s always happy. Be happy.”
I’m sure there will be more thoughts when I get to rewatch and catch the bits I missed whilst letting cats in (and out) and mending watchstraps. But for now, it’s bloody marvellous to have him back, and it was a real cracker (festive pun entirely intended).
Merry Christmas one and all!26 December 2016 at 01:22 #54916
@craig: Thanks for the good wishes.
I’m really looking forward to tonight. From what I’ve seen in trailers, this special is definitely for the kids. which is great, as I’ve never grown up and have no desire to.
@miapatrick: @cathannabe: Why is it that you’ve seen the special? Oh well, I shall read your comments tomorrow, I don’t want to spoil it for myself.
Happy Boxing Day
Missy26 December 2016 at 07:46 #54918Frobisher @frobisher
I’m not sure where you are, @missy , but DW was on the 25/12/16 in the UK, so people will have seen that. Maybe you can use the BBC iPlayer to watch it?
I myself did not see it. Too busy playing with our ten month old! Glad it sounds like it was good, though.26 December 2016 at 10:37 #54919
I’m in Australia and the above is on tonight. I thought every country was seeing it at the same time – the 26th.
Missy26 December 2016 at 13:37 #54920MissRori @missrori
I rather enjoyed this one! I would rank “The Husbands of River Song” above it as far as the Twelfth Doctor’s Christmas shows go — to be fair, I haven’t got around to “Last Christmas” yet so I can’t make a final ranking; shame on me — but “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is definitely well worth the wait. And I think you’ll like it too @missy . There’s lots of fun and wonder in it.
By way of avoiding spoilers, I will say it’s definitely a “breather” episode, probably the most lighthearted Twelve story since “Robot of Sherwood”, the episode that got me into Twelve — a lot of laughs, but there is also heart. There’s the corny-in-a-fun-way relationship between Lucy and Grant/The Ghost, and we do get a few tender glimpses of the hearts beneath Twelve’s bluster. The closing sequence is truly lovely.
At this point Peter Capaldi is unstoppable — his first scene here will go down as one of the great Twelfth Doctor entrances. Other highlights include a marvelous bit involving a security camera, and even his famous “dad skills”! And I liked Nardole even more this time around; I’m looking forward to how that relationship will develop once Bill enters the picture.
It’s a special with laughs, heart, a few thrills, and even its own snacks! 😉
And yes! There’s a Series 10 teaser trailer at the end…I really do like how this season is being pitched as a fresh start, especially after so long, and yet we have a Doctor we know and love to guide the way. Can’t wait for April!
(Also, the ad breaks during the BBC America airing confirmed that Class will indeed make it to U.S. shores in the spring — they ran a preview.)26 December 2016 at 15:40 #54921FrostFair @frostfair
Very enjoyable Christmas episode and just perfect for post – Christmas lunch entertainment. Great baddies with unzipped faces and those very determined surgeons. Looking forward to Matt Lucas and Peter Capaldi in future episodes too.26 December 2016 at 16:23 #54922Juniperfish @juniperfish
Festive salutations everyone!
That was an excellent script – not too schmaltzy (like many a Christmas episode has been before). Well done Moff!
Capaldi has well and truly found his feet in the role now. His facial expressions alone are an absolute joy to behold.
The gentle riff on Superman was tremendously sweet, complete with modern day Lois and her Manny, and the nod to the Daily Planet at the top of the building.
@pedant I too liked the rubber suit and big “G” gag.
That the Doctor should find himself haplassly sorting out someone else’s topsy-turvey love-life at a time when he was mourning his own, was a gently understated emotional note which worked really well. His 24 years “of course it is” turning away comment, when Grant said the number of years he’d known Lucy for, was such a nice gentle “ouch” (24 years being the length of night on Durllium, his last night with Rver).
I enjoyed seeing the Doctor being responsible about his cock-up too, returning to check on kid Grant at intervals, a nice nod to companion show Class.
Doctor Mysterio is wonderful as the Doctor’s “super” comic book name too.
Charity Wakefield was great as the Lois character.
And of course, it was tremendously sentimental of the Doctor to choose Nardole as a companion – a way of sharing River’s memory with someone who knew her.
All in all, I’m wth @craig – the best Christmas special of the lot since Nu Who began.
