Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America/BBC Worldwide, Sundays at 8:00 PM in the United States.
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 11 aired from October 7 to December 9, 2018, on BBC America with a total of ten episodes. “Resolution” aired on January 1, 2019, at 8:00 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 (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 (Madwoman?) 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 a new season of Doctor Who! With another full season under our belts, our “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, and Chief Couch Potato Kylie reconvened to discuss all things Series 11: the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated. We, again, have many diverse, though decidedly more enthusiastic, thoughts about what we saw, including new companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Yaz (Mandip Gill) and the introduction of new villains (Tzim Sha) as well as the re-introductions of old villains, the Daleks specifically, in the New Year special, “Resolution,” which we also discuss in this episode.
Give our latest Doctor Who rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments. Do you agree? Do you disagree? 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 couch full of TV watching potatoes, and search for those words! This particular CPU! episode was recorded in December 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points and episodic stories of Series 11 and “Resolution!” Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next week, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the beginning of the end – the first half of this final season, Season 15, of the long-running fantasy/horror drama about two monster and demon-hunting brothers. Stay tuned! Tears will probably be shed – at least a few.
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
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 11 does not answer this question, so it remains a question.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?
(CURRENT) ANSWER: Still a question, which moves forward.
3) 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?
ANSWER: Without much explanation as to how, we learn in Episode 2, “Ghost Monument,” that the TARDIS survives and lives to see another day and another Doctor, once Doctor 13 finally finds her lost ship. As to why Doctor 13 mirrors Doctor 11’s entrance, we can only speculate: as our panelists discuss in tonight’s episode, it seems that Jodie Whittaker is channeling some of the more popular Doctors to formulate her own persona. In fact, some of our panelists see echoes of Doctors Four, Ten, and Eleven in her, either via wishful thinking or because Jodie herself is making deliberate choices to evince memories of the Doctors that people most loved (plus, we know she’s friends with David Tennant from their time on Broadchurch and is comfortable drawing inspiration there). Then again, it was a spectacular entrance, so, perhaps, it’s all about the spectacle!
4) Will Jodie be awesome enough to calm the more feisty corners of the fandom down?
ANSWER: If our panelists are any indication, I believe that Jodie’s performance is appreciated by all but the most reactionary corners of this fandom (some still struggle…because that’s the cool thing to do nowadays…).
5) Who will the new companions be, as there are predicted to be three?
ANSWER: The new companions are:
Graham O’Brien (Walsh) – step-grandfather to Ryan Sinclair and husband to Grace, who is in remission from a serious illness.
Ryan Sinclair (Cole) – a warehouse worker and step-grandson to Graham and grandson to Grace as well an old school mate of Yasmin Khan. He has dyspraxia.
Yasmin “Yaz” Khan (Gill) – a probationary detective/police officer and old school mate of Ryan Sinclair.
They all meet the Doctor in the series premiere, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”
6) 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?
ANSWER: And he kept true to his word, which caused some disagreement and debate among our panelists – listen to tonight’s podcast episode for details. New villains include: the Tzim-sha, sniper robots, Krasko, giant spiders, the Pting, and sentient mud. Then, there are some beings who cause conflict without intending to be villains, but we will leave them off the list.
7) Is the Master truly out of the running after what happened in the tenth series finale?
ANSWER: ….as of Series 11, the Master has not returned. But can you really keep a good Master down…?
8) Will Doctor Thirteen find the Time Lords of Gallifrey again?
ANSWER: She hasn’t found them yet, but there’s a whole Series 12 for such exploration.
9) Will Doctor Thirteen be earth-bound for awhile like the Fourth Doctor was? Will she take over UNIT?
ANSWER: She is Earth-bound for precisely one episode. She finds her TARDIS rather quickly. As for UNIT, we find out in “Resolution” that the governments of the world have stopped funding UNIT, leading to its disbandment. This leaves the Doctor rather displeased.
10) 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.
