Doctor Who Series 7A Reactions

The Internet isn’t safe!! The Angels Take Manhattan has aired in the UK, and will air on BBC America shortly. Not even etsy appears to be safe in the meantime, but I did want to post my reactions to the first four episodes of Doctor Who season 7A before I watch. I had intended to post reviews episode by episode, but that didn’t happen. So below are brief reactions, thoughts, and of course, spoilers!

Asylum of the Daleks
This was an interesting way to lead in the season. I have gotten used to spending the first 10 minutes at least with my brow furrowed trying to figure out what in the world was going on. I felt that the Parliament of the Daleks didn’t really make sense for them. In the new series, there have been far more levels of power and rebel/humanized Daleks. But a parliament implies a sort of democracy, and that’s definitely NOT Dalek. The Dalek-ized humans also seemed a bit out of character – yes, they’ve been known to use humans, but when they were through with them, they’d discard them.
Anyways, the asylum itself was pretty cool. Again, not sure that I really think the Daleks would keep around any Daleks that were no longer surviving a purpose, but it was a good idea, and very creepy. As always, poor Rory.
I think the most interesting thing about this episode came to me in retrospect. I have been doing a pretty good job of avoiding spoilers for this season, and I think that actually made me miss out on a good bit of the impact of the episode. Firstly, the only things I knew about the new companion were that she was brunette, called Clara, and not appearing until Christmas. So, although I knew very early into the episode that something was up with Oswin, I didn’t really connect her to anything further until I listening to the Staggering Stories podcast review of the episode! Also, I hadn’t watched any of the Pond Life clips, so Amy & Rory’s breakup came out of left field for me. As far as I can remember, none of the other extra clips or prequels have really affected the viewers’ understanding of the proper episodes, but having now seen Pond Life, I think I would have viewed this episode differently!
Lastly, I really enjoyed seeing Amy & Rory’s relationship and attempts at real life. Although we got some of this last season, I think it was very real and human in this episode. I don’t think it was at all fair that Rory tells Amy he loves her more, and it was only kind of sort of him that waited 2,000 years for her (also interesting that he still remembers all of that!) and I also don’t think it was fair for Amy to make the decision for him and kick him out “for his own good” without talking to him about it, and yet, I think both of their reactions were very human. We’re often unfair to each other and not very good about talking things out!


Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
This seemed a bit of fluff to me. I’m sure small children (and big men) enjoyed seeing dinosaurs. On a spaceship. I felt that there were too many companions squeezed in and it was all a bit too contrived. Although I knew Nefertiti & Lestat (see, not enough development – I can’t even remember what the character was called and thought of him as Lestat the whole episode) would end up together, there really wasn’t a whole lot of development there. And how does she get back to her time to be put in her tomb so we could know who she was? That’s not very like the Doctor.
I loved loved LOVED Mark Williams as Rory’s dad. That was like the best casting ever. Watching this episode, I really wished he had had his own episode in which he and Rory saved the day together, that could have carried its own episode easily. I loved his reactions to the Doctor and could definitely a lot of Rory in his performance. The final scene of him sitting in the doorway of the TARDIS was possibly my favorite scene in all of new Who (not sure if it beats Wilf or not, but it’s very, very close).


A Town called Mercy
Not really sure I like angsty Eleventh Doctor. I feel like we are backpedalling towards angsty Ten, which I got rather tired of. Amy yelling at the Doctor that he needs companions is true, but since every time we have seen him lately, he has been with them, it’s kind of hard to really grasp how long he has been on his own. They are clearly building towards something big in the Ponds’ last episode. Really though, I think what the Doctor really needed pointing out to him was his hipocracy, and I can’t even remember how much of that the Ponds even know. This was true in the ending of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship too.
The ending of this was a bit too neat, but to be honest, I couldn’t come up with a different ending that I would have been ok with. I did like how they did the town, the music and the stetson. I was definitely getting a Firefly (and Red Dwarf!) vibe.


