Doctor Who: The 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” and the Series 10 Preview (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in April 2017, our panel – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, and Sarah, while subtracting Amanda and adding CPU! regulars Hilary and Kyle – is Around the Water Cooler and recapping the 2016 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” as well as speculating upon Series 10, Peter Capaldi’s last as the titular Doctor. If you haven’t seen the series through the 2016 Christmas Special, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below!

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: Doctor Who – “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” Review and the Series 10 Preview (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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!

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, 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!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

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.

New Questions

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!

PARTING SHOTS

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!

LOOKING AHEAD

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! 😉

Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard for Shows Covered By This Blog (Long-Running)

Based on reliable sources, including TVLine, the A.V. Club, and TV Guide, here are the current statuses of shows covered by this blog.  This list does not include up and coming shows to be reviewed from the new season pilots list or shows not listed on the “What I’m Currently Watching” page (such as The Simpsons).

This particular list comprises the End of Season Scorecard for Long-Running shows covered by this blog, as this viewer is behind in the whole TV watching department.

New this year: demarcations on whether or not we cover the show in our podcasts.

2015-2016 TV Season (Active Currently)

*Doctor Who (BBC America) – PODCAST!

Renewed for Series 10 (to premiere in 2017).

*Sense8 (NETFLIX Original) – Written Reviews Only (by Edgar)

Renewed for Season 2 (debuts in June 2016).

*Once Upon a Time (ABC) – PODCAST!  

Renewed for Season 6.

*Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX Original) – PODCAST! 

Renewed for Season 4 (debuts in June 2016).

*Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC) – PODCAST! 

Renewed for Season 4.

*The Vampire Diaries (CW) – PODCAST!  

Renewed for Season 8.

*Gotham (FOX) – PODCAST!  

Renewed for Season 3.

*How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) – PODCAST! (Moderated by Kristen and Krista)

Renewed for Season 3.

2014-2015 TV Season (Caught Up to this Season/Catching Up/In Reruns)

*Fargo (FX) – Written Reviews Only (Covered by Kylie)

Renewed for Season 3.

*Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX Original) – PODCAST! 

Renewed for Season 3.

*The Mindy Project (HULU original) – Written Reviews Only (Covered by Kylie)

Renewed for Season 5.

*Game of Thrones (HBO) – PODCAST! 

Renewed for Season 7.

*Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – Written Reviews Only (Covered by Kylie)

Renewed for Season 4.

*Marvel’s Daredevil (NETFLIX Original)  – PODCAST! 

Status unknown – Season 2 premiered in March 2016.  No renewal notice has yet been announced.

*Madam Secretary (CBS) – Written Reviews Only (Covered by Kylie)

Renewed for Season 3.

*Bones (FOX) – Written Reviews Only (Covered by Kylie)

Renewed for Season 12, which will be its final season.

*Broadchurch (BBC America, Currently on Hiatus) – PODCAST! 

Renewed for Season 3, which will be its final season.

2013-2014 TV Season (Caught Up to this Season/Catching Up/Behind)

*New Girl (Fox) – Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 6.

*Person of Interest (CBS) – Coming Soon

Canceled.  This season, its fifth, is the final season.

*Glee (Fox) – Ended; Review to Come

Ended 2015 with its sixth and final season.

*Revenge (ABC) – Ended; Blog Review to Come

Ended 2015 with its fourth and final season.

*The Originals (CW) – Blog Review Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 4.

*Supernatural (CW) – Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 12.

*American Horror Story (FX) – Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 6.

*Reign (CW) – Blog Review Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 4.

*Grimm (NBC) – Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 6.

*About a Boy (NBC) – Canceled; Review to Come

Ended 2015 with its second and final season.

*The 100 (CW) – Coming Soon

Renewed for Season 4.

*Arrow (CW) – PODCAST! – Part of the DC Television Universe (or DCTU) podcast series. 

Renewed for Season 5.

