Doctor Who, The Power of Three Trailer: Rory’s Dad In The TARDIS

Welcome back, Brian Williams (not that one, US readers)! Your 15 minutes of Doctor Who fame is not yet up.

Yes, the sublime Mark Williams is back as Rory’s dad Brian for this week’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Power of Three.” (Could he be the new Wilf Mott?)

Brian is examining the curious black cubes that have been appearing, and he has a number of theories as to what they might be. “Very thorough, Brian.”

Calling Comic Relief: can we get a Donna Noble–Brian Williams spin-off? Please?

Here’s an earlier trailer, in which Rory and Amy ponder their disjointed lives. Rory says they must choose between their real life and their Doctor life. But can they?

Tune in Saturday for the latest episode written by Chris Chibnall. It looks good.

Doctor Who Series 7 airs in the UK on Saturdays on BBC1 (transmission times keep changing so check local listings).

Doctor Who Season 7 airs in the US on Saturdays, 9pm ET on BBC America.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

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Doctor Who Recap: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

Doctor Who S07/E02 — Rory and the Doctor snog

Doctor Who Season 7 got off to an explosive start with the premiere episode, “Asylum of the Daleks”.

The second episode, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, was no less ambitious in terms of far-reaching plot and special effects. (Next week’s Wild West-themed ep “A Town Called Mercy” was shot in Spain — seriously, will we ever see Cardiff again? I’m starting to miss it.)

Written by Who vet Chris Chibnall (Camelot), it reintroduced the Silurians, who were there in spirit if not in person. They had been done away by the dastardly space pirate Solomon (David Bradley) who’d hijacked their ship/ark and was planning to sell  the precious cargo  — dinosaurs, natch — to the highest bidder.

Problem was, Solomon had been attacked by a dinosaur and, injured, had lost control of the ship. It was now hurtling towards 24th-century Earth and UNIT had targeted it for destruction.

Cue the Doctor to save the day. He decided to put the band back together, and who better to help out than Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele) and a big game hunter named Riddell (Rupert Graves)? Oh, and Rory’s dad, as played by the always completely brilliant Mark Williams.

I’ll confess: I enjoyed this episode. It was a welcome respite from the convoluted over-arching mythologies of the previous series and it had a vintage Doctor Who rollicking sense of humour.

However, it felt a bit rushed and compressed, and I can’t help feeling that it would have benefited from being a two-parter. Plus, it made me miss David Tennant and his particular brand of barely simmering rage. When the Tenth Doctor made a threat, you just knew he meant business. Matt Smith sometimes lacks that level of gravitas.

But, he and Arthur Darvill have always had great chemistry onscreen and as the Ponds continued their valedictory lap in the TARDIS it was so entertaining to see it come to fruition.

Yes, the Doctor and Rory finally got it on. Not in a full-on Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto kind of a way, but they did lock lips lingeringly.

Next week sees the gang in the Wild West where they run into Crichton Ben Browder and Adrian Scarborough. Written by Toby Whithouse it’s a Doctor Who homage to the spaghetti western, and it looks like a lot of fun.

Doctor Who Series 7 airs in the UK on Saturdays, 7:35pm on BBC1.

Doctor Who Season 7 airs in the US on Saturdays, 9pm ET on BBC America.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Doctor Who Recap: Asylum of the Daleks

Doctor Who S07/E01 — Got Milk?

Doctor Who Season 7 got off to an explosive start with “Asylum of the Daleks”. As showrunner Steven Moffat had tweeted earlier on in the day, the premiere episode was a case of: “Doctor!! Daleks!! Divorce!! Soufflé Surprise!!”

First, viewers with long memories were required to suspend their disbelief as the irrepressible Daleks had survived annihilation yet again. This time they wanted to ask the Doctor (Matt Smith) a big favour. Could he go down to their secret prison planet and blow it up? Please?

Of course, these were not your dad’s Daleks. These ones were bigger and more eloquent, and they even had their own parliament complete with a non-armoured Borg Queen Dalek President in a perspex case. They also had some next-gen leather-clad skin jobs who didn’t know they were Cylons Daleks until something (a sighting of the Doctor, for example) triggered their latent programming.

And, in a continuation of the Russell T. Davies reboot, stairs and ladders hold no fears for these super-villains, even though some of them were clearly older models of the type that had me diving behind the sofa in the ’70s. I loved the way their signature threat began haltingly at first: “Eggs …”, “Eggs-stir …” and so on until it became the full-on Dalek war cry of “Exterminate!” (Top marks to Moffat for the “eggs-stir”–souffle concoction.)

So, Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) were on the brink of divorce and she seemed to have a burgeoning modelling career. We didn’t really get much in the way of explanation of why they were on the brink of divorce until Amy revealed that she’s incapable of having children and so had nobly decided to sacrifice her marriage and set Rory free to meet someone else and procreate.

To be honest, that scene felt a little clunky to me. Yes, it was a surprise to see that maybe Amy does actually love her husband rather than just enjoy pushing him around, but of course perennial doormat Rory is going to take her back. I mean, come on… Much as I love Rory (and the vastly underrated Darvill), he’s been punching above his weight for years. There’s no way he’d let Amy get away.

I’m perfectly willing to concede that I may have missed something in the morass of intricate storylines and plot devices in the last season, so Amy’s barrenness may already have been explained away as a consequence of giving birth to River Song (Alex Kingston). But although it felt out of place and awkward, at least she didn’t pull a Martha Jones and declare that she was dumping Rory in favour of trying to get some hot Time Lord action instead.

There were special effects galore and only a wisp of Cardiff in this episode, which also managed to cram in an Empire Strikes Back homage in the Imperial probe/Dalek eye peeking up through the snow. No Tauntauns, though there were some scary renanimated skeletons/zombie Daleks hiding in a crashed ship.

Attentive viewers will have noticed that Jenna-Louise Coleman, the actress playing the next companion was unexpectedly front and centre in this episode. While it’s not unknown for actors to pop up in Doctor Who in more than one role (hello, Eve Myles), it is unusual for a highly publicised addition to the cast to feature so prominently and so unheralded. (The famously spoiler-averse Moffat later thanked the advance screening audience for keeping schtum.)

Coleman was great, and I’m looking forward to seeing her join the series later on in the year.

Lots of critics have offered their theories as to why she was there and what’s her connection to the Doctor. Here’s my tuppence ha’penny-worth: Oswin the souffle-making Dalek-in-denial is the descendant of the next companion, Clara, who is played by the same actress (again: hello, Eve Myles). And the S&M skin job at the beginning was Oswin’s mother, which is why she was able to call the Doctor for help, and why he answered the call.

As for Oswin not knowing she was a Dalek, that’s a device Moffat used before to great effect in the “Forest of the Dead” episodes in Season 4. Remember Charlotte/CAL and Doctor Moon?

So, what’s next for the Doctor? Next week we get Dinosaurs! On a spaceship! Plus a fantastic guest roster boasting the likes of Rupert Graves and Mark Williams. I can’t wait.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw