PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Doctor Who” – “Twice Upon a Time,” the 2017 Christmas Special Review and the Series 11 Preview (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America/BBC Worldwide; though it is currently on hiatus, it was announced today that Doctor Who will begin airing Sundays this fall, starting October 7, 2018.

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 2017 Christmas Special, “Twice Upon a Time,” aired on December 25, 2017, at 8:00 PM on BBC America/BBC Worldwide.

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 (or woman) 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! Last week, we published our review and recap of Series 10!  In case you missed it, here it is again:

Series 10

True to form, our CPU! “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, Nick, Hilary,  and Kyle, plus the Chief CP, reconvened Around the Water Cooler to dissect the 2017 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 Doctor, the Thirteenth, to be played by Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch); the three prognosticated new companions; and the general oeuvre of the series under new show runner Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch), as Peter Capaldi made his departure from the series effective as of the 2017 Christmas special, along with longtime writer and show runner for the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, Steven Moffat.

Give our latest Doctor Who rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments.  For our part, the panel generally enjoyed this special, particularly for its meeting of the First Doctor, currently played by David Bradley (Harry Potter film franchise), and the Twelfth; there was little bad said about it, in fact, as the panel found it to be a generally “sweet” if not necessarily memorable sendoff for Doctor Twelve. Do you agree?  Do you disagree? What did you like?  What did you hate?  Tell us!

For (other) 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!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler, newly reconstituted and resurrected in its fullest form, to wax wickedly about the second half of the longtime cult favorite’s thirteenth season.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions Are the New Questions (repeated from the Series 10 entry)

1) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?  Where is Gallifrey in current times and in current universes?  We need clarification.

(CURRENT) ANSWER: Series 10 did not answer this question, so we move it forward into the Series 11 list of questions.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Missy go?  Will she be back?

(DEFINITIVE) ANSWER: Missy went and got herself in trouble with a group of Time Lord like (but not Time Lord) aliens that were prepared to execute her.  Yet, River Song told Nardole to tell the Doctor that he better save his longtime best friend – or else, naturally.  So, the Doctor promises to the executing aliens that he will watch over Missy for 1000 years while she is locked up in a vault, hidden in the basement of some unnamed British University (maybe it’s called British University).  When we start the season, he is lording over that vault.  So, Missy is back.  Plus, she gets to have a run-in with her past Master generation, played by John Simm.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Steven 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?

(DEFINITIVE) ANSWER: The new, Thirteenth, Doctor will be played by none other than Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker, marking the first time that the titular Doctor will be female in all 55 years of the show’s existence.  This announcement proved to be controversial as well as crucially and critically circumspect for the international legions of Whovians – some were more enthusiastic about this decision than others – but we might be over the hump of some of the initial ugliness, at least until Series 11 premieres.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?

(CURRENT) ANSWER: Still a question, which moves forward.

New Questions

1) Will the TARDIS survive the explosion that sent Doctor Thirteen plummeting to the earth?  Why did Chris Chibnall choose to somewhat mirror the entrance of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor?

2) Will Jodie be awesome enough to calm the more feisty corners of the fandom down?

3) Who will the new companions be, as there are predicted to be three?

4) Mr. Chibnall has suggested that he will not, at least at first, rely on canonical appearances of villains like Daleks and Cybermen to tell the stories.  What new villains and/or conflicts will he create for our thirteenth Doctor?

5) Is the Master truly out of the running after what happened in the tenth series finale?

6) Will Doctor Thirteen find the Time Lords of Gallifrey again?

7) Will Doctor Thirteen be earth-bound for awhile like the Fourth Doctor was?  Will she take over UNIT?

8) Will Doctor Thirteen meet any of her old companions again?  A meeting with John Barrowman’s Captain Jack would be fun, but our panel continues to hope for the return of favorites like Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble or Alex Kingston’s River Song.

9) What will Doctor Thirteen’s TARDIS look like?  How about her sonic screwdriver?  Will she still have one?

10) Will the Doctor meet her past selves in her current form this season?

11) Will the show revisit the concept of the Doctor “revisiting old faces,” as was suggested by Tom Baker’s Curator in the 50th Anniversary Special?

12) Will Doctor Thirteen avoid romance?  The panel votes please do.

13) What will be the explanation for Doctor Thirteen’s latest form (other than that it’s time or some such)?


The CPU! Doctor Who podcast panel offered an unusual and modestly surprising consensus when reviewing “Twice Upon a Time,” as all of the panelists heartily enjoyed Peter Capaldi’s swansong, even if they felt his goodbye scenes lacked the emotional punch of his two most recent predecessors’.  The panel characterized the strongest parts of the special to be those that centered on interactions between the First and Twelfth Doctors, including all of the clever parallels written into the narrative, as well as the appearance of Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as the soldier plucked out of time before his death.  Alternatively, the panel found the “Testimony” story line to be the weaker segment of the episode, at least in terms of using the story as a contrivance to reintroduce a version of Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) in a way that did not seem as organic as it could have been – and since, of course, the panel continues to offer mixed reactions to Bill as a companion.  The panel remains cautiously intrigued about the upcoming season, with a new Doctor, new companions, and a new show-runner on the horizon, the latter of whom has teased leaving aside some of the classic/signature elements that have defined the series since its inception.  Some of the panelists are additionally looking forward to not spending as much time with the Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master, but the longer term Whovians note that too much change would also not be good, and that any of the frequent flyers should be revisited at some point in the future, even if not for awhile. The entire panel, of course, continues to eagerly hope for the (unlikely) return of River Song or Donna Noble – whatever may happen, though, the panelists remain excited to see what happens in the coming season, Series 11.


It was announced today (sometimes, we do serendipity right!) that Doctor Who Series 11 will premiere via BBC Worldwide on October 7, 2018! The Doctor Who CPU! panel will next reconvene following the season finale of Series 11, at which time we will report on reactions to the new series, the new Doctor, and the new executive producer, Chris Chibnall.  Until then! 😉


One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · September 5

    Reblogged this on Reel Musings.

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