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Change We Can Believe In: The New Politics of Gaming essay + Doctor Who review

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If the show takes a while to find its feet, the performances of new leads Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as companion-to-be Amy Pond dispel any lingering shadows of their predecessors from the moment they take their first steps on-screen. Smith mixes the mania and bravado of youth with the confidence and authority of age, glued together by a streak of unearthliness that Tennant's Doctor sometimes lacked. He rules the screen whether at full Timelord momentum or simply sitting over a dining table eating fish fingers and custard with a star-struck little girl. Karen Gillan makes a more low-key entrance, but not only is hilarious and gorgeous (challenging Freema Agyeman's Martha and Nicola Bryant's Peri for most lovely Who companion) but touchingly subtle in her hints at Amy's long-standing insecurity at losing everyone she's trusted in between her amazement at the Doctor's tardy but mercurial return.

For all its early flaws and below-par new titles sequence and special effects (perhaps a result of the BBC's severe recent budget cuts), 'The Eleventh Hour' shows plenty of promise that Steven Moffatt's reign in charge of Doctor Who can grow beyond the legacy left by the previous team. Matt Smith not only sweeps any naysayers' doubts about his suitability for the role, but gives as confident and exciting a debut as any previous incumbent, sparking of Karen Gillan's companion Amy with the chemistry of a long-established screen double act. As Smith so appropriately introduces himself, we know we can trust him: he's the Doctor.

The fifth series of Doctor Who premieres in the US on BBC America on April 17th at 8pm/7c

PREVIOUS NON-GAMING REVIEWS

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A Curious Thing: Amy MacDonald (Music)
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About Xander Markhamone of us since 3:08 PM on 02.07.2010

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I'm a 26-year old English writer, formerly known on the CBlogs as Xandaça. I've been an avid gamer since I was a wee lad, gripping a NES controller in my hands and comprehensively failing to get past those infuriating Hammer Bros on Level 8-3 of Super Mario Bros. I've stuck with Nintendo since then (not for any animosity towards the other console makers of course - Nintendo just make games I enjoy and have grown up with), apart from a brief sojourn with a Sony PlayStation, several woeful attempts to play Half-Life 2 using a laptop touchpad and sporadically wrangling a turn on my sister's beloved Sega Saturn.

In addition to burping out the occasional novel, I'm a passionate critic, writing reviews and articles of films, book and games for my school magazine and university newspaper, for which I created and edited its film section. In addition to starting up my own blog, covering television, games and movies, I am also a writer for Destructoid's cine-geek sister Flixist. While primarily a film geek, the evolution of the games industry over the course of its short lifetime has fascinated me and provided vast quantities of content for some incendiary pieces of work - perhaps a few more might spring up on here?

My Favourite Games of All Time (because who doesn't love having a few Of All Time lists?) are GoldenEye 007 (which I still play through at least once a year to remind me of its glories), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Gunstar Heroes, Super Mario Bros 3 (I don't know who told Shigsy Miyamoto-san that raccoons could fly, but I'll love them forever) and No More Heroes.

I hope you find great enjoyment in my many scribings, and please keep an eye out for upcoming news on my novel(s) and do pay a visit to my blog sometime. And yes, the Dtoid community's 'no copy and paste' rule will be fully respected!

Good gaming, everyone!