3 Things I Want For the New Doctor Who Companion

Unless you’ve been trapped in solitude all weekend, chances are solid that you heard a new companion has officially been named. The companion is called Bill, and she’s played by the actress Pearl Mackie. I wrote about her a bit on Geek & Sundry over the weekend.

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Image credit: BBC

Even though we’ve got to wait until 2017 for the new season of Doctor Who (though there will be a Christmas special this year, so maybe we’ll see Bill there), all of our Whovian brains are racing as we imagine what kind of a companion Bill will be, and what adventures she and the Doctor will have together. While I don’t share the Clara-hate that a lot of Whovians had, I will admit that she had a tumultuous run with the Doctor. That original “Impossible Girl” story line made her more of a weird anomaly throughout the Doctor’s timeline rather than an actual character, and it wasn’t until her final season that I really started to love her. Jenna Coleman is a great actor, and I think she could have sealed herself a higher ranking in the “favorite companion” leaderboard had she started her run as companion as more than just a puzzle for the Doctor to solve. Clara, once she was fleshed out as a character, was reckless, she was caring, she was brave, she was snarky, she was loving, she was sarcastic, and she was everything I love in companions.

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It kind of frustrated me, actually, because I felt like so much time was wasted on guessing who–or WHAT–Clara could be. The awkward crush she had on Eleven, the Impossible Girl thing, feeling weird about Twelve because he was old, all of that got in the way of what turned out to be a really fun Doctor/Companion run there at the end. I don’t want that for Bill. Here’s what I hope we see once she officially boards the TARDIS:

No Romance

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I loved watching Nine/Ten and Rose’s romance. It was sweet, even though we all knew that it would ultimately end in heartbreak. However, that gooey romance has sort of tainted the Doctor and Companion romance thing for me. Martha’s run as companion got lost, I felt, because there was that awkward “rebound companion” behind everything they did together. When she left the TARDIS on her own accord, I cheered her on because frankly, the Doctor was kind of stringing her along. Then with companions like Donna and the Ponds, we saw how fun–yet still highly meaningful–it can be to watch the Doctor travel with someone who is just a friend and nothing romantic. I got why Clara crushed on Eleven. I get it dude, Matt Smith’s adorable, easy on the eyes, endearing, and he can pull off short pants and “delicate” eyebrows better than anyone. But we all knew the Doctor didn’t fully return Clara’s affections–after all, this was still the age of River Song. Then when Eleven regenerated, everything was weird between Clara and Twelve for a bit because of that crush. The Doctor–especially this Doctor–needs a friend, needs family, far more than he needs a girlfriend. It can get awkward when the Doctor has to navigate a companion crush, so I hope Bill and Twelve are just mates. Plus, I’m not really ready to see him with anyone but River just yet.

She’s Just a Regular Human

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In the Doctor Who universe, it gets repeated over and over again how important the Doctor finds each individual he meets. That’s part of the show’s appeal: everyone’s important. Rose loved the Doctor, Martha was his friend who pushed him from heartbreak, Donna was simultaneously the best temp in Chiswick/the most important woman in the universe/and the Doctor’s best mate, and the Ponds were the Doctor’s family. So taking Clara and making her something more than a human who works her way into the Doctor’s hearts felt…unnecessary. The Doctor doesn’t pick companions because they have some secret identity or skill. The Doctor finds his companions special and important because he thinks everyone is important and special–which leaves room for the companions to grow and develop as characters, and ultimately help the Doctor grow. I want Bill to be a regular human, and not a puzzle or problem for the Doctor to solve. I want to see her evolve during her time with the Doctor like an actual human, to see how her presence changes the Doctor, and not for the Doctor to simply work his way to a solution with her.

No Fearing the Doctor

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I’ve really grown to love Twelve, but a huge difference between Eleven and Twelve is how rough Twelve is around the edges. Everyone wanted to go up and give Eleven a hug. The dude invented a dance called “the drunk giraffe”, and we refer to him as Raggedy Man. That’s SO not Twelve. Twelve doesn’t do hugging (except with Clara), he doesn’t tolerate most people,  he’s got biting sarcasm (one of the reasons I love him), he’s not even consistently nice to those he’s closest with (like Clara), and he’s even had to give himself cards to react appropriately in delicate emotional situations. Clara and Twelve’s first season was tough to watch sometimes because Clara would treat Twelve like she did Eleven. She let him get away with a lot, she let him treat her terribly, and she didn’t really stand up for herself. After all, Twelve can be a bit intimidating. The relationship felt a bit toxic, and not fun at all. However,  once Clara finally stepped up and stopped allowing Twelve to do whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted, everything got better. He treated her respectfully, she pushed him to be better, and they were fun to follow on adventures. Bill needs to not be afraid of the Doctor (who may still be emotionally raw as he’s mending broken hearts after losing Clara), and not be afraid to call him out when he’s being crazy. The Doctor’s companions keep him good, and Bill needs writing that lets her keep him good.

It can take some time for the Doctor and his new companion to find their groove together, and I’m excited to watch Bill and the Doctor become friends. I can’t wait to see what kind of a character she’ll be, how she’ll evolve during her run in the TARDIS, and what kind of an impact she’ll have on the Doctor and the universe. New episodes of Doctor Who cannot get here soon enough! What do you think of Bill? What are you looking forward to seeing in the new season? What do you hope to see with this new companion? Let me know in the comments!

