Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

Two weeks in a row with new Doctor Who to watch! We’re practically beside ourselves. Join Deb, Erika, Top Kat, and Lynne as we chew on “Smile”. Feelings are mixed about this one, and as always, that leads to a great discussion. Also as always, there’s aheaping helping of silliness–this time, in the form of mashed potatoes. (Just listen. It’ll make sense. Probably.)

What did you think of “Smile”? And how do you feel about mashed potatoes? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus–here’s the emoji Kat was talking about:

Download or listen now (runtime 1:03:49) 

Comments on: "Episode 134 – We’re (Not) All Smiles" (15)

  1. Kat’s “perfectly cromulent” sums up my feelings about this episode exactly. “Smile” was mostly enjoyable, but probably not a story we will remember for its greatness. On a semi-related note it’s not yet 8:00 am where I am and yet I am wanting some mashed potatoes…

  2. Reblogged this on Confessions of a Curator, Editor, Geek and commented:


  3. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much 4th Doctor lately but my favorite call back was when the Doctor explained his chess strategy–kicking over the board. Reminded me of Tom Baker playing chess with K-9 and getting annoyed at losing.

    My favorite part of the episode was the Doctor and Bill sitting in the engine core, talking about what was going to happen when everyone woke up. To me it was the turning point where the Doctor had to start thinking about things in a new way in order to solve the problem. I thought the Doctor showed a lot of vulnerability in that moment that he usually doesn’t with companions, and it really defined the kind of relationship he has with Bill.

    I really thought he was going to do something actually clever, rather than just hitting the reset button, but, as Kat said, at least they were upfront about the fact they couldn’t write themselves out of that corner.

  4. Richard S said:

    Hi all, longtime listener, been a while since I posted here. And, yes, I’ve also forgotten how to do the side-eye emoji.

    Thanks for a great discussion. Summed up many of my own thoughts about Smile.

    I loved the Doctor-Bill banter and the Nardole interjections at the start. Loved the gorgeous location and the ingenious design of the emojibots. Loved the way the script was educating the non-SF-reading masses with the latest ideas about space colonies and emergent intelligence from experts like Prof Tim O’Brien and Andrew Vardy. I’ll watch it again for Bill & the amazing scenery & cool genuine SF concepts

    But… ohhhh, the frustrating pace of the story… and the rushed climax with no time to allow the settlers to trust the Doctor or rebuild trust in the emojibots, they’re basically told they have to like it or lump it and pay the rent or the walls will eat them… and that trite & distasteful £-£ joke at the end which really didn’t fit the mood.

    Yep, solidly on Team Deb-Lynne here.

    Oh, Lynne.

    Lynne, Lynne, Lynne. (Shakes-head-in-exasperation emoji.)

    Lynne, who’s so excited for the upcoming Regency episode. (Sigh-moji)

    (Guilt-moji for what I’m about to say…)

    Last weekend, YouTube’s DW Fan Show had a chat with exec producer Brian Minchin. He was explaining the fun parts and the more complex parts of his job role. To quote:

    “We always set ourselves a huge challenge with each episode. We never start off knowing how we can do it. How do you do a future city in a way that works for TV in 2017. How do you do a Victorian Ice Fair. So then it’s kind of working out how to make those dreams a reality.”

    Victorian Ice Fair. VICTORIAN. NOT Regency.

    So, either Brian Minchin made an honest mistake during the interview (boring)… or he’s just revealed a BIG CLUE about the latest meddling-with-the-past plot-arc… or he failed to learn a vital piece of history from the episode he just helped produce.

    # teamBIGCLUE

    • From what I’ve read, the episode is set in 1814 which puts it firmly in the Regency era. As we know, the Victorian era didn’t start till 1837. So either Brian Minchin got confused, or there’s something to your timey-wimey theory…

      • I will accept either outcome, but all of the official promo has been 1814 Frost Fair, so I’m figuring the bulk of the story is set then, which meets my requirements.

  5. It’s so great to hear you all discussing new Who! I’m also liking how much everyone is disagreeing-makes for such good conversations.

    I enjoyed Smile. I’m happy about it because I think the very adorable emoji it’s will appeal to my DoctorWhophobic 11 year old.

    By the way, did you see this? It’s awesome and should bring great joy to all Twelve/Missy fans everywhere.

  6. Everyone seems to have missed the best callback of all: When Bill entered one of the rooms in the spaceship (the treasure room?), looked around, grinned and exclaimed “Wicked!” Ace was in the house.