—–

Stay tuned!  As the summer progresses, I will share the roster of new pilots coming to the networks and what appeals!  For now, summer is a great time to catch up on TV. There will be blogs and podcasts galore.  So I hope!

iTunes PODCAST – Broadchurch (Series 1-2) and Gracepoint (Season 1, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on May 22, 2016, our panel of familiar voices – including Moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Krista – are Around the Water Cooler and discussing series one and two of British mystery/crime drama Broadchurch and the one-season American remake, Gracepoint, which was canceled. If you have not watched either show, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks; Recommended by Viewers Like You; and Around the Water Cooler: “Broadchurch,” Recapping Series One and Two, and “Gracepoint,” Reviewing Season One of the Officially Canceled American Version of “Broadchurch” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

broadchurch_titlecard

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Broadchurch” is a British television crime drama, which is currently on hiatus, having aired two seasons on iTV in the United Kingdom and on BBC America in the United States.  “Gracepoint” is the American remake of the same program, and it has the same story and character types as well as the same male lead, namely David Tennant.  “Gracepoint” aired on the Fox network before the show was officially canceled after one season.

What: “Broadchurch” and “Gracepoint” were both created and written by Chris Chibnall and focus, at least initially, on the death of an 11-year-old boy and the impact of grief, mutual suspicion, and media attention on the surrounding town.

When: There are conflicting reports about when the two series of Broadchurch aired; series one originally aired on iTV in Great Britain and on BBC America in the United States in 2013, while series two aired in early 2015 on both stations.  Gracepoint aired as an “event series” on Fox from October 2, 2014, to December 11, 2014.

Where: In Broadchurch, the action takes place primarily in the fictional town of Broadchurch, in the county of Dorset, in the South of England, on the scenic Jurassic Coast and in surrounding areas, such as the county courthouse, though series two does travel to the fictional town of Sandbrook, as David Tennant’s character, Alec Hardy, investigates a case from his past.  Gracepoint occurs primarily in a fictional town on the northern California coastline called – you guessed it – Gracepoint.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below!  Of course, for the female members of the panel (Chief Couch Potato and moderator Kylie included), the primary reason was: David Tennant, David Tennant, David Tennant.  The male members of the panel sighed with moderate contempt and resignation at this revelation.  To them, we said, “Oh well!”  Just look at the man, for heaven’s sake:

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David Tennant as Alec Hardy in “Broadchurch” – the primary reason the female members of the panel got involved with this show

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING.  HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing.  I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens.  There are things I like, and things I don’t.  We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes.  Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together.  No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys.  It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Broadchurch (watched by the entire panel): 

Series 1: 4.5, by average of the podcast panel
Series 2: 3.7, by average of the podcast panel

Gracepoint (watched by Hilary, Kyle, and Kylie only): 2.7 on average (Kyle rated it a 2, Kylie rated it a 2.5, and Hilary rated it a 3.5).

SYNOPSIS

Series one focuses on the search for the boy, Danny Latimer’s, murderer by detectives Alec Hardy (Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). The second series primarily focuses on two plot strands: the trial of Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) and the reopening of the Sandbrook case, a case Hardy failed to properly solve, which brings him unwanted notoriety throughout the investigation of the Broadchurch murder. Tennant, Colman, and most of the cast of series one returned for series two.  Gracepoint mirrors the plot of the first series of Broadchurch almost exactly, changing character names and locations, except for the Millers.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Several frequent panelists nominated Broadchurch as a candidate for CPU! podcasting purposes.  The familiar voices found on this panel – namely Kristen, Nick, Krista, Hilary, Kyle, and Chief CP Kylie – are all fans of British television, including Doctor Who, and found the series recommended to them at one point or another because of that fact (and/or because of David Tennant, as noted above).  All of the panelists have quite a bit to say about this stirring and intense mystery, which they see as largely successful, despite the fact that the show did not find American audiences quite as readily, at least not until the remake Gracepoint was aired on American television – and even then only marginally, as Gracepoint was canceled by Fox.

We cover Gracepoint in this podcast episode as well, even though half of us only (Hilary, Kyle, and Kylie) watched any part of it.  If it’s not made clear by the above ratings, those who watched Gracepoint strongly recommend the original show, Broadchurch, over the inferior Gracepoint.  Kyle and Kylie, who watched the British version first, were annoyed by the fact that Gracepoint is, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, exactly the same as Broadchurch with American actors playing American versions of the characters, except for Tennant, who plays an Americanized version of his character, accent and all.  Hilary was more forgiving, as she watched Gracepoint first – and the Tennant Force is strong with her – but still cautions that Broadchurch is far better done.

