“It is returning and he is returning and they are returning…”

Doctor Who, “The End of Time, Pt. 1”

I will be the first to admit that this post is long overdue. Russell T Davies was announced as the new Doctor Who showrunner months ago, but, since receiving my Masters in Film and Television Studies last May, my brain has been on a bit of a vacation. (I can tell you, however, that crocheting elephants should not be as difficult as the patterns make it.)

I also want to take a quick second to acknowledge and speak about my mental health (because I started writing this blog post in October and am only now finishing it). I love writing, but depression, anxiety, and ADHD sometimes make it difficult to engage in some of the activities I enjoy (we’ve all seen those commercials, right?). The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on everyone’s mental and physical health. Now is the time to be both open about our own issues and supportive of others. You are not alone and neither am I. 

A quick summary of the last two years: I had the privilege of studying film, television, and fandom with some amazing professors. It was amazing. I also got married, which was nice too. My Master’s Thesis was on Doctor Who, the very show that first got me interested in television studies way back in 2008 (almost a full decade before I knew what television studies is). One of the chapters in my thesis actually examines the revival’s showrunners, Davies, Steven Moffat, and Chris Chibnall. On September 24 it was announced that when Chris Chibnall steps down as showrunner, RTD will be returning and I have many thoughts on this. (This is my first blog post in 2 years and I have ADHD, so please bear with me.)

First, one thing I recognize is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still very much part of our lives. (I feel confident generalizing since this has literally impacted the entire world.) Specifically, it has had a large impact on media production. In the case of Doctor Who, the most recent season was delayed and also shortened from 10 episodes to 8, and now 6. Following the pattern, 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker will be leaving after 3 seasons (and 2 specials airing this year in addition to the most recent New Years Day special). This means that Davies and his new Doctor will be making their return/debut in 2023, just in time for the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who.

In the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat reversed what Davies did from his first episode: he saved the time lords. He also had a huge budget and a global simulcast. When Davies was showrunner, the budget was significantly smaller and no one expected Who to become the global property it is now. While Davies was acknowledged as a fan of the series, this was not a central feature of the marketing, however, it is difficult to ignore as he makes his return. One specific quote regarding his return notes that there is content for him to enjoy as a viewer before he makes his return. Davies has always demonstrated appreciation and respect for the work of previous Doctor Who creatives. When he originally revived the series, he deliberately built on what was already there rather than trying to retcon and I think this is another opportunity for him to do that. I believe that it is because he is a fan that he is making his return.

There is also so much more money to work with. The 50th Anniversary, which occurred 3 years after Davies’s departure, was given blockbuster treatment both in terms of marketing and production values. Since then, the quality has only continued to improve. I would think that it was frustrating to miss out on working on such an exciting anniversary, which is why he will be back just in time for the 60th. There’s also so many more resources to play with. Although Doctor Who was historically a show that works with a limited budget– and Davies can obviously work within those constraints (did you know he invented the psychic paper?!) – a larger budget obviously increases the narrative possibilities.

The show is also no longer just a British staple, but has worldwide relevance now and these anniversaries receive far more attention and build up than they did when Davies first revived the series in 2005 (when there were supposedly only 8000 dedicated Doctor Who fans). Davies is responsible not only for the successful revival, but for one of the best eras of the series (Tenth Doctor David Tennant is still voted favorite Doctor over a decade after his departure). He is also the only showrunner to create a Doctor Who spin-off that lasts more than one season (The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood). To the BBC, Davies has already proven to be a profitable entity. Therefore it makes sense that he would jump at the chance to return and that the BBC would be eager to have him.

Tl;dr: Davies loves Doctor Who and is good at making Doctor Who content, so it makes sense that Davies and the BBC would both welcome this return. 

