Tagged: Freema Agyeman

Martha Thomases: Doctor Who and Something… Joyful!

Thomases Art 131129It was Saturday morning and I was at the Union Square Green Market buying dried black beans for soup. It was a beautiful clear cold day, the kind that makes me even more chatty with the people selling the goodies (and, yes, I consider black beans to be goodies. Sue me.). The lovely young woman who took my money commented about being outside all day.

“But there’s Doctor Who!” I said.

She looked at me with scorn.

“I have to watch,” I said defensively. “I need to be able to talk to my son.”

“You’re a good person,” she said. I interpreted this to mean that I was subjecting myself to something tiresome in order to be a good parent.

I came late to Doctor Who. I mean, I had heard of it but never felt any great need to see it. I thought it might be like Thomas, the Tank Engine, a perfectly fine BBC show for children that I also didn’t want to watch. A character with a colorful scarf did not seem compelling enough to me.

Years went by. My son and I bonded over various media, including the television ventures of Joss Whedon, Homicide: Life on the Street, and assorted, other, coolstuff .

So when he said I’d like Doctor Who, I listened. But first, I whined. “It’s been on forever,” I said. “I don’t have time to watch decades worth of a series.

“You only need the new stuff,” he said. “It’s all on Netflix. It’s easy.”

So I started. The first episode I saw didn’t thrill me. I mean, it was fine, but didn’t seem to be the kind of thing to inspire a cult. My son said, “Give it time. Lots of people don’t like Christopher Eccleston.”

But he wasn’t the problem. I thought he looked a bit like Jason Statham, and I amused myself by imagining what the program would be like if Jason were The Doctor. Fucking awesome is what it would be.

So I was enjoying Eccleston, but it was David Tennant who won my heart. That is a cute guy. And, as I was relaxing into the show more, it grew on me. I liked his relationships with the various companions, women who were his friends, nothing more and, more important, nothing less. I liked that they were not, for the most part, conventionally beautiful. Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler was dressed to look like she still had some baby fat, Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones is (you should pardon the expression) black, and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble was definitely pudgy and had rather coarse features (please note I think these some are beautiful, but my point is simply that they don’t meet Hollywood standards). They were, like most of us at first glance, ordinary. And, as we watched them interact with The Doctor, they revealed themselves to be, like most of us, extraordinary.

Matt Smith is no David Tennant, but he grew on me. I felt the writing for his character got dicey at times, with some of the gags forced, and his resemblance to Stan Laurel was, at times, distracting. But I loved the Ponds. Through them, I grew to like Smith.

I enjoyed “The Day of the Doctor.” It was fun. I suspect I missed a few Easter eggs, since my knowledge of the older versions of the show is limited to the newer episodes, which I know makes me much less cool. However, I have loved John Hurt since he was Caligula, so that was pretty much great.

Before I left with my black beans, I said to the woman, “The thing about Doctor Who is that, no matter how dangerous the situation, no matter how dire the circumstances, the characters are always happy to see each other. They always find something joyful.”

“Maybe,” she said, “I need to look at it again.”

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostreander

 

A Doctor A Day – “Army of Ghosts / Doomsday”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

The mysterious spectral shapes that have been appearing across London are not what they appear.  What becomes a Doctor Who fan’s greatest wish come true starts as an…

ARMY OF GHOSTS / DOOMSDAY
by Russell T Davies
Directed by Graeme Harper

“Daleks have no concept of elegance.” “This is obvious.”

Returning to Earth, The Doctor and Rose are surprised to learn that ghosts have been appearing all over the world.  Rather than being met with fear, they’ve become a national phenomenon.  People await their by-the-clock appearances and disappearances daily, and happily discuss the visitations with each other and on the TV.  What they don’t realize is they’re actually being caused by experiments at the Torchwood Institute, attempting to perfect a machine that would cross dimensional barriers to obtain new energy sources.  But even that is only means to an end, to open a mysterious sphere that resists all testing and analysis.  As The Doctor attempts to analyze the ghosts, Torchwood detects the shift in the field and realizes he’s in the area.  So when he identifies the source and heads there, they’re ready for him.

Following from Queen Victoria’s dictate, Torchwood exists to study alien technology as a defense for the nation, and they view The Doctor as an enemy, regardless of the number of times he’s saved the world.  He’s immediately taken into custody and the TARDIS impounded.  Showing him the sphere, he identifies it as a void ship, designed to travel, and hide, in the space between dimensions. He convinces them to stop the testing, but the people (well, I say people…)  behind the breach have been slowly taking over the staff, and they initiate a final breach, and stand revealed as…Cybermen.  The ghosts across the world fully materialize as Cybermen, and almost immediately seize control.

Ah, so they’re hiding in that void ship sphere, right?  Wellll, no.  The Void Ship was what pushed through to our world first, a weakness the Cybermen took advantage of.  It’s a life raft for a race that thought they would not survive its final battle.  It’s the Daleks.  Carrying a Genesis Ark, they plan to repopulate the world with new Daleks, and with no Time Lords to stop them, nothing should stop them from conquering the universe.

Well…ONE Time Lord.  And luckily, a small army from Pete’s world, who cobbled together technology to follow the Cybermen through the Void.  But is that going to be enough to fight the two most powerful enemies The Doctor has ever faced at once?

The Doctor Who team did a great job keeping the return of the Daleks secret, basically by making it blatant that the Cybermen were returning.  There’s not a Whofan on Earth who hasn’t considered how cool a Cybermen/Dalek team-up would be, and to finally see it was a surprise indeed. The first discussion between the two foes is absolutely hilarious.

A great close of the season, and a happy ending for Rose and Jackie.  Following up on the idea of alternate universe replacements, Pete has almost no hesitation in accepting “our” Jackie and Rose as his new family, and since it meets the happy ending parameters we want, we do as well.

The Cybermen got a small upgrade in this adventure, the retractable wrist-cannon.  They had no offensive weapon in the earlier adventure, and had to “delete” their enemies hand-to-hand.  We also saw a rather big change to the Daleks as well, with the Cult of Skaro, three Daleks bred to have independent thought, to come up with ideas that a normal brute-force Dalek never could.  It’s an idea that had been addressed before, with the need to find Davros in Destiny of the Daleks.

The original “Ghostwatch” was a very controversial one-shot special presented on the BBC in 1992, and never repeated in the UK.  Presented as a reality/documentary show about ghosts, it was in fact a staged drama.  British chat show legend Michael Parkinson  hosted what was to be a live investigation of spectral activity in a house in North London eventually resulted in the ghosts taking control of the broadcast and remotely possessing Parkinson as the show ended.  Even though it was touted as a drama, complete with “written by” and cast credits in the opening, the show was met with a reaction similar to the classic War of the Worlds broadcast.  There’s copies of it floating about the Internet, and is well worth a look.

Musical motifs from what would become the Torchwood theme appear in this episode’s score, which rather makes sense since Murray Gold provides the music for both.

Yes, that is Freema Aygeman as a worker at Torchwood.  Doctor Who has become almost legendary at choosing from its own for larger parts— Eve Myles will be back shortly for Torchwood, and Karen Gillan made her first appearance as a prophetess in The Fires of Pompeii.  It didn’t start in the new series, either.  Colin Baker, Doctor number six, first appeared as Commander Maxil in Arc of Infinity.

‘Doctor Who’ Season 4, Digital Audio Downloads Announced

‘Doctor Who’ Season 4, Digital Audio Downloads Announced

A variety of "Doctor Who" news hit the ‘Net recently, so here’s a quick wrap-up of some stories "Who" fans might want to keep on their radar:

  • SCI FI Channel has confirmed that Season 4 of "Doctor Who" will begin this April on the network, with Catherine Tate replacing Freema Agyeman as the Doctor’s companion. Tate appeared in an earlier episode of the series titled "The Runaway Bride." Agyeman will appear in the series again midway through the season.
  • SCI Fi Channel also confirmed that the youth-targeted "Who" spin-off series "The Sarah Jane Chronicles" will also begin airing in April.
  • And if you’re the sort who wants to reconnect with some of your favorite Doctors of the past, Big Finish has annoucned that they’ll begin supplying the "Doctor Who" audio plays they’ve been producing since 1999 on CD in a download-friendly MP3 format.