Bottoms up, everyone!26 December 2016 at 19:33 #54925nerys @nerys
I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed by this one. Dunno why. Here in Canada, we are forced to watch it with commercial interruptions, which always take away from my enjoyment of Doctor Who. So I will try watching it again and fast-forwarding through those pesky interruptions. My favourite of the newer Christmas specials is “Last Christmas”; I didn’t think it would be, but on repeat viewings it’s the one with with the most emotional staying power, for me. “The Husbands of River Song” felt too frantically paced, though the last 10 minutes were utterly charming and mostly made up for it, at least for me. Another viewing of “Return of Doctor Mysterio” might well improve it. But how I do miss watching these episodes, completely sans commercials, on Netflix!27 December 2016 at 07:53 #54927
Against all odds, I thoroughly enjoyed this special. When I saw PC hanging by his feet in front of a window, I blinked mentally, then got into the spirit of the thing.
The Doctor with baby? Well, that was different. Grant being a ‘nanny’?A reference to Clara mayhap?
The Shoal of the Winter Harmony back in circulation and brains with eyes. *shudder* How they managed to fit those brains into hinged heads is a mystery.
24 years – River – Darillium and the Singing Towers, and the grief which, in my opinion, only one other actor has been able to convey convincingly – David Tennant – was so poignant, so heart breaking, that it brought tears to my eyes.
I’ve never seen the Doctor with the first couple of his shirt buttons undone? Perhaps another proof of his grief for the loss of River Song.
Sorry I’m gabbling, but I think you will know what I mean – I loved it.
ever happens27 December 2016 at 08:13 #54928
@missy- yes, his grief was wonderfully done. And they managed to make it entertaining at the same time. Though I personally like Last Christmas and The Husbands of River Song more, this was also more of a stand-alone, a sequel to the last Christmas Special, but also something of a re-set. The Doctor handling his grief over River in a more mature way than Eleven did over the loss of Amy and Rory, as though Amy bought out the child in him, but River bought out the adult in Twelve.27 December 2016 at 12:57 #54929Juniperfish @juniperfish
@missy and @miapatrick <waves> Yes Capaldi did grief very well. Wouldn’t he be a lovely face to sculpt!
The only thing I was disappointed about was that, with a baby in the mix, I was expecting some “the Doctor speaks baby” jokes and we didn’t get them! What a missed opportunity! Maybe Moffat felt he’d overdone that one already, what with Baby Melody and Baby Stormaggedon but I, for one, would have welcomed hearing what the nipper had to say about his Mum and the Super-Manny (nice hidden pun on Superman btw).27 December 2016 at 20:15 #54932SallySparrow @dimchall
I just loved it. My nephews are just getting into DW and so having a stand alone episode was perfect for Christmas with any past references going right over their heads (because, spoilers). We laughed out loud multiple times and were sufficiently creeped by the zip-heads.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hardly ever comment, but I love reading every comment after every episode. It’s as much fun as the show.28 December 2016 at 02:48 #54934misterhoo @misterhoo
Piloting the TARDIS used to be a rare skill. Now we have Nardole taking the TARDIS on joy rides to Constantinople. I am guessing River taught him while borrowing it.28 December 2016 at 04:10 #54935
@miapatrick: I agree, this Doctor is more mature, but makes it very obvious that he adored River.
@juniperfish: *waves back* He has a wonderful face, what is called ‘lived in.” but still manages to be attractive , at least, I find him attractive. SM probably didn’t want to stress the ‘baby talk* thingy, it could be over done.
@dimchall: Great fun wasn’t it. Loved the eating scenes – that’s new. the craftily slipped in Unit soldier, obviously one of the shoal. AND *fanfare* Mr Huffle! I laughed and laughed, what a bonkers, brilliant idea! IWANT ONE. Don’t think I’ll be the only one either..
@misterhoo: More than likely. who knows what she got up to when “him in doors” was away.
My husband actually enjoyed this one, completely unexpected I have to say. The other day he said that I got too involved with DW. My answer was that if one didn’t get involved, one was NOT a Whovian.