What You Actually Experience at the Doctor Who Experience

I’m writing again about my time in Europe (I previously wrote a post with a few European travel tips, and I also wrote a post about geeky UK travel on Geek & Sundry). I’ve put a couple of my pictures here on the blog, but you can see LOADS more photos from my European adventure on my Instagram. The hashtag is #KenInEurope.

While I got to see a TON of amazing bits of European history, architecture, and culture, I made sure to get a solid dose of geekery into my travels. One of the places I had to be SURE to hit was the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales. Honestly, you guys, I was so excited to take part in the Experience, actually setting foot into the building bordered on emotional for me–though that could have just been a result of the exhaustion/jetlag and gnarly blisters that were forming on my feet. Either way, it was so fantastic when I saw the giant building looming overhead.

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I had bought my tickets ahead of time (which I recommend you do, though they have several tours leaving throughout the day, I’d hate to travel all the way to Wales only to fine they’re sold out. Plus, it’s 16 pounds at the door versus 14 pounds ahead of time). I backpacked my way through Europe, so I was thrilled to find that they let me in and through the experience with my backpack (which is good–I would have had literally nowhere else to put it had it been against the rules). All in all, the experience was magical and highly timey-wimey. So what can you expect when you immerse yourself in the Experience?

You will assume you can walk to the Experience from the train station, and soon realize you cannot–at least, it would be a walk that is WAY longer than you’re okay with.

If you’ve got yourself a rental car or you’re cool with taking a taxi everywhere, you’re set. However, if you’re relying on Uber, don’t. They don’t have it yet. If you’re thinking you’ll walk from the train station (we traveled to Cardiff via train from London), you also probably shouldn’t do that either. It’s a bit of a hike, and if it’s raining, the rain will likely be intense.

You will discover they have a bus that runs from the train station to the Experience–the Number 6 bus. You will scrounge through your pockets to find 1 pound 80 because the bus stop sign says it takes exact change only.

And no, they don’t take credit cards.

Then, you will notice a sign that says to flag the driver down if you wish to board the bus. You will think this is meant for those wishing to board the bus in between stops, and that obviously the bus will stop at its designated stops. You will be wrong.

Seriously, FLAG THE DRIVER DOWN. Turns out that, though you are standing at the bus stop, the bus doesn’t automatically stop at its designated stops. It only stops if there are people signaling that they’d like to get on the bus. Make sure you signal him so he has enough time to see you, register you need the bus, and safely stop at the bus stop.

Once aboard the bus, you’ll see that the bus has one of those “pull to stop the bus” ropes. In your experience, those are for emergency stops only, so you don’t pull it. Mercifully, others on the bus know better and will pull the cord at your desired stop.

It makes sense now. If the bus wasn’t stopping at bus stops without a future passenger waving the bus down, why would he stop without a current passenger letting him know they wanted to get off the bus? When you’ve reached your stop (or really, a bit before arriving at your stop), pull the cord.

As you’re nearing the Experience, you’ll notice that you pass the BBC Cymru|Wales building. You will wonder what the hell “Cymru” means.

First of all, Cymru is Wales in Welsh. Though Wales is an English speaking country, they are working hard to preserve the Welsh language as it came very close to becoming extinct. So, in addition to teaching Welsh in schools there, just about every sign you see in Wales has Welsh and English printed on it. #TheMoreYouKnow Also,  I don’t know if you can tour the BBC office. I don’t even know if there’s anything to see in there. I just noticed it as we passed and was like, “Oh, hey look at that.” I was too nervous to explore for too long after our run at the Experience since we took the last Experience of the day. I wasn’t sure how long the bus would run to that area after the Experience closed, and I didn’t want to risk missing my train back to London.

The lobby of the Experience will literally take your breath away.

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Okay,  let me back track a bit. The lobby is by far not the most outstanding part of the experience. Really, the lobby is just a lobby, it’s just that the lobby contains loads of authentic Whovian props. Being that close to a TARDIS, a smiler, Daleks, Handles, and other authentic props will make you simultaneously want to squeal and cry a little.

The lobby–where they have a waiting area and a small cafe–is where you’ll find the big guns like a TARDIS, Daleks, and the Smiler. But when you’re ready to queue up for the Experience, they make you wait in a line prior to letting in, and that room is also filled with a variety of props like the Time Lord costumes, Handles, and the Time Lord Hypercubes.

You won’t be able to take pictures in the Experience, and they’ll ask you to keep the Experience itself a secret.

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They want you to keep the adventure under your hat so everyone comes in to the Experience and it’s a new adventure for them. So I’m not going to tell you what I experienced specifically. Suffice it to say, you go on an interactive adventure with the Doctor. I don’t know how many times they make a new adventure, but I’m guessing at least one for every new Doctor, as mine was with Twelve.

You’ll quickly realize the Experience is designed to delight children. However, you’ll still have a blast, and feel a bit emotional that you’re actually in Cardiff, Wales, at THE Doctor Who Experience.

Yeah, the adventure is fully for kids, but it’s still loads of fun. Cheesy? Maybe, but it’s such a unique experience and I was so happy to simply be there, that everything delighted me to pieces. There’s even a part where we got to “drive” the TARDIS, and the Doctor instructed us to allow “small humans” to be in the front (so: Kendall, move back so the kids can have a turn). Mercifully, there were more TARDIS controls than children in my group, so I got to help drive. #TimeLordWin

Despite enjoying the adventure, you will be a bit disappointed that Peter Capaldi didn’t leap out at some point to surprise your group.

