Children of the Stones Intro Theme Song Lyrics

By Kiyan • 26 February 2021

Children of the Stones title card from the intro

Hi, folks. Kiyan here. It’s been a little over a year since Dylan and I watched the classic 1976 horror TV series Children of the Stones for Inevitable, our classic sci-fi podcast, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I’ve been thinking about the utter helplessness it exudes, that perfect atmosphere of near-hopeless struggle against an evil close to home that is both propounded and caused by the fact that you’re experiencing it all through the eyes of a child.

I’ve been thinking about how it doesn’t shy away from the utterly eerie in its ending, instead leaning full tilt into the “scarred for life” abyss and dragging its young audience by the collar in with it.

But mostly, I’ve been thinking about its intro theme song.

Composed by the ineffable Sidney Sager, Children of the Stones’ theme music evokes just the right sort of fear, beckoning you aurally into a world of cyclical time and psychoastronomic phenomena.

But weirdly enough, try as I might, I couldn’t find the lyrics to the song anywhere on the public internet.

So I thought I’d fix that.

Without further ado, here are the official lyrics to the Children of the Stones intro theme song.


Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a moment before my memory gets blurry
And tell you how I escaped getting turned to stone at Milbury

In some part of England born and raised
Making sandwiches was how I spent most of my days
Banana, pear, apple crumble and all
While wearing a shirt four sizes too small

Then one day in a local junk shop
I saw a painting of a ritual that made me stop
I showed it to my dad and he said in a hurry
“Son, pack your bags, we’re heading to Milbury”

We arrived in a village quite out of the way
And all the townsfolk greeted us with “Happy day”
We didn’t think much at first of this odd little group
Turns out they were pawns in an ancient time loop

Perpetrated by Hendrick, whose ultimate goal
Was to channel our souls into a black hole
And turn us to stone, but we managed to scurry
And that’s how we escaped the town of Milbury

Well, there you have it. Children of the Stones has one of the most iconic TV intro themes of the 70s, and I’m honestly surprised no one has bothered transcribing the lyrics until now.

Well, that’s what we’re here for I guess.

Anyway, if you want to listen to what Dylan and I had to say about this creepy kids’ series, you can check out our episodes on it here:

Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7

Have you watched Children of the Stones? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Top 7 Most Memorable Doctor Who Couples

By Kiyan • 12 February 2021

Love is in the air, folks.

That’s right: it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than to sit back, relax, and appreciate some of the most memorable Doctor Who couples ever to grace our television screens, computer monitors, phones, tablets and whatever else we might’ve happened to watch Doctor Who on over the years?

Without further ado, let’s jump right into a couple of Doctor Who’s most unforgettable couples.

Elton and Ursula (Love and Monsters)

Elton and Ursula looking incredulous

Who can talk about romance and Doctor who without talking about the seminal, nigh resplendent Series Two episode Love & Monsters, penned by the one. The only. Russell T. Davies.

No one, that’s who.

This downright euphoric piece of heaven posing as a Doctor Who episode has gone down in history as one of the most blessed 45 minutes of television for a reason, and it’s not just the inclusion of the wonderfully cute ‘n’ cuddly Absorbaloff.

It’s the heartwarming relationship between main character Elton (this is a Doctor and companion lite episode) and his girlfriend Ursula.

I won’t give away too much about their relationship for those who haven’t seen it (it’s a real romantic treat, so it’s worth experiencing firsthand), but Ursula and Elton are frankly perfect for each other. Even through troubled times, she really is his rock.

Leela and Andred (The Invasion of Time)

Leela, Andred, and K9 stand next to the TARDIS as it dematerializes

I know what you’re thinking: “A companion write-out marriage? Really? Those are about as romantic as a wet paper bag.

And the answer, dear reader, is yes: a companion write-out marriage.

Leela’s relationship with Andred (played, of course, by the ineffable Christopher Tranchell, who also lent his talents to The Faceless Ones as Steve Jenkins and The Massacre as Roger Colbert) is one for the Doctor Who romance history books.

True love so often leaves its most intimate intricacies — its most important innards, its vital viscera if you will — unsaid, and Leela’s and Andred’s emblemizes that idea to the utmost.

It embodies the unspokenness of true love so much, in fact, that Leela’s decision to stay on Gallifrey at the end of the Invasion of Time appears to come out of nowhere.