The plays feature popular "Doctor Who" writers such as Paul Cornell and Mark Gatiss, as well as writers familiar to the comics crowd, including Dan Abnett (Nova) and Simon Furman (Transformers). Former "Doctor Who" actors lending their talents to the plays include Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

(Hat-Tip to io9)

Torchwood Two Sports James Marsters, Freema Agyeman

Torchwood Two Sports James Marsters, Freema Agyeman

Torchwood, the more adult brother to Doctor Who, will be returning to the airwaves on Wednesday, January 16th for another 13 episode run.

To the BBC in the United Kingdom, of course. Its North American debuts will happen… later.

Buffy’s James Marsters (well, also Smallville’s James Marsters and Without A Trace’s James Marsters) is set to become the series’ main villain, a rogue Time Agent named Captain (!) John Hart. As promised, Freema Agyeman will drop by for several episodes mid-season in her role as The Doctor’s companion Martha Jones. After her Torchwood stint, Martha will be returning to Doctor Who to team up with several other companions, present and past. And Torchwood star John Barrowman is expected to be around for the finale to next season’s Doctor Who as well.

But first, Captain Jack must survive Captain John, as well as a slew of other menaces as they "visit" such times as World War I and the 51th Century.

 

Torchwood Two Trailer

Torchwood Two Trailer

Over at Freema Agyeman’s eponymous site, she’s posted a trailer for an episode of Torchwood‘s second series (or season, as they call it on this side of the pond) in which she appears.  Here’s a portion of a still from that episode:

Agyeman’s site also links to what she calls "the TARDIS Friends Network," consisting so far of the eponymous sites of David Tennant and Billie Piper.

In other Torchwood news, Series Two will also be airing specially-edited repeats of each episode which will be deemed more suitable for families and kids and, well, me.  Honestly, all this bed-hopping is driving me dizzy.  In further news, BBC America is still not available on our cable system, so it’s rather a moot point from this end.

The Doctor’s New Companion?

The Doctor’s New Companion?

And, again I state, there’s a spoiler or two here.

British media are reporting the new companion next season on Doctor Who will be played by Tom Ellis, who was the handsome Doctor Thomas Milligan on the season finale, The Last of the Time Lords. Ellis is perhaps best known for playing the handsome Doctor Oliver Cousins on the long-running (except by Doctor Who standards) soap opera and PBS money-sucker Eastenders.

The BBC has not confirmed these reports, several of which ran this morning on the BBC. Freema Agyema’s character of Martha Jones will be appearing on three episodes of the adult Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, and will be rejoining the Doctor Who cast mid-season. We don’t know if the new companion will stay around, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time (is that a pun?) there were two companions. Or even three.

We also don’t know if Ellis would be repeating his Doctor Milligan role; we recall that Martha Jones was revealed to be the identical cousin to the character Freema Agyeman played in the previous season.

 

 

Who four confirmed

The BBC has picked up Doctor Who for a fourth season of its latest incarnation.

According to an interview with series producer and co-writer Russell T. Davies published in the London Telegraph, once again there will be a Christmas special between seasons three and four. However, there is no word as of yet if stars David Tennant and Freema Agyeman will return – or, for that matter, if Mr. Davies will return as well.

The third season begins in England on March 31 and in Canada this summer; the second season has been broadcast in the States on the SciFi Channel and the first season currently is being rerun on numberous PBS stations.

You – Who!

You – Who!

The BBC has made an arrangement with YouTube to air clips on the popular website, already servicing two of their three planned channels.

Up already and of interest to Doctor Who fans – on-set video diaries from David Tennant, the current Doctor, and from Freema Agyeman, the new companion. Freema makes her debut as Martha Jones when the new season of Doctor Who begins airing in Great Britain the end of this month.

No word yet on the availability of Torchwood, the PG-13 rated (maybe R-rated) spin-off from Doctor Who. The series is being broadcast in much of the English-speaking world, but no arrangements have been made in the United States as of yet. Torchwood‘s Captain Jack will be returning to Doctor Who for the final three episodes of the upcoming season.