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I did NOT miss a bit, Doctor. You just weren’t physically there. And yes, I know it wasn’t a realistic thing to hope for, especially since I don’t think they’ll be filming new episodes of Who for quite a while, but how awesome would that have been?!? But hey, maybe he’ll surprise your group when you go…

Despite the campy fun of the Experience, you’ll think the Doctor Who Exhibit after the experience is just THE BEST

Once you leave the interactive experience, you’ll enter the “museum” where they store costumes and props from Who over the years. They had awesome stuff like the actual Moment that the Doctor used in the 50th special to end the Time War, they had the War Doctor’s actual TARDIS, the interior of the One’s TARDIS as well as Nine and Ten’s TARDIS, they had an exhibit (that I didn’t get a picture of) showing the evolution of Cybermen on Who, and various costumes actually worn by characters. It was just brilliant.

 You’ll soon realize that though there are a couple of TARDIS interiors to explore, you can’t enter any of the phone boxes. You’ll assume there are two reasons for this.

me and TARDIS

The first reason being that the TARDISes are just props, and it could be slightly devastating for fans to enter a TARDIS and realize it’s just a small, dark box. I mean, can you imagine sending this crazed fan into a fake TARDIS? That’s the smile of a chick hardcore fangirling over all the Who stuff around her, tired from walking with her dang backpack, and feet aching from the blisters she got from her stupid (but oh-so adorable) boots. She looks unstable enough that a disappointment like a fake TARDIS might just send her over the edge…

Of course, the other reason they may not have let us into any of the phone boxes (and there were several–the one pictured is from the lobby, but the museum itself had quite a few of the different phone boxes we’ve seen over the years) is because they are actual, functioning TARDISes. The reason the Doctor didn’t jump into my Experience was because he had merely parked his TARDIS at the museum and was off saving the world. Of course, it all makes sense now.

You will find that, unsurprisingly, the museum exit is through the gift shop. You will want to buy everything, and this will not surprise you either. What will surprise you is that you will not be able to afford any of the pretty things.

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Everything is wonderful and beautiful, but hella expensive. If you want to buy something from the gift shop, save up. It makes it a bit worse because, at least when I was there, the US dollar was worth less than the pound making everything doubly expensive for me. Lame.

You will think the entrance to Torchwood/Ianto’s Door/Millennium Centre will be right behind the Experience. It isn’t, and because you aren’t feeling great, you’ll resign yourself to not seeing it and hop on the Number 6 bus to return to the train station. Literally the very next stop (or two stops, I can’t recall now) will be at the Millennium Centre and Mermaid Quay. Frustrated but ultimately too tired to leave the bus (and lacking another 1 pound 80 to get back on the bus), you will simply snap a picture from your seat.

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I call this picture: Good Enough.

Really though, this whole area isn’t too far from the Experience if you’re walking, and it’s even shorter if you’re taking the bus. This building is called the Millennium Centre, which you can find in Roald Dahl’s Pass. Apparently there are various Doctor Who/Torchwood things all around here. Ianto’s door (which is now apparently a bit of a Torchwood shrine to Ianto and others who died on the show) is near the location where the speedboats land on Mermaid Quay. Also, you might have picked this up from your viewings of Doctor Who/Torchwood, but just in case: quay is pronounced “key”, not “kway”.

Ultimately, it will be one of your favorite moments from the trip.

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Seriously, the entire thing will be a giant celebration of Doctor Who with other people who love the series just as much as you do. It was, without a doubt, one of my favorite moments from the trip.

Have you been to the Doctor Who Experience? What did you think of it? Are you planning a trip to go out there sometime soon? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Everyday Cosplay: Ashildr/Me

I was so excited about Maisie Williams’ role on Doctor Who as Ashildr (who prefers to go by “Me” later in her life). Her story was fascinating, heartbreaking, and the end of it had me hoping that she’d get her own spin-off (no spoilers here). While that isn’t likely to happen, I still LOVE her..though I have to admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of her style for much of her story line.

Then, in what was likely the last time we’ll ever see Ashildr on our Whovian screens, she wore this outfit.

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Seriously, I LOVE this outfit and this character SO MUCH. So, to pay homage to one of my Whovian faves, I decided I’d focus my everyday cosplay look on her for the day. Check it out:

Everyday Ashildr/Me

 

 

What did you think of Ashlidr? Do you think we’ll see her again, despite what Maisie herself has said (I mean, we saw Sarah Jane again, we can see Ashildr again, right?). Let me know what you think in the comments!

British Shows I’m Watching to Fill a Who-Shaped Hole

If you haven’t heard already, there are big changes happening in the Doctor Who world. The show’s intrepid leader (love him or hate him), Steven Moffat is leaving and turning the show over to Chris Chibnall, Peter Capaldi will likely end his run as Twelve after season 10 of the show, and to top it all off, we’re not going to get the tenth season of Doctor Who until 2017. You heard me right, the only new Who we’ll get in 2016 is a Christmas special

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Who knew that the biggest heartbreak of all wouldn’t be a Doctor regenerating, it would instead be a year-long silence from our favorite Time Lord…

So what the heck am I supposed to watch without any Doctor Who in my life? To make matters worse, Doctor Who has been pulled from every streaming service so I can’t even watch old episodes. I’ve heard rumors that it’s to prepare for the launch of a BBC streaming service, but come on, you guys. How many streaming services am I expected to buy??? I mean, come on, Netflix and BBC!