The Power of Three
It was quite an amusing idea to see the Doctor trying to live with the Ponds, but I felt that they made it a bit too forced. He did, after all, live in a flat with Craig and play football for a while. And even if all the humans were accepting the cubes and incorporating them into their everyday lives, I don’t think the Doctor would have accepted them that easily, and I don’t think he would have run off after only 4 days – I think they were much too intriguing of a puzzle for that. He might have gone back 4 days and tried to figure out where they had come from or gone and researched them, but I don’t think he’d have just wandered off.
After my disappointment that there wasn’t enough Brian Williams in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, I was so glad to see him back again. His cube status reports were hilarious. Have I mentioned how perfect this casting was??
One thing that I don’t like about Amy & Rory’s attempts at real life is that it’s all seeming too easy for them. If I had a friend who was always disappearing or backing out of commitments, I certainly wouldn’t ask her to be a bridesmaid, and if I had an employ who didn’t show up to work for a month at a time, I wouldn’t be offering him a full time position, no matter how good he was with the patients. Once, I went on a three day (pre-planned) vacation, and didn’t have a job when I got back!
I loved UNIT’s appearance, this is definitely a threat UNIT had to be involved in. The base beneath the Tower of London looked great, and I was happy to see Kate Stewart. Ok, I admit, I got a bit teary-eyed even. Once again, I felt that the ending of this episode was a bit too sudden and contrived. The idea and the buildup were great, but the last 5 minutes were a waste. This is why the sonic screwdriver and K-9 got destroyed several times throughout classic Who!
Knowing that the next episode will be Rory and Amy’s last, I had nearly come to accept that they might be able to step away from life with the Doctor, like Martha did. But there have been too many sad glances from the Doctor, too much foreboding. After the end of this episode, it’s clear that something drastic is going to have to happen in the next episode.



So, in summary, this season so far has been pretty good. The ideas behind each of the episodes have been fantastic in my opinion, although I’ve felt let down by the resolutions. After all of the weird weirdness in the arc(s) from last season, it’s honestly been a bit of a relief that I don’t have to keep track of so many plot points across episodes (I have a horrible memory).

Although I was a bit reluctant about Eleven, Amy and Rory in the beginning, they have become one of my favorite TARDIS teams of all time. I’d have to agree with the conclusion to the Power of Three in that I really love them as a whole, but on their own not so much. Amy really annoys me on her own, or with just her and Eleven. I think what I’ve really loved about the development of Amy’s story is that the Doctor is intertwined in her life going SO far back, and that’s really only something that’s previously been explored in books or audios, but not to my recollection in the tv series. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Eleven on his own. I thought the episodes with Craig were good, but didn’t much care for either of the Christmas specials. I’ve been saying since Captain Jack left Eight and Rose that the Doctor needed a male companion. I didn’t much care for Rory in the first couple of episodes (honestly after their first episode I think my comment was that they should have left him in Leadworth and taken the computer geek friend instead) but he has really developed. I like that they’ve let him use his medical skills moreso than I remember Martha getting to use hers, and I love that he’s grown a backbone and insisted to the Doctor that his own work was important and that there was more to life than running around after the Doctor, but I think even Rory on his own would start to grate on me. These three are best together in a team.

What that means after the next episode, I don’t know, but I had faith in Moffat going into the fifth season, and I still have faith in him going into this year’s Christmas special. First though, I have to survive tonight’s episode. Guess I’d better go get my tissues and prepare myself!!

Music Monday: Clock Opera

Clock Opera appeared on “ones to watch” lists for 2010. And 2011. And 2012. They finally released their debut album this past April, and it looks like the Clock Opera machine is now rolling full steam ahead. Early in their career, they got labelled “chop pop” and although frontman Guy Connelly seems uncomfortable with the tag, it’s about the only short description for their unique blend of chopped, remixed, smoothed samples and rather epic lyrics. I’ve been listening since late 2009 when they added to the lineup Dan Armstrong, whom I previously knew from his days with indie band The Rushes. Clock Opera started as the solo project of Guy Connelly, who released both remixes and original tracks under the name. Remixes released from Clock Opera continue to be Guy’s handiwork, and it was his remix of Marina & the Diamonds’ “I am Not a Robot” combined with the release of “Belongings” that really made me sit up and listen.


Their debut album, Ways to Forget, was released in both standard and deluxe versions. I have been waiting expectantly for this album for a couple of years now, and I have to say, if I had only gotten the standard version, I would have been disappointed. 6 out of the 10 tracks had previously been released as singles, and I think the versions on the cd suffer from over-production. It’s like they took somewhat disparate songs like the driving, angry Lesson No. 7, the beautiful crescendo of Once and For All, and the pop staccato of Belongings, and decided that they needed to sound more alike. Although CO’s songs tend to be slightly repetitive and formulaic, they are dern catchy and powerful, and the album versions lose that somewhat. Even Move to the Mountains, which people have begging for since it appeared in an episode of Chuck, loses a bit of what was hinted at under those lines of Chuck dialogue.

