SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Resolution; What If The Doctor Was A Dalek (Parody); Pike and Spock On Star Trek Discovery; The Magicians Returning

Resolution gave Doctor Who the episode it needed for a proper season finale. By this I don’t mean any cliff hangers, or big changes such as companions leaving or a regeneration. Just a good episode, much better than The Battle of Ranskoor Av Koloswith the added benefit of bringing back the most show’s most iconic villain.

Resolution also did a good job of introducing the Daleks for new viewers. Like most of the season, the episode could be enjoyed without prior knowledge of the show. This was done by limiting the story to a single Dalek who had been trapped on earth for ages, bypassing any need for explanations of matters such as the Time War. While I’m sure there are purists who will object, they also made this an advanced scout Dalek with different abilities. Yes, it is a valid objection that we have never seen Dalek’s being able to teleport fragments of their bodies, or temporarily take control of a human. On the other hand, it would be hard to do a fresh, new Dalek story without taking any liberties, and the body snatcher aspect in this episode was entertaining to watch.

As the special took place on New Year’s Day instead of the traditional Christmas, there were views of fireworks, but otherwise the holiday did not place any unnecessary restrictions on the story. Realistically they could have done this as a Christmas Day special as well, with a brief scene of Team Tardis visiting Christmas celebrations.

The episode also continued the story of Ryan’s relationship with his father. After all, this season under Chris Chibnall has essentially been Broadchurch In Space And Time. (Jody Whittaker is more season three as opposed to season one Beth Latimer.) Ryan’s father even supplied the first means of nearly destroying the Dalek. This Dalek, while resourceful in building a new outer shell (reminiscent of the Doctor building her own sonic screwdriver earlier in the season), was not all that difficult to defeat. It was defeated both by humans in the past, and by the application of the oven in the present.

This led to a second climax in which, while I though it was more likely than not that Ryan’s father would survive, there was legitimate suspense over the outcome. I was a bit surprised that both of the archaeologists came out of this alive. There were plenty of casualties, but the deaths were among unknown people who were quickly vaporized.

The other casualty of the episode was UNIT, a victim of Brexit and “funding disputes and subsequent funding withdrawal by the UK’s major financial partners.” That is quite a step down from the Doctor being President of Earth during times of alien invasion. It might be for the better that there is no longer UNIT to step in if the earth is in danger, leaving it to the Doctor to save the planet. There is nothing stopping the reestablishment of UNIT (or perhaps Torchwood) in the future.

While I still have some questions about Chibnall’s writing for the series, Jodie Whitter did answer any doubts as to a woman taking over as the Doctor. Karen Gillan responded to the “crazy resistance” to the change in an article late last year in The Hollywood Reporter:

Jodie Whittaker knocked it out of the park.

She has elements of Matt Smith and David Tennant — that manic energy, brain going 100 miles an hour — but she made it her own. And that’s the great thing about the role — it has no limits. It can be played by any race or gender. All you need is a great actor. A great British actor. Or one who can do a convincing British accent.

As for the Dalek’s, check out the parody video above which shows how there would be major differences in the show if the Doctor was a Dalek. There would be no emotion or sentimentality. Plus the Weeping Angels are not a threat as Daleks do not blink. The one thing which is not different is how fans react to changes on the show.

CBS has released the above video on Anson Mount playing Christopher Pike. Entertainment Weekly also looked at how Spock and Pike will be different:

Expect Pike to restore some civility to the big chair after last season’s traitorous Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and come across rather different than previous captains.

“Kirk has a swagger, and is good at thinking outside the box because he’s a rulebreaker,” Mount says. “Pike is very by-the-book. He refers to the Starfleet code of conduct more often than not. What sets him apart from other captains, especially from Lorca, is he knows like any good leader the most precious resources is his crew. when he’s stuck, he’s not afraid to say, ‘I’m lost, anybody got a better idea?’ He uses the bridge as a bigger brain.”

For hardcore fans, the biggest mystery is: What’s Spock (Ethan Peck) even doing here? And how can he be Burnham’s adopted brother when the iconic character has never mentioned her in all of the Trek canon? Showrunner Alex Kurtzman says the Spock we meet here is rather different than the Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto version.

“The Spock we meet in season 2 is not the one we know yet,” Kurtzman says. “He’s really struggling. But if it were not for his relationship with Michael, he wouldn’t become the Spock we know today.”

The Magicians returns January 13 (trailer above). Plus this new recap to bring us up to date from last season was released last week:

Last season on THE MAGICIANS, our core group embarked on the epic quest of the seven keys to restore magic after it was turned off. In the shocking finale, just as our magicians finally restored magic by unlocking the fountain at the other end of the Wellspring, the Library, Irene McAllistair and Dean Fogg swooped in to reroute magic to them.

In exchange, Dean Fogg negotiated the lives of his students, erasing their memories and giving each – except Alice who is now imprisoned by the Library – a new, magic-free identity. Even with their new identities, our core group is far from safe since inside Castle Blackspire, an ancient, powerful and unkillable Monster escaped confinement and jumped bodies to a new host, Eliot. The season ended with The Monster finding a mind-wiped Quentin, and Season 4 will pick up with The Monster seeking out the others, and something else…

THE MAGICIANS stars Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, Rick Worthy, Jade Tailor, Brittany Curran and Trevor Einhorn. The series is executive produced by John McNamara, Sera Gamble, Chris Fisher, Henry Alonso Myers and Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams.

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