Opinions fluctuate on the second season of Broadchurch, which causes some trepidation for the third season, announced to be the program’s final, which started filming in May 2016. As always, it’s a heady and deeply analytical discussion about the success of the show and the story, as well as the effects each had on each of the panelists.

This particular episode was recorded in May 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of both first and second seasons. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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!

Also: we now have Instagram! (@couchpotatoesunite) and a Pinterest (@cpupodcast). Find us there, if these social media platforms rock your respective socks.  We plan to get groovy on the interwebs elsewhere very soon as well – subscribe, follow, like, and review to stay on top of our newest developments.

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we will at last be publishing the fifth and final (for now) chapter of our X-Files series, when returning panelists Nick, Sarah, Hilary, and Kyle return to discuss the six-episode revival miniseries that aired on Fox in January and February 2016.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations (Broadchurch only)

1)  Will Joe Miller somehow return to Broadchurch, despite his banishment by the other residents of the town?  Kylie predicts that he will try to come back and to acquit himself in the town’s eyes because he has convinced himself, on the strength of his legal defense, that he is truly innocent.

2) Series/season three is said to be focused around a sexual assault in the town.  Will the perpetrator be one of the characters we already know?  Or, will it be someone totally different?

RECOMMENDATION

Broadchurch is recommended to fans of British television generally, fans of mystery and crime procedural shows, and fans of David Tennant.  Broadchurch is recommended by the panel, strongly, over Gracepoint, unless, as one panelist pointed out, you just want to watch more hours of Tennant.  Broadchurch is moody, tonally dark, and extremely intense, so emotionally preparing oneself to watch this show may be necessary.  The panel also universally agreed that Broadchurch Series One is better than Series Two, though both series are considered by the panel to be better than the American version of the program. In any event, the panel praised Series One highly, noting it to be a well-written, well-performed, and well-directed, self-contained mystery, while Series Two meanders more and splits focus between two plot strands, rendering the execution messier, even if the series ends on a strong note.  Gracepoint is a carbon copy of Broadchurch, and the original did it all better.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Gracepoint was officially canceled after the 2014-2015 American television season. Broadchurch is currently on hiatus but was renewed for a third and final season by Britain’s iTV, which is currently being filmed.  A release date has not been announced for either iTV or BBC America.  Series One and Two is available for streaming on Netflix, while Gracepoint can only be purchased or rented via services like Amazon. CPU!’s Broadchurch panel will revisit this program once season three fully airs in the United States.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Broadchurch podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you!:)

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: Doctor Who – The Series/Season 9 Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America; the show is currently on hiatus.

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: Series 9 premiered on September 19, 2015, at 9:00 PM on BBC America.  The finale of the season was the Christmas Special, which aired on December 25, 2015, 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 mine 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 friends who are Whovians in their own right for another discussion “around the water cooler.” 

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

Welcome to a new season of Doctor Who! With another full season under our belts, our “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, Nick, Amanda, and Chief Couch Potato Kylie reconvened to discuss all things series 9: the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated.  We have many diverse thoughts about what we saw, including the return of Davros, the guest appearance of Maisie Williams, the departure of Jenna Coleman’s companion Clara Oswald, and the return of Alex Kingston’s River Song, Mrs. The Doctor herself.

How about you? Give our latest Doctor Who recap rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments. Do you agree?  Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, and expectations for Peter Capaldi’s next and likely final season as the enigmatic Doctor?  Who do you want to see as the next companion?  Can Alex Kingston come back for more?  What do you want?  What did you like?  What did you hate?  Tell us!  Tell them!

As always, follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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!

PS: We now have Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite) and Pinterest (@cpupodcast).  If these platforms float your respective boats, follow us there too!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will look back at the wonders and marvels of cult animated show Futurama. Stay tuned!

 

Old Questions

1) Is Tasha Lem really River Song?  I mean, she knows how to fly the TARDIS, is inexplicably flirtatious with the Doctor, and they didn’t fail to mention the Doctor’s marriage to River, never fully resolved.  She may have died at some point – but did the Time Lords save her too?

