Doctor Who – Why You’re Missing The Best Sci-Fi Show Out There

Dr Who TV Series

One day, you’re stumbling across the pop-culture aisles of modernity. Maybe you took a wrong turn at J.C. Penney, or your teenage daughter somehow wrangled you into Hot Topics, or a digital free-for-all on the net made you spring open the Pandora’s Box of Amazon suggestions. Whichever way you waltzed into it, you’re now stuck in a miasma of Avengers, Jedis, Titans, sensually inappropriate costumes, and more Harley Quinn tank tops than you can shake a stick at.

Still, you feel at home. Bells of recognition blip as you swing by and spot a Wookie, Wakanda Forever!”, 60% of Funkos seem familiar, and, although you’re not a fan, you manage to peg Spock among the Star Trek refugees. This is garden variety for you, intimate shards of your childhood and everyday icons of American culture. Eeverything is old hat. Suddenly, your feet turn into cement blocks, you are flabbergasted as your radar goes into a tailspin, What the hell is that?” a little voice inside your noggin goes.

In front of you, like that black, strange obelisk in 2001 Space Odyssey, a blue police box… a funky looking police box surrounded by even more outlandish merchandizing. Salt and peppershakers with the words EXTERMINATE” stenciled unto them, angel lawn ornaments plucked straight out of a nightmare, and a sonic screwdriver not approved by Black & Decker. You edge forward, pluck out a tag and read: Doctor Who… What the hell is a Doctor Who?”

What the Hell is Doctor Who?

Dr Who - The DoctorDoctor Who is nothing short of bottled UK. It is one of the key ingredients of the British Genome. It is a cultural phenomenon that has been ingrained into their genetic makeup in much the same way as The Beatles, Monty Python, Winston Churchill, Robin Hood, and Princess Di. A proper Brit’ can’t call himself a true nationalist, let alone a patriot, if they don’t know who “Who” is.

You might think I’m exaggerating, or blowing “Who” mania out of proportion but I’m not. Once a year, on the 25th of December it is a UK tradition for the BBC to premiere a Doctor Who Christmas Special; every single season a completely new episode.

Stockings, letters to Santa, crackers, mince pies, Christmas pudding, the Royal Broadcast of the Queen spreading holiday cheer, and Doctor Who… and the Queen’s televised address actually comes before the episode’s debut; she’s a show opener. It’s the equivalent of the US President giving his State of The Union and ending on: “stay tuned for the Star Wars special.”

Theres really nothing more British nowadays than Doctor Who.

But what exactly is Doctor Who? Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi series in the world. Before there was Star Trek, Star Wars, the Avengers and Stranger Things there was Doctor Who. The program went on the air for the first time in 1963 and it is still being produced to this day. It’s gotten multiple facelifts and refurbishes but it has never been remade or given the Spider-Man treatment. The season arcs, storylines, and backstories of today’s adventures still consider what happened in those bygone, groovy, drug-filled days of the 60s.

The Time Lord Legend

Dr Who - The Day Of The DoctorThe show depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called “The Doctor”, an extraterrestrial being who appears quite human and relatable. Like Walker Texas Ranger, the A-Team and the Hulk, the Doctor simply goes around righting wrongs. But, here’s the genius of the formula, and why it has endured so long… the writers were told from the onset: “We have no budget and everything needs to happen.”

So what did those LSD infused showrunners do? They created an incredibly flexible blueprint. The Doctor was given a TARDIS – a spaceship/time machine/occasional dimensional hopper – that looks like a blue police box. The lead character was then granted pseudo-immortality; whenever he was fatally wounded he would “regenerate” into a new shell.

He was given a companion; a character who serves as a plot-device. The companions are the audience’s anchor. When something needs explanation, an incredibly frustrated Doctor goes into a long expository rant aimed at the companion; our surrogate. Then, over time, the Doctor was also shackled to an ever-widening and diverse rogues gallery.

