Happy New Year-The Best of 2012!

One of my fellow contributors sent me a picture a couple weeks ago, buy when I asked my contributors to write a Best Of list for me before the end of the year…this is what he sent me:

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And to that I say…what TERRIBLE spelling (who doesn’t know how to spell coming?) and also, HA!

I mean, I’m known for some lists of greatness, how could I not do a best of 2012 list?

Here’s the difference between most other lists though. This list is my own personal opinion. This is MY best of the year. There are going to be a lot of awesome things from this year that aren’t on this list…because, again, its my personal list. You can all argue with it as much as you like. Look at the top of this page, what does it say up there?

It says WhataNerdGirlSays..and that’s me, which equals MY opinion.

There have some seriously awesome things that came out of 2012: movies, books, shows, and on and on. I feel like I should call 2012 the Year of the Geek…if only because thats what it was for me.

Before this year I was geeky and nerdy for sure, but since 2012 was basically the year I discovered the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, I’ve gotten even better since then. I discovered TV shows like Doctor Who, The Vampire Diaries, Firefly. I’ve started reading comic books and other authors I hadn’t read before. And on and on and on. This year was definitely a nerd year for me.

So to count off some of my FAVORITE things about this year:

Best YA Book of 2012-The Diviners

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Now, most people probably are not goign to agree with this. They’re going to say that The Fault in our Stars as the best young adult book of the year. Well, hold your horses because it’s below. I personally believe that The Diviners by Libba Bray was one of the best young adult novels released this year. A lot of the books that were released this year in the realm of YA were second books, third books, fourth books, etc in series already out there. Cassandra Clare put out a book, and so on. And while I like Cassandra Clare, City of Lost Souls didn’t impress me as much as the first installment of Libba Bray’s new series. Her character is fresh and fun, the story captivating and it reminds us that there still are truly fantastic authors out there. Its been awhile since I could pick up a paranormal YA novel, and I actually enjoy it and feel that it is original and Libba Bray did just that with The Diviners.

Best Ending to a Book Series 2012- The Crimson Crown

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Cinda Williams Chima is a breath of fresh air in the world of young adult fantasy literature. I know that I picked up the first three installments of her Seven Realms series the week that the Crimson Crown, the final book, hit book stores but it definitely wins as the best ending to a book series, hands down. Chima writes real, pure, GOOD fantasy. There’s no love triangle or fluff to fill these novels. It’s all just plain good, the politics and the fantasy and the emotions and all of that. Queen Raisa is dealing with so many things: a corrupted military, several border countries biting at her ankles, poverty, and so on and she works her ass off to fix all of it, with a band of amazing and well developed characters. Han Alister is still trying to escape his thief king past, and come to terms with being a wizard, and try to prove his worthiness of marrying the queen. I’ll be pushing Chima for years; its been so long since I read a fantasy that swept me up and made me fall in love as hard as this book series did.

Best Movie of 2012-The Hobbit

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Despite lackluster reviews of one of the most anticipated movies of the year, it has become my favorite movie of the year. This movie was not made for the critics, that much is for sure, if anyone of you has read even one review of the movie. It’s too long, and it doesn’t make sense and all that sort of criticism. But this movie was definitely made for the fans, because it tells more of the story than just the story of Bilbo Baggins and for fans that know these stories, it was awesome. Peter Jackson pulled off an amazing display of cinematography and there was such an all star cast with some fantastic performances (I’m looking at you, Martin Freeman). The movie built up enough suspense to make me super excited to see The Desolation of Smaug next December. Definitely, definitely was made for the fans and it was very enjoyable for the fans.

Best Movie of 2012 Part Two-The Avengers

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I remember when I heard that Disney had bought out Marvel…I didn’t think this was going to go off so well. This was around the time that the seriously horrible Spiderman 3 had come out and I was already feeling kind of bummed out when it came to Marvel. Obviously it didn’t hurt too much. The Ironman movies have been great, and the Captain America and Thor movies have been fairly enjoyable. Then Marvel/Disney hit us with the whopper this year: The Avengers. First off, could they get a more attractive group of people to put in a movie? I mean, seriously between Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johanssen. There are so many hot people in that movie. But it was more than that (I swear, it is!). With Joss Whedon at the helm, it had a nice blend of action and drama and humor, with that sarcastic wit that Joss is so damn good at. Even if you weren’t really a superhero fan before this movie, I guarantee that you are now.

