‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Ghost and Lucy Fletcher With The Twelfth Doctor and Nardole

Superheroes and ‘Doctor Who’! It’s what you want for Christmas, right?

2016 was a very strange year in the history of ‘Doctor Who’. It doesn’t seem to be that long ago at the time of this review. 2016 is a year that many people would rather prefer to forget. For me, I found it to be a good year for my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog. I had completed my first full year of it back then.

At the start of 2016, I was looking forward to seeing the next season of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV after watching Series 9 and ‘The Husbands of River Song’ in 2015. But the announcement soon came that Steven Moffat was to step down from the post of TV showrunner after doing it for such a long while.

The show was to be taken over by Chris Chibnall in Steven Moffat’s place. But instead of showing the final season of Steven Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV in 2016, the BBC decided to move it to be shown in 2017. Thus Chris Chibnall’s first year as ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner would be shown in 2018.

Now I’ve learnt how to patient when it comes to seeing a particular season of ‘Doctor Who’ on TV. But a consequence of this decision made by the BBC to move Steven Moffat’s final year as showrunner of ‘Doctor Who’ and to have it shown in 2017 meant an absence of a TV season in 2016.

Only the Christmas Special was to be shown in December 2016. I’m sure many fans had to wait a year for the show to come back on TV screens in 2016. But I had plenty of other ‘Doctor Who’ stuff to occupy my time whilst waiting for the show to come back on TV, including some Big Finish audios.

2016 was ultimately meant to be a year for Steven Moffat to plan out his final season of ‘Doctor Who’ with Peter Capaldi before he handed over the reins of showrunner to Chris Chibnall. It was a chance for him to deliver the best he had left and make his exit as the series’ showrunner worthwhile.

I’m not sure that all the hard work was shown in the execution of those episodes in Steven Moffat’s final season, but that’s something I’ll get into more when I talk about Series 10 of ‘Doctor Who’. Anyway, let’s talk about the 2016 Christmas Special of ‘Doctor Who’ itself – ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’!

No, no, no! Not him! Although I actually do like that Mysterio! I thought that was the name of the supervillain featured in the ‘Spider-Man’ comics! 😀 And no, the name ‘Doctor Mysterio’ isn’t the name of the superhero. It’s the name given to the Doctor by Grant Gordon instead of ‘Doctor Who’.

I enjoyed watching this episode very much back on Christmas Day in 2016. It’s quite hard to believe it was long ago when I saw the episode on Christmas Day in that year! I recall watching ‘Finding Dory’ on DVD as well as stuff like the first two episodes of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ animation on DVD. 😀

This ‘Doctor Who’ episode by Steven Moffat is of course a take on the superhero genre featured in the comics and movies. This is a story that’s a lot more to my tastes. In the episode, the Doctor meets up with a superhero called the Ghost in New York City. At last! Superheroes exist in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe!

The Ghost is a superhero with superhuman strength and the power to fly like Superman. The concept of superheroes in ‘Doctor Who’ is a welcome one for me. I’ve utilised superhero concepts in my tales like my ‘Fifth Doctor’ story ‘Junglos 4198’ and my Short Trip called ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’.

The story essentially has an alien invasion taking place and the Doctor has the Ghost helping him out to save the day as well as the world. The aliens in this episode have also appeared in ‘The Husbands of River Song’. But the alien enemies aren’t the only ones to have come from that Christmas Special.

I enjoyed this ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special more than I enjoyed ‘The Husbands of River Song’ in 2015. It’s not a classic by any means, but it was very entertaining sci-fi to watch on Christmas Day in 2016. And since I love superhero adventures anyway, it does work well in this ‘Doctor Who’ context.

Peter Capaldi is great to watch as the Doctor in this episode. At this point, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor seems seasoned and quite a weary traveller. I enjoyed his opening scenes with young Grant Gordon at the beginning and it was interesting to see how he shared scenes with Nardole in this special tale.

I do like Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the Doctor and I was looking forward to seeing how he would be developed in the next TV season after this. Although he’s not a favourite of mine, I can see how enthusiastic Peter Capaldi is in the role of the Doctor. It was nice to see his softer side at times.

Matt Lucas makes a return as Nardole in this Christmas episode. Yeah! Nardole is in this! I thought he lost his head in King Hydroflax’s robot body in ‘The Husbands of River Song’. But no! Apparently Peter Capaldi’s Doctor restored Nardole’s head to a cyborg body in order to have as his companion.

Steven Moffat liked Matt Lucas’ performance of Nardole so much that he wanted to have him as a companion in Series 10 of ‘Doctor Who’ alongside the new one, Bill Potts. I’m not sure I like the idea of Matt Lucas as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion. He’s fine in this, but I’m not really a fan of his character.

I greatly enjoyed Justin Chatwin’s superb performance as the super heroic Grant Gordon a.k.a. the Ghost in this episode. I later discovered Justin Chatwin had also been in the 2005 film, ‘War of the Worlds’ with Tom Cruise. He has also starred in the 2009 movie adaptation of ‘Dragonball Evolution’.

Grant Gordon was a young boy when he first met the Doctor and had mistaken a powerful gemstone for medicine when he popped it into his mouth. Thus the gemstone gave him superpowers like Superman. Grant is a fan of comic book superheroes and he looks cool in his Ghost superhero outfit.

There’s also Charity Wakefield as Lucy Fletcher, who is the Ghost’s love interest in the episode as a journalist like Lois Lane. I’ve seen Charity before in a 2008 BBC production of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ by Jane Austen. She was lovely to watch as Lucy in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode, but she isn’t an American.

I don’t know why Charity had to apologise for not being American in the ‘Doctor Who Extra’ featurette for this episode. I don’t mind at all. 😀 It was easy to see why Grant Gordon fell in love with Lucy in the episode. Although I would’ve done without the annoying Mr. Huffle squishy toy she used.

Aleksandar Jovanovic guest stars as the villainous Dr. Sim. I found him rather good and he doesn’t do an over-the-top villainous performance like some other villains in the Steven Moffat era seemed to do. I think he does a semi-Lex Luthor kind of villainous role for this superhero ‘Doctor Who’ TV story.

Adetomiwa Edun guest stars as Mr. Brock, who is initially in charge of the Harmony Shoal Institute in New York. I initially thought Mr. Brock (cute nod to Eddie Brock by the way 😀 ) was going to be the main villain before it turned out to be Dr. Sim. It was quite a shock with what happens to Brock in this.

The episode does have some plot-holes in terms of telling the story. My Mum wasn’t able to understand the story when my parents and I watched the episode on Christmas Day. I couldn’t claim to have a full understanding of the story at the time, but it has become clearer for me watching it again.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ DVD and on Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series 10’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s ‘The Doctor: A New Kind of Hero’ featurette and ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio – Doctor Who Extra’.

‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ has everything that you can enjoy about superheroes in ‘Doctor Who’ if you’re a fan of that particular genre. I enjoyed watching this episode when I saw it. It was an intriguing take on the superhero genre by ‘Doctor Who’. Far-fetched yes, but it was quite refreshing.

It was quite a while since ‘Doctor Who’ was on TV screens in 2016 and it was good to see ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ on Christmas Day. It’s a shame 2016 had an absence of a ‘Doctor Who’ series that year, but it was good to see this made up in the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special episode.

After seeing the episode, I was looking forward to seeing the next series of ‘Doctor Who’ in the spring of 2017. I was looking forward to seeing how Peter Capaldi’s Doctor would team up with Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts as well as Matt Lucas as Nardole in 2017. I hoped it’d be worth watching indeed.

I hoped there would be stronger stories and stronger character development for Steven Moffat’s final year as the showrunner of ‘Doctor Who’ in his era, especially with the introduction of Bill Potts as the Twelfth Doctor’s companion along with Nardole. Would my expectations of Series 10 be met though?

‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ rating – 8/10

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4 thoughts on “‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Good review Tim, this is a average story but compare it to the New Day Special Resolution it can’t hold a candle to it, again the acting seems bit pantomime & performances cheesy & lacked drama for me something Resolution clearly had.

    I think this echoes a showrunner out of steam i just felt Moffats era lacked heart & emotion while Chibnall has done the impossible making me believe the Doctor can be played by a woman & has wrote far more mature stories & the acting is far stronger i mean several episodes gave me goosebumps last year but with this special & Moffats era in general left me feeling underwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’.

      It’s amazing how we look back and compare the episodes of the Steven Moffat era to the Chris Chibnall era of today. I know not everything was great in the Steven Moffat era and there were decent performances from the cast in some of the episodes. That’s changed somehow with the storytelling and the acting becoming superior in the Chris Chibnall era. I enjoyed how you compared this episode to the efforts found in ‘Resolution’ this year.

      Yeah I agree. The Steven Moffat era does feel underwhelming overall compared to how Chris Chibnall has changed things around by making us care for the TARDIS characters; the guest characters and the stories being told in his era. Chris Chibnall clearly wanted to reduce the siliness of what Steven Moffat had implemented towards the tail end of his era by giving us proper character drama in the stories he delivered in Series 11 as well as in ‘Resolution’.

      It was clear by this point that Steven Moffat was running out of ideas to make the show exciting unlike how Russell T. Davies managed to keep the show exciting all the way throughout his era.

      I can see how much Series 11, Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall have impressed you of late. 😀 I hope you enjoyed the first half of my Series 10 reviews of ‘Doctor Who’ that will be posted on my blog tomorrow.

      Many thanks Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      P.S. Did you like my Spider-Man Mysterio joke in the review?



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