It is a brilliant premise because it allowed the writing staff to take as many hallucinogenic narcotics as possible and then pass those fevered dreams off as scripts. And, more importantly, it also gifted the network with a way to renegotiate contracts. If one of the actors depicting the Doctor keeled over or simply got too big for his britches and wanted a larger cut of the pie, then the network would simply kill him onscreen and replace him with someone more docile.

The show-runners wanted to strike out on their own and move on? Hire a new writing staff. The companion, normally a rather fetching female, starts to duel with gravity and the passage of time? Bring in the new perkier model.

It was the perfect blueprint. It withstood time and the pesky emotional outbursts commonplace in filming locations. If something ticked the producer off, then they’d just replace it and the audience would allow it. The skulduggery perfectly meshed into the show’s recipe and storyline.

The Fool-Proof Platform

The model was foolproof. Every replication of the show could retain its backstory, all the factors that constituted it, and all its narrative makeup without suffering a reboot or remake. Almost 60 years and the Doctor has been regenerated more than 13 times. That’s part of the charm and the reason it’s a staple of British tradition.

It has not only survived generations, but created a way for said generations to connect. Your grandparents’ Doctor Who is your Doctor Who. Unlike US franchises, that suffered constant reboots, Doctor Who is still the same series.

There’s no one discussing which Spider-man movie universe is better. No one arguing which Batman cosmos – West, Burton, Nolan, Snyder – took the cake. No fan base going bananas when Star Wars does a casual reboot because it’s running out of ideas. The 60s Doctor Who is still this era’s Doctor Who. The only thing that has changed are the sensibilities, the actors, and the special effects.

Parents can sit around and discuss the evolution of Daleks – one of the Doctor’s most enduring villains – in full knowledge that what took place all those seasons ago is still relevant in today’s storyline. Families can connect on a narrative scale thanks to Doctor Who.

“Grandad, can you tell us the tale of the Cybermen? No, not how you went to Berlin during the War… I want to know about the Cybermen, that’s what’s exciting.”

Modern Day Who

Watch Dr WhoWhat is known as the modern-day Who explosion is just a relaunch of the show in 2005 after a 10-year hiatus. The show’s history was kept intact and the writers were given the task of bringing the Doctor into the new age. An age of smartphones, of a technologically superior Britain, of terrorism, of racial equality, of sexual diversity… and, more importantly, an age of CGI and high-caliber special effects. Writers were no longer bound by how much aluminum paper they had in the stock department to create robots.

“Hey Tony, does this green spray paint look toxic? What do you mean the actors are unionized? Ahhh, health insurance… got it you cheeky bastard.”

The challenges were two-fold, the BBC wanted to know if they could attract old viewers back into the Who comfort blanket while also enticing a new generation to tune in. As the show progressed into new seasons, and the ratings skyrocketed, the budget grew. You no longer had a computer-produced soundtrack, but the might of the London Philharmonic accompanying the Doctor’s adventures. You no longer had two-bit actors filling in as guest stars but Academy Award-winning personalities. You no longer had small adventures, but epic yarns that would shame any Marvel devised.

More importantly, you had great actors filling in the role of the Doctor. Each one molding the character to their personality, tastes and fashion sense. Each one giving us a stellar, adrenalized, energetic, grandiose performance. You had the late John Hurt, the clownish David Tennant, the perpetually morose Peter Capaldi, the out-of-this-world Matt Smith, and the first female regeneration, Jodi Whittaker.

What to expect?