Best Animated Movie of 2012: The Secret World of Arrietty

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I love Hayao Miyazaki. The guy rocks, and I don’t think he’s put out a movie that I don’t enjoy. Paired with the fact that the Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was a child and I absolutely adored this movie. I mean, sure there was also the fact that Brave was okay, but not fantastic Pixar caliber and none of the other animated movies of the year really jumped out at me. The Secret World of Arrietty had all the charms of a Miyazaki movie and still held on to the beauty of the book. I only own three Miyazaki movies at home: Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle…and Arrietty. That shows my attachment to this movie; I LOVED it. The movie has that kind of wholesomeness to it, paired with humor that so many of kids movies lack. And the art of a Miyazaki always brings a smile to my face…because I can spot it from a mile away.

Best Adult Book of 2012-The Casual Vacancy

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How is it even remotely possible that after writing seven amazing, unforgettable novels and creating a world beyond any of us, J.K. Rowling could write another amazing novel. Set in a small town in Britain, and spinning a political web, the Casual Vacancy is not what some people would expect from our dear queen. But her writing, no matter what it is that she’s writing, is always fantastic. J.K. Rowling tells a story with such ease and grace. This book doesn’t grab you as fast as the Harry Potter books do and there’s about a thousand characters to keep track of, but when you’ve finally figured out who belongs to who and you start to get the gist of what is going on, you just can’t put it down. Its near impossible. In Harry Potter, you’re dying to know what happens next but in the Casual Vacancy, you’re just dying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Best Children’s Book of 2012-Wonder

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Have you read Wonder by R.J. Palacio yet? If you haven’t, you are severely missing out. Yes, it is meant for children, probably about the middle grade age group but when has that ever stopped us from reading children’s books? I still enjoy reading Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series and those are shelved in the children’s section. I love reading The Giver and all those sorts of books. Wonder is a book that should be counted amongst the best of the best in children’s novels. As a debut novel, I am amazed at Palacio’s ability to captivate her audience, whether its a child or an adult. The story of Auggie, a kid with severe face deformities, who goes to middle school for the first time after a life of home schooling is sweet, funny, sad and uplifting. If there is a child out there that hasn’t had the chance to pick up this book, then they definitely should…and I feel the same no matter what age you are. Its an amazing book, and its beautifully written and if it doesn’t win the Caldecott this year, then…well then the people who vote for the Caldecott obviously missed what a great book this is.

Best Video Game of 2012-LittleBigPlanet Karting

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Obviously I am not a gamer. I enjoy the occasional video game, and I have a great liking to watching my boyfriend play them (especially when he plays the Uncharted games…god they’re like a movie!) but I’m not very good at them. It’ll take me several times to beat a certain level and sometimes I have to play a video game on “easy” mode to even think about coming close to beating it. But that’s exactly why I LOVE the LittleBigPlanet games. They are super fun to play, they have enough difficulty to not be a stupid little kid’s game but they’re easy enough that I’m not struggling. They’re so much FUN and Sackboy is badass, though extremely hard to play in the Playstation All Stars battle game. But LittleBigPlanet karting…it’s not something new, not in the slightest. It is very reminiscent of the most popular racing games, Mario Kart, but it has the fantastic LittleBigPlanet twist to it. The weapons are more fun, and when they’re used, the reactions are more over the top and enjoyable. The tracks are silly…I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to dodge cupcakes while racing? All in all, it was the game I most enjoyed playing this year. 

Best Event of 2012: Harry Potter Skate Night

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Now, you guys have heard of LADA, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, the group that literally changed my life in the last year. They have given me so much more than I had before, and I’ve done a million fun things with them that I cannot begin to remember them all. But one of the highlights of my year with them was our first epic giant event, Harry Potter Skate Night. We had over 600 people show up and the place was packed. Everyone there was dressed in various Harry Potter wear, from shirts to school robes to full on costumes…there was even a little girl dressed as Dobby. There was a mix of contemporary music and Harry Potter music playing, there was butterbeer to drink, and different handmade Potter fare to buy. I cannot WAIT until we have our second one in April, to bring back the most epic event in Harry Potter nerd history. The first one was awesome in its own right, and we seriously rocked it and had a fantastic time. Just think how much more fun its going to be when we do it again this year.