In the weeks following the Davies announcement, I had a lot of thoughts as to what this era would look like, along with many questions. For example, I was certain that David Tennant would not be the Fourteenth Doctor, but that is now rumored to be the case. (Apparently, there is precedence as the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton almost returned as the Seventh Doctor.) I’ve also learned recently that this year is the BBC’s 100th birthday, which has added an additional element of pomp and circumstance. So I have to wonder how long Davies will be at the helm this time. Will he only be around for the 60th anniversary or will he have another multi-season tenure? The announcement suggests that the latter will be the case, but for some reason, I cannot help having doubts, especially now that David Tennant is rumored to return as the official Fourteenth Doctor.

Regardless of whether or not he is the Fourteenth Doctor, I do believe that Tennant will be part of the 60th Anniversary Special. Actually, I think Davies is going to get as many Doctors as he can. During the 50th Anniversary, Davies had a brief cameo in the short film, “The Five(ish) Doctors,” which was made by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison and depicts his attempts to be part of the 50th Anniversary Special, along with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker and Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy. So, I have to wonder if the joke will be on everyone else when they do appear in the next anniversary special. Although, these Doctors could be recast, as was the case with First Doctor William Hartnell.

As part of the 50th Anniversary, the BBC produced a biopic depicting Doctor Who’s creation and starring David Bradley as Hartnell. Later, Bradley went on to play the First Doctor in the Christmas Special “Twice Upon a Time.” So there is precedence– although the First Doctor was also recast in the 20th Anniversary Special, following Hartnell’s death. I don’t think it would be surprising if the only recast Doctors were those whose actors have died. With The Sarah Jane Adventures, Davies demonstrated his fondness for the Classic Era, so I can totally see him indulging once again in bringing back all available Doctors (as was also the case during the Classic Era Anniversaries).

I don’t know if this is something we can expect, but I, personally, am hoping for the return of Mark Gatiss both as a writer and as an actor. His most recent Doctor Who performance was in “Twice Upon a Time” as the implied ancestor of Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a recurring Classic Era character, who also appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures and has been referenced multiple times in the Revived Series. Gatiss is also known to be a huge Doctor Who fan, and has written Doctor Who novels. The episodes he’s written (although they are really hit or miss) include “The Idiot’s Lantern,” “The Crimson Horror,” “Sleep No More,” and “Empress of Mars.” I’m not going to lie, I deeply enjoy Gatiss’s chaotic energy and wondered if he would be the one to take over for Chris Chibnall (although it seems unlikely as he seems to flit around a lot; he also played Mycroft in Sherlock and served as a writer and producer).

I’d also like to see the return of Toby Whithouse (“School Reunion” and “Under the Lake” / “Before the Flood” are two of his) and the more recent addition, Maxine Alderton (“The Haunting of Villa Diodati” and “Village of the Angels”). If I’m going to speculate on writers, I have to wonder if Steven Moffat will contribute. In addition to being showrunner he wrote “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “Blink,” and “Silence in the Library” / “Forest of the Dead” under Davies, which are still considered some of the best. Chibnall also wrote for both Davies and Moffat before becoming showrunner, although I suspect he will likely take a break from Doctor Who for a while (“42” and Torchwood with Davies and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” under Moffat).

I am far from the only person speculating on what Davies’s return will bring. From what I’ve read, the BBC will be handing control of Doctor Who over to Bad Wolf, a production company founded by Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter who served as producers in 2005. If that’s the case, I wonder how the budget will be affected. How will Davies’s next era compare to his first, before the pop culture explosion that Moffat played up during his era?  Or, to the more subdued, but visually stunning Chibnall era? It’s clear that the showrunner has a huge impact on how Doctor Who is perceived worldwide, and it seems many are looking forward to the next Davies Era.

August Update

This summer has flown by! I still have the list of planned posts I made back in June, but I hope to get them out sooner rather than later. Since then here’s a little bit about what I’ve been up to…

Recent Release: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 3

Season 3 released on August 2 on Netflix with a whopping SIX episodes– down one from season 2’s SEVEN. I have a lot of thoughts about this. In one of my earliest posts, I expressed my frustrations with Miraculous Ladybug’s release schedule, and it’s no secret that Steven Universe dragged its feet, so I’ve actually found this rather refreshing. Since releasing season 1’s thirteen episodes November 18, 2018, season 2 dropped seven episodes on April 26. Although the episode count is still low, She-Ra has kept my interest piqued.

