Doctor Who: “Smile”

“This is of course the second episode in a row concerned with technology that is both incredibly powerful and colossally dumb, causing enormous harm through a misguided and clueless desire to help.”

Doctor Who: “The Pilot”

A small cast works well together to tell a simple monster story, reintroduce us to the TARDIS, provide a good jumping-on point for any new viewers out there, and give the longtime fans some Easter eggs right before the holiday.

The Return of Doctor Mysterio

“The problem, and it’s a fatal one, is that nothing got ground up. There’s a slab of superhero sitting next to a strip of Who and it’s been sold as a sausage.”

Doctor Who: “The Husbands of River Song”

This is the first time since “The Five Doctors” back in 1983 that my first viewing of a Doctor Who episode took place in a movie theater, surrounded by other fans. I watched “Day of the Doctor” and “Deep Breath” that way, but both were…

Doctor Who: “Hell Bent”

Even though “Hell Bent” is as unrepentantly sci-fi and literal as “Heaven Sent” is allegorical and rich with subtext, even though it’s as chaotic and messy and all over the place as its part 1 is focused and precise, I loved it. I don’t know…

Doctor Who: series 9 penultimate rankings

By tradition, before the finale, I rank the year’s episodes and discuss how my opinions of them have changed with hindsight. I’ll list them from my least to most favorite this time. 11. Sleep No More Mark Gatiss seems like a fun guy I’d probably…

Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent”

The Doctor has lost his best friend. His best friend has forbidden him to take out his anger and grief on anyone else. But he can still take it out on himself. There’s no mystery as to the subtext here. It’s a labyrinthine prison, containing…

Doctor Who: “Face the Raven”

One way to gauge the sturdiness of a work of fiction might be: if you know the big spoiler, can you still enjoy it? The longevity of Hamlet, Citizen Kane, and The Empire Strikes Back (to name just three) suggest that it’s certainly possible to…

Doctor Who: “Sleep No More”

Imagine, if you can, a monster that uses your time asleep to attack you…yes, a bit like Freddy Krueger. Imagine that this monster is so insidious that just watching a video featuring that monster will allow it to get into your eye…yes, a bit like…

Doctor Who: “The Zygon Inversion”

Imagine you’ve been forced to move to another country, one where you don’t speak the language and the customs aren’t your own. You probably still dream about home, where everything is as you understand it, but then you wake up in your new apartment and…