Details: Aired on the BBC in 2017. About an hour long. This is the Christmas special.
And so we’ve arrived at Peter Capaldi’s last episode as the Doctor. This final episode is our opportunity to take one final look at Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor. It is also Capaldi’s opportunity to say his goodbye and leave his final thesis on who his Doctor was meant to be. While there were some episodes in Capaldi’s tenure that I did not enjoy, there were some that I did enjoy immensely. Twice Upon a Time was a surprisingly emotional goodbye to a Doctor who was not as good as his predecessor (in my opinion), but left a meaningful and distinct mark all the same. It is also a goodbye to the Moffat era of Doctor Who.
Details: Aired on the BBC in 2017. The Christmas Special aired in 2016. Twelve episodes with each episode somewhere between forty-five minutes to an hour long.
I think Matt Smith’s impact on the Doctor Who series is profound in that his tenure was one of the most successful, if not the most successful. That creates problems, especially for his successor, Peter Capaldi. You see, Smith was so charismatic, had such presence in each episode, that the writers could write whatever dumb, lazy, ill thought out crap they wanted and Matt Smith would just deliver the hell out of those lines. He’d play that quirky, charming Doctor and we’d go along for the ride, no matter how little sense the plot made. The problem is that Capaldi is neither as young nor is his performance as in your face or charming as Smith’s and that is intentionally so. Doctor Who writers can no longer rely on the leading actor to fill in all the writing errors and instead have to write good stories.
Capaldi’s first season seemed to be that adjustment period. The stories weren’t great because they needed to learn how to write for a Doctor that wasn’t Matt Smith. This second season of Capaldi’s tenure is far better in that the stories and science fiction concepts expressed in here are far better and held my interest better. I’m glad they relied less on Capaldi, even though he did a good job here. Series 10 is a good season of science fiction and I enjoyed it very much.
Doctor Who returns in stride.
The Doctor and Clara Oswald have returned once again to take us on their adventures and what an adventure the first episode is. Some of the best Doctor Who episode have been based on this formula: revisiting something from the fifty years of canon and adding a little bit more to it.
The best science fiction in my opinion combines a heavy theme with heavy character development and this episode is mostly this. The Doctor evaluates the morality of his actions and the consequences that stem from that action. An old villain is written with more understanding and sympathy than he was given in the past. The end result is the conclusion that the Doctor is a person who is capable of not only good, but great evil.
Worth a mention is the opening sequence, which I liked. I always enjoy the strange, science fiction-y ideas that Doctor Who introduces and I thoroughly enjoy the introduction of “hand mines,” although it was brief.
Score: 7.3/10 It was nice seeing some old faces, but a character who returns from last season always rubs me the wrong way because it just reminds me too much of Moriarty from BBC’s Sherlock. Not very original and likely due to Moffat’s influence. Otherwise, a nice episode to start the season.