Dr Who Trip Of A LifetimeWell, the unexpected… Flying Sharks supplanting reindeers, chartering world-renowned opera singers, worlds stolen and relocated to different dimensions, madcap alien takeovers that revolve around making our adipose tissue – that’s our fat rolls – into sentient beings, a faux rock star with an electric guitar riding a tank in Medieval Times, Hitler being punched in the face multiple times, Agatha Christie stalked by a giant hornet, the Doctor fighting off the Devil in a lava planet, Sir. Winston Churchill hunting down dinosaurs in modern-day London, and thousands of other bizarre and imaginative scenes the re-defined Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

What you will really find in Doctor Who, simply put, is a space adventurer with solemnness, grit, lunacy and a bizarre way of always crashing headlong into trouble. You will cry, you will cheer, you will laugh, and, above all, you will be entertained.

In the Doctor’s words:

“Ill be a story in your head. That’s okay. Were all stories in the end. Just make it a good one… The daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away.”

Disney’s Frozen 2 Continues an Epic Saga

Originally inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s short story “The Snow Queen,” Disney’s Frozen film franchise has quickly blossomed into a saga of its own, with its own mythology and backstory. With every film, animated short, and live action adaptation, fans get to learn a little bit more about Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, Sven the reindeer, and everyone’s favorite snowman Olaf.

With Frozen 2 finally streaming on Disney+, now’s a great time to take a look back at all the animated and live action stories parents and children can enjoy about the Kingdom of Arendelle. Read closely! Odds are, we may have found a few Frozen tales you haven’t seen!

Frozen (2013)

Frozen 2013 Film PosterBy now, practically everyone knows the story of the original Frozen movie (or at least listened to their kids sing multiple versions of “Let It Go”). As children, Princess Elsa’s magical ice powers accidentally injure her little sister Anna, creating a rift between the two girls. Years later, an adult Elsa loses control of her powers and freezes her kingdom in an eternal winter. To save their people, Anna teams up with mountain man Kristoff and happy snowman Olaf to show Elsa she still loves her and that they can fix her mistake together.

Where other Disney movies featured classic romances between princes and princesses, Frozen broke new ground by focusing on the family love between Anna and Elsa. Audiences loved the movie’s empowering theme of self-acceptance, the catchy songs, and its fairy tale inversions (Anna’s charming boyfriend Prince Hans turns out to be the movie’s unexpected villain).

Frozen has since been adapted into two live musical plays, not to mention a Disney on Ice skating show. The original movie, however, was only the beginning of a much bigger story the filmmakers wove through later animated shorts, featurettes, and feature films.   

Frozen Fever (2015)

While the success of Frozen practically guaranteed a sequel, Disney chose not to rush things – instead teasing audiences with a couple animated shorts. Frozen Fever was the first of these, playing in theaters before Disney’s live action Cinderella (2015).

Disney Frozen Fever 2015The seven-minute-short brings back all the voices from the original American cast, including Idina Menzel as Elsa, Kristen Bell as Anna, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, and Josh Gadd as Olaf. On its surface, it plays like an irreverent comedy with Elsa throwing Anna a surprise birthday party to make up for the ones they couldn’t spend together as children. Unfortunately, Elsa catches a cold which makes her magically sneeze mini snowmen (or as Olaf calls them, “little brothers!”). Anna finally coaxes her sister to bed – but not before Elsa sneezes a giant snowball that travels across countries to knock Anna’s treacherous ex-boyfriend Prince Hans into a cart of manure.

Frozen fans love this short because it shows the normally serious Elsa acting hilariously goofy as her cold worsens. The two sisters also continue bonding, with Anna assuring Elsa that taking care of her big sister is “the best birthday present ever.” Elsa’s mini snowmen also proved popular and appear in later Frozen stories. Fans can find Frozen Fever streaming on Amazon.       

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)

Olafs Frozen Adventure 2017The Frozen family reunites again in Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, a 21-minute featurette that had a 3D theatrical release in front of the Pixar movie Coco and is currently streaming on Disney+. This animated story is pure holiday fun as Olaf the snowman goes in search of family traditions after learning Anna and Elsa never had the chance to develop any as children. As Olaf makes his own comic observations on the holidays (“Breaking and entering… okay on Christmas,” he notes after learning about Santa coming down the chimney), Elsa and Anna re-explore their past and discover they do have a special tradition – thanks to Olaf.