Best New TV Show of 2012: Once Upon a Time

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I adore Once Upon a Time. Now technically this show began in 2011, but majority of the first season was in 2012, along with the season finale and the beginning of second season. The point is, I consider it a 2012 show and what an awesome, awesome show it is. It has become one of my favorite shows and I cannot bear to miss an episode. I’ve always liked Disney princesses and fairy tale stories, especially alternative ones. One of my favorite books is Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory McGuire. I love the idea of fairy tales being told differently…like Snow White and Cinderella both getting pregnant with their prince charmings…so risque! Or Snow White being able to wield a weapon pretty well and the Evil Queen has way more to her than you would think. What about Rumplestiltskin’s love for his son or Red Riding Hood’s struggle with being the wolf herself? Its awesome and the creators of Once Upon a Time get me to watch every single week. I am so glad that this show has lasted as long as it has and that it continues to last :)

Best Discovery of 2012: Doctor Who

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February. 2012. This girl finally sits down, boots up her Netflix and sits down to watch six seasons of Doctor Who. And she was never so glad in her entire life to do so. I watched all six seasons of Doctor Who in about a month, maybe less. This is also with school and Valentine’s Day, and my anniversary and my birthday going on. I’d like to say that’s pretty impressive. Now, ask anyone who knows me now what’s one of my favorite things and they will definitely say Doctor Who. I cannot understand how anyone could watch even one or two episodes of the show and not completely fall in love. All of the Docotrs-9, 10 and 11-are all awesome and have their own individual charm and all the companions-Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory and now, Clara-are all so kickass. I cannot believe it took me as long as it did to discover this amazing, amazing show. I’ve only been a fan for about a year but already I cannot imagine what my life would be without Doctor Who. And the best part? My boyfriend came along right besides me, and that doesn’t happen…and I loved it.

Best Boy of 2012: Mike Trout

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All right, I admit it, Mike Trout literally has nothing to do with being a nerd whatsoever. Like…he’s a baseball player and doesn’t fit in with my blog at all…except for one thing: I’m a fangirl and a fangirl means obsession. I’m obsessed with Harry Potter and Doctor Who and Star Wars and Lord of the RIngs and all that fun stuff….and I’m obsessed with my Los Angeles Angels. And along with that comes my obsession with Mike Trout. Now, if you have even the smallest bit of interest in baseball, I’m sure you’ve heard of Mike Trout. The guy was amazing this year. As a rookie, and being only 20/21 years old, the guy broke a ton of records, made the All Star Game, became the AL Rookie of the Year and caused some serious debate for the AL MVP. And come on, he’s hot. He’s super hot. Like…girls who didn’t even like baseball before are starting to watch baseball because he is so hot. But straight up, he rocked this year in baseball and reminded me again why I love the sport so much. I’m counting down the days until baseball returns.  

Best Girl of 2012: Karen Gillan

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Karen Gillan is my girl…she was my biggest girl crush of the year. She’s had the longest run on Doctor Who as a companion as Amy Pond and she’s one of my absolute favorites, besides Rose and Donna. (God I don’t like Martha…ugh). I loved Rose because she was the Doctor’s love and I liked Donna because she was the 10th Doctor’s best mate. But I love Amy because she’s the Doctor’s best friend but she has her own love story in the form of Rory Williams. She was sarcastic and fun and she was able to keep the Doctor in line and safe, but she never fell in love with the Doctor the way that Martha did. She had her own adventures, and while no one can compare with the Doctor, she kept up with him. I have a thing for redheads too. She’s so pretty and her Scottish accent is adorable and I love her in Doctor Who, and she parted ways with the show with grace and much, much fan girl tears. I will so definitely miss her as the companion, her and Rory.

Best of 2012 Period: The Fault in Our Stars

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I have read a lot of books this year. No I cannot tell you how many that I have read because I have never kept track…until now. I started a list on November 1st to see how many books I really do read in a year. (So far, I’m up to about 30…not bad for two months). But one of the books that I’ve read a few times this year, that I cannot forget no matter how many books I’ve read since then,  John Green’s latest masterpiece, The Fault in Our Stars. John Green has a way of penning the voice of an adolescent and making it feel so real, no matter what the situation is. I have always believed in the authencity of his characters, even when he’s writing as a teenage girl, Hazel, with cancer when he’s a healthy thirty-something year old man. He is able to tell a story in ways that you don’t see a lot of authors doing. He grabs the audience by being contemporary and funny, and using language that adolescents use already but he creates such a universal story that can be hilarious or uplifting or heartbreaking and sometimes you forget that you’re here and not in his book. This book is one of the best books, not just of this year, but of all time. Its not often that you pick up a book like that.

So the year is basically over, and for some of you (I’m looking at you Eastern Hemisphere), the new year has already come. The best part of it is this: 2012 was great, full of great books and movies and TV shows, great times with my friends and my boyfriend and my family. But now we have 2013 and there are so many more things to come. I’m going to San Francisco next week, I have Anime Expo, Gallifrey One, WonderCon and Comikaze to look forward to. Clockwork Princess is coming out, and the City of Bones and Sea of Monsters movies are coming. So much more to look forward to and so much in the past that was awesome. Its a good time to be a nerd.

Happy New Year everyone, be safe, be happy, be nerdy :)

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Doctor Who-The Snowmen Review

So we all (well, visit this site maybe not ALL) celebrated that wonderful holiday, Christmas. Which, really, only means one thing:

You know, besides, presents…and food, and cake, and snow, and Christmas lights and pine trees and gingerbread men and candy canes and…

All right, there are a LOT of awesome things about Christmas.

But if you’re a nerd, one of the biggest things to be excited about with Christmas is the airing of the Doctor Who Christmas Special on BBC and BBC America.

Especially this one.

I mean, what could be a better way to celebrate the holidays than with the most lovable, sexy and clever Time Lord there ever was, The Doctor!

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Now, this particular Christmas special was something that I was super looking forward to. For the most part, I’m not a HUGE Christmas special fan. Most of them I don’t like. I liked the Christmas Invasion because it’s David Tennant’s first episode and its awesome. I do like the Runaway Bride because that’s Donna’s first episode and Donna is badass. But the rest…I’ve never really liked. I guess its probably because I watched all the seasons except the most recent on Netflix so I just wanted to keep going on, finding out what happens next, and a lot of the Christmas specials don’t really have a point, except maybe as a filler until the episodes return.

This one, however, was pretty important to me. Amy Pond and Rory Williams are gone, taken by the Weeping Angels back in time, and are no longer with the Doctor, after a LONG run with him. Its time for the Doctor to take on a new companion and his new companion is to be Clara, played by the GORGEOUS Jenna Louise Coleman.

Jenna Louise Coleman made an appearance in the first episode of the seventh series, Asylum of the Daleks, as Oswin Oswald, Souffle Girl…a girl who becomes a Dalek and dies. Everyone knew that Jenna would become the next companion so it was quite confusing…how would she be worked in as the companion? That question would be answered in the Christmas special.

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The Snowmen takes place in Victorian age Britain and The Doctor has given up. He’s over saving the world, probably because he has lost Amy and Rory, his two best friends. However, there is a problem going on, with some evil Snowmen going on and Clara, a barmaid and sometimes governess, is noticing. She is determined, along with some of the Doctor’s old friends, to get the Doctor involved, to wake him up off his cloud-literally-and save the day again.

The Good or the Bad:

Now, the story wasn’t great. If I ranked some of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, this wouldn’t even make the top 50. It was cheesy, though the Snowmen were pretty creepy, my god. I actually kind of felt grateful that I do not live somewhere where it snows because those Snowmen were scary!

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But the story itself? Blergh. Whatever. I will say that it was better than some of the previous Christmas specials. I hated the 2011 Christmas special; that one was straight up horrible. But this one was enjoyable enough and that comes a lot from one Miss Jenna Louise Coleman.