The problem with long wait times between new content is that it’s easy to get caught up in something else. Doctor Who is perhaps my favorite franchise, but these days I’m much more interested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its fairly constant stream of content and announcements, but even now that those have slowed and become increasingly unclear or ambiguous, I am looking for new content to keep me occupied.

Marathoning: RuPaul’s Drag Race

I may have done some marathoning while cleaning out my house and crafting like crazy and most recently I’ve been catching up with RuPaul and the several seasons I’ve missed over the last few years. The thing I like about this particular competitive reality television program is RuPaul’s commitment to promoting loving oneself and one’s weirdness.

The show routinely depicts contestants overcoming their own personal demons or how the show lead to family reconciliations. Regardless of the veracity of reality TV, these heartwarming messages are the kind of thing that we should see more of. With so much hate-speak and anger, promoting love and acceptance is hugely important.

Also, I just love drag queens and have a lot of connections to the LGBTQ+ community. While Drag Race was originally more concerned with poking fun at the question of gender, it has since become a safe space for all forms of gender expression. In recent years, former contestants have come out as transgender and there have even been openly trans contestants. At the start of season 9 (which is what I’m currently on) Lady Gaga makes an appearance and explains how drag has affected her life, elevating it as an art form and an important form of self-expression.

Personal Note

Next week I start grad school (again!) and begin working towards an MFA in Film & TV Studies (hopefully with more emphasis on the TV). I’m very excited, but also nervous. I still have a long list of blog entries to write and publish but have no idea how much time I’ll actually have. To those who keep reading, I deeply appreciate it. I don’t know if I can quite explain what it means to me.

This blog has been a way for me to find my voice and put it out there. Confidence is something I’ve struggled with for a long time and having this platform has been a way for me to work on raising my voice. Learning people are actually reading has been even more exciting. Hopefully, my next post will be a proper review rather than another update!

July Update

Over a week ago I announced my intention to post a review of Spider-Man: Far From Home. This is not that post. (The movie is excellent, though.) I had intended on a great many posts, but this is my first since May 26th. Honestly, I’ve just been incredibly busy and overwhelmed with home renovations and planning my wedding. It’s something that I’ve been really frustrated with, though I did find the time to make some updates to my site. Moving forward I hope to get through my backlog of posts and get back to posting regularly, but first I have some exciting news!

I’ve been published!

Yes, it is so small as to be considered micro-press, but a piece of mine is now in an anthology called Tales of the Dawnline. Tales of is a companion short story anthology to a tabletop role-playing game created by the very talented Richard Kelly. The premise is a world where sunlight is lethal and due to some messed up planetary alignment, the sun’s movements on the planet are highly irregular. Humans live in nomadic villages, and many opt to find guardians, vampires to help protect the village from threats beyond nature itself.

What’s really interesting about the world Kelly has created is the wide variety of vampires and monsters that inhabit this world. These are not Bram Stoker’s or Joss Whedon’s vampires, but something much more varied, mysterious, and otherworldly. Even if you aren’t interested in Table Top Role-Playing, the short story anthology presents a really fascinating world– one I’m excited to be a part of.

So this housekeeping/update post is one I’ve been planning for a couple of days, but it was the arrival of the physical book (with my name and words in it!) that inspired me to share this exciting news. Kelly and I have talked about future collaborations, but for now, this is an achievement of a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. While I had hoped to publish a full novel by age 13 like Amelia Atwater-Rhodes did, the story and work I contributed is something I’m incredibly proud of and very excited about!

I hope to have more posts out soon, but for now, I want to say that being published is surreal and I’m excited to have my words live on someone’s bookshelf! Also, I have a new air conditioner which is almost as equally exciting and life-changing!