A fun movie to watch during the holidays (or Frozen movie marathons), Olaf’s Frozen Adventure also features four original songs, including the stand-out “When We’re Together” sung by Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, and Josh Gadd.        

Frozen 2 (2019)

Frozen 2 OnlineThe latest film in the Frozen franchise, Frozen 2 debuted six years after the original movie. The film embraces this by letting time, growth, and maturity be this film’s major themes. Elsa and Anna uncover their heritage by learning Elsa’s ice magic came from their mother, a Northuldran woman from the Enchanted Forest. The sisters attempt to right a major wrong committed by Arendelle’s king toward the Northuldra tribe, but learn it may require them to separate. Meanwhile, Kristoff struggles with finding a way to propose to Anna and even Olaf has to deal with the new feelings that come with growing up.    

Celebrated for offering a darker tone, gorgeous animation, and stirring new songs (Elsa’s new showstopper “Into the Unknown” has become almost as popular as her breakout hit “Let It Go”), Frozen 2 proved a satisfying new chapter for its fans. And having earned over $1.4 billion dollars at the box office, there’s every chance fans will get to see Frozen 3 down the line.    

Once Upon a Time: Season 4 (2014-2015)

Once Upon A Time Season 4Frozen 2 may provide the “official” continuation of the Frozen saga, but audiences also got to enjoy an alternate look at Anna and Elsa’s story much earlier in season 4 of ABC’s Once Upon a Time live action television series. The fourth season had Elsa (Georgina Haig) and Anna (Elizabeth Lail) travel to modern times where they interact with alternate versions of Snow White, Captain Hook – and a new Snow Queen who turns out to be their aunt.

Although considered non-canon, the dark story is definitely one for older Frozen fans as it takes place shortly after the first movie with Anna about to marry Kristoff. The show also offers a different take on the sisters’ family history (and frequent nods to Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” short story). Audiences can find Once Upon a Time on Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, FandangoNOW, and Amazon.  

LEGO Frozen Northern Lights

Lego Disney Frozen Northern LightsAlthough Frozen hasn’t received a full-blown animated series like Disney’s Hercules or Aladdin, fans can still see Disney’s LEGO Frozen Northern Lights miniseries currently streaming on Disney+. The miniseries is (very) loosely based on a Frozen book series published by Random House and follows LEGO versions of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf on their journey to restore the Northern Lights.     

More comedic and tongue-and-cheek than the movies (at one point, Elsa loses control of her magic and starts creating ice sculptures of Mickey Mouse), the miniseries nonetheless reunites the original American voice cast and offers a charm of its own. It’s mostly irreverent fun, but for Frozen fans hungry to see more of their favorite characters, it’s a definite win.

The Most WTF Moments of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” That Nobody Saw Coming

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” continues to be one of the most entertaining shows on TV. The show’s creators have not been afraid to kill off some of our favorite characters, and the many plot twists related to the Lannisters, Starks and other family dynasties of Westeros can be head spinning. Alliances keep shifting overnight, and nobody is really safe. With that in mind, here are some of the most WTF moments of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” that nobody saw coming.

#1: Arya poisons the Freys in an act of coldhearted revenge

Remember back in Season 1 when we thought young Arya was going to be sweet and pure? Well, something clicked on inside her when members of her family – including both Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark – were slaughtered at the infamous Red Wedding. Ever since then, she has vowed to wipe the Frey family off the face of the Westeros map. At the end of Season 6, for example, she cut the throat of Lord Walder Frey and displayed her willingness to exact coldhearted revenge.