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The sudden but inevitable betrayal of Netflix and the BBC aside, the fact remains that I need to fill the TARDIS-shaped hole in my life. So I’m significantly upping the British television in my life to show myself and the cable and streaming service powers that be that I’m an independent woman and I don’t need no Time Lord.

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So here are the shows I’ll be watching/re-watching this year to distract myself from the dull ache of missing the Doctor.

Shows I’m Re-Watching

Being Human UK

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This show isn’t terribly related to Doctor Who thematically with the exception of being a bit weird and having a bit of a wibbly-wobbly time line at times (especially in the later seasons). However, like many BBC shows, there are several actors in the show who’ve been on Who–like Russel Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, and Sinead Keenan–so it’s close enough.

The IT Crowd

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I’ve watched this entire show several times through, but I just love it so much. It’s hilarious and never ceases to brighten my mood after a bad day. Besides, since it doesn’t have a real season or series-long story arc, it’s easy to watch episodes here and there. It’s a good one to watch if you want to go on a Netflix binge–it’s hilarious and tons of fun–but the lack of a Big Story makes it one to watch if you’re trying to not go on a proper binge.

New Shows I’m Watching

Peaky Blinders

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This has been on my to-watch list for some time, and I’ve heard from several people I trust that the show is great. Plus, I love Cillian Murphy so much. Ever since he ran around London running from the Infected, I’ve been obsessed with stuff he’s in. With a gripping actor like Murphy, plus a story set in 1920s England, I’m sure to be hooked quickly.

The Fall

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I don’t know much about this show, if I’m honest, but I do know two things: it’s a mind-bending show about a detective trying to catch a serial killer, and Gillian Anderson is in it. Sold.

Black Mirror

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This show is supposed to be hella creepy, and I’m all about that. It’s set in a not-too-distant future, and it shows a world that has taken some seriously dark turns thanks to society’s relationship with technology. I’ve heard this show called a horror show with dark humor with Twilight Zone vibes. That plus familiar faces (it’s the BBC–what do you expect) like Domhnall Gleeson and Leonora Crichlow pop up for extra fun.

Black Books

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As somebody who’s job relies on books and bookstores, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for any show set in a publishing office or bookshop. Black Books is a show about a small bookshop and the two guys who run the shop (and their friend who used to work next door). I’ve already watched a few episodes of this show, and it’s hilarious and ridiculous. Since a lot of the shows on my list are heavy, it’s good to have something lighthearted, right? I’ve also been told Inbetweeners and Peep Show are good ones to add, but I haven’t decided on those two just yet.

And One American Show For Good Measure:

Legends of Tomorrow

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This one’s a no-brainer to add. It stars Rory Pond Arthur Darvill, and is essentially a superhero version of Doctor Who. Darvill’s character, Rip Hunter, is a Time Master (seriously), he talks frequently about how time isn’t linear (is it wibbly-wobbly, perhaps?), harps on the importance of protecting the timeline (fixed points in time, you mean?), and he ran away from the Time Masters with one of their time machines–though this time machine has a functioning cloaking device, and it doesn’t make a wheezing sound when it lands.  And, if that wasn’t enough, the crew of Legends also made Arthur a makeshift Dalek. I know that this isn’t a Doctor Who AU, but since they’re making me wait a YEAR for more Who, I’ve got to get my Whovian fix wherever I can get it.

What shows are you watching while you wait for more Doctor Who? Any suggestions of good British shows I should add to my watch list? Let me know in the comments!

5 Fandom Friday: Fave Late To The Game TV Discoveries

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Y’all, Netflix has to be one of the greatest inventions ever. It’s definitely a killer when it comes to my productivity, but it’s allowed me to experience a load of shows that I would have never had the opportunity to watch without it. A great deal of my favorite television shows are a part of my life thanks to Netflix. Even though I’ve come to them late in the game, I still love them like they were brand new. It can be tough to come to an AMAZING show long after everyone’s watched it, but it’s a magical experience nonetheless. Like I said, I’ve found several TV show gems since introducing Netflix into my life, but here are my top 5 late in the game TV show discoveries.

Breaking Bad

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This show was completely amazing, and I’d argue that it’s one of the best shows of my adult life. I had heard from everyone and their mom telling me how brilliant the show was, but since I didn’t jump in at the start the Breaking Bad era passed me by. I didn’t start watching the show until at least two years–but it may have been more–after the Breaking Bad series finale. Of course I was instantly hooked, as was my husband, and we also managed to get my parents hooked as well. In fact, they were so hooked that even though we started watching before my parents, they finished up the entire series a few weeks before us. I come from a proud line of Netflix bingers.

Doctor Who

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I’ve mentioned before that Matt Smith is my Doctor, and that he gets such a hallowed role in my life because he was the Doctor who brought me into the series. I joined the Whovian world in the Eleven/Pond era, which was only a handful of seasons late in the New-Who era, and CRAZY late if you’re thinking from the first episode WAY back in 1963. Regardless, I was instantly hooked on the world of Who and immediately began re-watching the series starting with Nine on Netflix. I still need to watch Classic Who, though. I’m really late to the game there.

Spaced

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I don’t even remember how I discovered this show. I know it was a Netflix find, but I can’t remember if I heard about it and searched for it, or just started watching it because I recognized Simon Pegg. Either way, I’m so pleased to have found Spaced when I did–especially because a month or two after I watched the show, it got taken off Netflix. I just love Simon Pegg’s brand of humor, and I think he’s at his best when he’s working with his friends Nick Frost, Edgar Wright, and Jessica Stevenson. They are all just hilarious together, and I really hope it finds its way back to Netflix soon. I’d really love to re-watch the series.