    I think the general assessment that this was a beautiful story and vehicle for the two leads that was let down a little in the final minutes is about right. I have seen it twice now, and I found the second viewing improved it immensely. Without having to worry about where the boy popped up from and why the colonists were behaving as they did meant that the main point of the story could be better appreciated.

    I think that if the BBC had paid for another speaking part among the colonists it would have helped, as we only got to hear from the trigger happy medtech.

  7. First time commenter! I enjoyed Smile, but they didn’t really stick the landing, in my opinion. It’s a pity, because I think that the ending would have suited a different approach, one where the settlers had been more present in the story. That said, I will never complain about having just the Doctor and Bill interacting for a substantial part of the episode.
    With regard to the call backs, they do seem to be leaning heavily into them in The Pilot and Smile. I re-listened to your episode about Spearhead From Space recently as I had just watched it and I noticed Deb seemed to be much more positive about the call backs to that episode with the Autons in Rose. Have the amount of call backs just become overwhelming or is it that the relative recentness of what they’re referring to is making it seem like it’s just copying old storylines?
    I’ll always admit that I’m easily pleased by Doctor Who, so none of the call backs have bothered me, but, given how Deb has felt about the episodes, I understand I could well be missing something. (I’m also the person who didn’t notice that The Force Awakens was a retread of A New Hope, so I may just have a mental block with regard to these kind of things.)

  8. I’m afraid I’m too old and Scottish to communicate effectively with emoji, so English will have to do! 😀

    I really enjoyed Smile for the character interaction between the two leads, but the plot doesn’t stand up to much examination. I liked the relaxed pace and it was enjoyable enough just to see the Doctor and Bill explore the location and speculate about what was going on.

    I wonder if the reason we keep seeing so many call-backs and nods to the past is because there’s just so much past now that it’s inevitable! We’re 12 years into new Who so if this was the classic series, we’d be into Tom Baker’s first year. I wonder how many people thought Robot was a bit unoriginal when it was first broadcast…

  9. Joel Aarons said:

    I am loving the podcast as always. I was wondering if any of you have heard of the podcast network Afterbuzz TV. They are a huge network that do youtube videos/podcasts of aftershows of many shows. They also do one on Doctor Who. But I mention it because one thing they always do is predictions after their recap and analysis of the show. Is this something you ever thought of doing when you do a season of reviews?

    Thanks as always!

  10. Squibby said:

    Lots of interesting ideas in this story but I agree the ending was rushed compared with the rest of the story.
    This season promises to have so many classic Who references. The Doctor escaping from his Earth employment with a co-worker reminds me strongly of Dr 3 and Jo escaping Earth for a few adventures.

  11. Egads sorry for the long comment coming up, Wrote out my thoughts off line & then forgot to post, two mistakes. Anyway, for posterity…

    I have recently realized that who I think of as my “favorite” doctors are not always the ones I rewatch most often. So either Matt Smith is really my favorite doctor (!) or his episodes were just more “for me.” I actually haven’t rewatched much of the last two seasons, in fact I’ve rewatched doctors 3 & 4 a whole lot more lately. But I still do adore Peter Capaldi. (Local Hero is my favorite movie ever, long-time fan 🙂 )

    Anyway, my current gut-check is whether I want to rewatch an episode right away. I watched “The Pilot” several times in the first two days, but I’ve only just now wanted to rewatch this one again, thanks to the previous poster who said it was much better the second time. I love Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and I’m apparently one of the very few who really liked “In the Forest of the Night.” (But I also love Framed & Millions…) But this one left me fairly flat. It was a good idea but Lynne’s right, the pacing was just weird. Suspenseful-ish, but you could see the plot twist coming miles away – yet they still had to discover it all and talk it over. (Not to mention, BBCA showed a clip from the second half in the middle, ridiculous.) Still, it was gorgeous, and I’ll watch it again for the Doctor and Bill.

    Ok, I watched it again since starting this post, and it IS better, but I probably won’t watch it a third time. There are just too many problems. I do not at all get why the emoji-bots got all scary/creepy when Bill & the Doctor went into the engine room. They weren’t sad, so what was wrong? And how could they have lost track of the boy for so long? Also, as Erika pointed out, the humans are instantly stupid. All set-ups purely for suspense that made no sense. I hate to say this, but I think it would have been better as a 2-parter, or probably 6 half hour episodes 🙂 The concept is possibly worth a bit more time and complexity.

  12. Some thoughts

  13. This episode of Verity! leaves one crucial question un-answered…

    What was Jemima’s reaction to “An Unearthly Child”?!?

    You teased us beautifully for that last episode, and now here we are, and not a mention!

    I hope it isn’t one of those tales that’s just too tragic to tell… ={:oo

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