Doctor Who: Season 9: Episode 1: The Magician’s Apprentice Part 1 by Steven Moffat (a TV review).

September 19, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

As usual with these examination of ‘Doctor Who’ stories shortly after transmission, if you haven’t seen them, I’ll try not to give away unintentional spoilers, although I will give a quick resume of the plot. Much of the analysis will be about it, so feel suitably warned.


The Doctor has gone missing, upset about saving a boy in the distance past. Now, in our time period, the boy turned adult is dying and wants to see the Doctor one last time. Something he has been trying to avoid and evading the Colony Sarff who is seeking him.

Meanwhile on Earth, Missy has arrived and stopped all air traffic to get UNIT and Clara’s attention. The Time Lady achieves that explaining to Clara that she has the Doctor’s last will and testament which will only open after his death. Clara works out where he is and the Colony Sarff arrives and whisks them first there and then all three to a mystery destination.


You’ll notice I haven’t given any names away. I’ll give just one innocent word: Skaro.

Will you go to bed happy? I doubt it. This is only part one and no one knows what will happen next although I suspect many of you will think there has been some radical change in a certain species history but it might explain why they’ve never killed the Doctor, although the gloves…er…stun only would now be off. There is one ‘except’ in all of this. The boy turned man has only just got his memory back about the event although managed to keep a particular tool about his person until now. After seeing it used by the Doctor for so long, you would have thought he’d put two and two together or even analysed and used its technology. After all, he’s had it long enough. Then again, for this current regeneration of the Doctor, it is only yesterday. You would think he would keep a better eye on when and where he’s been going. Then again, hand on hearts, maybe he was destined to go there. You can’t really change pivotal moments in history, especially if you belong to them.

It’s quite understandable why the Doctor is riddled with guilt but this is a dilemma he’s met before and made a decision about. Not only with this people but others as well. In fact, an earlier regeneration of his decided it was better to let this history timeline stay as it was because some good would come out of it than play god and change it. In many respects, that was a good decision. To change or even too alter a timeline too radically would change too many events to mention. They might be a deadly menace but bigger menaces could have arisen in comparison.


With ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, Peter Capaldi seems to have settled better or that might also because showrunner/scriptwriter Steven Moffat has helped find his voice even if he still appears a little bewildered. With the way the Doctor made his entrance playing a guitar, there feels like there is a slight homage to a certain Buckeroo Banzai although I doubt if they younger generation have heard of the film. However, it does allow some comedic moments from Capaldi.

Jenna Coleman is as strong as ever and someone even UNIT calls and listens to Michelle Gomez as Missy is still a little crazy in the head and is equally electrifyingly scary.

This is an interesting start to the tenth season and one can only hope that part two lives up to this opening as well as explain what is going on.

GF Willmetts

19 September 2015


Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (1)

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  1. Eamonn Murphy says:

    Tricky to review without giving much away. I think Moffat is getting too hooked on time travel/changing the past/paradox stories which are okay now and then but not over and over again. Certain alien species are also overused and lose menace thereby. You should save the best villains for special occasions. Also, Doc Who is surely impossible to watch now for any but a long time fan. A first time viewer wouldn’t have a clue what’s going on. In the long run this leads to decline. In fact, I believe it did in the past with Doctor Who when they started writing just for the fans.

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