You know what they say though: true love blindsides. And this true love most definitely does just that.

This Lion and Itself (The Romans)

A female lion chewing on a bone

Fact: Romance wasn’t built in a day. And neither were romantics.

The two go hand in hand. Romance runs on the people who make it all possible every day. You just can’t have romance without romantics.

And boy does Doctor Who have Rome antics. So many Rome antics, in fact, that there’s an entire serial — yes, not just a passing scene here or there, not just a measly episode or two, but an entire serial — dedicated to Rome antics.

It’s called The Romans.

Don’t let its black-and-white-palletted persuasions dissuade you; The Romans has more Rome antics than you can shake an abacus at, including a revitalizing wrench that the serial gleefully yeets into the idea that romance — and therefore couples — must always be built, like the best of bicycles, for two.

The Romans, you see, come replete with lions, the veritable symbol of the most Roman thing ever: the coliseum.

The timeless majesty of this lone lion from part 3 (“All Roads Lead to Rome”) proves it: when you’ve got enough Rome antics at your disposal, romance really can be a lone venture.

Brian and Tricey (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship)

Tricey the triceratops licks Brian's face

Who says couples have to be romantic though? No one in their right mind, that’s who

There are all types of couples out there, and Brian and Tricey make up an unforgettable one, forming a close bond of friendship over the course of their too-short time together aboard the Silurian Ark in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship may be a visually dark episode, the saturated blacks and cool, metallic grays of the spaceship interior lending the prehistoric story a cold, industrial, borderline-utilitarian persuasion.

But the friendship between Brian and Tricey exudes a warmth that melts all that ice away in no time and proves once and for all that camaraderie draws no distinctions of species, uniting the best among us across time and space.

Ryan and Call of Duty (The Ghost Monument)

Ryan, Yaz, and Graham stand on an alien planet looking confused

Thirteenth Doctor companion Ryan Sinclair might not be the first character to come to mind when you think “Doctor Who couples.” But just because his soulmate flies under the radar doesn’t make the relationship any less meaningful.

Ryan loves the Call of Duty video game series — so much so, in fact, that he’s even willing to risk his life for it, charging into hostile territory with only a piece of advanced alien weaponry at his disposal to prove it in the episode The Ghost Monument.

Luckily Ryan makes it out ok, but in hindsight, things could’ve gone real south real fast for him there.

If that doesn’t say “true love,” then I don’t know what does. The fact that Ryan never mentions his love of Call of Duty ever again is just the final nail in this heart-shaped monument to affection: he’s so enamored with the series that he doesn’t want to share even the merest mention of it with anyone else.

And that’s ok. You keep doing you, Ryan, and never let true love falter.

The Twelfth Doctor and Pears (Twice Upon a Time)

The Twelfth Doctor stands hunched over the TARDIS console

The Twelfth Doctor has quite the curious relationship with the little lopsided pome known as the pear.

In Twice Upon a Time, the Twelfth Doctor relays some instructions to his future self. On the list? The infamous “never, ever eat pears.”

This may appear, at first glance, to raise a red flag for the relationship between the green fruit and the Twelfth Doctor.

But make no mistake, the bond between good old Twelve and these sweet, juicy seed-bearers is as close as can be.

Much like Ryan does when he chooses not to mention Call of Duty ever again after The Ghost Monument, the Twelfth Doctor only warns against the consumption of pears so that he can keep all the pears for himself.

The pears, it ap-pear-s, wouldn’t have it any other way either. A-pear-ently, The Twelfth Doctor and pears make the pear-fect pair, the pear-adigmatic pear-agon of romance gone not wrong, but oh so right.

Pear-sonally? I’m wishing this unconventional couple pear-manent happiness and bliss beyond com-pear in their relationship from here on out.

K-9 and No One (multiple)

K9, slightly worn and rusty, in the episode School Reunion

Poor K-9 never could catch a break.

Maybe it was all the ledges he tended to come across — those pesky landscape-ular leaps that always seemed to impede his progress and remove him from the action.

Or maybe it was the fact that no one loved him.

No matter the incarnation, K-9 always seemed to be the one after the affection of others and not the other way around, opting to stay with Leela (and thus Andred as well) in The Invasion of Time and Romana II in Warriors’ Gate.

But like a dog chasing its own tail, K-9 never caught up with love.

On the contrary: he always seemed to be on the receiving end of the vilest of undeserved vitriol. Constantly the butt of onscreen jokes and the target of the Fourth Doctor’s light but nonetheless concerning teasing, K-9 had not a true friend in the world in my estimation, which is why he and no one make one of the most remarkable duos in Who history.

Still, I suppose getting to star in your own spinoff (not once but twice) makes it all worth it. I’m just glad someone finally threw K-9 a bone.

Well, that about wraps that up with a heart-shaped bow. Reflecting on these wonderfully unforgettable relationships hasn’t just gotten me ready for Valentine’s Day; it’s gotten me positively pumped for it.

What are your favorite Doctor Who couples, relationships, and romantic moments? Let us know in the comment down below or on Facebook or Twitter. And don’t forget to have a superb Valentine’s Day.

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“An Ordinary Man”: On the New Who Companion and Formal Temporality in Revolution of the Daleks

By Kiyan • 29 January 2021

The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham in a huddle

It’s 2021, and you know what that means: it’s the 58th anniversary of people moaning about Doctor Who.

This year, we’re off to a great start. As soon as Revolution of the Daleks finished airing, people took to the internet to wax on about why this latest Doctor Who special is an affront to all that’s good and decent about the world.

But among the slew of typical, lazy complaints — the companions suck, the Doctor is boring, etc. etc. — one in particular stands out:
“Why don’t the people of Earth recognize the Daleks in Revolution of the Daleks?”

This question has been weighing on my mind ever since I first started seeing it pop up in early January. Not because I care what the answer is (I don’t) or because I’m upset that Revolution of the Daleks introduces this discrepancy (I’m not).

But because it’s actually important.

It speaks to something wildly interesting that the current era of Doctor Who does. As different as it may be from what Modern Who accustomed us to from 2005 through 2017, Current Who (2018–now) embraces the show’s past in the most sly, spectacular of ways: by means of paradox. It takes the seemingly abandoned concerns of the earliest seasons of New Who and makes them formal instead of diegetic, disengaging with “canon” to explore, instead, past ideas through the schema of new rhetoric.

Because its companion write-outs break “canon” and employ “retcons” to translate the language of Doctor Who’s past persuasive aims from a diegetic one into a formal one and valorize the ordinary over the extraordinary, Revolution of the Daleks paradoxically engages with Doctor Who’s history to suggest that even though reconciliation takes sacrifice, its rewards far outweigh its setbacks.


Let’s dive in and find out.

The Ordinary and the Extraordinary

In its earliest seasons, New Who often preoccupied itself with the idea that normal, everyday people are important — more important, in fact, than extraordinary ones.

“An ordinary man,” the Doctor tells Rose in Father’s Day, is “the most important thing in creation.”

This sentiment carried on for most of those early seasons (and even became somewhat of a meme on our podcast.) It’s the ordinary, Doctor Who seemed to claim at the time, and not the extraordinary that is truly of value.

But a closer look reveals otherwise. Narratively, Modern Who (2005–2017) appears to leverage its cast in maneuvers whose meanings largely contradict its characters’ suggestions that the ordinary supersedes the extraordinary. On the contrary: it uses its principal cast’s write-outs and final appearances on the show to venerate people of remarkable persuasion or circumstance.

Featuring characters such as Amy and Rory, (who travel through time), Clara and Bill (who embark on cosmic voyages of their own), and Donna (who faces mind erasure at the end of her onscreen story), 2005–2017 Who consistently focuses on companions whose departures expand the spatiotemporal and hermeneutic boundaries of their lives and whose resolutions call on the extraordinary while edging the normal into further and further peripheries.

None of these companions return to normal life. Their lives, in fact, the show affirms, will never be the same after their travels with the Doctor. This is, of course, because of the experience and insight that travelling the cosmos has granted them. But it’s also because their journeys and stories proceed to the inevitable logical conclusion of progressively intensifying remarkability: extraordinary displacement, and in some cases, even more “cuh-raaaaaazy!” journeys that promise to continue offscreen the trend of increasingly out-there adventures, each wowing more than the last, that Doctor Who, at the time, embraced and around which it built its ever more convoluted “canon.”