Missy28 December 2016 at 08:56 #54936
@missy I loved Mr Huffle, and her use of it is entirely logical- but why would that thing exist? It’s like a child’s toy designed by a cat. Though I do rather want one myself.28 December 2016 at 16:14 #54937winston @winston
Hi all! I hope your holiday was good. Like most of you I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. It was light and cheerful and a perfect dessert after a rushed day and too much eating. Loved Nardole and the super-nanny and the whole story. We were stuck with nasty commercial breaks which take away some enjoyment but that was not the Doctors fault. The Doctor is learning to deal with endings and goodbyes a little better but he did give her the sonic screwdriver that will help the 10th to “save her ” so he still hates to say goodbye. Nardole seems like a very wise and caring companion who doesn’t pull his punches while giving the Doctor advice and I liked him. Bring on the new series, I am ready .29 December 2016 at 05:59 #54941gamergirlavatar @gamergirlavatar
Happy Holidays (three days late), I hope everyone had a great and festive season.
Now to talk about the episode. This was a great episode to start the season. As always, a Christmas episode was made to be more cheerful and wasn’t surrounding a scientific story line. It revolved around the humor and the characters. Peter’s doctor was more cheerful for the holidays and didn’t slam the TARDIS door in the face of a child. But he still had a great moment of pressing buttons to nearly crash a spaceship, sure to kill thousands if the plan didn’t work and our (super) hero kept his promise. I like my bitter doctor but he was still in character, great job to the writers and Peter for this. However, I hope he’ll be a darker hero for the rest of the season, even though he’ll have good people by his side. I’m sure the rest of the episodes this season will be great as well after a years wait.29 December 2016 at 08:01 #54943
@miapatrick: Completely crazy, whihc made it all the more fun.
@winston: Nardole is a dark horse – or rather WAs a dark horse. He seems dopey, but there’s a lot of common sense there.
@gamergirlavatar: I agree with you, and can’t wait for the drought to break. Happy New year to you both.
Missy29 December 2016 at 13:15 #54946Mersey @mersey
I think this episode shows that Capaldi’s Doctor comes out better as a comical character rather then a drama person (Don’t say that there are plenty dramatic and really brilliant episodes with Capaldi. I know that). There’s something joyful in Peter Capaldi (I think it’s the fact that he really really enjoys playing the Doctor) that makes those dramatic episodes a bit forced to me. I think comedy suits him better.
I find this episode much more better than the last Christmas special. Actually it was the best Christmass Special since the Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Especially Matt Lucas was a big surprise for me. I didn’t like Nardole at all in his first appearence but now I’m very pleased that he joined the Doctor and I think they make a really good couple. And because of what I’ve said earlier and of what was said about the next season I really can’t wait for it. Cheers29 December 2016 at 15:29 #54947
Was a little late to the party with this one, but I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. Perhaps not as much as THoRS, nevertheless it was a fun ride. I loved the River references as well and I’m glad they allowed Twelve to show his grief after she’s gone to the Library. Peter knocked that out of the park. I still love how wide-eyed and protective Twelve gets around babies, and Nardole does seem to have hidden depths and talents too.
Actually, in relation to River, did anybody else raise an eyebrow that the The Shoal were in THoRS and this year’s Christmas Special too? Not only that, doesn’t Harmony Shoal sound more than a little like another pseudonym for River Song? It could just be that Moffat is messing with us, but when you consider that ‘a shoal’ can also be a shallow stretch of water as well as a collective noun for fish then it’s possible he’s cooking something up.29 December 2016 at 18:55 #54948
I wonder that as well (I actually forgot about the name Harmony of Shoals and your observation about synonyms struck me too).
I think two closely related factors are in play:
1. Moffat will have discussed with Chibnall where he wants to launch from;
2. Moffat is all about the arc and I would not put it past him to send us right back to the Library, and then look very closely at the nature of family. @sirclockface reported DW filing in Kettering ages ago which he was told included Jenna Coleman. Those scenes have not been used yet. Also, we have still not had River’s enigmatic remark at the end of Time of The Doctor explained.29 December 2016 at 21:59 #54949
@pedant I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Moffat is planning another twist in River’s arc. Love her or hate her, she defines his tenure as much as both the Ponds and Clara do, so I won’t be at all surprised if she pops up again before he leaves. I did wonder a while back if she’d make an appearance around the time Twelve regenerates, after all, he is her Doctor now. (To be honest, I’ve always thought River is ripe for a spin-off, but perhaps that’s just me.) Very interesting about Clara making an appearance as well.
