Doctor Who is a show of continual reinvention and change. Still, there’s a formula, but even so, showrunner Steven Moffat says there are big shifts in store for the BBC’s 50-year-old adventure show. Casting Peter Capaldi as the title character, an actor who will definitely be a different kind of Time Lord from Matt Smith’s human cartoon, is a step in this direction, as is hiring Kill List director Ben Wheatley to helm the first two episodes of the new season. Recently, Moffat sat down to discuss the impending changes.
The one-two punch of The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor ticked off some major bullet points for the franchise. Paid homage to the show’s five decades of history? Check. Reunited several Doctors past and present? Yup. Revised the Who mythology so the show can keep on trucking for another 50 years? You bet. But they did leave a few unanswered questions. For one, how did the Doctor avoid the death on Trenzalore that he’d already seen the evidence of only a few episodes before?
If you recall, the seventh season finale “The Name of the Doctor” presented the time lord with a grave fate, both literally and metaphorically. On the bleak surface of Trenzalore, he saw his own final resting place, entombed within his TARDIS, grown to gargantuan size after the loss of its master. Inside, all that was left of the Doctor was a “temporal fissure” representing his timeline. So…how exactly did he avoid that fate, which had been previously categorized as something that he couldn’t avoid? (And yes, we realize the futility of asking questions like that in a show about time travel…)
When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, one of the swiftest response memes re-imagined assorted Disney princesses as residents of George Lucas’ sprawling space opera universe. Cinderella in Slave Leia garb, Jasmine with her hair in buns, and so on. (If there isn’t a “Chewbacca as Beast” riff somewhere out there, I’ll be very disappointed.) That joke wore thin fast, but for some reason, all this time later, I find myself really loving an entirely different Disney princesses mash-up: only this time the princesses’ gentleman caller isn’t a Jedi or smuggler, but rather a dashing time lord in a magic blue box.
It’s been a good six months since The Day of the Doctor, since John Hurt put his stamp on Doctor Who as the so-called “War Doctor,” the incarnation of the time lord who fought in the Time War, previously unknown and slotted in between Paul McGann’s Eight and Christopher Eccleston’s Nine. It was a clever twist on the Who mythology and set Moffat up for the even bigger changes that came in the Time of the Doctor Christmas special. But we only saw a small sliver of the War Doctor’s life, and based on his initial appearance in the Night of the Doctor webisode, it was a long life even by the Doctor’s standards. It stands to reason there’s a lot of his story left to be told. If you were hoping to learn some of those stories, mark your calendar for July, and the release of Doctor Who: Engines of War.
Author George Mann recently teased what to expect from Engines of War in Doctor Who Magazine: “A new companion! Calculating Time Lords! New Dalek paradigms! It’s a war story, at its heart, set against the backdrop of great turmoil and chaos.” Mann says that the War Doctor will be put through the wringer, and that the epic backdrop will service a very personal story, one that will explore how he came to be the weary War Doctor who found redemption — albeit exasperating redemption — with a pair of his timey-wimey future selves. (You could say it was the difference between “Night” and “Day”…)
I imagine the Doctor would feel right at home in the town of Eureka. The eccentric town from the Syfy series of the same name was full of crazy people and geniuses, and some who counted as both. But for a town that’s supposed to be a haven for the brilliant, they sure did wind up in world-threatening pickles an awful lot, and that sort of thing is right up the Doctor’s alley. Sadly, Eureka was canceled in 2012, so a Who/Eureka crossover is impossible (if only the Doctor had a means of traveling through time…) But if you’d like to make your own crossover from the comfort of your living room, Amazon has got both the complete Eureka set and some classic Doctor Who on sale cheap today.
Amazon has Eureka: The Complete Series, which bundles together all five seasons of the show, going for $66.99 today, which is 63% off the list price. The bundle collects all seven previously released Eureka sets (they split the third and fourth seasons in two), as well as the associated bonus features. With the series totally 77 episodes, that’s less than a buck an episode, which is a damn good deal, especially with the generous bonus features factored in. Now, if you’re only interested in the show itself, you can stream Eureka on both Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime. If you’re a superfan who wants to really dig into the making of the show, however, the DVD is a good choice. You can check out the details on the bonus features below.
Dalek military strategies have never exactly been what you’d call subtle. They’re less about martial brilliance and more about just blasting the shit out of everything while screaming at the top of whatever passes for their lungs. I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of Dalek spies out there, or at least if there were, they were probably a lot more Inspector Clouseau than James Bond. When you’re just a big alien pepper mill, donning a wig and insisting, “UNHAND ME, I AM THE BELGIAN AMBASSADOR!” probably isn’t going to get you very far. Case in point, the accompanying fan art, which envisions the Daleks cunningly disguised as their greatest enemy, complete with cute little scarves and fezzes and celery stalks. All that’s missing is an “I AM THE ONCOMING STORM” nametag.