The IT Crowd

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If you’ve been on the internet for four seconds, it’s likely you’ll have run into a gif or something from IT Crowd, be it the infamous, “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” a picture of The Internet, or even that gif of Denholm Reynholm jumping out of the window. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you’ve likely seen something online referencing it. So once I got Netflix, I knew that this was one of the first shows I needed to add to my queue, and I am so glad I did. The show is hysterical, often makes zero sense, but is one of the funniest shows ever.

Being Human (UK and US)

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This is another show that I can’t recall how I discovered it. Probably a mix of Tumblr and a general infatuation with Aidan Turner’s face if I’m honest, but I don’t remember the exact catalyst. Regardless, I watched Being Human UK first because I’m a snob and wanted to watch ~the original~ before watching anything I deemed to be a “stupid American knockoff”. It didn’t take me long to become obsessed with the show and zip through the entire series. Bereft and alone without more Being Human UK to watch, I sneered at Being Human US (which had aired its final new episode about six months prior to this). It wouldn’t be as good as the UK version, and I knew it. Even though Netflix recommended the US version as soon as the credits rolled on the final episode of Being Human UK, I was indignant. I wouldn’t watch that version. Then one day, I decided to watch it just to prove to myself that it was, in fact, a trashy knockoff. But then I got obsessed. It was similar enough to the UK version for me to fall in love with it easily, but different enough that I wasn’t constantly saying, “Mitchell is a better vampire, or is Aidan? Is Josh sweeter than George? Would I rather be friends with Sally or Annie? Annie probably makes better tea…” Plus, the show also featured the acting talents of one of my favorites, Mark Pellegrino, playing Bishop (the US version of Herrick), a vampire that’s essentially Supernatural‘s Lucifer with fangs.

And, because I can’t follow rules, here’s a sixth show (seven if you count Being Human US and UK as two shows–which they technically are, I guess): 

Supernatural

This show started when I was a junior in high school, and I just didn’t get into it. However, the older I got and the more I got into the Tumblr world, the more I saw Supernatural stuff. It got tough to scroll through the interwebz not having watched the show.

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So I watched the show from season 1 to season 6…and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m officially in the Supernatural family and hopelessly obsessed with this ridiculously wonderful show.

What are your favorite late to the game TV finds? Let me know in the comments and, as always, check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today! Be sure to follow me on Twitter to follow the hashtag–the hashtag and series, of course, are courtesy of the awesome Kristen and Megan). 

The Rise of the Tragic Christmas Special

Haven’t watched “The Husbands of River Song” just yet? Then be warned…

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I have mixed feelings about the Doctor Who Christmas specials. Like I’ve said in the past, the episodes are often hit-or-miss for me. Usually they don’t have a regular companion, and the stories don’t play much into the larger storymline of that particular Doctor. Really, that’s the whole point of the special. It’s a fun adventure with the Doctor to help give you some Gallifreyan holiday cheer.

Of course, there’s also another sort of Doctor Who Christmas special, and that’s the special utterly breaks your heart. For the past three years now, we’ve had specials that are quite sad on different levels. We’ve had Eleven’s regeneration, the almost-final episode of Clara (that ended up being Danny Pink’s official, final episode), and this year marked what is likely River Song’s last episode (you never know with River–she’s so timey-wimey it’s not totally unrealistic for us to hope to see her again). Before that, we also had Ten’s regeneration happen over Christmas as well as feels-inducing “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” and “The Snowmen”. With Capaldi staring down his third season as the Doctor, rumors are beginning to fly that this may be his last season as our favorite Time Lord, which means we could have another tragic Christmas special in 2o16.

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Seriously, can we NOT talk about regeneration? I feel like Capaldi JUST started…

While I get that having a Doctor regenerate in the Christmas special is the easiest option for everyone involved–remember Eccleston regenerated prior to the Christmas special, so Tennant’s first episode was a Christmas special which made the Christmas special a bit tough since he spent a majority of the episode regenerating–it can really put a bit of a dark cloud over the Christmas special. Still, I’ve said before that those MOTW-style Christmas specials often don’t stick with me much past the final credits. Though I HATE re-watching Tennant and Smith’s regeneration episodes, I can’t deny that those are solid episodes. And “Husbands of River Song” and “Last Christmas“? Both of those episodes are sad, but I think those are two of my favorite specials.

We’ve had three years of sad specials, and it looks like we’re in for another next year. So my question is: how do we feel about the rise of the sad Christmas special? It’s no secret that Doctor Who, for all of its silliness and frivolity, can be a bit of a gut-wrencher. For instance: Van Gogh, Bad Wolf Bay, “Angels Take Manhattan”, Melody Pond, Donna-freaking-Noble…this show likes to rip out our hearts on the regular. So a Christmas special that is sad isn’t necessarily an escape from the norm, but does adding that melancholy touch to the special ruin what makes it unique? Should the special simply be a fun adventure that isn’t important to the main timeline, or is it good for big events like companions final episodes and regenerations to happen at Christmas?