But Current Who (2017–now), as the departure of companions Ryan and Graham in Revolution of the Daleks evinces, turns this formula on its head, transplanting what were once diegetic concerns of the show’s characters into the formal structure of Doctor Who itself to suppose the value of none other than the absolutely, incontrovertibly, at times even maddeningly ordinary.

Revolution of the Daleks and the Temporality of Reconciliation

Time-bound storytelling formats like traditional television shows necessarily include as a structural component the element of time because time necessarily relates to and often even governs their construction and organization. In other words, in television, temporality becomes explicitly formal.

As a traditionally broadcast television show, Doctor Who fits this mold. In Doctor Who, time is a matter of form.

Though its somewhat special status as a BBC production (or these days, a production for BBC or something like that — I’m not up to date on the specifics) means that Doctor Who is perhaps not as beholden to the same temporal constraints that other television programs are, financial and generic (“of genre”) concerns mean that, like any other time-restricted television story out there, Doctor Who has to determine what it will spend its (currently) 50-minute runtime on.

Curiously, Revolution of the Daleks doesn’t use any of its 70 minutes (it’s a special, so it’s longer than average) to address what you might think it would address given the revelations of the previous episode, The Timeless Children.

In The Timeless Children, the Doctor learns that she is not who she thought she was. She learns that she is not originally from Gallifrey as she (and we) always believed.

Distraught, the Doctor asks the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin’s Doctor), who appears before her inside the Matrix, questions whose answers would help her align her thoughts and would shed clarifying light on the confusing murk into which these revelations have plunged her.
But the Fugitive Doctor doesn’t answer the Doctor’s questions.

In fact, her response to the Doctor seems simply to raise even more questions.

She asks the Doctor why the fact that “[the Doctor’s] memories aren’t compatible with what [she’s] learnt today” matters so much when the Doctor has never “been limited by who [she] was before.”

Revolution of the Daleks follows up on this conversation in the most literal sense: it spends time addressing what the Doctor learned on Gallifrey but offers no further insight into the many questions these revelations raise, instead spending time reiterating The Timeless Children’s takeaway and formally diminishing even further what little importance The Timeless Children seemed to suggest the potential answers to these questions might hold.

Partway through Revolution of the Daleks, the Doctor confides in Ryan. She tells him a bit about what she learned on Gallifrey, revealing that she isn’t who she thought she was and that her past holds many more secrets than she ever imagined it could. Ryan responds in much the same way the Fugitive Doctor did: he tells the Doctor that she is who she is no matter how things might change, affirming that he appreciates who she is now and who he knows she’ll continue to be regardless of her past.

The Doctor and Ryan talking in the TARDIS

“Have I ever told you how awful your posture is?”

In this moment, Ryan doesn’t just invoke the human and personal sentiment that Current Who (2017–now) embodies (and that borders on saccharine, but that’s a whole nother discussion for a whole nother time); he also emphasizes temporality. Ryan tells the Doctor that she will “find out about her own life” when they’re “done with this Dalek problem.” Addressing the revelations of The Timeless Children can wait, says Ryan. First and foremost comes the matter at hand: the Daleks. Revolution of the Daleks, Ryan in other words indicates, doesn’t have the time — and therefore does not have the formal (because temporal) wherewithal — to deal with matters of displaced canon and mismatched continuity.

It has bigger formal fish to fry.

Fish called Daleks.

But even when it comes to its own namesake, Revolution of the Daleks dismisses matters of continuity formally by spending its time on other stuff.

“Why don’t the people of Earth recognize the Daleks in Revolution of the Daleks?”

Revolution of the Daleks doesn’t answer this question.

Revolution of the Daleks doesn’t care. It dedicates its time to matters much more mundane (literally mundane in the etymological sense: “worldly”).

Because while Revolution of the Daleks doesn’t spend even one second addressing why the people of Earth don’t recognize the Daleks, it spends a great deal of time on its epilogue, a heart-to-heart moment between Ryan and Graham that brings them right back full circle to where they started.

In this epilogue, Graham has resumed teaching Ryan how to ride a bike. The two have received psychic paper from the Doctor and hint that they will continue to solve supernatural problems and right paranormal wrongs even though they have left the Doctor.
But like Ryan tells the Doctor, there’s a time and place for everything. “I’m not done here yet,” Ryan says of his cyclical travails, indicating what the episode itself indicates formally by spending its last bits of time not on the adventures on which Ryan and Graham may or may not go but the return to normal life (a first for a companion in over a decade) and the mundane but important challenge to achieve riding a bike with dyspraxia: that the ordinary truly does supersede the extraordinary.