Also, speaking of the Library, seen as River only exists now as a non-physical entity, is it a coincidence that a multi-national organisation is stealing bodies?30 December 2016 at 01:24 #54950AlexWho @alexwho
I think I liked last year’s THoRS better. This one didn’t feel like a Christmas episode. But Capaldi was still great.
And your probably right about there being some kind of link between River and the Shoals as this episode is set directly after THoRS. Maybe its a set-up for 12 to regenerate in next year’s Christmas special and Moffet will reveal it.30 December 2016 at 01:32 #54951
On reflection, Moffat’s recurring theme is loneliness – especially the Doctor’s existential loneliness. From “Are you my Mummy?” through the Girl in The Fireplace’s “Poor lonely boy” to Amy’s abandonment issues echoing in him, to the loneliness of command made easier by Clara, right up to the superhero having to live a double life – loneliness as a state of existence has been Moffat’s recurring leitmotif, as much as any of Murray Gold’s score.
I wonder if he would like to give him his family back in some way.30 December 2016 at 05:45 #54952
@doctordani: When isn’t SM cooking up something. I dare say we’ll see a little more of Mr. Huffle too now it’s taken up resdidence on the Tardis.
@pedant: I shall have ro re-watch Time of the Doctor, can’t remember River’s remark?
@alexwho: This special stands alone, and most definitely for kids. I don’t think you (you generally) can compare it with the other’s.
Missy30 December 2016 at 16:20 #54954
I did of course mean the NAME of the Doctor. Tired posting
At the end, after the snogging and the “goodbye”, River ask how it was possible that she was still present after Clara died (since she was psychically linked to her). At first blush this just says that she was saying that Clara is not dead, but when the Doc asks “how” she sasy “spoilers”. Not much of a spoiler if he was going to jump in anyway….31 December 2016 at 00:44 #54957
@pedant Yeah, I’ve wondered if we’re on a trajectory to allow the Doctor to have another member of his family travelling with him too. Let’s see if that has a bearing on how things play out with Bill. To be honest, I’d enjoy having a new companion/Doctor dynamic. I think Peter would enjoy playing that as well.
@missy Mr. Huffle is the companion we never knew we wanted!31 December 2016 at 03:16 #54959Anonymous @
Mum noticed this page when she was looking at it with a friend. And she said “in the middle of the intro to the Christmas special Craig mentioned he’s possibly up for promotion, tell him we have our fingers crossed and toes crossed & hope all the hard work has been worth it. We love you!”
I’ve seen the Special and loved it and I’ll comment a little when my brain is back!
FYI, if someone said “I’m a Doctor” gave me a glass of water and said “take this” ” I’d definitely swallow it. As soon as the child was given the gem I thought “uh oh.”
Thank you for reading,
Thane1531 December 2016 at 03:23 #54960Anonymous @
ooh one last @frobisher -congratulations on the baby -10 months late (we the Hybrid of Puro and Son apologise) but wanted to say that playing with your baby would beat watching a baby on the television -sort of!
And, without mentioning his whole name due to spoilers we hope Mr Blenkinsop will be better soon. The lurgy? I don’t know what this is but it sounds very bad!
Thane1531 December 2016 at 04:36 #54962
@pedant: Bless you for that. I realised that you must have meant Name of the Doctor and watched. Let’s hope the ‘spoilers’ meant the return of River Song.
@doctordani: Mr. Huffle is the companion we never knew we wanted! True, and I definitely want one. 🙂
Missy31 December 2016 at 05:00 #54963ichabod @ichabod
@missy This special stands alone, and most definitely for kids. I don’t think you (you generally) can compare it with the others.
I’d agree with that; it’s definitely family viewing, and reassurance for all those who got really rattled and upset about their beloved kid show from when they were kids, suddenly (and quite deliberately) grown up for the older end of the audience spectrum. With little flashes, of course, of adult nostalgia and satire, and the Doctor’s lingering melancholy over losing River (and, by implication, Clara) for the grown ups.
One little scene really stands out for me, though, and that’s the one with adolescent Grant sitting on a bench in the school hallway refusing to look the other kids as they pass because he can’t control his X-ray vision. The Doctor spots young Lucy as the person Grant likes the most, and Grant says, “How do you know?” And he has risen, still in his seated position, up the wall (via his “super-powers”, and as a far from subtle metaphor for helpless arousal, particularly since the kid has both hands clamped over his crotch in a miserable attempt at concealment). So the Doctor, all quiet sympathy, calmly draws him back down onto the bench by one knee, and we’re off somewhere, gone from my memory.
That is a remarkable little scene: gently comic, warm, and kind, addressing directly the onset of problems of puberty, and aimed at boys without snark. An impressive little moment of quiet cross-species, cross-age-cohort sympathy and support, and IMO above and beyond the call of duty for an episode tailored primarily for youngish kids . . .
@thane15 The lurgy? I don’t know what this is but it sounds very bad!
That is, I believe, the dreaded lurgy, right out of Monty Python, and is a comedy version of the scrapie, a real (?) disease that can afflict Scottish sheep. Or maybe just sheep in Scotland.
Everybody wants Mr. Huffle, though if your dog got hold of him, you might have send them both into exile for the sake of your sanity. Assuming, that is, that Mr. Huffle actually can emit that range of sounds, rather than being just a prop for the sound man to attach some squeals to as needed.
All in all, I enjoyed the show very much and thought it pretty much perfect for Christmas. I do have one question, though: Young Grant tells the upside-down swinging Doctor outside the window that *he is expected*, but if there was ever an explanation of why Grant’s mom is indeed expecting the Doctor and has Grant invite him in, I missed it. Anybody tell me what that was about?31 December 2016 at 09:59 #54965Cath Annabel @cathannabel
@ichabod I assumed the mum thought it was Father Xmas, thus he was ‘expected’, though I agree it wasn’t followed up!
@thane15 Good to have you back! Looking forward to your thoughts on the Special when the jet lag has passed.31 December 2016 at 13:24 #54966KBranagh @kbranagh
Hi guys!! finally a new Doctor Who episode.
It was a nice christmas special…at first i was suspicious(another omage to the superheroes movies? even Moffat?) but in the second half i started to like the dynamics of the events and the characters as well.
Good callbacks to the last christmas episode(Nardole and the the villains from The Husbands of River Song) and from season 9 in general….another Hybrid created by the Doctor.
I love the puppet, i think it was the best thing of the episode xD1 January 2017 at 02:28 #54971
Great fun wasn’t it. However I disagree. the best thing about the episode was Peter Capaldi as usual, Mr Huffle was second in line. 🙂
Happy New year.
Missy1 January 2017 at 12:32 #54974Mersey @mersey
@missy I disagree with your ‘for kids’ label. ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Pocahontas’ and other productions were also for kids and you can’t say they didn’t bring up serious stuff. But yeah, it was much more lighter than the Last Christmas.2 January 2017 at 07:23 #54989Kharis @kharis
@kbranagh I also enjoyed it. I liked the characters and the love story was very cute.
My least favorite part was the constant brain hinge, and me wondering why no villain ever just shoots the doctor once the gun is aimed?
Like @missy my favorite part was the Doctor; I think Peter Capaldi is brilliant. Also, I really liked Nardole. (: I think he is a really fun addition.
It’s not an episode like ‘Silence in the Library’, ‘Heaven Sent’, ‘Husbands of River Song’, ‘Christmas Carol’ or any of the episodes I get so passionate about that I write volumes, but I enjoyed it. (:2 January 2017 at 08:11 #54991
I too am passionate about the above, but in a different order. PC is indeed brilliant.
Missy3 January 2017 at 16:23 #55012MissRori @missrori
Over at Tumblr, some fans noted that Mr. Huffle’s hair, all dark and done up, looks kind-of-sort-of like what we’ve seen of…Bill’s hair! Could it be foreshadowing of the help he needs coming along this spring? 😀
@missy, @ichabod, et.al. — Talking about kids and Doctor Who — in the United States, Doctor Who has never really treated as a show that has kid appeal. At least since cable really broke out and established programming niches, there’s a much stricter delineation between kids’ entertainment and adults’ entertainment on TV — once you hit your teens, you’re sort of expected to graduate to the “grown-up” shows on the other channels. I can’t think of a currently-running American show that would be classified as a “family drama” the way Who is (maybe Once Upon a Time?). There is more and more entertainment, especially in the animation medium, that’s erasing the distinctions — being suitable for children yet challenging enough for teens and adults — but it’s a slow process.