When the show had the split-season format, it made a lot more sense for the Christmas special to not offer fans closure on major plot lines from the season. It didn’t matter if anything vital to the season’s story arc addressed, because part two of that season was only a few months away. Closure and big plot events would be handled in the latter half of the season. Now though, the Christmas special is acting a sort of unofficial season finale (even though the episode prior to the special is officially billed as the finale). Since the seasons aren’t split anymore, I think it’s important for the Christmas special to tie in to the main season a bit more.

Certainly this year’s special didn’t have much to do with the events of season nine. Clara’s final episode had already happened, an we hadn’t seen River since the days of Eleven, but I think we all knew this episode was coming at some point since we never saw the Doctor give River a screwdriver. However, I think it was a big deal to have the Doctor bid River what is likely their final farewell, especially since it came on the heels of losing Clara (can we talk about how much I loved the TARDIS trying to cheer the Doctor up by putting hologram antlers on his head?). So while River didn’t directly tie into this season, she’s always a vital part of the Doctor’s story. Taking her to the Singing Towers of Darillium made him think about the people he loves, how he loves and treats those important to him.

I love it that the Christmas specials are getting a bit weightier. While I definitely don’t want every special to be soul-crushing, episodes like this one and “Last Christmas” are great because they’re vitally important to the Doctor’s story as a whole, they contain companions we know and care about, and the adventures aren’t stories to just fill the logbooks of the TARDIS–their stories have an impact that reaches far beyond that particular episode. For instance, did you catch when the Doctor told River the same thing Danny told Clara in the 2014 Christmas special?

Danny Pink

With the re-jiggering of the season’s structure, I think making the Christmas specials pack more of an emotional punch only makes the show stronger as a whole. I still may be on the fence on making us watch the Doctor regenerate on Christmas, but I love that the specials have had stories and characters that reach far beyond the sixty minutes of the special. And if the show runners can give us excellent, non-regeneration specials like “The Husbands of River Song” and “Last Christmas”, I’m definitely on board with more feels-heavy specials.

What did you think of this year’s Christmas special? Are you happy with Christmas specials that are a bit sadder and have more of a tie in to the season’s story line, or do you want the show to go back to the one-off Christmas special style? Let me know what you think in the comments!

A Guide for Re-Watching Doctor Who Christmas Specials

I’ve gotta be honest, you guys: the Doctor Who Christmas specials aren’t always my favorites. Now, hear me when I say: I don’t hate the Christmas specials. They’re always fun, but often times the specials feel like fillers, or they’re hella depressing. Still, they’re a pivotal part of being a Whovian, so even if they aren’t always memorable stories, they are always fun to get to watch on Christmas Day.

So I’ve made a bit of a viewing guide for re-watching the specials based on the type of Christmas mood you find yourself in.

For a Blue Christmas

Sometimes you’re just not feeling the merriment and Christmas cheer, and really you just want to have a crying, cathartic Christmas. For those of you, I offer you the Who Christmas special that will officially ruin your Christmas spirit.

“Last Christmas”

Danny Pink

This special was highly rumored to be Jenna Coleman’s final episode as the Doctor’s companion, and happily it wasn’t. So compared to the other titles on this list, this isn’t the saddest of the bunch–in fact, I quite liked this episode. However, it was when we had to say our final goodbye to the wonderful Danny Pink, and they definitely had us waiting until the final moments of the episode before they gave us the final word on Clara’s future with the Doctor. It was definitely a tears and feels-inducing episode, perfect for someone wanting a slightly melancholy Christmas, without going with a full-blown Doctor regeneration or final companion episode.

“The End of Time”

tennant final episode

Tennant isn’t “my Doctor”, but I can’t watch the final moments of this episode without full-on ugly crying. The episode itself, like any regeneration episode, is a crazy-intense adventure (especially because you know he’s regenerating at the end). However, it is always tragic saying goodbye to a Doctor, especially one as great as Tennant. Watching him check on and offer his final farewells to his former companions is heart-breaking enough, and then watching the Ood “sing him to his sleep” just before he utters his BRUTAL final line (giffed above) is just the ticket you need to kill any seasonal joy you may have.

“The Time of the Doctor”

Smith is my Doctor. He’s the one that pulled me into the series, he’s the one who made me care about phone boxes, Time Lords, angels, the Silence, Ponds, and bow ties. So this episode rips me apart is all sort of awful fangirl ways. The fact that they bring back one of my favorite companions to be with Eleven in his final moments is even WORSE. I found a gifset on Imgur that properly explains my how I handled this episode.

tiny amy

pond

raggedyman goodnight

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Leave me to die, Whovians…

The “Welcome to Doctor Who” Specials

Of course, we don’t all want to be super bummed this holiday season, so instead of watching a bunch of specials that signal the end of eras, maybe focus on the specials that welcome new Doctors and new companions.

“The Christmas Invasion”

christmas invasion

This marks Tennant’s first run as the Doctor, and for Nu-Who viewers, it was their first experience going through a regeneration. Rose is also the first of two Nu-Who companions to stick with a Doctor through his regeneration (Clara Oswald being the second). The episode itself isn’t my favorite, if I’m honest, and it doesn’t help that Tennant is unconscious for a huge portion of the episode. However, once he wakes up, he instantly introduces us to that classic Ten sass that we all love, and gets everyone excited for the adventures to come. Definitely a more pleasant watch than “End of Time”, that’s for sure.

