At the beginning of the year, in a fit of lockdown derangement, I dedicated myself to writing an essay a week on the various stories in the 12 the series of Doctor Who, which at the time was still fresh on my mind.
Months later, I decided to put them here, and on adapting them to the medium, I’ve made some changes, updates, and fixes to all of them. Most fairly minor, some involving extensive rewrites, but the body and *point* of each remains as it was. And they’ve got pictures now!
Each entry is less about the episode itself, and more a springboard to talk about some broader idea in the show, fiction in general, and the real world. They should stand on their own, but there are interlinked ideas and motifs too, which I’ve signposted throughout for easier reading.
Start at the beginning, or pick a title that jumps out at you and go from there.
Hopefully some of you will find some of it interesting.
[First posted January 2021] In this first half of the epic two-part opener, we chat about parody, Bond, and narrative collapse. And we first feel the rumble of the coming storm.
[First posted February 2021] We follow up on last week’s cliffhanger by asking why, a full series into the Thirteenth Doctor’s run, we still don’t feel like we know her, and what is to be done.
[First posted February 2021] Orphan 55 is just unfinished. Every conversation about it has to start there. But that doesn’t have to be a dead end.
[First posted in February 2021] The history of mankind is the history of a few kind men. Do not be convinced that you need ever know more than the names of a few dozen dudes. It’s all about them.
[First posted in March 2021] ‘Who is Doctor Who?’ is the big question this series, so let’s dive deep on that. Who is Doctor Who? And is she really the same person as herself?
[First posted March 2021] Like many stories this era, and all stories which engage with the politics of the world today, Praxeus is telling a global story. But what does that look like, and how is it done well?
[First posted March 2021] She who fights with gods take care lest she be held to their standards.
[First posted March 2021] Time will be rewritten. Not one line, but all of it, always, all the time. Everything has happened before and all will happen again much the same and much more different. You think your memories are wrong but they’re not. The past is just like that.
[First posted April 2021] This is the end, but the moment has been prepared for and prepared for again. The epic 6 part finale, spanning decades of lore, dozens of episodes, and the incredible, satisfying-yet-subversive conclusion of every thread we’ve been tugging on all this time. I hope you’re lying comfortably.
[About the 2017 Doctor Who episode Lie of the Land, S10E8, by Toby Whithouse] Consider, for a minute: what is The Lie of the Land doing, as a title? Of course, it’s a play on words between the phrase’s duel meanings of “the way things are” and “the misinformation across the world,” in a story…
Fans have been celebrating this as a kind of queer epic for weeks, and I was a sceptic, to be honest, that the show was really going to be capable of pulling off a fun pirate romp and an effective, central gay romance at the same time, especially seeing as neither is easy to do…
There’s a number of issues with The Return of Doctor Mysterio, but I think if we were to find a single, ship-sinking kryptonite criticism of the thing, it would be that it’s just sorta there. Its reputation isn’t that it’s beloved, nor hated, nor divisive, but totally unremarkable, unmemorable, uncommentable. And that’s a criticism that…
Beam my thoughts directly into your pocket: