A Meal Fit for a Doctor: Alton Brown’s Fish Sticks and Custard

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Under ordinary circumstances, I would keep my distance from this particular dish, given that I’m about as far from pescatarian as is humanly possible. But Alton Brown‘s recipe for Fish Sticks and Custard, from his recently released (and beautifully photographed) cookbook, EveryDayCook, combines my abiding appreciation for Alton Brown’s approach to food with my undying love of all things Doctor Who.

Fish Sticks and Custard from Alton Brown's EveryDayCook

To explain briefly, just understand that the Eleventh Doctor manifested a craving for this particular dish upon his regeneration, a telling and touching scene involving the young Amy Pond, and Alton Brown, as a card-carrying Whovian, saw fit to include this version in his cookbook:

My version is different in that it’s actually tasty…even if you don’t have two hearts and live in a blue box.

Note, too, that the dish is photographed upon the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. A nice homage to Doctor Who indeed.

It’s interesting to note that, up to the current point in the Doctor Who Project (Season Seven, Episode Two, “Doctor Who and the Silurians,”), food has played a very minor role in the series. There’s been the odd poisoned coffee and more than a few cuppas, but as yet, no stories with much gustatory focus. Indeed, thus far in the re-watch, I’m not sure if we’ve even seen the Doctor eat anything besides a very hard candy. And, as the events of “The Gunfighters” bear out, that wasn’t good eats at all…

(Image from Alton Brown’s EveryDayCook.)

Materializing Soon: LEGO Doctor Who Set Scheduled

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Not that there was much doubt it would eventually happen, but LEGO has finally scheduled the release for what, one hopes, is the first of many Doctor Who building sets. Landing right after Thanksgiving, on December 1st, the inaugural Doctor Who LEGO set features the TARDIS (with detachable police box and console play area), buildable Daleks, and minifigs for the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, plus current companion Clara and a Weeping Angel for good measure.

Image via https://ideas.lego.com/blogs/1-blog/post/44

I had put my money on a November 23rd release, to coincide with the series’ anniversary, but December 1st isn’t too far off. I certainly hope that LEGO has sufficiently estimated demand for this product, as the early rumblings seem to suggest the Venn diagram of LEGO enthusiasts and Whovians overlaps to a fair (OK, absurd) extent, and the LEGO Ideas line tends to be limited run. Even at the US$60 price point, Doctor Who fans will not find it a difficult purchasing decision, though the choice of Doctors and companion leaves, perhaps, something to be desired. I realize my dream set of the First Doctor, Vicki, and Steven facing off the the Dhravins from “Galaxy Four” would make for a hard sell, but still, no Doctor from the original run? Not even a K-9?

Given that this set will sell as well as Yeti take to the Underground, ideally LEGO will produce variant consoles and the proper Doctors to go with them, either as separate sets or as expansions to this set. They’ve already done something similar with their planned LEGO Dimensions Doctor Who set, albeit in a mostly digital fashion, so I imagine that the licensing would not be impossibly prohibitive.

The popularity of the current iteration of the series makes the inclusion of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors essentially mandatory, but a Whovian can dream of LEGO Sensorites…

(Image via LEGO Ideas Blog)

A New Who: Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor

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Evil, by Stuart Crawford on flickr.com, via a Creative Commons Attribution/Noncommerical/No Derivatives license.Well, that didn’t take long. A scant two months after announcing that Matt Smith would vacate the role of the Doctor, the BBC has announced that Peter Capaldi will be the next inhabitant of the TARDIS.

Unlike, well, all the new Who actors to play the Doctor, I actually knew of Capaldi’s work prior to the announcement, though solely from his turns on Torchwood and, interestingly, Doctor Who (in “The Fires of Pompeii”). I’m heartened by the fact that an actor with some considerable experience has taken on the role, particularly after the relative neophyte Matt Smith. Though hard to imagine, Capaldi is roughly the same age as William Hartnell when he took on the role of the First Doctor in 1963; and, like Hartnell, Capaldi brings both a dramatic and comedic background to the role.

I don’t find it difficult to see a sharper Doctor in Capaldi, one with a harder edge than Smith or Tennant, closer, indeed to Hartnell, but with some of the impishness of Troughton. I can’t imagine this Doctor being gravitas-deficient.

