Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America. Series 10 will premiere on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at 9:00 PM.
What: “Doctor Who,” the long-running British science fiction show about an alien time and space traveler who gallivants across the universe with companions in an effort to save people and/or history and/or the universe itself. The synopsis changes from Doctor to Doctor, but the above statement pretty much encapsulates all of them.
When: The 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” aired on December 25, 2016, at 9:00 PM on BBC America.
Where: The show is set literally everywhere in the whole universe at any given time, though not without the Doctor’s ship, the TARDIS, and some face of the man who pilots it.
Why: Once upon a time (no, not that show), friends of the Chief CP said precisely this: “Why aren’t you watching Doctor Who?! It’s science fiction, it’s British, it’s everything you love (short of vampires)! Watch it! Do it!” I started with the 2005 pilot of “Rose” and kept right on chugging. Now, I’m a fully converted Whovian, with an obsessive eye to both past, as in Classic, Who and the future incarnations of the “Madman in a Box;” I’ve joined a rotating roster of friends who are Whovians in their own right as we meet for another discussion “around the water cooler.”
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
Welcome to the days leading up to a new season of Doctor Who! True to form, our CPU! “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, and Nick – less a panelist Amanda but adding familiar CPU! regulars Hilary and Kyle – plus the Chief CP, reconvened to dissect the 2016 Christmas special, including the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated. We also take time to speculate upon the new companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie), and to guess at who might take over the titular Doctor’s two hearts, as Peter Capaldi made his departure the subject of an official announcement and effective during the 2017 Christmas special.
Give our latest Doctor Who rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments – after all, the average rating of the panel regarding the latest Christmas special hovers around a 5.7. We have many diverse reactions, though we pretty much agree that this latest entry in the Whoniverse does not wow. Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, and expectations for Peter Capaldi’s (officially) final season as the enigmatic Doctor and his inevitable regeneration? Can Alex Kingston or John Barrowman or Catherine Tate come back for more, as our original Who panelists continually hope? What do you want? What did you like? What did you hate? Tell us! Tell them!
For previous CPU! Doctor Who episodes, check your podcast feeds or click the floating box up right within the header, the picture with the TV watcher, and search for those words!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, a new panel of old favorites gathers together to sing a jaunty tune while Looking Back at divisive tween favorite Glee – it might just be CPU!’s own attempt at a musical episode as we sing around the water cooler. Or…it might not be. Stay tuned to find out!
Old Questions Are the New Questions
1) Is Gallifrey really back? How is it back? Is it only in existence at the end of the universe, where the Doctor met Me and Clara? Or, is the confession dial some sort of inter-dimensional gateway? Where is Gallifrey in current times and in current universes? We need clarification.
ANSWER: The Christmas special did not answer this question, so we move it forward into the Series 10 list of questions.
2) Where did Missy go? Will she be back?
ANSWER: We don’t know for sure where Missy went, but we know she will be back – plus, she’ll be encountering John Simm’s version of the Master from the David Tennant/Tenth Doctor era, as early press has spoiled. When and how will all this transpire? We have to wait and see in Series 10 (this question marches forward).
3) Can we see more of the Doctor’s most recent 24-year date with River Song? The Christmas Special was universally the panel’s favorite episode.
ANSWER: So far, we only got a sideways reference to this glorious happenstance at the end of the 2016 Christmas special. Our slowly more disappointed realization is that Alex Kingston and River Song may really be done…but we think showing us this 24 year interlude would make for a lovely anniversary special idea…
4) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?
ANSWER: Her name is Bill, she will be played by Pearl Mackie, and she will be the first openly LGBT character in the Whoniverse. That’s all we know so far… Plus, Nardole (Matt Lucas) will be tagging along for awhile, apparently.
5) Stephen Moffat has announced that he will step down as show-runner after Series 10, and Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall will take his place. Unofficially, Peter Capaldi has suggested that Series 10 will also be his last as the Doctor. Who could possibly be the new Doctor? Feels too soon, doesn’t it?
ANSWER: Whether it’s too soon or not, it’s happening. The search is on for a new Doctor, and the larger Whoniverse of Earth is wildly speculating – as is the CPU! Doctor Who podcast panel. Listen to the episode for details (this question marches forward).
6) In the season premiere two-parter, when Davros tricked the Doctor into dosing him with regeneration energy, did that incident affect the Doctor in any way? How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?
ANSWER: Still a question. This Christmas special did not address much of the after effects of the Doctor’s last rides with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), who is now playing Queen Victoria elsewhere. Nor did it hint at much of his future. It was very self-contained, in fact. So, this question moves forward.
There are none! “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” was merely an isolated episode whetting everyone’s whistle after a year-long Who absence. Are your whistles whetted yet? Get ready! Allons-y!
The podcast panel’s reactions were, again, varied and diverse in response to the 2016 Christmas special, though ultimately underwhelmed universally. One panelist continues to struggle with the 12th Doctor and the writing around him while others are less bothered by the Doctor’s actor but feel that the show during Peter Capaldi’s tenure has not been as engaging as the show during the tenures of David Tennant and/or Matt Smith. The superhero theme of this Christmas special elicited such wide-ranging reactions of: “I didn’t mind it,” “I didn’t need it,” “It was forced,” “It was exposition heavy and continuity light,” “It was charming,” and “I’m just happy it was back.” Many of the panelists, who are also on our superhero/comic book adaptation panels, enjoyed the comic book inspired Easter eggs hidden within the episode but also felt that some of the homage bend this episode utilized detracted from the “Doctor Whoness” of it all, given that so many other pop culture vehicles cater to the comic book crowd nowadays. In any event, the entire panel with the (possible) exception of one and with the moderator and yours truly included, eagerly await the Series 10 premiere this Saturday. As a reminder, Netflix and Hulu lost the rights to air the new series and the classic series, respectively, while it seems that Amazon Prime was able to pick up the revival series (subscription app Britbox, a joint venture by the BBC and iTV in Britain, offers Classic Who for $6.99 per month). It continues to be wibbly wobbly and timey wimey in the Whoniverse as we speak!
Doctor Who Series 10 premieres this Saturday, April 15, 2017, on BBC America (or BBC Regular, UK side, UK time zones apply). The Doctor Who CPU! panel will reconvene following the season finale of Series 10. We will report on reactions to the new series while prognosticating upon any announcements related to the new Doctor and the automatically renewed Series 11 under new executive producer Chris Chibnall, best known as the creator or Broadchurch. Until then!