Certainly the way the merchandising is handled in the U.S. bears out these artificial distinctions — all of the tie-in books are inevitably stocked in the adult sci-fi/fantasy section at Barnes and Noble, even the ones very much intended for children like the Annuals and the Eleventh Doctor chapter books. I also think this is why the deliberately kid-friendly The Sarah Jane Adventures never found a proper home on U.S. TV — SciFi Channel viewers weren’t interested, but none of the American kids’ channels had a place for a dramatic half-hour live-action show. Oddly, back in the summer of 2015 Disney XD tried running NewWho starting with Series 2, but it was scheduled rather late on Saturday nights after their action cartoon block and they gave up on it midway through the Series 3 episodes (I think they stopped with “Family of Blood”). Were they scared that unsuspecting parents might have been put off by the content had it had more kid-friendly time slots?
I found it quite amusing that one of the posters in a recent issue of Doctor Who Adventures, the kid-oriented tie-in magazine of puzzles and whatnot, was of the fatally burnt, agonized Doctor making his way back to the teleportation chamber in “Heaven Sent” (the still of him slumped against the wall). The content and themes of “Heaven Sent” would be rejected out of hand by most U.S. producers trying to make “kid-friendly” entertainment, much less celebrated! 😀3 January 2017 at 20:38 #55016ichabod @ichabod
@missrori Goodness, yes! Maybe parents are more critical of that sort of thing here because here in the US we had that mad “comic books will pervert your children’s brains!!” scare from Dr. Frederick Wertham back in the fifties, and then the “bad music will rot your children’s morals!!” scare, and then the “Play these records backwards and they’re hymns to Satan!!” scare, and then the “Children’s books about struggling with drugs and alcohol and sex will reveal to your kids that these things exist!!” and gods know what I’ve missed since. Well, maybe every western culture gets these waves of fanatical censorship, always articulated in terms of “But what about the children!”
I know grown-ups who had a tough time with that part of “Heaven Sent”; I’m not one of them, but I don’t think I’d put that poster on my wall . . . maybe it’s kids who might want to or need to, but the nightly news will do it for me.4 January 2017 at 08:27 #55022
@ichabod: One little scene really stands out for me, though, and that’s the one with adolescent Grant sitting on a bench in the school hallway refusing to look the other kids as they pass because he can’t control his X-ray vision. The Doctor spots young Lucy as the person Grant likes the most, and Grant says, “How do you know?” And he has risen, still in his seated position, up the wall (via his “super-powers”, and as a far from subtle metaphor for helpless arousal, particularly since the kid has both hands clamped over his crotch in a miserable attempt at concealment). So the Doctor, all quiet sympathy, calmly draws him back down onto the bench by one knee, and we’re off somewhere, gone from my memory.
I agree, quite subtle that scene.
Missy4 January 2017 at 09:28 #55027Anonymous @
There was a lot to like here. Luckily my kids are used to people unhingeing (or unzipping) their heads by now so we managed to all watch it together and it was so much fun. (Although the brain eyes were a little too much).
The previews for next season were exciting too. If we can keep Nardole and Mr Huffle as companions along with Bill, what a wonderful season we will have!4 January 2017 at 21:38 #55029Mudlark @mudlark
This comment is somewhat later than intended, but yesterday I was thwarted by the temporary unavailability of the site.
Comic book superheroes have never held much appeal for me, so the trailer did not exactly fill me with excited expectation, but I hoped – and should have trusted – that Moffat would work his usual magic with the theme. In my estimation it is not up there with Last Christmas and The Husbands of River Song, but I enjoyed it for all that it had to offer.
I liked the way in which, on one level, the superman story was treated straight, entirely according to convention, while at the same time, in his incidental comments, the Doctor gently and slyly points out the absurdity of the genre; the bite of a radioactive spider might contaminate the person bitten with radioactive particles, but it wouldn’t result in that person suddenly acquiring superhuman, spidery abilities.
So we have a modern day equivalent of the folk tale Robin Hood of Robot of Sherwood. A young boy who loves comic book superheroes swallows a gem which has the magical ability to make wishes come true, so the boy grows up to be a version of Superman, complete in every particular, including the woman he yearns for who takes his everyday persona for granted but loves the idea of his alter ego.