Answer: Still a question!  Tasha has not returned for Capaldi’s tenure as of yet…but River came back as River!  Maybe we should give up on Tasha; I mean, it’s been a while, but the reappearance of River was such a breath of fresh air.  Listen to the podcast for the panel’s reactions!

2) Will Gallifrey reemerge?

Answer: It did!  It did!  Well, it emerged.  Actually, it’s not clear if the Doctor discovered Gallifrey in its pocket universe, or if Gallifrey is back this side of the crack in the wall.  We were left with many questions.  Scroll to the New Questions section to read what those are, and listen to the podcast for more.

3) Is Missy (Michelle Gomez) really Missy?  Or, is she something or someone else? Nick suspects she is not who she is claiming to be, but Kristen disagrees (listen to the podcast).

Answer: Kristen may be right.  Missy still seems to be Missy, the female incarnation of the Master.  In fact, after the first two episodes of the series, she disappeared.  Where did she go?  That’s the real question.

2) Did Missy really die at the end of the eighth season?  She says in the premiere that people like her don’t die…so then, where did she go?  And where did she get what looks to be a vortex manipulator like Captain Jack’s?

Answer: She’s apparently very alive, though we did not see how she was able to transport herself or where she got the device that allows her to do it.  She’s also disappeared, which seems like a bigger question/problem.

3) How does the Doctor go back in time to even meet Davros to begin with?  When in his timeline does he meet Davros?

Answer: It is not clear when in the Doctor’s timeline he finds Davros, except that it seems to happen after he meets Davros in the first two episodes of the season.  Davros is definitely a child at that point, so it’s definitely Davros’ past.  The implication is that the Doctor shows Davros compassion in the hopes that Davros will learn and remember the same impulse.  Yet, the episodes also tell us that Davros has compassion only when it relates to his Dalek creations and only insofar as they supply him with his life force, as they are interconnected.

4) Where is Davros from?  Where is the Doctor when he first meets Davros as a young child?

Answer: This question was not answered.  Maybe Skaro is implied, but it’s never stated, and it’s not a lingering question at this point because Davros and the Daleks were only a focal point during the first two episodes of the season.

5) What is the old Davros’ aim, other than to destroy the Doctor?  He seems to have an even greater purpose afoot.

Answer: He wanted to sucker the Doctor into lending him some regeneration energy, which healed the ailing Dalek master.  Davros’ long con involved appealing to the Doctor’s compassion, his perceived weakness, by attempting to demonstrate compassion himself, in addition to regret over his actions in life.  As it turns out, Davros should be up for an Academy Award (or a BAFTA).  The Doctor plugged himself into Davros’ contraption to give him a Time Lord-aided boost of healing regeneration energy, but then Davros moved to suck the rest of it out, until Missy stepped in to save her frienemy, the Doctor.

6) Where did the Daleks take Clara and Missy?  We assume they are not exterminated.

Answer: The Daleks took them nowhere.  Missy transported Clara and herself outside, saving them both from the approaching tin cans.  Missy created what she considered to be a crackerjack plan to get them admission back in to save the Doctor by plopping Clara inside a Dalek, which set up a missed opportunity for continuity (listen to the podcast).

7) How will Clara be written off the series?  Will they kill off a companion?  Will she reunite with Danny Pink in another dimension, one in which he never became a Cyberman, for a happily ever after ending?

Answer: It seems Clara is “Thelma” to Me’s (Maisie Williams) “Louise.”  Clara initially died, in self-sacrifice to save another, but the Doctor’s compassion and caring about Clara caused him to live billions of years inside his Gallifreyan confession dial, only to burst out and use Time Lord technology to freeze Clara in time and bring her to the end of the universe.  It was somewhat confusing, but in the end, she and Me flew off in a diner that worked like a TARDIS.  Wibbly wobbly and timey wimey, I shouldn’t wonder.

8) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?  Do we dare to hope that it’s River? When is she coming back?

Answer: River came back during the Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song.”  And it was magical!  The Doctor’s new companion has yet to be announced, though the entire panel wishes for River to return.  Or Donna Noble (Catherine Tate).

