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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:41 am 
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2099net wrote:
Really? I know the Cyberking sort of sucked, but... I'm flabbergasted.


Maybe it deserves a re-watch from me, but I couldn't bear it during my initial viewing. I wasn't wholly fond of the gorilla-esque Cybermats, Rosita or the sheer dullness of the Cybermen, and I found the humour in it insipid and cringe-inducing. Even with all these problems ignored, on the whole it just seemed to be a very mediocre, middle-of-the-road tale, which could have been and should have been something more unique and clever. I understand that the Christmas specials often have to be cheesy, a bit infantile humour-wise and rather silly, yet The Snowmen managed to satisfy most conventions of previous Christmas specials while also being a superlative story. On the whole, even though I have not seen it in full since its broadcast, I can remember from my first viewing my feeling that the idea was good, but the handling poor.

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I wondered if that was the secret - somehow the Doctor would reveal (again unconsciously) he created them/they shouldn't exist and as a result they wouldn't exist.


That would neatly explain why the Silence are so opposed to the First Question, if the Doctor is 'God' in the eyes of the Silence. Yet I (and presumably other fans) would be disappointed if it was just connected to the Silence. It would be different if it was a secret connected to, say, the Daleks, but the Silence are extremely recent creations, and if the 50th Anniversary concentrates primarily on the Doctor and the Silence's relationship, I would regard it as more of a climax/tribute to the Moffat years than everything in Who history.

2099net wrote:
3) In The Impossible Astronaut, the Silent in the Bathroom seems to be implanting into Amy the compulsion to tell the Doctor that she is pregnant. "You must tell the doctor what you know and what he doesn't know". Why? Surely the Order of Silence would prefer the Doctor not to know Amy was ever pregnant. Was this a rogue Silent? Because at the very least, it seems like that particular Silent wanted Amy to tell the Doctor something about herself and/or the Silence.


I have no truly convincing answers, but...remember how no Silence appeared in A Good Man Goes to War? We have little understanding about the connection between the Chuch and the Silence. Heck, we know barely anything about the connection between Kovarian and the Silence. So who is leading who? Who came up with the original plans? Besides the Silent in the bathroom being a rogue or there being great complexities behind the Silence's plans for the Doctor's murder by Lake Silencio in 2011, the only other explanation I can think of right now is that the Silent somehow knew the ultimate outcome of the story and/or knew the plot would fail, and may have been altering history to save the Silence who were killed by River or to alter the Silence's actions.

2099net wrote:
But I don't think that's the answer - I think its something which must go back to Gallifrey and why the Doctor ultimately left.


That's the most probable twist. And my first thought about this was one of loathing - my previous mindset would prefer a literal answer to the Question and the reveal of the Doctor's name rather than the final piece of the puzzle in the Doctor's past. We know where he came from. We have a rough idea why he left and why he likes travelling. We know about the details of his people's history. If we get a final reason for why he's been running all these years, the 50th anniversary has the potential to rob the last tiny little scrap of mystery surrounding the Doctor. And my greatest objection to this would be that it could change everything. But...that's one of Doctor Who's primary themes, isn't it? Change and entropy. Everything has its time, and everything ends. If the 50th Anniversary solves the mystery of the Doctor, it could change the show and the way it works. Yet this wouldn't necessarily be a bad change. It would just turn it into another refreshing new direction, just like every new Doctor (and sometimes the new companions) has done before.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:53 pm 
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Well, the first 10/10 for me since A Christmas Carol. Absolutely fantastic. I notice that there were similarities to the Idiot's Lantern with the faces on the screen. I still find these shots to be incredibly chilling.

The only thing that bothers me is ...

What exactly is the Great Intelligence's motivation? In the 2nd Doctor stories its main motivation was to become physical. I'm not sure feeding off minds would help it to accomplish this goal. I suppose we could be generous and say it was recuperating since The Web of Fear and building itself back-up to strength.... but given the end and how Celia Imrie's character was portrayed in her final scene... something doesn't seem quite right.

UNIT DATING ALERT :roll: My personal view is that Web took place in 1970 (As stated on screen, by Anne I think, its "about 35 years" after The Abominable Snowmen which was stated on screen as 1935). This doesn't quite tie-in with Cilia's age, even if she was as old as 10 when the Intelligence "took" her. Nor does it tie-in if you are one of the people who prefer to date Web at the time of its screening (1968).

(Also although it is heavily implied in the Intelligence's answer about UNIT being the Doctor's friends that we are supposed to get the double meaning of him saying "yes, old friends", UNIT wasn't actually formed in Web of Fear.)

The finale to this season is supposed to be set in Victorian Scotland - hopefully this is a sort of reference to non-filmed Yeti story which was supposed to write out Jamie. I'd love to see a story with a McCrimmon decendent played by Frazer and Yeti in it (and by all accounts River Song as well). Assuming the finale will deal with the Intelligence arc.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:28 pm 
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I really loved it too. Entertaining, exciting, magical. The Snowmen was a return for the enchantment and fun factor of Doctor Who (I pretty much loathed Series 7a, and I'm not revisiting any of Series 6 any time soon), and this terrific episode builds upon it. The joke about St John's bells/the TARDIS, Celia Imrie's final moments, the plane...there's just so much to adore about this story.

