The Doctors Are In by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?

No, that’s not a typo in the title bar. One of the authors has added a question mark, legally, to his last name. Also, I love this cover. (If you want to get technical, one is missing, but I love it anyway.)

TRUE FACT: The ONLY Doctor of the modern era I have looked forward to “meeting” is Peter Capaldi. My reaction to the reboot in 2005 was: “A Doctor in a black leather jacket? NEVER. GOING. TO. WORK.” And then I loved Eccleston’s Dotor, so much that when he regenerated, I said, “New guy? I’ll hate him.” LOVE David Tennant. May be my favorite Doctor. Loved him so much that when HE regenerated, I said, “Who could ever follow him?” Enter Matt Smith, whose introduction was all but perfect. How is it that for over 50 years and 13 incarnations, each subsequent actor is able to both take on the mantle of this character AND make it his own?

The Doctors Are In Front Cover (ECW)

The Doctors Are In Front Cover (ECW Press)

THE COVERAGE: The book begins with an introduction to the show, the authors, and the format of the book. Each of the 13 Doctors gets a chapter, and each is divided into the following sections:

  • That Doctor’s first and last stories
  • The Changing Face of Doctor Who (about the switch to the new Doctor)
  • Who Is [the actor playing the Doctor in this incarnation]
  • Top Companion
  • Classic Foe
  • Who Is the Doctor? (specifics about how this Doctor is played, his characteristics, and motivations)
  • Three Great Moments
  • Two Embarrassing Moments
  • A critique of each Doctor, specially named to suit each Doctor, by one of the authors
  • Second Opinion: the other author’s take
  • Index files: the five stories the authors believe are “most essential” to that Doctor

Sometimes the authors agree with each other. Sometimes they disagree. Sometimes they call each other crazy, and then vehemently defend their position on why they are right and the other is wrong.

MY TWO CENTS: This is a pretty decent roundup of all the Doctors. If you’re unfamiliar with the earlier Doctors, you can get a snapshot of their eras. I especially enjoyed the background on each actor, and the general climate of the BBC during each tenure, and how that affected production.

Readers may take exception to the “bashing” of favorite Doctors or episodes. For example, one author despises David Tennant but adores Matt Smith. The other loves Tennant, but points out Matt Smiths’ bad moments. It’s definitely an eye-opener to different points of view.

I was just relieved that both authors felt the episode “Midnight” was worthy of mention. I probably would have stopped reading if they hadn’t.

NOTE: The authors state upfront that the book will only cover the TV series, and not other media like books, comics, or the Big Finish audio dramas. For example, although the Eighth Doctor has had a very healthy tenure in other media, the only appearances covered in this book are the TV movie and the Night of the Doctor.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m interested in checking out the authors’ other Doctor Who books, such as Who’s 50? If you’re open to hearing criticism about your favorite Doctors and episodes, and even mentally debating with the authors, give this a read.

TEACUP RATING: I give the book 3½ out of 5 teacups.

ON SALE DATE: The Doctors Are In will be on sale in paperback and ebook formats on September 1, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Investigating Sherlock: The Unofficial Guide by Nikki Stafford

Do you absolutely love the BBC show Sherlock? (And who doesn’t? If YOU don’t, I don’t like you. Go away.) If you DO love it, you will probably love this companion book, which describes each episode of Series 1 through 3.

Investigating Sherlock Front Cover (ECW Press)

Investigating Sherlock Front Cover (ECW Press)

THE COVERAGE: The book begins with an introduction to the show, including some information on stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and of course some background on the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Each episode is divided into several sections:

  • Written by
  • Directed by
  • Original air date
  • Summary Plus Critique
  • Highlights
  • Did You Notice?
  • From ACD to BBC
  • Interesting Facts
  • Nitpicks
  • OOPS

And then, every season has one “Sherlockians Weigh In” feature. There are some mentions of other iterations of the great detective, but not many. If you are strictly a Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett fan, this is NOT your book.

MY TWO CENTS: I love the setup of the book. The author knows more about Sherlock and the connections to the original stories than I do, which is fabulous. I love the different parts of the descriptions. I also like how the author clearly loves the show, but is willing to showcase some “Sherlockians” who offer a slightly less biased opinion of the show. (Not that I agree at all with the one who dislikes Moriarty. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Moriarty; I think Andrew Scott’s portrayal is amazingly fresh and fearless.)

I might be interested in checking out some of the author’s other unofficial guides. Who doesn’t love a Buffy guide called Bite Me? She has also done guides for Lost. In that case, I hope next up is a guide for Once Upon a Time. I would snatch that up fast.

TEACUP RATING: I give the book 4½ out of 5 teacups. If you’re a Sherlock fan, you’ll need this. If you have a friend who’s a Sherlock fan, buy them this. They’ll love it.

ON SALE DATE: Investigating Sherlock will be on sale in paperback and ebook formats on September 15, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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