Two prequels mark the coming of an individual who is both an old friend and enemy of the Doctor’s prior to the broadcast of the season nine episode, “The Magician’s Apprentice.” If this series writers are clever, they better be making connections to season 26 when the Doctor was first referenced as Merlin (“Battlefield“).
The latest prologue premiered after the cinema screening of season 8’s finale (“Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven”) and it shows that The Doctor has fled to the Middle Ages to meditate. Comedy ensues as he’s the type who can barely last three hours in a quiet state, and he needs fresh water to quench his palette. More humour gets added as he guides a would-be knight, Bors, with his soldiers across a field in search for the perfect spot for a well.
After 20 publications and three television series, folks who think there could not be anymore Paddington Bear serials should look again. The live action computer animated film simply titled Paddington is poised to deliver this beloved British institution to a new generation of youths to enjoy. After all, it’s tough to not fall in love with a young bear sporting a red ruffled felt hat, blue dusty duffle coat, and brown weather worn suitcase. He landed in Europe nearly two months ago and will soon hit North America January 16th.
In cosmopolitan London, nobody bats an eye at the fact that wild animals are allowed to roam loose. The fact that Paddington’s species speaks shows that this world is unique and to wonder if creator Michael Bond ever had a shared universe in mind, namely including Olga da Polga the Guinea Pig, that is most likely not the case. Instead, this story is about a prim and proper bear just looking for a place to belong. Ben Whishaw is wonderful as the new voice of this curious bear. After being displaced from out of a home in deepest Peru after an earthquake, his aunt decides it’s time for him to go experience life while she retires to a sanctuary for old bears.
The energy is not quite there in the Ben Wheatley directed premiere of Doctor Who featuring Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. Either he is having trouble keeping up with the manic persona that Capaldi is playing up or he has no idea in what to do in a steampunk tale where robots are stealing human body organs to insure their survival. This director handles the drama and tension well, but the story just does not work.
The episode written by Steven Moffat is dull and muddled. It can not decide how much time should be spent between the two lead characters figuring out what’s going on or with the Paternoster Gang who does. This trio of characters — Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax — are always a hoot to watch, and to see them return as potential regulars is fantastic.
E: I’m divided over whether I should like the finale of what was a stellar year for Doctor Who. The build up to the Anniversary Special was great. The two different plots that would lead up to reveal what happened in the final moments of the Great Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords melded together.
The Christmas episode, on the other hand, suggests the Time Lords found a way to come back to this reality, but it all depends on the Doctor (Matt Smith) to utter his name. Should he unlock the cosmic rift that’s formed on a planet that was mistakingly identified as Gallifrey, then another war will break out. But Mother Superious Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) of the Church of the Papal Mainframe can not have that. When the Doctor makes planetfall, he learns the planet is actually Trenzalore and he realizes his fate is sealed.