ANSWER: Still a question…
11) What will Doctor Thirteen’s TARDIS look like? How about her sonic screwdriver? Will she still have one?
ANSWER: The interior of Thirteen’s TARDIS seems to cross the grunge-like atmosphere of Ten’s TARDIS with the blue, sleek modernity of Eleven’s TARDIS, which is probably a highly deliberate design, if one considers it. Thirteen fashions herself a sonic out of silverware and other random junk, being without sonic in the premiere, and so the sonic is silver, somewhat long, somewhat crooked, and equipped with a yellow light. She makes much use of it.
12) Will the Doctor meet her past selves in her current form this season?
ANSWER: Not in Series 11…
13) 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?
ANSWER: Not in Series 11…
14) Will Doctor Thirteen avoid romance? The panel votes please do.
ANSWER: So far, so good.
15) What will be the explanation for Doctor Thirteen’s latest form (other than that it’s time or some such)?
ANSWER: We aren’t really given one, at least so far, but she seems pleased by the change?
1) Will we see a triumphant return of other classic villains, such as the Cybermen and the Master, considering that the Daleks make their triumphant return in “Resolution?”
2) So, seriously, how about Gallifrey?
3) Or, will there be some word about old acquaintances and companions, such as Romana and Susan?
4) Will we learn more about the Doctor’s family, such as the mystery behind the Doctor’s mother?
5) Just how much of the universe will Doctor Thirteen revisit in Series 12?
The CPU! Doctor Who podcast panel, in reaction to Jodie Whittaker’s first turn, were much less diverse than they were to the Peter Capaldi era. Despite initial bouts of skepticism in prior episodes from some panelists, as well as some malaise upon leaving the Steven Moffat era from other panelists, the panel universally praised and enjoyed Jodie Whittaker’s inaugural series as the Doctor. The panelists unanimously opined that her performance, coupled with Chris Chibnall’s overall sensibility and subtly changed tone for the show, injected the long-running cult science fiction drama with some much needed new and fresh energy. The panelists also generally enjoy the new companions; some panelists (particularly Hilary) did not connect to them quite as quickly, but others found this combination of “fam,” with Jodie’s Thirteenth Doctor, to be quite charming. Our panel, as a result, continued a previous philosophical discussion about Who regarding who on the show connects more in the moment for a viewer – Doctor, companion, or the combination of both/all – and how important companions are to the overall story and mythology. Also, while the panel generally enjoyed the execution of the season, including the episodic storytelling and new villains like Tsim Sha, some of the panelists pined for the Classic Who villains once more, particularly with the collectively appreciated “Resolution” triumphantly bringing back the Daleks. Happily, panelist Sarah additionally rediscovered love for the series upon realizing that she did not have to navigate the perils that a Scottish brogue poses to a native American ear.
Finally, the panel universally praised “Resolution,” as all of the panelists heartily enjoyed the return of the Daleks and the Doctor’s full-fledged realization as the world’s/galaxy’s protector. The panel further liked the guest stars in the episode and the horror/mystery elements added to the Daleks’ mythology. In fact, with the changes brought on by the new series, new show-runner, and new Doctor, the podcast panel is excited – more excited than they have been in previous seasons – about the upcoming season, with teased new adventures for the Doctor and her companions, including the return of the Cybermen and Kate Lethbridge-Stuart. The entire panel, of course, continues to eagerly hope for the (unlikely) return of River Song or Donna Noble or Captain Jack or even appearances by any of the modern age Doctors predating Jodie – whatever may happen, though, the panelists remain eager to see what happens in the coming season, Series 12.
The Doctor Who 2020 New Year’s Special, “Spyfall, Part I,” aired on January 1, 2020, while Series 12 premiered with “Spyfall, Part II,” on January 5, 2020, at 8:00 PM on BBC America in the United States. The Doctor Who CPU! panel will next reconvene following the season finale of Series 12, at which time we will report on reactions to the new series, the new New Year special, and everything in between. Until then! 😉