“The Runaway Bride”

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I’ve heard from a lot of Whovians that they really couldn’t stand Donna the first time we met her on Doctor Who, but I love it. Her situation is a bit unique in that she first appears in this special, a season goes by with another companion, and then she joins the Doctor. Donna is undoubtedly one of my favorite companions (if you can’t tell, I don’t have one fave), and even though she’s a bit shouty in this episode, it’s the start of one of the best friendships on Doctor Who.

“The Snowmen”

Clara Snowmen

Okay, so technically this isn’t the first time we meet Clara. We actually first meet her as Oswin back in the episode “Asylum of the Daleks”, BUT this is our first introduction to her as the Doctor’s official companion. It also kicks off Clara’s first tiresome story line as the Impossible Girl. Mercifully, she became a MUCH more complex and fascinating companion once the Doctor sorted out how she could be so…well…impossible, and even though I got a bit weary of the “I was born to save the Doctor” bit I did really enjoy her Christmas special. Plus, it also stars Strax, Vastra, and Jenny, who I absolutely adore.

For those Wanting Some Low-Key Time Lord Christmas Fun

More often than not, the Christmas specials don’t have a great deal to do with the Doctor’s larger story. While we’ve got some that include regenerations and introductions to new companions, they often times are a fun, holiday romp with a MOTW—er AOTW (alien of the week?)–feel to them. While these aren’t my favorite episodes, they’re always solid Whovian fun, and are perfect if you’re wanting to watch some low-key, lower-stakes fun with your favorite Time Lord.

“A Christmas Carol”

Smith Christmas Carol

This one is a fun adventure where the Doctor plays the ghost of Christmas (essentially), trying to get the Scrooge character Kazran Sardick to care about saving the lives of the people trapped on an intergalactic cruise ship–and, of course, two of those lives just happen to be Amy and Rory Pond–er–Williams.

“The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe”

humany-wumany

This one is the last Christmas special the Doctor has with the Ponds in his life. He’s been distancing himself from the Ponds, and has full intention to never bother them again. However, after helping a family reunite and survive a Narnia-like world, the Doctor decides to spend Christmas with his family–Amy and Rory. It’s a cute episode, and the ending is super sweet.

“Voyage of the Damned”

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Can I make a confession? I know a lot of people talk about loving this episode, but it really isn’t one of my favorites. Sure, Kylie Minogue does a great job as Astrid, and it’s great to see the Doctor finally meet someone called Alonso, but it isn’t an episode that hardcore stuck with me. Ultimately, it’s a fun romp on a futuristic version of the Titanic, a poorly-named spaceship that ultimately lives up to its namesake, so it’s perfect for lighthearted Whovian fun.

“The Next Doctor”

next doctor

This episode makes me feel uncomfortable in the same way watching Tennant as Kilgrave on Jessica Jones makes me uncomfortable. I’m used to seeing David Morrissey as the evil, eye-patch wearing Governor from The Walking Dead, so it’s weirdly fascinating to watch him as the sweet, good-natured Jackson Lake on Who. The episode follows the Doctor in old London Town as he works with Jackson (who may or may not be another regeneration of The Doctor) to stop a cyberman invasion. The episode features classic Who villains in the cybermen, and Jackson’s journey gives the show plenty of heart, making it a super fun Christmas special without any major heartbreaks to worry about (other than the general “the Doctor is lonely” stuff we always worry about).

The Official, Distracted Blogger Recommended Doctor Who Christmas Viewing

Of course, I couldn’t stop this post without letting you know my personal favorites–and the specials that I love to recommend most when people are planning a Christmas special marathon. I didn’t include either Tennant’s or Smith’s regeneration episode. Both are solid episodes, but watching Doctors regenerate is too sad for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, in my opinion.

“Last Christmas”

Doctor-Who-Last-Christmas

I wasn’t really sure what to think of Capaldi as the Doctor. Capaldi’s Doctor started out mean, cold, and highly insensitive. While the show made sure to string along some key Doctor personality traits (like always having Clara’s back), he felt VASTLY different. While Tennant and Smith are both very different Doctors, they both felt like good men. I wasn’t so sure about Capaldi. Which, yeah, that was a whole story arc for him, but still, watching My Doctor regenerate into a guy that might not even be good was tough. However, towards the end of the season and into the Christmas special, I began falling for Capaldi. By the end of this episode, not only did I love Clara as a companion (her Impossible Girl days long behind her), but I loved Clara with the Doctor. The two have great chemistry here, Nick Frost makes the BEST Santa, and watching the Doctor interact with Clara as an old woman was strangely endearing. It really showed that he cared for her. There’s just a lot to love in this episode.

“The Snowmen”

strax

I’ll be honest, the actual Snowmen storyline was a bit goofy, but it proved to be the perfect way to watch the Doctor get over losing the Ponds, it was a fun introduction to Clara, and it featured my favorite trio of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Really any episode where we get to hear Strax talk battle strategy is a win for me. After the particularly brutal goodbye from the Ponds, it was nice to see the Doctor happy, with friends, and saving people again.

 

“The Runaway Bride”

pockets

This was another special to help the Doctor–and us–get over the loss of a companion, Rose Tyler. Like I said, I know a lot of people couldn’t stand Donna in this episode, but I felt like this entire episode was the perfect balance to the AWFUL events that went down at Bad Wolf Bay. Donna and the Doctor have the best chemistry together, and I love the friendship they form. She’s the perfect companion to the Doctor, and frankly I’m still heartbroken on how Donna left the show. Even though we have to get through an entire season of Martha Jones (who is great, but I hate that so much of her story is her unrequited love of the Doctor), it’s a great way to move on from a lost companion and get excited about future adventures.

