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: A Town Called Mercy

Doctor Who S07/E03 — The Good, the Borg and the Ugly

Full disclosure: I’d been waiting with bated breath for this episode ever since I saw the Series/Season 7 teaser trailer at WhoCon in Cardiff, and the more recent trailers had served only to whet my appetite.

A Doctor Who Western! What’s not to love?

In this post-2005 Who era the scope (and budget) is bigger and more cinematic. There are no more wobbly sets or trips to Camber Sands for outdoor filming. “A Town Called Mercy” was shot on location in Almeria, Spain on the sets built in the 1960s for Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Westerns.

Taking their cue from Leone’s The Man With No Name trilogy, writer Toby Whithouse and director Saul Metzstein produced an episode with an epic sweep, exploring themes of crime and punishment, revenge and regret, honour and self-sacrifice.

Ben Browder and Adrian Scarborough made for impressive guest stars, and their (as always) terrific performances beg the question of why we don’t see them enough on TV these days.

Hey, let’s start a petition to cast them as Blake and Vila in the Blake’s 7 reboot. Crichton and Pritchard for the win!

I digress … “A Town Called Mercy” was true to the core Doctor Who sensibilities. There was comedy, drama, heartache and redemption. Interestingly, the Doctor was old (around 1,200 years old in fact), lonely and possibly coming a bit loose at the moral seams.

In this series/season the Doctor skips back and forth through time to visit the Ponds, and here non-constant companion Amy assumed the guise of his moral arbiter. Like many very old people the Doctor’s attitude to what is right and what is not, had hardened, he’d become more certain and potentially more unbending.

The Doctor decided that Josef Mengele Kahler Jex (Scarborough) deserved to be executed for his war crimes. Eventually Marshall Isaac (Browder) and Amy prevailed, but only at a terrible cost to the town.

Maybe I’m the only one who was surprised, but before watching this episode I’d been convinced that Browder’s character and Borg Hugh The Gunslinger would turn out to be one and the same and we’d disappear down a Westworld rabbit hole.

The clips where the cyborg yells “Face Me!” sounded a lot like Browder. A. Lot. Steven Moffat et al. intentionally misdirecting the audience? Surely not …

By the way, I loved how the stalking cyborg was a visual combo of Clint Eastwood‘s Blondie and Yul Brynner’s iconic Gunslinger, with perhaps a touch of Lee Van Cleef in the margins. If you’ve never seen Westworld or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, do so. You’ll thank me later.

Next up: “The Power of Three.” As the Ponds’ valedictory lap in the TARDIS continues, we move inexorably towards their exit in Manhattan. (Matt Smith once showed me some photos of him in the loo in a Doctor Who-themed bar in my old home town of New York City, but that’s a story I’ll share another time.)

Anyhoo, written by Doctor Who powerhouse Chris Chibnall, “The Power of Three” boasts another visit from Mark Williams as Rory’s dad. (Do viewers in the US chuckle that his character’s called Brian Williams, I wonder?)

The impressive guest roster also features Ruthie Henshall and Jemma Redgrave as well as one of my favourite actors ever, the magnificent Steven Berkoff.

Looks great and, time willing (girl’s got to find some more paid employment) I’ll preview it later on in the week.

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: 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