Archives for category: Doctor Who

Tennant Smith

It’s now less than three months until Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary and, more importantly, the 50th Anniversary Special. As well as some Whovians most likely planning a nerdrage-powered revolution thanks to the continued absence of a trailer, anticipation for the Anniversary Special is at an all time high. Especially with the recent leak of a grainy image from the episode that shows the John Hurt, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors together.

Although the Special looks to be in safe hands with Steven Moffat writing it and Nick Hurran (The Girl Who Waited, Asylum Of The Daleks) directing it, there’s still a possibility that there could be some elements in the episode that will either drag down its quality outright or that won’t suit such a huge milestone in Doctor Who history. These are five things we don’t want to see in the 50th Anniversary Special…

5. Too Much Focus On The Time War

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Daleks

Although it’s not been officially confirmed yet, all the evidence we have points to the Anniversary Special showing at least part of the Time War. The only official image we have so far is of a group of Daleks in a rubble-strewn battleground, so it’s likely that the John Hurt Doctor was the Doctor who ended the Time War. It’s been a prominent theme in the programme since 2005, and finally, it’s an event of astounding importance that we’ve only ever seen snippets of.

So if the Time War is a part of the Anniversary Special, it can potentially work well, but only if it’s used as a set-up for the Hurt Doctor or another plotline. The Anniversary Special should be an original story that expands and celebrates the Doctor Who mythos rather than something that just goes back and fills in the gaps from eight years ago.

The Eighth and Hurt Doctors’ Regenerations should be shown and if the episode restores the Time Lords, so much the better. But since the Time War is a concept that only became an established part of the Doctor Who canon in 2005, it shouldn’t have too much of a bearing on a one-off episode that pays tribute to fifty years of the programme.

The post Doctor Who: 5 Things We Don’t Want To See In The 50th Anniversary Special appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

In honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and the BBC special that may or may not blow our minds, Puffin is releasing a series of eBook short stories featuring each of the eleven Doctors so far. “The Roots of Evil” chronicles an adventure of the Fourth Doctor, accompanied by warrior companion Leela. As described on Amazon.com,

“When the Fourth Doctor takes Leela to visit an immense tree space station known as the Heligan Structure, little do they know that the tree has been asleep for centuries, dreaming of vengeance against a man in a blue box…As the tree awakes, the Time Lord and his companion soon discover why they are such unwelcome guests.”

As I am American and born in the very late 1980s, I’ll admit that I have little experience with the Classic series and Doctors who came before Nine. Still, even before I’d begun watching the 2005 reboot, I’d heard of the Fourth Doctor with his endless scarf and crazy hair. So, like any serious writer, I had to do my oh-so-painful research of the character by watching one of Four’s Classic serials (featuring Leela), entitled “The Horror of Fang Rock.” Continuing my trend with the Classic Doctors, I found that Four was fairly fantastic and that Leela was a refreshing twist on the trope of the young female companion. Overall, I was pretty excited for “The Roots of Evil.”

Now, if you’re like me, you had some initial concerns about a story featuring a “tree space station” that apparently harbors a grudge against the Doctor. The concept sounds like something of a stretch, even for Doctor Who. Incorporating the nifty idea of “terraforming” that was introduced in the television series, the Heligan Structure is a station built to hang in an inhospitable planet’s atmosphere and use natural processes to turn carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. Terraforming is a fun method of introducing a potentially silly plot point like a tree space station, but the Heligan Structure of this story floats freely in space and has somehow supported the lives of hundreds of inhabitants for nearly a millennium and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Still, it was a good twist and presented an actual explanation for what could have been an absolutely absurd setting.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t entirely deliver. As the basic premise of Doctor Who is of the adventures of time travel with a Time Lord who changes his face, the mystery of why Four is in trouble for something that he hasn’t done is not particularly suspenseful. The eventual revelation of the responsible party is admittedly funny, but the length of time that it took for the Doctor to realize what must have happened portrays him as rather less than intelligent.

The best part of “The Roots of Evil” is actually the portrayal of Leela, which is spot-on to her established character. Her loyalty to the Doctor combined with her matter-of-fact “savage” instincts is wonderfully endearing, and the fact that the entire adventure begins because Four realizes that she misses trees serves to paint a comfortable picture of their friendship. She doesn’t understand the point of scarves or use contractions or think much of negotiation without knife involvement; nevertheless, her surprisingly relatable and unique point of view as a human from a time other than 21st century Britain is an element that has been missing from the show as of late, and her perspective is one of the most fascinating aspects of the story.

“The Roots of Evil” isn’t bad so much as unstimulating. Author Philip Reeve has almost exclusively written fiction for children, and the tendency shows in the plot of “The Roots of Evil.” Still, Leela was exceptionally well-written. Her scenes with the Doctor were the best of the story, and the Doctor truly felt like Four in their interactions. The plot actually suffers from the confines of the short story; given the length of a novel or even novella, the setting and plot could have been fleshed out remarkably. All in all, with a bit of imagination, “The Roots of Evil” is a fun little story with some very cute one-liners and allusions that Doctor Who fans will definitely appreciate.

The post Doctor Who: eBook Review – “The Roots of Evil” – Philip Reeve appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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