Tales of the Dawnline is available for purchase both digitally and in print at DriveThruRPG.com and published by Voidspiral Entertainment.

Happy [Belated] Mother’s Day!

So originally, I had wanted to write about Classic Film/TV Moms for Mother’s Day. Then I was going to write about why I think there are so many Mother’s Day TV specials. But ultimately, I decided to do something completely different. This Mother’s Day, my mom was kind enough to talk to me about her favorite movies. (And now I know what I’ll be doing for Father’s Day!)

So, full disclosure, I currently have 3-4 moms: my biological mother, two step-mothers, and my future mother-in-law. This year, I am just focusing on my biological mother.

When I asked what my mother’s favorite movie was, two immediately came to mind:

1. Clue (1985): Stars include Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), and Martin Mull (Sabrina the Teenage Witch). Based off the classic boardgame, this film takes place in 1954 when a group of strangers are invited to a secluded New England mansion. Once there, they learn they’ve all been brought there for a specific reason and when other people begin dying, they need to find out who-dunnit, and where, and with what.

My mom said: “This movie still makes me snort out laughing.” This is still her favorite comedy nearly 34 years after it’s initial release. Although it didn’t do well at the box office, it has since become a cult classic. At the time of its release, each movie theater received a different ending, however all three are available in the home release, and Tim Curry shines in every one of them.

2. Life of Pi (2012): Directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. In both the book and the movie, Pi survives a shipwreck on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger in the Pacific Ocean. It is a story of survival against some really impossible odds.

My mom: “The prettiest movie I’ve ever seen. It’s also intellectual. It’s a movie that is visually pretty and makes you think.” I have not seen this movie or read the book, but my understanding is that it is a very philosophical movie. My mom said this is her favorite movie that makes her think. 

3. Recent releases: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), A Star Is Born (2018), The Post (2017).

My mom loved Bohemian Rhapsody, but said that she felt like that had a lot to do with the music, since she loves Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody is a bio-pic starring Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) as Queen lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Since it’s release it has been nominated for 57 awards and won 21 of them, including Oscars for Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.

She felt that A Star is Born was great, really well-acted, and was really impressed with Lady Gaga’s performance. Star is the third remake of a 1937 film of the same name and stars Lady Gaga (American Horror Story: Hotel) and Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), who also made his directorial debut here. It too received several accolades including 218 award nominations and 65 wins. The film depicts a musician struggling with addiction who falls in love with and helps launch the career of a young woman.

The Post is a film my mother really enjoyed due in part to the fact that she actually remembers when the Pentagon Papers were released and the accompanying scandal. The film stars Meryl Streep (Kramer vs. Kramer) and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and directed by Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark). It was nominated for a number of awards, including Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actress. The film follows the first female publisher of a major American newspaper and The Washington Post‘s attempts to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified government documents regarding the Vietnam War.

4. Groundbreaking films: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), The Wizard of Oz (1939)

She described both of these movies as films she could watch again and again. She remembers when A New Hope was first released. At the time, it was unlike anything she’d ever seen before and began what is now a major media franchise and saga that has spawned movies, books, TV shows, video games, and more. The first film depicts Luke Skywalker after he encounters a message for help from a princess inside a robot. That is the most basic summary of the first film and any Star Wars fan will tell you that if you’ve never seen any of the movies before, that’s the one you want to start with.

The Wizard of Oz was already a classic when my mom was born, but at the time it’s use of color film was unprecedented. She described it as a movie she could sit down and watch any time.

5. Old Classics: My mom also listed a series of classic movies that she still loves: Gone with the Wind (1939), old musicals such Holiday Inn (1942), The Sound of Music (1965), and Fred Astaire classics such as Shall We Dance (1937) and Top Hat (1935).

Gone with the Wind to this day remains the most successful movie in box office history (when adjusted for inflation). It is a whopping 221 minutes long or 3.7 hours long (without overture, intermission, exit music, etc.). It’s based on a 1936 novel by the same name and takes place in the south during the Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction era. 