Are you going to be re-watching any Doctor Who Christmas specials to get ready for the 2015 Who Christmas Special? Which of the specials are your favorite? Let me know in the comments, and get ready to see River Song again in this year’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song”! I. CANNOT. WAIT.

Everyday Cosplay: Missy

I really enjoyed Missy last season on Doctor Who, and I cannot WAIT to see what adventures she’ll lead us into during Season 9. Without getting spoilery on her true identity (especially since season 8 JUST hit Netflix), I’ll just say that her character reveal was a ton of fun for me, and I’ve LOVED getting to get to know her more. Plus, she does goofy stuff like this on the regular, which makes me love her even more as a villain:

missy

After all, the best villains on Who are the ones who are a bit mad, don’t you think? So to pay tribute to my favorite, enigmatic villain, I’ve pulled together an everyday cosplay look to help you channel some of her awesome badassery into your everyday life. Check it out:

Everyday Missy

What do you think of the look? What do you think of Missy? Did you like getting to know her last season, or did you find her too cliche? Got any cool Missy-theories I should know? Let me know in the comments! 

Doctor Who on the Big Screen!

Get ready, you guys. Doctor Who is returning to the big screen–in 3D–for a special screening of “Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven“, a special season 9 prequel (called The Doctor’s Meditation), AND an interview with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman hosted by Wil Wheaton. This two night event is coming to theaters September 15-16, just to get you ready for the season 9 premiere on September 19. Here’s the scoop:

doctor-who-season-8-premiere

BBC Worldwide North America and Fathom Events announce the return of the longest running sci-fi television series, Doctor Who, to the big screen for a two-night special theatrical event, Doctor Who: Dark Water/Death in Heaven in spectacular 3D, starring Peter Capaldi. Doctor Who: Dark Water/Death in Heaven, the show’s two-part eighth season finale, will be presented in RealD™ 3D and Dolby Atmos sound (where available) on September 15 and 16  at 7:30 p.m. (local time). The event will feature The Doctor’s Meditation  – a special prequel scene to the first episode of season nine – and an exclusive interview with Doctor Who stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, hosted by Wil Wheaton (Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: Nemesis), in addition to the two-part season eight finale.

Tickets for Doctor Who: Dark Water/Death in Heaven in 3D can be purchased online beginning Friday, July 31 by visitingwww.FathomEvents.com, or participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in approximately 700 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website(theaters and participants are subject to change).

“We love bringing Doctor Who events to theaters and seeing the fans come out in full force,” said Fathom Events VP of Programming Kymberli Frueh. “This time fans get the added excitement of seeing all the action in 3D with exclusive bonus content not available anywhere else.”

“After the enormous success of the 50th Anniversary and season eight premiere – both number one alternative cinema events, two years in a row – we decided to bring the Doctor back to the big screen in 3D so Whovians across the country can have a full immersive experience of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. The season eight finale, along with an exclusive interview with Peter and Jenna is the perfect way to get fans ready for the upcoming premiere of new season on BBC AMERICA,” said Soumya Sriraman, EVP Film, Home Entertainment, and Licensing for BBC Worldwide North America.

In this epic two-part finale, the Doctor comes face-to-face with the mysterious Missy, and an impossible choice looms. With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies, and the Doctor takes to the air in a startling new role.

The new season of Doctor Who premieres Saturday, September 19 on BBC AMERICA.

Are you as excited as I am for Doctor Who season 9? If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, be sure to check it out below!

Will you be going to see Doctor Who on the big screen? What do you think of the new season? Let me know your Whovian thoughts in the comments! 

Geek and Sundry Post: Favorite One-Off Companions

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It’s officially been a decade since Doctor Who rebooted with the plastic-tastic episode “Rose”. To celebrate, I’m at Geek & Sundry talking about my favorite one-off companions from the series since that episode aired. I hope you’ll join me over there to talk about it, and add some of your favorite non-regular companions!

Doctor Who has been passing some pretty impressive milestones lately. 2013 marked the show’s 50th anniversary, and March 26th marked the 10th anniversary of the show’s 2005 reboot. Since that first episode in 2005, “Rose”, Whovians have gotten to meet several wonderful traveling companions for the Doctor in Rose, Amy, Rory, Martha, Clara, and Donna, and some other great characters that didn’t have a permanent spot in the TARDIS but reappeared often like River Song, Jack Harkness, Jackie, Jenny and Vastra, Strax, Danny, Wilfred, and Mickey. However, sometimes my favorite characters are those that the Doctor only has adventures with once–maybe twice. While they aren’t ever properly “companions” to the Doctor, and they may never get to even see the inside of the TARDIS, their short time with the Doctor often has a profound impact on his life and his future choices. So after a decade of new adventures with the Doctor, I thought I’d tip my hat to those amazing one-time companions we’ve met since the reboot.

10. Jackson Lake
jackson-lake
When Jackson first meets Ten, we are lead to believe that this is actually a future regeneration of the Doctor–one who lost most of his memories. Watching Ten interact with a man he believes to be a future version of himself is hilariously fun, and his story has a bit more depth than a lot of the Christmas specials. Jackson is able to save London from a Cyberman invasion, despite having limited resources, a…less than stellar TARDIS, and a severely jumbled memory. Jackson’s adventures with Ten was also David Tennant’s last Christmas special, which makes this episode a bit special as well…

Read the rest over at Geek & Sundry!