The Zygon Invasion

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The Doctor is summoned by UNIT because the fragile peace between humans and Zygons is broken when a rogue group of the shape-shifters try to take over the world!

This is one of Doctor Who‘s most ambitious alien invasion stories. In the twentieth century series an invasion of Earth would be confined to the south of England. This century news reports have shown the impact of an invasion around famous international marks. The Zygon Invasion makes use of the greater number of characters the new UNIT family allows to really show us an international stage. There’s action in London, New Mexico and the fictional Turmezistan.

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The other great thing this episode does that builds on the work of the Pertwee-era UNIT stories is in making the everyday scary for kids: Lifts, playgrounds, schools, their own parents and, indeed, other children. The actual transformation between humans and Zygon forms is toned down from The Day of the Doctor‘s more visceral effects, but the there’s plenty of nice gloopy, organic Zygon tech around.

The story has scary ideas for adult viewers too. The dangers of radicalising more people by attacking splinter groups, and of demonising sections of the populace are all very contemporary concerns. The twenty million Zygons living on Earth were all born here; they’re not truly aliens, but a different culture living among humans.

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It’s really good to see Kate Stewart and Osgood back. They are two such likeable characters, and very capable of holding their own story lines. It gives the series options for Doctor-lite episodes in the future (although these two will shortly be spinning off with their own Big Finish series). It’s also great to see UNIT’s fine tradition of ineptitude continue under the new female leadership. In the old days UNIT troops would stand still while aliens lumbered towards them with deadly intent. Now they willingly walk towards their doom.

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I’ve seen a few tweets written by people concerned that Doctor Who is catering for the fans more than the casual viewers. I think it’s great that the show has the confidence to pick up on a dangling plot thread from two years ago. The recap has all the information anybody needs, and even not seeing the 50th anniversary episode doesn’t detract from the story. It’s not a criticism levelled at other popular shows; Game of Thrones makes no allowances for the ‘casual viewer,’ and it’s popularity remains undented and it’s future secure.

“Everybody middle-aged always thinks the world’s about to come to an end.”

In April this year the BBC announced that Doctor Who would be in production for at least another five years. This means that fans could settle down and enjoy series nine without fretting about it’s scheduling, marketing and ratings. These seem to have remained major concerns for a lot fans.

The cliff-hanger feels even bigger than the possible deaths of Clara and Kate, and the destruction of the Doctor and Osgood’s plane. How can the worldwide situation be resolved? If the splinter group of Zygons is neutralised, there are still millions of them living among the human populace. If this is the case are all the Earth people the Doctor meets in the future made up of humans and Zygons?

Bonnie by name...

Bonnie lass.

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Order series 9 on DVD:

Doctor Who – Series 9 Part 1 [DVD] [2015]

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