Despite Jeb Bush’s commentary, there is more to “Supergirl” than the fact that Melissa Benoist is “pretty hot.” “Supergirl,” CBS’s newest Monday night attempt to capture a young adult audience, is far from super. But the mere fact that it has a female lead, in a genre where they are about as common as quality Nicholas Cage movies, makes it culturally significant. We spent much of our childhoods watching cartoons like “Superman: The Animated Series,” “X-men: Evolution,” and “Batman: The Animated Series,” as well as movies like Christopher Reeve’s Superman (and unfortunately all of its sequels). Later on we enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and even watched a bit of “Smallville,” before it turned into a soap opera. Yet throughout our superhero-filled childhoods we personally never once saw a superhero movie or TV show with a female protagonist. Why?
Has “travelling with the Doctor changed you, or were you always happy to put other people’s lives at risk?”
The relationship between the Doctor and his companions plays a much more central role in Nu Who than it did in Classic Who, a pattern that certainly holds true for “Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood,” the recent two-part episode of “Doctor Who,” Season 9 (on BBC and BBC America). Will the Doctor put the lives of his companions at risk? Will he put other people’s lives at risk? How are the companions changed by their travels with the Doctor? Like many of the episodes Toby Whithouse has written (from the rather underwhelming “Vampires of Venice” to the enjoyable but less than legendary “School Reunion”), the character development and the relationships between characters form the best part of these episodes. Peter Capaldi (The Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara) deliver impassioned performances, as usual, but it’s a new villain featured in these episodes, played by Neil Fingleton (known for playing White Walkers in “Game of Thrones”) who embodies the two-parter’s creepy tone. The new nemesis, called the Fisher King, looks amazing and sounds terrifying, even if his villainous plot comes across as contrived. Overall we are happy to report that, thanks to intriguing character development, Season 9 stands alone in Nu Who for its consistently above-average episodes, making it well worth your time to watch.
“Listen, if someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you then kill that child?” This question drives the two-part opening of “Doctor Who” season 9. In a manner perfectly suited to the show’s timey-wimey nature, these episodes provide a splendid example of how sci-fi can explore deep questions rather than just showcase explosions and mayhem (cough, Star Trek: Into Darkness, cough).