Review 2023: A Review of 2023: December.

01    Snow

09    Bigeneration!

12    Tree up!

13    E3 down.

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: November.

01    The Whoniverse launches.  It does not include the first four episodes

11    Armistice Day

27    1985

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: October

03    Meat Tax

13    World Egg Day

18    Tumbleweeds

28    Gaza

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: September

01    Pakistani wedding guests turn to fistfights as 'uncle' didn't receive enough mutton in his biryani

03    RAAC

04    Hello!

16    Russell Brand

22    COVID jab.

Exit Strategy (The War Doctor Begins: Enemy Mine)

Audio  As the title suggests, The War Doctor Begins is Big Finish's prequel to their earlier The War Doctor series with Jonathan Carney in as the younger John Hurt.  The Eighth Doctor appears in the final episode.  I'm a stranger in a strange narrative here, turning up for the finale of a series which has spanned across six boxed sets.  There's just enough exposition to explain the story; War's former companion Case has been captured by the Dalek Strategist and become an experimental hybrid agent and whatever atrocities she commits, the War Doctor's determined to save her.  The Eighth Doctor is key to his plans.  It's impossible to talk about this without spoilers so there'll be spoilers ahead.

Enemy Mine

Eighth appears in the final episode of the three, Exit Strategy.  War's tried everything he can to get through to Case but the Dalek hold on her is too strong.  His former incarnation first appears in a flashback as he considers the person he used to be, helping a medic in the middle of warzone who himself has been injured.  It's from the period when Eighth was travelling with Bliss which is interesting considering in Previously, Next Time (from the Cass box), he'd forgotten who she was and now he's able to recall her existence enough for her to appear silently, bringing help from the TARDIS.  On hearing that I feared I'd bought this whole boxset for little more than a cameo.  No.

Later in the story, Eighth appears again and this is where it becomes complicated and I give away the twist.  When he first appears its with his catchphrase, "I'm the Doctor just not the one ..." but is interrupted when he realises he's stepped into the middle of a horrific situation with Case on edge and the medic he treated earlier also in the Dalek's thrall.  He doesn't know how he got there but immediately steps into action, the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism to use the Dalek's own strategies against them, saving Case in the process.  He interacts with the War Doctor on occasion but as expected, apparently for continuity sake, doesn't really know who he is.

But it's only in the final moments we discover the gift and curse at the heart of this adventure.  The Eighth Doctor is effectively an AI, injected by the War Doctor into Case's matrices to dislodge the Dalek influence but unlike the simulation in which she survives and becomes the Eighth Doctor's new companion, in the "real world" it's caused her to tumble towards death and War has her on unending life support with the digital version of his earlier self giving her a tour of the universe in her dreams.  In a final poignant exchange, we discover this Eighth is self-aware, knows why he exists and agrees to take care of Case for the time she has left.

Here's the clever bit.  The reason Eighth began with his catchphrase is because he's been snatched from War's memories at the moment when he was still at his purest, in the opening moments of Night of the Doctor before Cass took against him and events conspired to turn him into the warrior.  It's an acknowledgement of how much he's changed or had to change in order to fight in the war and to present him with the goal of ending the war so that he can get back to being the person he once was, something which as we've already seen won't happen until this incarnation is much older or without the help of some future selves.

Placement: The flashback should perhaps go between The Time War boxes, the first and second but because the virtual Eighth Doctor's at the forefront, "Alternative Eighth Doctors" it is.

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: August.

01    Trump indicted again

11    Lizzo

12    2-1

16    3-1

19    Blocked

21    Noel Edmunds

25    Mugshot

26    Dorries

Predictions 2023.

That Day We reach the time when I assess how well I predicted the ups and downs of the year and look forward to the next. Here we go again:

The Sugababes release an album of new material.

No, no they didn't.  But they did release a brand new single in September which was launch on The Graham Norton Show (see above) and reached a pretty respectable 14 in the pop charts.  No marks on the technicality that the LP isn't out yet.

More Doctor Who episodes found.

No.  Although some episodes went missing again instead.  No marks.

General election called, Tories lose power.

Ack, no.  Please for the love of Hera, next year.  No marks.

Spider-Man film starring Andrew Garfield announced.

Not at all and nothing on the horizon.  We're getting Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter films instead.  No marks.

New old Shakespeare play canonised.

What does this really mean in the context of anything?  Perhaps its that a play is added to the menagerie by the main academic publishers, which looked like it could be Arden of Faversham but then in 2022, Arden hedged their bets and added it to their "Early Modern Drama" line rather than Shakespeare despite some persuasive arguments in the introduction.   No marks.

0/5.  So let's do the fifty year old version of me a favour and choose some items which can't fail. Surely, this time? 

The Sugababes release an whole album of brand new material.

General election called, Tories lose power.

Overhaul of Disney "content" for better or worse.

Trump jailed.

X (formerly known as Twitter) sold again.

A couple of repeats, some open enough to any kind of change, one which is pure wishful thinking (you can guess which).

Happy New Year!

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: July

04    RIP Tweetdeck

08    The photo.  I'm not going to link to it.  If you know, you know.

12    Huw Edwards

14    I visited London, saw the Dulwich Shakespeare Folio, took a boat ride up the Thames to Battersea Power Station and saw the refit and rehang of the National Portrait Gallery (which is splendid).

23    X

25    Barbie has the largest opening weekend by a female director of all time.  Here's an interview with Greta Gerwig about how it happened.

31    Ex-X

Review 2023: A Review of 2023: June.

01    Pride Month Begins.

09    Multiple resignations from government triggering inopportune by-elections

15    Johnson lied.

18    Father's Day

30    Barbenheimmer begins