By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
5:40 PM CDT, April 5, 2013
Now that the Doctor's met his new companion, Clara Oswald (again), the duo head off in the TARDIS this weekend to the rings of the planet Akhaten in the latest episode of "Doctor Who."
"It's Clara's first outer-space adventure," Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays Clara, told me of her favorite episode. "It's her first proper experience of what life is going to be like traveling with the Doctor."
In "The Rings of Akhaten," which debuts at 7 p.m. CT April 6 on BBC America, Clara asks the Doctor (Matt Smith) to show her something awesome, so the head off to the inhabited rings of Akhaten. With the Festival of Offerings in full swing, they city they're visit looks a lot like the cantina scene in the original "Star Wars" film.
Things take a turn in the episode when Clara, ever the nanny, helps the young Queen of Years gets over her doubts about her role in the ceremony.
"Luther" creator/writer Neil Cross wrote the episode, which was directed by Farren Blackburn, another "Luther" alum.
"Neil Cross is ... a terrific, terrific writer," executive producer Steven Moffat said, adding that the "Heartland" and "Always the Sun" author also is a "huge Doctor Who fan." Cross had written an episode a few years back, but he and Moffat "never quite got it together." Things finally worked out for this season.
"This sounds terribly snobbish and awful, but I'm looking for showrunner-level writers who'd give their right arm to write a 'Doctor Who' story," Moffat said. "It's surprising how often we get that ... So it was a gift to us and Neil took to it like a duck to water, so it was brilliant."
According to Coleman, the episode, too, is brilliant. (It's terrific, I agree.)
"It's just a big episode in so many ways. It's kind of Indiana Jones-like that we go to this alien planet. Everything's different in the same ways as 'Avatar' with the colors," she said. "We encounter many aliens and it's just a big episode. It's heartfelt.
"We learn more about Clara and obviously, it's the beginnings of a beautiful friendship between her and the Doctor."
Watch the episode trailer below and the gallery above, but as River Song would say, "Spoilers!"
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