By allocating its time like this, Revolution of the Daleks makes formal a topic that in past eras of Doctor Who was diegetic. It eschews concerns over canon and continuity to affirm formally what past eras denied narratively.

For nearly the first time in nearly 16 years, “an ordinary man” — in this case, two ordinary men — facing an ordinary problem truly is the most important thing.

That this scene depicts the relationship between Ryan and Graham and their return to their everyday lives in an unequivocally positive light is also telling. Where past companion write-outs tended to deal with matters of a sci-fi persuasion and with extraordinary consequences, this write-out divorces itself from sci-fi concerns of canon and continuity formally by refusing to address The Timeless Children and the Daleks. The result, as is visually evident in Graham and Ryan’s final scene, isn’t just good — it’s divine.

This, says Revolution of the Daleks via its form, like so much else, is a tradeoff. Revolution of the Daleks cannibalizes its own canon and continuity. But the result isn’t a disconnect from the past. On the contrary: Revolution of the Daleks embraces Doctor Who’s past while reevaluating it to build its future by marrying its once-disparate persuasive aims and character concerns in a moment as tonally holy as it is reconciliatory.

Though reconciliation might come at a sacrifice, then, of something so many hold dear, the results are their own reward.

Where many shows, movies, and stories at large — especially when it comes to the large-scale, corporate “pop culture” franchises that line the tops of may people’s watchlists — concern themselves heavily with “canon” — and their fans and followers with deifying dogma, decrying apocrypha, and obsessing over fitting together every piece, no matter how small, of a storyworld’s continuity puzzle — Revolution of the Daleks asks something else of us, something else entirely.

Embrace discrepancy, says Revolution of the Daleks.

Let contradictions be reconciled while also letting them be.

Though acceptance may come at the expense of what you deem important or even what you hold beloved, though reconciliation may hurt…

…it’s worth it.

What did you think of Revolution of the Daleks? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments below.

Further Reading:

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Chris Chibnall, Yasmin Khan, and the Slow Burn

By Kiyan • 15 January 2021

It’s been almost two weeks since Revolution of the Daleks aired, and one of the biggest complaints about this latest Doctor Who special that I’ve seen online since is this:

“The Doctor should have spent more of the episode imprisoned.”

Well, maybe that’s a bit disingenuous.

It’s not that the Doctor should have spent more time in Judoon prison, people are saying.

It’s that the special’s marketing — its trailers, its pre-release screenshots, etc. — all seemed to indicate that she would spend more time imprisoned than she ended up spending.

I thought so too. But then again, look at this:
Revolution of the Daleks poster with the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, Graham, and Jack
See what I mean?


Look closely. See Yaz? There in the center-right? She’s smiling. And she looks super happy.

And Yaz smiling and looking happy was even less a part of the episode than the Doctor’s imprisonment was.

In fact, it’s the opposite. Yaz understandably didn’t have as big a role in this episode as Ryan or Graham did, but when it was her time in the sun, she was mopey, gloomy, and likely suffering from bouts of obsession, depression, or both.

But were people crying “misleading marketing” when it came to Yaz?

Oooooooooooof course not.

Look, I like my words like I like my meat: not minced. So I’ll say it:

Yaz is the unloved stepchild of the Chris Chibnall era of Who.

It’s sad but true. And also not surprising in the slightest. Back in Series 11, Yaz was a puzzle box of a character. Who was she? We didn’t know. Sure, we knew she was a cop. Sure, we knew a little about her family and how she got along (or failed to) with each of them. Sure, we knew a bit about her values — what she thought, what she believed in.

But compared to Ryan and Graham, we didn’t quite know as much about Yaz. Not at the time.

Flash forward to early 2020 (15 years ago at time of writing). Series 12 gave us more to dig into with Yaz, revealing a bit more of her backstory and delving into what makes her tick in episodes like Can You Hear Me?

But even still, her role and her character continued to fall by the wayside, backing off, it seemed, to make room for more screentime devoted to the Doctor and the Master and, indeed, Ryan and Graham.