I liked, too, the way in which links to the Doctor’s past were interwoven in the narrative. Harmony Shoal, last seen trying to buy the diamond from the head of Hydroflax, form a continuity with the last Christmas Special. Meanwhile (and earlier in his own time stream) the Doctor meets the boy Grant when he his trying to construct a gizmo to counteract a localised time distortion in New York – ‘my fault actually’ – which makes perfect sense; having lost Clara in more senses than one, why would he not try to find a way to make contact again with Amy and Rory? The way in which he produces the glass of water for Grant – ‘skills’ – recalls the way in which he produced a cup of tea in The Witches Familiar. But most significantly, there is the thread of melancholy stemming from our knowledge of his parting from River at the Singing Towers, referenced in the 24 years since he first met Grant – and Capaldi conveys this with perfect subtlety.
Of course there also were plenty of jokes to relish at all levels – from the corny and obvious references to opening minds and changing minds, to the subtle, even subliminal.
Finally, since this is Mudlark writing, there has to be a nitpick. I’m not entirely sure that Nardole’s costume as a 12th century Byzantine ruler is accurate. As far as I can tell, it appears to be based on a miniature of the coronation of the eleventh century Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus (1042), although the headdress could be even earlier – but compared with such things as horned Viking helmets, that is a very minor quibble 🙂
;6 January 2017 at 00:55 #55039nerys @nerys
OK, after watching this on my DVR, fast-forwarding through the commercials, I enjoyed it much, much more! I loved the lighthearted nature of the episode, but with some seriousness regarding River, relationships and everything ending. But I also loved what the Doctor said about beginnings being good, so enjoy them.6 January 2017 at 03:25 #55040
Well, them we all appear to have enjoyed it. I particularly agre with the comment about Moffat magic! He is astonishing.
I wonder who will use Mr. Huffle? Bill or Nardole?
Missy6 January 2017 at 04:35 #55042Anonymous @
Oh Miss Mudlark! You’re back too. Good to see you.
I don’t know Missy -as to who will use Mr Huffle but, I’m not the kiddie person that this particular episode was directed at? In fact, all in all I thought “yay! I SO love this” and then later, I’m thinking “you know what? I’ve forgotten the plot, or, the plot’s so simple” that I just believed I’d never watch it again.
I know. I know. People will throw bricks at me and you can. Really. But I just felt let down. And I can ALSO add that Mum felt the same. She adored Capaldi’s reaction shots and his last 5 to 10 minutes speech about love and “this one Christmas.”
Also, of course you must be critical Miss Mudlark because, again, Mum (who isn’t up with History of those times in your particular way) ALSO commented on Nardole’s bizarre outfit. In fact, she actually thought Nardole was ‘meh.’
Still, she watched it again, this time with subtitles and felt like she ‘got a whole lot more.”
She mentioned to a mate on site that she felt “bruised, as if every metaphor was flying at her as if she was on a fast washing machine cycle and had to lie down as she felt exhausted.”
Anyway, just telling you all what she felt. She still liked it -me, I thought it was OK. I found the American tone a bit off6 January 2017 at 08:13 #55043
We can’t always enjoy the same things, and I for one won’t be throwing anything at you. *winks*I do agree about the American tone though. However, there were a few classic moments and PC, as ever, was superb.
Missy6 January 2017 at 22:33 #55046Whisht @whisht
Hi @thane15 – I think I have to agree with some or a lot of your thoughts on this episode.
I haven’t posted much on it as I’m not sure I enjoyed it when I watched it.
However, I was in the midst of man-flu so maybe just wasn’t able to get ‘in’ to it.
I think I mainly agree with you when you mention ‘tone’. For me (but also something I’ve heard elsewhere) American acting and British acting can be very different (I think) based on the different training/ early experience actors get in UK (which is theatre based) and in US (which is more TV).
Also, ‘superheroes’ tend to extol that ‘might is right’ even if – or especially as – with great power comes great responsibility (and hair loss due to radiation poisoning).
But Who doesn’t really follow that convention – with Who the physical ‘might’ is often if not always rendered irrelevant and beaten by wit and knowledge (and courage and folly).
So, for me the episode was a slightly awkward mix of tones.
However, I had a cold and there were nice moments as others have mentioned (eg the change in tone at the end with Capaldi’s speech on endings and beginnings, as well as visual gags such as things erm rising unbidden).
But I don’t think this is a place for brick throwing just because of a difference of opinion on an episode!
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