That said, my love affair with this album starts with track 8, and I think the Lost Buoys, Move to the Mountains, and Fail Better, all previously unreleased, would work for me as a happy ending. Fortunately, however, they decided to also release a deluxe version (at least in the UK). New tracks Ways to Forget (yes, the title track got dropped from the initial album lineup), New Arrivals, Glass Eye and Seven Hours add some diversity to the album, and I am SO glad they added the “under the floorboards” version of Once and For All. This song is truly lovely and the video proves all musicians ought to know how to play the piano:



Be sure and watch the music video for the original version of Once and For All as well – if that doesn’t make you cry then you have a hard, hard heart. D & I were lucky enough to catch them in Manchester last year and in New York this spring. For a while I had a hard time imagining how they could bring their sound to the live stage, but they put on a really good show, especially once they start breaking out the metal trays & kettles! Sadly, Dan said they don’t often play my favorite newer song, Fail Better, live because it requires a special setup for bassist Andy. I’m very excited, I already have my tickets for their November London show, although it would help if I had plane tickets too…


You can find Clock Opera on:



Youtube (If you’re like me and are still a bit confused by the concept of “chop pop”, watch the “making of” videos where they put in context some of the everyday sounds they incorporate)


Happy Labor Day!

Due to a scheduling mishap, I had a rare four day weekend this weekend, and did my best to enjoy it! Here’s a little rundown:


Had lunch with an old friend who is moving to Chicago next week. Sad, but now I have someone to visit in Chicago 🙂 And Chicago sure seems to host a lot of cons!! (Don’t tell her I said that already) Afterwards I popped in Richmond staple Stories Comics and picked up a few horror magazines. I am prepping for MonsterFest in Chesapeake, but given Saturday’s events that ended up being a bad plan. Listed at least 50 new items on etsy while watching really cheesy television. My shop now has over 200 items in it, and that’s got to be less than 20% of my stock. That means that 1) I need to list more on etsy and 2) if you haven’t checked out my display at a show this summer, you should come by the Costen Floors bazaar in Richmond next weekend or MonsterFest next month if you’re in the Chesapeake area!!


Drove with R & D down to Virginia Beach to see Carbon Leaf again. I’m really not sure why I keep heading to the waterfront resort areas in peak tourist traffic, but whatever. We planned our route around 2 comic book stores. The first was Bender’s Books & Cards in Hampton. D & I first heard about this place when we had a table at the Virginia Beach Memorial Day Sci Fi yard sale when I made a deal with the owner for some of my Doctor Who books & collectibles. On the way home from that trip, we stopped by the store. It is a treasure trove of vintage comics, magazines, and, well, pretty much anything collectible. Make sure you bring your hand sanitizer because you will get dirty, but seriously, this place has everything. Piles and stacks and shelves of it. I came away with a big stack of monster books, magazines, and comics, as well as some Doctor Who magazines. They have a bigger Doctor Who display than I ever thought I’d find in Hampton, as well as a TON of Star Trek stuff (probably because of the annual sci fi yard sale).

Next we headed towards Zeno’s Books in Chesapeake. This is another store we heard about at the Sci Fi yard sale. They actually had the booth next to us and we kept each other entertained all day – apparently I was the first customer they’d ever had who bought comics based on what was on the BACK covers, which amused them. I also spoke to them at FantaSci and the July VA Comic Con, so even before I’d set foot in the store this was pretty much my favorite comic store. The owner had set aside the merch we were looking for which was really nice, and I also picked up some more magazines and comics to use for MonsterFest items. I’m getting really excited about this event!! Although a much smaller store than Stories or Benders, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff is a huge plus and they still have a very impressive inventory for the space. I got some great deals, and one or two items that I might not be able to bring myself to cut up.

Finally, much to R’s relief, we eventually headed towards Virginia Beach. Carbon Leaf was playing for free as part of the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. We got there just in time to catch most of the opening act, A Silent Film, a band out of Oxford/London. I had never heard of them before but we all enjoyed their set and I intend to check out their albums.

Carbon Leaf were amazing as usual, although they seemed to have some technical issues throughout the night and I’m pretty sure Barry wasn’t feeling so great although he did borrow a punter’s hula hoop and hula hooped on stage and they still played at least 2 hours. They played a new song which Barry identified as Bloody Good Bar Fight Song/ Donnybrook Affair, and there were 2 songs in the encore that were either so old or so new that I didn’t know them. All three showed a lot more of the celtic influence that they used to have, which I appreciate. I think this is probably connected to them dropping their major label and going back to their indie roots.


I caught up on Doctor Who. Can you believe I missed the Doctor Who premiere for real life fun? Yeah, me neither…


Spent the day rearranging my workspace. Now that all the magazines and comic books and books are in one place and sorted, I’m a bit overwhelmed. No more comic book stores for me for a while!!! Time to do some more cutting up & etsying!