Ric’s Netflix Picks: Preparing for The Twelfth Doctor – Peter Capaldi
A few short weeks ago, Doctor Who fans were all treated to something special — The Day of The Doctor. This spectacular 50th Anniversary episode featured something remarkable — a future Doctor. For a fleeting moment, we got to see Peter Capaldi, or at least his eyes. And my goodness, what a fucking statement those eyes made.
You need a new Doctor?
“Here’s my fucking credentials.”
To get ready for Peter Capaldi’s official introduction as The Twelfth Doctor in The Time of The Doctor, we’ll take a look at some of his past work that is available on Netflix. It’s a brand new world for The Doctor. Where are we going? To answer that, we’ll see where he has been.
In the Loop
Lesson one: I tell you to “fuck off,” what do you do?
Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is the Secretary of State for International Development, but he cannot help but put his foot in his mouth. He inadvertently calls the prospect of war in the Middle East “unforeseeable” and becomes an unwitting pawn in a political game. Under the forceful and intimidating guidance of Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), Foster awkwardly navigates the political landscape while being bounced around by others seeking political gain, including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy) and Lieutenant General Miller (James Gandolfini). But it is Foster and Clark’s respective assistants Toby (Chris Addison) and Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky) who may unknowingly hold the real power.
Though he is not the main character, when Capaldi is onscreen, he commands attention. His explosive use of profanity and wit is extraordinary; I would love to watch a television show centered on Malcolm Tucker. (Fortunately, there is such a show, The Thick of It. Unfortunately, it is not available on Netflix Instant.) Kennedy and Gandolfini have great chemistry and convince us that they have a long history. Addison and Chlumsky form a unique implosive pair, often interfered with by the annoyingly creepy Zach Woods (The Office (US)). Hollander manages to dance among all of these strong personalities very well.
In the Loop is a fast-paced political satire packed with comedy, intensity and profanity. Is this the sort of outrageous fire we should expect from our next Doctor? Do not miss this one. Also note, it is available on Hulu Plus.
4.3 out of 5.0
If you’re not convinced yet, check out the sampling below.
Tell me your name.
The Doctor (David Tennant) takes his companion, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), to ancient Rome, on her request. Very quickly they discover that this is not Rome, it’s Pompeii and tomorrow is ‘Volcano day.’ Donna wants to save the people of Pompeii, but the Doctor explains that they cannot. The destruction of Pompeii is a fixed point in time, one that can never be changed. When soothsayers and an out-of-place marble sculpture catch the Doctor’s attention, the race to save the Earth is on! But a choice must be made, a terrible choice. The Doctor must decide between a rock and a hard place, as his decisions could fracture the timeline.
The Fires of Pompeii is a definitive Tenth Doctor story. In addition to being a complex and heart-wrenching tale, the ground work it lays for the future of Doctor Who is tremendous. Tennant is in full form, and his back and forth with Tate is fun and powerful. Donna is one of my least favorite companions but in this episode she is uncharacteristically agreeable. Phil Davis plays creepy and commanding head augur, with a performance reminiscent of his work in Sherlock, a Ric’s Netflix Pick. Karen Gillian, known for being the Eleventh Doctor‘s companion Amy Pond, appears in a small but decidedly noteworthy role as a soothsayer.
Peter Capaldi does not play a big role in this episode but his performance does stand out for the hope in his eyes (I know, again with the eyes). His presence in this episode is especially interesting now that we know he will play The Doctor in the future. This has only happened once before, with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker appearing as Commander Maxil in the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) story Arc of Infinity. For Capaldi it is different, as he additionally appeared in the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, in a season-long major role. Current showrunner Steven Moffat has stated in an interview that past showrunner Russell T. Davies had a plan as to why Capaldi showed up twice. Moffat then went on to say that he would possibily be utilizing this plan, which is quite frankly awesome.
The Fires of Pompeii, Doctor Who season 4 episode 3, is an important story for The Doctor. It shows his remorseful side and is the perfect compliment for a later Tenth Doctor story, The Waters of Mars.
4.4 out of 5.0
Torchwood: Children of Earth
Would you kill one to save a thousand?
How many to save 6 billion?
Without warning, all of the world’s children begin to act in unison, first just standing still for minutes at a time and eventually chanting “we are coming.” Torchwood, the clandestine extraterrestrial investigation division of the British government, looks into the case. Led by the enigmatic and charismatic Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), the team digs deeper and discovers that the children’s strange behavior may be caused by an extraterrestrial group known only as the 456. Drawing unwanted attention, the team suddenly finds themselves under attack from agents acting on behalf of the British government. Now fighting a war on two fronts, Captain Harkness must lead the Torchwood investigation and battle the forces of the shadowy Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher (Peter Capaldi). What do the 456 want, and can Torchwood handle them? And why does Frobisher want to stop them?
Often referred to as “Doctor Who for adults,” Torchwood is the gritty spinoff of The Doctor’s adventure. John Barrowman stars as Captain Jack Harkness, a handsome, pansexual man from the future, a role first introduced in the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) two part story “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.” Captain Jack’s second-in-command, Gwen Cooper, is played by the wide-eyed and strong Eve Myles. She, like Capaldi, has appeared in previously in Doctor Who in a different role, playing a servant named Gwyneth in the Ninth Doctor story “The Unquiet Dead.” The similarities between the two first names is not lost on me, as both her roles were Russell T. Davies’ doing. Was there something more planned for Gwen Cooper? Peter Capaldi shines with calm and dark qualities. His multifaceted portrayal of a fearful man with power is gripping. Gareth David-Lloyd sees his role as Ianto Jones greatly expanded and his character arc is understated but heartfelt.
Torchwood: Children of Earth, is listed as Torchwood‘s entire five episode third season. Despite the short length, this is easily the best season of Torchwood, with great character development and a creepy plot.
4.4 out of 5.0
With an incredible actor like Peter Capaldi, the writing of Steven Moffat, and a potential plan from Russell T. Davies, the Twelfth Doctor could turn out to be the best Doctor of the modern age!
Let us know what you think in the comments below.