Jenna is so FUN, she’s gorgeous and I’m already LOVING Clara. Clara has a little spunk to her, like an Amy or a Donna but there’s just something more than that. Clara seems to be one step ahead of the Doctor whereas the rest of his companions were either awed by him or just able to keep ahead of him. Clara was figuring things out before the Doctor was, and she was always on top of it.

I spent the entire episode wondering who Clara was and how she was connected to Oswin Oswald, and how she would become the companion. She became the companion pretty quickly; The Doctor handed over that key so fast! But I really liked Clara and I think she had a way of being easily likable from the beginning, especially since the Doctor knew that she had to be connected to Oswin in some way, and the Doctor liked Oswin.

And THEN, the best part of the entire Christmas special, the absolute cliffhanger that makes me so incredibly sad and PISSED OFF that the rest of the series doesn’t return until April: Clara dies! She dies and they bury her in the GROUND! How is this possible? They said she’s going to be the new companion! You’re freaking out, how could this happen…until you see her gravestone and it reads “Clara Oswin Oswald”…and there’s a flash-forward to present day and you see Clara, modern-day Clara, checking out her OWN gravestone.

And the Doctor figures that out and the episode ends with him leaving, determined to find her. Of course, then, they have to show all the previews of the adventures to come when the season returns. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN UNTIL APRIL! FLIPPIN APRIL! We have to wait til April to see all the adventures, including an adventure with the Cybermen, written by Neil Gaiman, and we are going to learn about Clara Oswin Oswald and what she is or who she is and figure out her mysteries.

I seriously cannot wait until April. Its going to FOREVER until it returns. SO LONG. Ugh.

I also liked the new intro to the show. It was SUPER awesome, completely different than any of the other intros before it. I hope they keep it for the rest of the season, and it wasn’t just for the Christmas special. It was really, really cool and I think it is very fitting now that there are new adventures and a new companion and all that. Very, very cool intro.

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Also the new TARDIS! The new TARDIS was badass! I have NO idea why its new. The TARDIS changing makes NO sense at all to me, like I don’t understand when and why it changes. It didn’t change inbetween the 9th and 10th Doctor but it did between the 10th and 11th Doctors and now its changed again. I love the new look though and it’ll be easier to see Clara in that TARDIS because I’ll miss Amy and Rory, big time.

I also liked the subtle references to other things. Well, at least, I felt like they were references to other things. Everyone kept saying “winter is coming” in this special and every single time, it made me think of Game of Thrones. How could it not make me think of that? I think that one was more of a coincidence than an actual reference to the show.

Then there was a part where The Doctor pretends to be Sherlock Holmes and he mentions Moriarty, and that had to be a cute little reference and reminder of Steven Moffat’s other extremely popular show, Sherlock, which won’t be returning until late 2013 or early 2014.

All in all, it was enjoyable enough, if not ground breaking and it left me, and probably other Whovians, dying to have the series return, and sooner than April! I can’t wait to see what Clara has to bring to the Doctor Who universe and what her mystery is.

I’m heading to Gallifrey One, the Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, in February and I hope that there will be some hints or previews or SOMETHING there to keep me happy until it returns.

Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and watch Doctor Who!!!

Doctor Who Returns

So it’s finally happened. After what feels like a million years, health Doctor Who has finally returned. My boyfriend and I sat down to watch series 5 and 6, salve baked some Doctor Who cupcakes (where I failed miserably at spelling ‘doctor’) and enjoyed the first episode of series 7.

I’m going to warn you right now. If you haven’t watched the first episode, sale Asylum of the Daleks, yet and you’d really like to enjoy the awesomeness of it without any spoilers, stop now. Seriously. Stop. The next few paragraphs are going to be waaaaaaaaay spoiler filled.

All right, you’ve been warned. Turn back now.

Asylum of the Daleks was FANTASTIC. It was such a great way to bring back this series. It starts with the Doctor meeting up with someone mysterious, someone who needs to the Doctor to fetch someone from the Daleks, then he is kidnapped. Then we meet up with the ever so gorgeous Amy Pond, signing her divorce papers with the adorable Rory Williams. Cue massive disappointment on my part. The Ponds are quickly kidnapped as well. They end up in the Parliament of the Daleks, where obviously things are going to go down. This is the Daleks we’re talking about, the Doctor’s oldest and longest enemies. In a completely surprising move, the Daleks need the Doctor’s help to help destroy the place called, you guessed it, the Aslyum of the Daleks, where the worst of the Daleks (what could possibly be worse than normal Daleks) are sent.