On that front, this latest special is no different. Ryan and Graham (and cameo appearance/fan-favorite Jack Harkness) take center stage yet again in Revolution of the Daleks, leaving Yaz with a scant few minutes’ worth of the episode devoted to her.

It’s understandable. After all, Revolution of the Daleks is Ryan and Graham’s final episode. Of course it would be dedicated in the main to them.

The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham huddling in Revolution of the Daleks

So despite my poking fun at people ignoring the discrepancy between the poster and the finished product, it ultimately makes sense that this small inconsistency would go unnoticed: Yaz’s emotional state understandably plays second fiddle to, well, pretty much anything else you might compare it to in the episode.

Still, even though Revolution of the Daleks has bigger fish to fry, the months Yaz’s spent obsessing over the Doctor and the unequivocally unhealthy lens through which the episode portrays her decision to stay with the Doctor are important.

They speak to the mode of storytelling we’ve been seeing on Doctor Who for the past two and a half-ish years, the mode of storytelling that sets this era of Doctor Who apart from what came before.

The Chris Chibnall era of Who has a very different feel from the RTD or Moffat eras. And that’s largely thanks to how we see characters like Yaz play out.

Once upon a time (2005-2017), Doctor Who was nothing short of a televised incendiary device. It liked to explode, putting its characters through bombastic, life-changing, outlook-shattering, horizon-broadening events each episode and packing everything it had into firecracker finales that left no grenade pin unpulled, all to the triumphant blare of Murray Gold’s unmistakable score.

In other words, Doctor Who liked to put all its chips on the table and, like a little kid too eager to tell a secret, giggle its way through the rest of the game until it got to show its hand. It kept nothing up its sleeve, played every card it had.

Plot beats, backstories, reveals: these came fast. Each episode sucker punched you and then took you on an emotional ambulance ride. Each season was synecdoche to the episodes themselves, propelling you through what felt like the entire range of human emotion, a months-long analogue to each week’s 45-minute slice. And it all culminated every year in gut-wrenching, heartrending finales the likes of which surely, you said, could never be topped.

And you were right. They couldn’t be topped. Which is why each season of New Who from 2005 to 2017 felt increasingly as if it had to outspeak, outperform, and outdo the last.

Along the way, there were a few soft resets that turned the “emotional” and “bombastic” dials back down to zero, or at least close to it. Matt Smith’s first episode for example. Capaldi’s third season.

But this was largely how things were, the modus operandi for 12 years.

No more.

New Who… New-er Who is different. When Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor fell to Earth, she brought Doctor Who right back down to Earth with her. Now, the characters are more grounded. The Bad Wolf and The Impossible Girl and The Girl Who Waited and The Last Centurion give way to a bus driver with cancer, a depressed cop, and a guy juggling dyspraxia with some serious family issues. The “greatest woman [Ryan] ever met,” Ryan explains at the end of The Woman Who Fell to Earth, isn’t who the episode leads you to believe it is at first. It’s not the Doctor; it’s Grace. This is a show, says that first episode of 13’s era, not about how amazing someone like the Doctor is, but about how “special” — that’s the word Ryan uses — an ordinary person like Grace can be.

Now, things are slower and more contemplative. There’s time now. Time to breathe and time to let words, sights, and sounds all sink in. Steven Moffat may have given Doctor Who time travel, but Chris Chibnall gave it time. What would have happened all in one season back in the day takes multiple seasons — years — in this current incarnation of Doctor Who. As of Revolution of the Daleks, the 13th Doctor still hasn’t decided what she feels about the revelations in The Timeless Children yet even after discussing it with her companions a couple times. We’re still waiting on that.

In Revolution of the Daleks, Yaz isn’t front and center. Her story, like the 13th Doctor’s, doesn’t culminate neatly in season finales or specials. Her life, like the 13th Doctor’s and like a real person’s in the real world, doesn’t change instantly thanks to single moments or simple platitudes or epic, emotional climaxes. Her story instead takes its time to grow. We’re still in the middle of it. It’ll show when it’s ready. If it’s anything like Ryan and Graham’s, it won’t end with the Doctor because (unlike how things sometimes felt with the companions of Doctor Who past) her story didn’t really start with the Doctor to begin with.