Time will only tell if showrunner Steven Moffat allows Capaldi to shape the character in an uniquely personal way or if he’ll simply ask Capaldi to parrot some catch-phrase (“Bow ties are allons-y!”) while the younger companion(s) run around chasing some MacGuffin that promises to tie up a season’s worth of loose ends in an utterly unsatisfying and frankly insulting manner.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Crawford via a Creative Commons Attribution/Noncommerical/No Derivatives license.)

A Doctor Who's Dozen: Twelfth Doctor on the Way

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The recent news that Matt Smith will be vacating his role as the Eleventh Doctor finds me in a mixed mood. I’ve made no real secret that I find Smith’s rendition of Doctor Who to be less than satisfying, but upon reflection, my displeasure stems less from the actor than from the scripts and the general direction the show has taken under showrunner Steven Moffat.

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor

Regenerations give Doctor Who a chance to shake up the series, add new elements, bring about new dramatic directions; the change from William Hartnell’s persnickety, slightly crotchety First Doctor to Patrick Troughton’s flighty, insouciant Second Doctor provided a brilliant transition that brought new life to the show (somewhat literally) and yet still honored where the show had been. The change from David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor felt to me like playing to a younger demographic, and the companions during most of Smith’s run, the Ponds, only served to remind us that Moffat was also responsible for the romantic comedy series Coupling. Not that Coupling wasn’t an intermittently enjoyable show, but silly relationship banter isn’t why I watch Doctor Who.

So, I’m excited about the possibility of a new Doctor Who—perhaps a female Doctor, finally, or a return to an older, more distinguished male actor?—but so long as Steven Moffat is at the helm, we’ll still have disjointed “arcs” that promise much and fulfill nothing, pandering rehashes of old series villains, and an absolute disregard for even the most basic canonical standards of the series. I’m no stranger to the fact that the old series pretty much made it all up as they went along—the Dalek chronology was pretty much a disaster by the second season—but they took it seriously even as they made an earnest hash of it all. William Hartnell took pains to keep the then-young show’s continuity intact. I don’t ask for perfection from my shows, only respect.

Here’s to hoping, I suppose.

A Fresh Console for Christmas: New TARDIS Interior Revealed

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The BBC has unveiled our first glimpse at Doctor Who‘s revamped TARDIS control room, and it takes us away from the prior steampunk monstrosity back to a far more traditional look:

Image of new TARDIS control room via BBC

While I understood the prior control room as emphasizing the immense size of the TARDIS (and also providing lots of space for interesting camera angles and character positioning), this new look harkens back to consoles from earlier days with a more personal scale. The prior console took time to walk around, and the TARDIS felt like a ship rather than, well, a time machine. This is cozy without being cramped, and the lines are modern and eclectic at the same time.

Though it’s hard to tell from the photo, stairs seem to extend down behind Matt Smith, suggesting a lower deck where the Doctor can fiddle with the TARDIS to his hearts’ content. There are plenty of knobs and levers as well—the TARDIS should never have a touch-screen bridge along the lines of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The hexagonal motif in the walls also calls back to earlier incarnations of our favorite time machine.

A very promising new look here. Now let’s hope that the stories Moffat and crew tell in it are worthy of the revamp, because the first part of the most recent season left more than a bit to be desired.

(Image via BBC)

You Got Your Back to the Future in My Doctor Who

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Why, yes, indeed, that is Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, getting out of Marty McFly’s DeLorean, or at least a close approximation thereof (one notes the lack of a flux capacitor).

Matt Smith and a DeLorean by Jill Pantozzi at http://www.themarysue.com

Jill Pantozzi at TheMarySue.com captured this shot (and more!) of the cast alighting from DeLoreans at the recent premier of Season Seven of Doctor Who (well, actually, Season Thirty-three if you’re counting properly, Season Thirty-four if you count the Eighth Doctor’s TV movie, which may or may not be proper). Season Seven kicks off today in the UK and in the US.

This mash-up of Doctor Who with Back to the Future comes not too long after Matt Smith was spotted with an Omnitool from Mass Effect strapped to his wrist at San Diego Comic Con this summer. The Doctor certainly gets around, no matter what style time machine he uses.

(Image courtesy of and © Jill Pantozzi via TheMarySue.com)