And things get nasty real quick in Episode 1 of Season 7, when the entire Frey clan has assembled at the site of the original Red Wedding. “Lord Walder Frey” hands out wine to everyone gathered in the hall to celebrate – and, of course, within minutes, everyone is clutching at their throats, vomiting blood and keeling over. They’ve been poisoned! At this point, “Lord Walder Frey” rips off his mask – and it’s actually Arya! She has just used a death mask to impersonate her most hated rival, using that as a way to get her highly anticipated revenge against the entire Frey clan.

#2: Olenna Tyrell gets her sinister revenge on the Lannisters

We always knew Olenna Tyrell was bitter and scheming. They don’t call her the “Queen of Thorns” for nothing. But we had absolutely no idea of just how cold she was until Episode 3 of Season 7. The Lannisters have just destroyed her home at Highgarden and killed all of her men. She has nothing left, and implores Jaime Lannister to let her die quickly by ingesting poison in a glass of wine.

However, as soon as she drinks the wine, she turns to Jaime with a maniacal glint in her eye and tells him that it was she who had poisoned his son Joffrey. Not only that, she tells Jaime that he should tell Cersei this as well. If you’re going to die, it’s best to take down everyone else around you as well! In Westeros, revenge is a dish best served cold.

#3: The full-on spectacle of fire-breathing dragons attacking

Season 7 was the season that the dragons came fully into their own as stars of “Game of Thrones.” For years, we’ve seen the dragon eggs, and heard all the dragon prophecies. Now, they are coming true! Episode 4 was just epic, with a battle scene unlike any that we have ever seen on “Game of Thrones.” Daenerys swoops down on the back on a dragon, and the mighty Dothraki army marches on the Lannisters. There’s chaos, fire and destruction everywhere. And just when we think that these dragons might make Daenerys invincible, Bronn almost manages to take down one of these fabled beasts with a scorpion bolt crossbow. That’s not a good sign for the dragons – and we quickly find out why in Episodes 5 and 6.

#4: Viserion dies and is resurrected

We’ve already seen the fire and fury of the fire-breathing dragons. We’ve seen all the destruction and chaos they can cause – and then the unthinkable happens – Viserion goes down in battle, the victim of the Night King. He used an ice spear, so Viserion dies.

But the action doesn’t end there because the Night King wants Viserion to fight on the side of the White Walker army. So he resurrects Viserion, ensuring that he can spread death and destruction on the armies of the North. The scene where the dragon’s eyes open back up will chill you to your bones. The eyes are blue, and it’s clear what has happened – Viserion has been resurrected as part of the evil White Walker army! From now on, it will not be Daenerys who controls him, it will be the evil Night King.

#5: Littlefinger dies a horrible, wretched death at the hands of the Starks

For the first six seasons of he show, Littlefinger has been a lying, conniving and manipulative force. Deep down, he has always coveted the power of the Iron Throne, and he has done everything in his power to control the destiny of the throne. Some have considered Littlefinger to be the greatest player in the Game of Thrones.

So it was only natural, given the inherent dynamic of the show, that he must die a horrible, nasty death. The ones who make it happen are Arya and Sansa, who plot to kill Littlefinger. By the end, he is groveling on his knees for mercy, but they don’t care – Arya cuts his throat with a dagger. The full range of emotions on display here is just terrifying.

#6: The Wall protecting the North falls

If there was a way to end Season 7, it was this – the collapse of the Wall protecting the North from the White Walkers and the Night King. And the way it happens is just epic – you have the marching army of the undead headed to the Wall, and then out of nowhere, the Night King flies in on Viserion. The dragon is breathing blue hell-fire everywhere it goes, and the Wall falls. You know what happens next – the army of the undead now has full access to all of Westeros. It’s time to be very afraid.

As a result, Season 8 is going to be even more epic. Will Jon Snow and Daenerys be able to combine forces to hold back this mighty army? Who will finally win the Game of Thrones? Season 7 just showed us how crazy things can get on “Game of Thrones,” and it looks like Season 8 is once again going to deliver everything that we’ve loved about this show with plenty of action-packed adventure and drama.