Yaz fades into the background in Revolution of the Daleks, just as she’s done since the very beginning of the 13th Doctor’s run. Who is she? Who is Yasmin Khan? We still don’t know. Not fully.
But I’m willing to bet we’ll find out.

So though New Who no longer adheres to its initial schema ― no longer winks and smiles and embarks on extravagant gambols and all-or-nothing gambles ― don’t fret and don’t despair.

And embrace the slow burn.

Two+ years in, what do you think of Yaz and the “slow burn” of current Who? Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and let us know.

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Torchwood Children of Earth and the Steven Moffat Effect

By Kiyan

On Trust Your Doctor, we’re currently deep in the weeds of Children of Earth, the third season of Torchwood.

And what wonderful weeds they are.

Surprising and surprisingly grim, Children of Earth leaves fetid, gnarly gashes where the previous two seasons of Torchwood contented with surgical cuts. It’s brutal, at least compared to what came before, and that’s a good thing. And we’re only two episodes in.

It’s with this brutality that Children of Earth delimits itself from what came before. “If you expected the same old Torchwood, think heckin’ again,” says Children of Earth as it dedicates its first episode to the wholesale destruction of everything Torchwood had been up until that point — from the new mini-series format replacing the standard 13 pisodes to the seeming disinterest in fantasy alien tech (“The technical name is a gizmo,” Gwen tells Clement of a device she uses to deactivate a security camera, waving a remorseless goodbye to the detail with which previous Torchwood seasons would have tackled this moment). It all culminates in the literal, sudden, upsetting destruction of Torchwood (Torchwood itself, the hub), which gets blown to smithereens shortly before the first daily installment of five is through. It’s a bold refusal to stick to the surefire, to rest on laurels already drooping under the weight of a(n admittedly great) second season. Right off the bat, everything changes.

But what really strikes me the most about Children of Earth so far is the balancing act that the season plays. Every moment of edge-of-your-seat action gets its quieter, more meditative complement, every further fathom of mystery into which the story plunges you its vitalizing oxygen bubble to keep you going — backstories for, revelations about, and contemplations on characters you care about; concrete (😎) stakes that keep you on solid ground while a sea of larger puzzles steeps off to the side. It’s an adventure as lost as it is found, offering the tonally and narratively new up in equal measure alongside remeditations on stuff you already know (and maybe even care) about. Children of Earth takes you on a journey that tiptoes the line between the unprecedented and the familiar, remixing the show’s brief past into its own future vision.

This approach ring a bell? It should for any Doctor Who fan. Because it’s largely what Steven Moffat did over the course of his 10+ years of work on Doctor Who.

Steven Moffat didn’t work on Children of Earth. He didn’t work on any of Torchwood for that matter. But Children of Earth feels more Moffatesque than many actual Moffat stories, and it all comes down to the Steven Moffat Effect.

And that’s not too surprising. Because the explosion? Turns out it doesn’t work. The hub may be gone, but Gwen, Jack, and Ianto all survive.

The explosion doesn’t destroy torchwood. It lays it bare.

What is the Steven Moffat Effect?

But what is the “Steven Moffat Effect?” Well, other than “the term I came up with to give this blog post a clickbait-y title,” the best way to answer that question is with another question:

“Is Doctor Who about time travel?”

Someone who’s only ever watched Classic Who will probably tell you no, or otherwise explain that time travel is really just the show’s conceit, that Doctor Who never really thematizes or, to appropriate the linguistic term, topicalizes it.

Ask someone who’s only watched New Who though, and they’ll probably say that, yes, of course Doctor Who is about time travel. What else would it be about? Blink is great. Haven’t you ever seen Blink?

This is the prime example of the Steven Moffat Effect. The 2010-17 era of Doctor Who takes what was once just a conceit, a usually minor detail in the background that was never a main plot point or even really a big deal, and makes it important, primarizes it. Under Steven Moffat, Doctor Who became a show about time travel in a way that it never was before.

You can see the same thread in other Moffat works as well. Because believe it or not, the same is true of the 2011 Tintin movie that Moffat co-wrote… minus the time travel stuff. In the original Tintin comics, Captain Haddock’s drinking problem serves largely as comic relief. But the 2011 movie turns levity to gravity when it hinges its emotional climax (so its climax) on Tintin’s calling out the Captain’s alcoholism after it gets them stranded in the desert. (Though it’s been 15+ years since I last read a Tintin comic, and I saw the movie once in 2011, so some of this may be wrong(?), and if it is, feel free to correct me.)