Holiday Inn is considered a holiday classic and is best known for its original song “White Christmas”, which won an Oscar. It stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.

The Sound of Music is an adaptation of a musical by the same name, composed and written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (Rodgers & Hammerstein), which is based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers written by Maria von Trapp about her family in Salzburg, Austria and their escape from Nazi-invaded Europe. It stars Christopher Plummer (The Insider) and Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), the latter of whom was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film.

Fred Astaire was an American singer, actor, dancer, and choreographer. From 1934-1938 he made a series films with Ginger Rogers, who was an American actress, singer, and dancer: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Roberta (1935), Top Hat (1935), Follow the Fleet (1936), Swing Time (1936), Shall We Dance (1937), Carefree (1938), The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939). The films featured revolutionary choreography and were big money makers for RKO. They were also responsible for a number of classic songs including “The Way You Look Tonight”, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1936.

My mother described a lot of these movies as “comfort food movies, like mac & cheese”. This is an idea I think worth exploring. Everyone has that food that you eat when you want to feel good/better. There are movies (and in the age of streaming, I’d argue TV too) that do the same.

St. P, TTG, and DBZ

What’s fun about Teen Titans Go! is that this show can make an episode out of anything. Seriously. There have been episodes on rental property, quantum physics, and even labor day. As a result, it’s not surprising that there is a holiday special for almost every holiday. In addition to yearly Christmas and Halloween specials, TTG has also done two St. Patrick’s Day episodes. As a show meant to poke fun at the superhero genre, St. Patrick’s Day takes it up a level but parodying the anime classic, Dragon Ball Z

For those who are unfamiliar with the franchise, Dragon Ball Z began as something of a fairy tale in the form of Dragon Ball. The manga upon which both are based is just called Dragon Ball for the seven magical stones that, when brought together, can grant a wish. Though it has fairy tale elements, it’s also a technologically advanced society, which is why characters are able to use the dragon radar to find the dragon balls more quickly than the would otherwise. In the latter half of the manga, the Dragon Ball Z anime, alien species and planets are introduced, with some of the characters being retconned as aliens.

So, what does an Irish holiday have to do with a Japanese program? Well, let me tell you…

The first St. P’s special revolves around the superstition of someone wearing green pinching someone who is not. Beast Boy argues that since he wears his skin, that counts and doesn’t hold back on the pinching. When the other Titans retaliate (while not wearing green) they are cursed with Bad Luck and must find a leprechaun’s gold to free themselves from the curse.

So, do they have to use some kind of leprechaun gold radar? Nope!


Robin reveals himself to be a leprechaun! Which therefore enables him to power up and utilize leprechaun attacks, which look at lot like DBZ moves. For those who are unaware, one thing that classic DBZ is known for is the countless power ups. (We’re talking episodes spent yelling while the ground is shaking.) The primary alien race, the Saiyans possess the ability to ascend to a more powerful Super Saiyan form, during which their hair gets spikier and turns gold. Here, as Robin powers up his hair turns orange and a beard manifests along with green leprechaun garb.

Teen Titans Go!’s Robin (left) and Dragon Ball Z‘s Goku (right)

His most powerful attack is a parody of DBZ main character Goku’s attack, the Kamehameha Wave: the Shillelagh Wave. As Robin and the other leprechaun battle, they also parody the constant back and forth of evenly matched characters moving at extreme speeds, but instead of trading punches and kicks, they trade pinches. In the second St. Patrick’s Day special, all of the Teen Titans come together for the most powerful attack. Parodying Goku’s Spirit Bomb, they perform the Spirit Clover.

While there’s a lot of humor in this Irish-Japanese parody, both episodes poke fun in other ways as well– a common feature of TTG episodes. Although the show is aimed at children, it’s very aware of its older audience, something that is evident in both of these specials. In another post, I hope to go deeper into the commentary I believe Teen Titans Go! is providing.