Now when I first started watching, I was pretty bummed about Amy and Rory. I love them both dearly. I have a crush on both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Darvill will be at the Gallifrey convention in February in Los Angeles, can’t wait!) and they’re awesome companions. I’m stoked that they got back together at the end of the episode, even though it was extremely cheesy and super obvious way.

I liked the Daleks. Some people don’t like the Daleks. Some people wish the Daleks would go away. Some think that they’re an overplayed villian. And the fact is, they are definitely the most used and the most common enemy in Doctor Who. But you gotta love them. To me, it doesn’t get old. Even though the Daleks look like little salt and pepper shakers, they’re badass and evil and they just want to kill things. And I was surprised that in this episode, the Daleks are asking the Doctor for help. What a turn of events! The Doctor is practically knocked off his feet in surprise.

But one of the best parts of the episode, easily, is the surprise appearance by one Miss Jenna-Louise Coleman, who will be replacing Amy and Rory as the next new companion to the Doctor. As far as I know, and as far as most people know, Jenna’s character will be named Clara. The character she plays in this episode? Not Clara. She is known as Oswin Oswald (what the hell kind of name is that?!) and she assists the Doctor, Amy and Rory in taking down the force field around the asylum and escaping the seemingly unescapble wrath of the Daleks.

In the end, the aslyum is blown up, Oswin along with it. Oswin, it turns out, has become a Dalek, without even realizing it. And the best part? She erases all memory of the Doctor from the Daleks…all of them. It was fantastic to hear all the Daleks freaking out asking over and over “Doctor Who? Doctor who?” and even better to watch the Doctor spinning around his Tardis, gleefully saying “Doctor who?” Brilliant.

Now, so far, I really like Jenna. She’s cute and quick and super funny. Her banter with the Doctor, and even Rory, is super hilarious. She has a wit and a charm and that sort of silly, quirkiness that the Doctor has. Her jokes about calling Rory “Nina” after the first person she had a crush on (“I was going through a phase”) is hilarious. While most people around the Doctor and his insane world seem to be confused and running around (there’s a lot of running in Doctor Who), Oswin seems to be holding her own, laughing, baking horrible souffles and having an amount of calmness and silliness while helping them. It almost seems like she has found her equal, someone who can play the same games.

The thing that is kind of confusing is…her name is Oswin. I know that Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) both made appearances in Doctor Who before they became actual companions. However, their characters were small and unoticeable and in no way linked to the companions that they would become. Oswin was a pretty big character, a huge one, in fact, so its going to be interesting to see how they sort of work that angle. She died in the blast that obliterates the asylum, and she is supposed to appear as the new companion, Clara, in episode six, after the Ponds take their leaves in episode five, ‘The Angels take Manhattan’.

Either way, this was a great opening to series 7 and a fantastic way to get the ball rolling. The appearance of Jenna-Louise and her character Oswin was enough to get any Whovian thinking. The presses, the messages boards, Facebook and Twitter have been all aflutter about it, wondering how she’s going to come back and what this season has in store for us.

I, for one, can’t wait. I’m already looking forward to next Saturday, in which our favorites come back in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Some familiar faces will be appearing in this episode, or they will be familiar if you’re a fangirl/nerd like me. Mark Williams, a.k.a. Mr. Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter films, will be appearing as Rory’s father. Rupert Graves, from Sherlock, will be in the episode as an explorer and David Bradley, more famously known for playing Filch in Harry Potter but also other roles in Game of Thrones and Captain America, will be starring as Solomon. And did I mention there are going to be dinosaurs on a spaceship? DINOSAURS! ON A SPACESHIP!

This is going to be epic.

So stayed tuned in, tomorrow I’ll have my Tuesday Three and next week I’ll be happy to share my thoughts on the next episode of Doctor Who.

For those of you who watched, what did you think? As always, leave it the comments.

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