Doctor Who and Tintin both have legacies that stretch back longer than most can remember (and the few who can probably don’t care to admit it), and when Moffat (and his co-writers) took the reigns, they ended up reevaluating what were once minor components in a much more comprehensive way and bringing them, in the process, to the forefront.

That’s the Steven Moffat Effect.

And to a large extent, it’s how Children of Earth approaches its being the third season of Torchwood: by taking what were once minor points or jokes and honing in on them with laser focus.

For example, take the…

Big Bad Bureaucracy

Children of Earth remixes a familiar facet of the Torchwood team — their close relationships with one another — and uses it to comment on something that extends far beyond either Torchwood (the team) or Torchwood (the series): bureaucracy.

If acquaintances agree where friends argue, Torchwood must have been really good friends. Because back when Owen and Tosh were alive, these MFers were at each other’s throats 25/8. So yeah, Torchwood is a close-knit team. And as both their somber moment together at the end of Exit Wounds and their adroit teamwork in Children of Earth indicate, Gwen, Jack, and Ianto remain closer than ever into their third season together.

In seasons one and two, this intimacy as a team usually serves as a source of either comedy or, well, basically strife.

But Children of Earth takes things in a different direction. This time, Torchwood’s close bond isn’t just about the three members who are left. It’s also about the possible dangers and potential pointlessness of bureaucracy. Throughout the first two episodes of Children of Earth, the Torchwood trio makes it out of what would otherwise be fatal scrapes either because they’re a small team, because the people they’re up against are the opposite of a small team, or both. In the first episode of the season for example, the team learns about the bomb embedded in Jack’s stomach just in time to save themselves because they’re a team of three who can communicate face to face. And in the second episode, where the government organization out to kill Jack has to pass information through bureaucratic channels coded and riddled with secrecy, Torchwood is able to communicate with each other while evading detection thanks to the intimacy of their network, such as when Ianto tells his sister via postcard to meet him “where dad broke [his] leg,” or when Gwen tries to set up a rendezvous point with Ianto by meeting up where they last “had ice cream together.” Reevaluated and contrasted with the workings of an organization whose commitment to secrecy (even going so far as to namedrop the Official Secrets Act) and middlemen has, so far, been its undoing (Gwen and Rhys are saved because John Frobisher needs someone to answer his phone for him), the close relationships our Torchwood members have with one another and the intimacy of their small team don’t seem so bad. The memory of the downsides that seasons one and two presented still lingers, but there’s a value, says Children of Earth, to the proximity, an importance to not getting so caught up in the business of running a business or an agency or a government that you forget, like Prime Minister Green, to care about other people. It may just save your life.

Ianto and Jack

Children of Earth also explores the relationship between Ianto and Jack in far more detail than ever before, detailing its implications and the effects it has on Ianto more deftly than season two does. When Ianto visits his sister and her family in the first episode of the season, we learn that he has never been in a romantic relationship with another man before. Complicating matters further, Ianto tells his sister that “[i]t’s not men [… i]t’s only [Jack].” And complicating matters further, Ianto’s sister has probably told a bunch of people about it against Ianto’s wishes.

Thoroughly exploring its ins, outs, and implications, Children of Earth mirrors Ianto and Jack’s relationship with its outlook on Torchwood’s intimacy. The latter, Children of Earth claims, isn’t all bad. Likewise, the former, it says, isn’t all good either. The happy fun times of Ianto and Jack’s relationship are just one of its faces, one of its facets. For Ianto, this relationship poses an entire sea of hardship to navigate, and he’ll likely have to crest more than a few challenging waves before all is said and done. As Children of Earth hones in on these difficulties that season two never really concerns itself with, the Steven Moffat Effect is in full force.

All in all, I’m enjoying the direction Children of Earth is taking things. Using familiar points as the launch pad to explore new reaches is an exciting method and a revitalizing approach to creating a new season of an established show. The Steven Moffat Effect, in other words, is indeed, uh, in effect. I couldn’t be more excited to see where it takes us.

That’s it for now. What are your thoughts on Children of Earth and its approach to the Torchwood formula? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted by Kiyan in Blog, 0 comments