Doctor Who came back from a brief hiatus this weekend with a rather unremarkable episode revolving around a plot to steal human minds over wifi networks in order to feed a mysterious client. Its main purpose seemed to be to introduce Clara Oswald as a companion rather than occasional character, though she still hasn’t committed to traveling space and time in his ‘snog box,’ as she so quaintly put it.
Christmas Day brought about the start of a new era on Doctor Who, as the Doctor himself reminded us while we met the woman destined to be his new companion along with the revamped TARDIS and title sequence. It might have felt a little abrupt to wipe the slate clean that way after the fall of the Ponds, but instead it felt more like turning over a new leaf, a reminder that change is constant when you’re a Time Lord, and each change is the start of the next great adventure, rather than something to be mourned.
Doctor: River, you know my name. You whispered my name in my ear! There’s only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. There’s only one time I could. – Forests of the Dead, 4.9
Emperor Winston Churchill: What happened to time?
The Doctor: A woman.
Emperor Churchill: What’s she like? Attractive, I assume.
The Doctor: Hell. In high heels. – The Wedding of River Song, 6.13
The weekend brought us the return of Steven Moffat’s fixation on mothers in ‘Aslyum of the Daleks.’ The Doctor Who creator cannot seem to tear himself away from this theme, circling around it over and over again in a variety of ways. One wonders how he finds new territory to explore when he’s already gone over it so thoroughly.
As awareness of autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome, in adults increases, characters with autistic traits are becoming increasingly common in television and other media. Temperance Brennan of Bones and Sheldon of Big Bang Theory exemplify this phenomenon, as does Sherlock from the BBC show of the same name.
BBC’s Sherlock has just started running its second season in the US on PBS, and viewers are flocking to watch, particularly after last week’s somewhat controversial Irene Adler storyline. Created by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame, the show is brilliant, but shows many of the fatal flaws Moffat’s demonstrated in Who, especially with regards to women. Moffat infamously has trouble grasping social justice-rooted critiques of his work and doesn’t seem to understand why people get so riled up about the women of Who.
Doctor Who fans around the world were far more interested in the landfall of this year’s Christmas special, ‘The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,’ than they were in the progress of NORAD Tracks Santa, which is incidentally perhaps one of the best defense-related uses of my tax dollars I can possibly imagine. They gathered ‘round their televisions (or torrents) with glee, made sure their beverage containers were fully supplied, and prepared to settle in for a dose of winter magic on the BBC. They were not disappointed.