9) It’s been foretold that Osgood is coming back.  How? Why?

Answer: Osgood came back in two middle-of-the-season episodes concerning the Zygons.  As it turns out, she did not really die but was secreted away by UNIT, monitoring the covert population of Zygons currently residing on Earth with her Zygon partner who wears her face as of the anniversary special.  When the Zygons faced a rebellion force within its own population, Osgood revealed herself (and all of her Doctor fangirl-ness) once again.

10) Other aliens will make appearances, including the reappearance of the Zygons, reintroduced in the 50th anniversary special.  How will they reemerge?

Answer: Ever since they came through the Gallifreyan paintings in the 50th, they’ve secretly taken up normal, human lives and lived as humans, monitored by UNIT.  Unfortunately, not all Zygons liked the arrangement, and some of them started to rebel, with the intent of becoming an invasion force that overtook humans as well as human-sympathizers among the Zygons.  Until the Doctor intervened, that is.

11) Is Missy in league with the Daleks?

Answer: No, but she likes to play them as much as she likes to play everyone else.

12) Does Peter Capaldi really play the guitar?  All reports seem to say yes.

Answer: That’s really Peter playing, and he did it a few more times throughout the season.

13) What are the “Hand Bombs,” as Sarah believed they are called in the podcast?  How are they important?

Answer: Apparently, they are not important at all because they were really only used to creepy effect in the premiere and then were forgotten.  I guess we don’t really care about them.  That seemed to happened quite a bit this season.

14) What other villains and creatures might we see from Classic Who this year?

Answer: From the Classics?  No one really.  We saw Daleks, a bratty immortal Viking girl, zombie ghosts from Neptune, Zygons, a creepy grim reaper like thing, a Shade, and Time Lords of Gallifrey.  We also spotted glimpses of Cybermen, Ood, and Weeping Angels, but they weren’t acting villainous at the time.

15) Who is Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) playing in upcoming episodes?  Nick thinks it might be companion and Time Lady Rumana from Four’s term.  Others are predicting she is Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter first introduced with William Hartnell.  Maybe she’s someone all new…but who?

Answer: She played a Viking girl named Isheilde, who was very good at fishing.  When her Viking village was invaded by aliens, which managed to fatally wound Ishielde, the Doctor intervened and placed some Time Lord technology inside of her that allowed her to be truly immortal.  After living for millennia, she retitled herself “Me, Just Me.”  She was plucky, bratty, and fun, though the podcast panel had mixed reviews about her…

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.

2) Where did Missy go?  Will she be back?

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.

4) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?

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?

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?

PARTING SHOTS

The podcast panel’s reactions were varied and diverse in response to Series 9.  Some struggled with this season more, while others liked it better than Series 8.  Some panelists felt the writing was choppy and inconsistent with frequent missed opportunities for continuity with past seasons of the Doctor (why couldn’t Clara have stayed in the Dalek until the end of her life?).  Most of the panelists were happy to see Jenna Coleman’s time expire on the series, though there were very mixed reactions about the means and method of her departure.  There were also mixed feelings about Maisie Williams’ stint on the show.  The panel was more comfortable with Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, but the adjustment has not been without its lumps and bumps.  The entire panel hopes that the Christmas Special is not the last we’ll see of River Song and secretly or not so secretly hopes for Catherine Tate to somehow return as Donna Noble someday…still.  Either way, the entire panel, the moderator and yours truly included, will wait patiently…Series 10 is not slated to premiere until Spring 2017, with only a Christmas Special to tide us over in the meantime.  Plus, 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 new series.  It’s wibbly wobbly and timey wimey in the Doctor Whoniverse as we speak!

LOOKING AHEAD:

Doctor Who won’t return next until the next Christmas special airs on December 25, 2016, the podcast panel will not reconvene until after that special.  It’s a long time to wait…how will we survive?  I know!  You can listen to other CPU! podcast episodes in the meantime.  Until then! 😉

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler – Doctor Who – The Season 9 Premiere Podcast Party Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “Doctor Who” currently airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America, Saturdays 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: Series 9 premiered on September 19, 2015, 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 mine 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.”

