Archives for posts with tag: Missy

One of the biggest challenges facing any science fiction or fantasy series is to get the balance between creating excellent adventures and encouraging long-term emotional investment. Ignore the latter and when you want to create a big hefty scene where a lead character dies or leaves you find yourself with an audience not that bothered and just wanting to you to move on to the next big showdown. Ignore the former, and you don’t really have a sci-fi/fantasy show at all, just a drama with a few weird references.

Doctor Who tackles this problem with varying degrees of success. In the Russel T. Davis era, it did this very well, bar the odd episode. The plots wrapped you in nicely and had a zing to them, but you still cared about the characters. One of the times I’ve cried at the TV was when the hologram of The Doctor cut out before he could say ‘I love you’ to Rose.

I feel, in my personal opinion, that the Steven Moffat era has been less successful. For a start, I have never fully understood why the loss of Clara Oswald is felt by The Doctor with the pain that Amy Pond or any others were not. So that’s the emotional investment side not hitting the right note. Then we have the adventure side, which I also feel is sometimes lacking. Too many episodes seem to end with The Doctor knowing what he was doing all along, which makes you wonder why someone so keen to save the world lets so many people get harmed in the process.

There are some bright moments though. I have always liked Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, playing him both that bit darker but also with stronger vein of humour than some of the other recent incarnations. I also think Matt Lucas as Nordole becoming a semi-regular character is a smart move, as I feel the Tardis actually needs a trinity of people. I’m undecided on Pearl Mackie as Bill – her mouthiness is welcomed but I feel we were spoilt in our early days with the near perfect Rose Tyler, with only Amy Pond so far coming close. I think the best solution is to give Bill time to grow.

Best of all though is we still have Michelle Gomez as Missy. Like Capaldi, she is bowing out this series, and could actually end up being the greater loss. There is a fizz from her that cannot be replicated. Her voice is an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. Like all the best villains, she makes being evil look fun.

There have been some genuinely strong individual episodes in this run. Thin Ice felt like a Tennant-era classic – evil human bad guy thwarted and some good done to the world in the process. Extremis has set up some interesting concepts and given us a decent story arc to get our teeth into. When the stars align, Doctor Who can still pull out a corker of an episode. But it needs to do this more often. The show is having a reboot next year – new Doctor, new showrunner. A perfect opportunity to audit it and gives us the best the show can be.

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Some shows attract such levels of fandom that making any comment about them, be it praise or criticism, draws ire from those who disagree with you. As someone who avoids discussion boards and the like (I literally upload my post and then go) I generally don’t get caught in the crossfire. Having said that, my geekiness towards most programmes is actually very low-key: I enjoy a lot of shows, but get whipped up into a frenzy about very few. In fact, Great British Bake Off is probably the only one that falls into this category.

Doctor Who is one that tends to excite a number of my friends. They pick over episodes, rabidly discuss theories, and speculate over the next casting change. Personally, I enjoy the show, but tend to find myself unmotivated to pursue my interest in it any further. There are some thoughts I have been having about the new series, which I feel in the absence of anything else grabbing my attention, I should share.

Firstly, the structure of the series. This time around two-part stories dominate. I inwardly groaned when this was first revealed, as I find many of them in the past to have been slow and clunky with disappointing pay-offs. However, this time around there seems to have been a general tightening. The first two-parter in particular was a joy, a clever tale of who the Doctor is. I must admit his outwitting of Davros felt slightly derivative – how many times can you play the ‘I knew what you were doing all along card’- but other than that it was near-perfect.

A great deal of this lies in the character of Missy, who is probably one of my favourite characters to be created for any show ever. Michelle Gomez plays sociopath’s disturbingly well, and the lines zing out of her mouth. It has got to the stage now where I long for a spin-off just of her, causing chaos around the galaxies. I’m not sure if this idea has legs or not, but it would be damn fun to try!

I also am warming to Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. The dryness of his humour is fitting the rest of the character quite well now, and it’s a pleasant change to have his social awkwardness to actually border on being slightly insensitive rather than it being just a zany affectation. I do feel as if he is a Time Lord carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders near permanently though, one that is that little wearier of everything. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a shock to the system after the hyperactive puppy energy of Tennant and Smith. It will make it harder for Capaldi to play lighter episodes as well.

Finally, Clara. Bless her, no matter what they try I just can’t take to her. I actually think this is no fault of Jenna Coleman, or the writers, or Stephen Moffat. It’s like those relationships where you can see that the other person is wonderful, and they could be good for you, but your heart isn’t in it. Still, at least she isn’t mooning after her late boyfriend constantly. And her interactions with Missy were a joy. If Clara does survive, maybe put her in the spin-off as well. Missy could do with someone to be her moral compass, just to level out things a little bit. Because they will do a Missy spin-off, won’t they? Please?