IR TV Review: DOCTOR WHO (“Praxeus”) [BBC America – S38]

The essence of The Doctor is relegated by her ability to find the balance in situations. Unlike previous incarnations which had a sense of weird whimsy to them, Jodie’s Whittaker’s Doctor at times is hard to gauge. She has a flippant approach but is always to the left of sincere. The key is trying to realize why she wants to truly save the humans. From Giraldi to Smith and in between, there was either a slight pity for humanity or an almost humorous nihilist point of view. Whittaker’s Doctor is eager and works through her thoughts on screen. While the Tesla episode had its intrinsic moments because of the fleeting tenets of connection between inventors and opportunities lost, “Praxeus”, as an episode, which uses the essence of plastic as a mutation source is interesting but almost the cliche. The affliction though is a way harder to describe and really comes off looking gross which is saying something. While this is good work from the effects departments end, it really comes off unnatural. The jumping of the Tardis around the Earth  almost as a portal takes into account the political correct but yet oddly liberal point of view through the narrative. But at the very end , it  is almost too self-sacrificing in a way without any real stakes. The issue so far with the current season is just its lack of emotional weight balanced with the humor which always set Doctor Who apart in its own quirky way.

C

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: DOCTOR WHO (“Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terrors”) [BBC America – S38]

The relevance of Doctor Who reflects in its ability to show its perspective of life giving a little bit of cheeky adventure sometimes with a heartfelt story. The dexterity of most of the episodes requires a little more mythology understanding than others. But placing it in an interesting perspective (especially today of most days) is an interesting angle. The episode “Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terrors” has the team going back in time per se pursuing an alien trying to track and take advantage of Tesla’s inventions specifically his invention of distributing energy wirelessly. The Doctor shows up when something doesn’t quite feel right. While most of the posturing is done relatively for comic effect, there is some scenes especially between Tesla and The Doctor at one point, that seems almost romantic which is interesting to say the least but also telling to the Doctor’s psychology as well.

The reflection that builds, as always, functions with elements of some orb and a couple aliens. But it is the elements of invention, especially in Tesla and his assistant who sees his potential that speaks volume. The fact the Goran Vinsic, straight from “Timeless” plays the inventor is no idle casting. The irony for fans of that defunct show is interesting. The idea of which the Doctor and her comrades know is if it ever comes to fruition. The enthusiasm and heart and especially the rivalry with Thomas Edison and Tesla is well played, especially in the passion vs. commerce discussion. The parallel in this moment reflects in Elon Musk whose Space X today did an abort launch test blowing up a rocket on purpose after launch to show the abort system of the Dragon Capsule. Now whether or not he will achieve commercial space flight or going to Mars doesn’t diminish what he has done but will people remember his name in 100 years. The parallel of Tesla (which Musk’s production car is named after) who doesn’t get as much credit as Thomas Edison is an interesting parallel. But it is a nice homage which “Doctor Who” doesn’t forge. In fact, it embraces it with a bit more subtext than usual while still delivering the episodic thrust needed to keep The Doctor on her way.

B

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: DOCTOR WHO (“Spyfall – Part I”) [BBC America – S38]

The trajectory of “Doctor Who” is reflected on who and what her perceived enemy seems to be. Sometimes this idea is wrapped in what might be stakes. In previous incarnations there was a sense of chemistry or darker mystery. With the Season 12 premiere with “Spyfall – Part I”, the progressions seems a bit sloggy. The enemy is slowly uncovered with a secret spy ring involving aliens being at the center of the culprit. The reality of the scenario is not as enticing since most of it seems to be buried in a notion of absolute evil which is both diabolical but also unassuming. The Doctor and her team are recruited by MI6 which seems a little too normal for a wizard of sorts that can hop around the cosmos. This adventure seems undeniably earthbound most of the time. The metaphor speaks more towards what might be a thematic on an inner journey but as the story moves on, it feels more like an ego balance against the doctor especially in the closing minutes which are action packed but slightly empty. Hopefully the conclusion paints a more interesting and intrinsic picture on par with The Doctor’s previous escapades.

C

By Tim Wassberg