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

Welcome to a new season of Doctor Who! Our podcast panel was so eager to talk more “Who,” Kristen, Sarah, Nick, and I (but not Amanda, who will rejoin at season’s end) decided to convene together for another Couch Potatoes Unite! first – a Doctor Who Podcast Premiere Party!  We gathered together with snacks, comfy couches, a special junior panelist named Jack (he’s a panelist in training, of course, and already a huge Doctor Who fan), and a bit of BBC America; we watched the premiere and instantaneously digested it verbally while our stomachs were digesting the snacks.  We have some thoughts about what we saw.  How about you?  Give it a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments. Do you agree?  Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, and expectations for Peter Capaldi’s second season as the enigmatic Doctor?  What do you think of the announcement heralding Jenna Coleman’s departure from the series after her tenure as companion Clara Oswald?  What do you think of the (“spoilers!”) announcement of the return of Alex Kingston as River Song?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com.  We may not be as technologically advanced as the Doctor and his TARDIS…but we’re getting there!  Let us know what you think, either about Doctor Who or this podcast!

Old Questions

1) Is Tasha Lem really River Song?  I mean, she knows how to fly the TARDIS, is inexplicably flirtatious with the Doctor, and they didn’t fail to mention the Doctor’s marriage to River, never fully resolved.  She may have died at some point – but did the Time Lords save her too?

Answer: Still a question!  She has not returned for Capaldi’s tenure as of yet…but it’s been announced that River is coming back!  Will River return as River?  Will Tasha return as Tasha?  Are they the same person?

2) Will Gallifrey reemerge?

Answer: Still a question!

NEW QUESTIONS

1) Is Missy really Missy?  Or, is she something or someone else?  Nick suspects she is not who she is claiming to be, but Kristen disagrees (listen to the podcast).

2) Did Missy really die at the end of the eighth season?  She says in the premiere that people like her don’t die…so then, where did she go?  And where did she get what looks to be a vortex manipulator like Captain Jack’s?

3) How does the Doctor go back in time to even meet Davros to begin with?  When in his timeline does he meet Davros?

4) Where is Davros from?  Where is the Doctor when he first meets Davros as a young child?

5) What is the old Davros’ aim, other than to destroy the Doctor?  He seems to have an even greater purpose afoot.

6) Where did the Daleks take Clara and Missy?  We assume they are not exterminated.

7) How will Clara be written off the series?  Will they kill off a companion?  Will she reunite with Danny Pink in another dimension, one in which he never became a Cyberman, for a happily ever after ending?

8) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?  Do we dare to hope that it’s River? When is she coming back?

9) It’s been foretold that Osgood is coming back.  How? Why?

10) Other aliens will make appearances, including the reappearance of the Zygons, reintroduced in the 50th anniversary special.  How will they reemerge?

11) Is Missy in league with the Daleks?

12) Does Peter Capaldi really play the guitar?  All reports seem to say yes.

13) What are the “Hand Bombs,” as Sarah believed they are called in the podcast?  How are they important?

14) What are other villains and creatures that might we see from the Classic Who this year?

15) Who is Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) playing in upcoming episodes?  Nick thinks it might be companion and Time Lady Rumana from Four’s term.  Others are predicting she is Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter first introduced with William Hartnell.  Maybe she’s someone all new…but who?

PARTING SHOTS

The podcast panel is cautiously intrigued about the upcoming season, with more comfort in Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.  The panel universally enjoys Michelle Gomez as Missy, but there is dissension about how effective Jenna Coleman has been as a transitional companion between Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor and Capaldi’s 12th.  Most are comfortable with her departure, though this viewer has enjoyed her to a point.   Some of the panelists are not looking forward to spending too much time with the Daleks, but the longer term Whovians accept their presence as a given, along with the Cybermen and the Master.  The entire panel is eagerly awaiting the return of River Song and secretly or not so secretly hopes for Catherine Tate to somehow return as Donna Noble someday.  Either way, the entire panel, the moderator and yours truly included, are excited to see what happens in season/series 9.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Doctor Who airs each Saturday on BBC America.  The podcast panel will reconvene following the Christmas special, to air on December 25, 2015.  Until then!