I’ll admit it, I’m properly excited.
I liked where Doctor Who was going at the end of the Matt Smith era, even if I was at moments ambivalent about precisely where it was. And it feels like the change of Doctors is being used to take a breath, get in under the hood, and finish making the show they’ve been trying to make since 2011.
I think Capaldi’s a fantastic actor. He’s got a slight ostentatiousness to him that sets him apart from most of British television, where he spends most of his time lurking. He has the strange quality of underselling everything while still stealing scenes, which is of course the central joke of his ludicrously oversold Malcolm Tucker.
I still believe in Steven Moffat, in a very “I hitched my heart and soul on this series a long time ago, and I’m seeing it through to the very end” way. I remain calmly convinced that this will be seen as one of the great eras of Doctor Who, whatever may come in two or three years. I like the infusions of new talent, I mostly like the old talent they’re retaining or bringing back, and I like the sense of confidence it feels like the show has.
And I like that I don’t have to do it for TARDIS Eruditorum, to be perfectly honest. I like that I can see the end of that project, and that for a solid chunk of that end I get to be absolutely immersed in a hopefully fantastic chunk of my favorite show.
There was never any way I wasn’t going to write about it at all, though, now was there? And the exact means took me a while. I thought about doing it on Tumblr or somewhere out of the way, quietly. And I thought about trying to work for a larger site. Slate was very nice last year. And ultimately, I decided to just run a Patreon and do them for, well, you guys. The sorts of people who come to this blog on a Saturday. Which I tend to assume is pretty coextensive with my fanbase, such as it is. “My precious quasi-fame,” as Joss Whedon had it.
So here we are, a week from curtains up. $236.75 per episode, at the moment, according to the Patreon, which you are enthusiastically reminded you can still back if you would like to help support my decadent phase, as I eke dollar after dollar out of my tiny legion of fans to sustain my lifestyle of excess and grandeur. No, seriously, I need to buy heating oil this month. That shit’s expensive.
So, the plan is that reviews will go up here as soon as I can get them done. Which is reliant on how I watch the episodes, which, see, here’s the thing. I don’t have cable. It’s expensive, and I don’t actually watch much television. So I just buy Doctor Who on an iTunes Season Pass, which delivers the episodes to my hard drive in a way that’s trivial to output to the TV, and I’m happy as a clam. And I’ve done that this season, for $38 or something like that. They’ve got some nice interviews with Steven Moffat up as teaser content.
The thing is, those deliver at like 3am. Which is a lousy time, especially since Twitter and most of my social media lights up about the episode as soon as it starts, which is generally at like 2pm my time, thirteen hours before iTunes will be delivering my file. So I usually decide that, having paid for the episode, I have no ethical problems with using alternative delivery systems so that I can go back on the Internet, and then torrent the sucker when it goes up, usually around 3:00 or so for a forty-five minute episode starting at 2:00.
I’m still not sure how long these will take to write. I will probably watch the episode twice before starting, and then jump right in and write something fairly stream of consciousness, then check the word count and see where we are. I suspect the answer is that reviews will hit somewhere between UK and US transmission, bit we’ll see. I’ll make a dummy post here on Friday evening so people can start discussing the moment it airs, then drop the review in later. And then there’ll be discussion, and I’m really excited about seeing what the people who hang about here have to say about the episodes. I really do love being an exception to the “don’t read the comments” advice.
Notably, that method will not cause any Twitter alerts or anything. Indeed, as one cheeky little concession to the Patreon backers, the only way to get an e-mail alert or ping that the review is up is to back the Patreon. There you go. A $12 RSS pinger.
Oh, speaking of Twitter, I’ll turn it off once UK transmission starts, and not turn it on again until I’ve watched the episode at least once. But one thing I think I’m going to be very interested in is the immediate, gut reactions to the episode. So, please do comment early, feel free to tweet at me to register your immediate thoughts on the episode. I’m @PhilSandifer over in that nest of the woods.
So yes. I’m excited. This should be fun.
How will you be watching, ladies and gentlemen? And are you excited?