I knew Dr Simeon/Richard E Grant was returning in the finale, but I was pleasantly surprised by his appearance in this episode. But why is the Great Intelligence, of all monsters and villains, shaping up to be the Big Bad? You know, one thing I rather like about S6 is that the primary villains were original. I know it's a risk during the 50th Anniversary season to introduce a whole new monster, yet I wish Moffat did (still, there's the Whispermen in the finale). NuWho is far too reliant on old antagonists like the Daleks & the Cybermen, and they appear far too much.

Also: do you know it's been confirmed that Tennant, Billie Piper and John Hurt (OMEGA?) are appearing in the 50th Anniversary special? :D


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:04 am 
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Yeah, I saw the Tennant/Piper news about an hour after posting. Looks like it will be an Pete's World/hand-Doctor type thing. It's not what I want to see in the special - so (in a typical spoiled entitled fan response) its obviously "wrong". How dare Moffat ressurect that fanfiction-like monstrosity?!?

On the plus side, it sounds like if this is a hand-Doctor type thing, we're not really going to get an Eleven Doctors. Which I think is correct - there's just too much danger of such a story becoming nothing more than box ticking gimmicks.

As for your other comment, I've never really seen what the issue is with the Daleks etc. coming back. It all depends on if you have something new to say or do with the characters. I don't know if you have read RTD's Writers Tale, especially the paperback update, but in that he was going to have the Daleks conspiring with the Time Lords in End of Time, the two enemies both being trapped a time-locked Gallifrey and working together to try and break it. In the end he didn't after asking Moffat if he was going to use the Daleks in his first season and getting a positive reply as he was worried about the Daleks being overexposed.

But he really should have gone ahead anyway. It would have been a fresh new take on the Daleks, and how better to show the Time Lord's terminal moral decline than to have them "team-up" with the very enemy they had destroyed countless worlds and broken all the Laws of Time in an attempt to destroy?

Same with the upcoming Cybermen episode, if the rumours I hear about it are true. Even if not really, being as it's written by Gaiman and he said he only wanted to write for the Cybermen because he had an amazing idea that hadn't been used before. And he says he's made the Cybermen scary again... of course the jury's still out on that until the screening.

For all my fanboyish doubts and worries, which more than anything come with wanting everything in Who to seamlessly create on giant meta-narrative which I admit is wrong (A good story should always take priority over continuity) I have no doubt that Moffat is doing something new with this year's apparent "Big Bad". He did something new and unusual when it first appeared which took liberties with what we "knew" (but didn't "break" anything IMO - but others disagree) and The Bells of St. John did like wise. Both times, Moffat threw in some in-jokes and references for the fans to say "Yes, this is still the same [Big Bad] as before" and I'm happy with that. Like I say, story must take place over continuity, and small continuity glitches like dates can always be worked-around in a time-travel series (Even the statement that it took Padmasambhava 200 years to build the Yeti robots which clashes with The Snowmen's timeline can be worked around with a little imagination (if it is indeed true and not something just from the novel) While I wouldn't say this for a RTD story, I'm convinced Moffat has a damn good story, with a damn good ending for the [Big Bad].

Whispermen for the finale? Does that mean no Yeti? :(

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:42 pm 
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2099net wrote:
Yeah, I saw the Tennant/Piper news about an hour after posting. Looks like it will be an Pete's World/hand-Doctor type thing. It's not what I want to see in the special - so (in a typical spoiled entitled fan response) its obviously "wrong". How dare Moffat ressurect that fanfiction-like monstrosity?!?


I'm not so sure; Rose has been brought back too many times post-Doomsday; I think (well, hope) that they will be plucked from their travels beforehand (and as for the fact they will not remember afterwards? Time can be rewritten, wibbly wobbly, etcetera...)

Regarding revisiting classic monsters, my biggest worry is that people will become weary of them; I have become weary. The last time the Daleks truly excited me was in 2006. Yes, writers such as Gaiman may claim to be doing something new and inventive with them, but if they're going for new and inventive...why not just invent a new monster? A new, interesting monster is much more intriguing and more entertaining than one that has merely received a not-even-that-radical redesign. And it's clear that great new monster can be created: Moffat shines when it comes to ideas and concepts, and the Weeping Angels and the Silence are both utterly ingenious, terrifying creations. If he wanted to, Neil Gaiman could doubtlessly create a creature more creepy and compelling than the Cybermen.

Bringing back old monsters for the umpteenth time is a business that arguably damned the JNT era of the classic era, a period which saw multiple returns for the Daleks and the Cybermen. In fairness, "Remembrance of the Daleks" works not only as a clever reflection of 1960's intolerance, but also because it builds on the historic foundations for the Daleks: they were alien, armoured Nazis who hated everything unlike them. Ultimately, they start murdering each other. If a new monster was present for the same storyline, it would have lacked the extra, subtler edge to it. Yet - Series One aside - there is no such parallel in NuWho to necessitate another reappearance of the Daleks or the Cybermen. Comparatively, the Tom Baker era was one of the most fecund periods in Who history for new monsters and villains: in a whopping seven years, the Daleks appeared only twice, and instead of one Dalek story per year, audiences were treated to Magnus Greel, Zygons, Morbius, Scaroth...

Put simply, I don't like monsters returning that often becomes it gets tedious after a while, inventive concepts can be used for other, fresher monsters, and it also rather worryingly hints at a lack of creativity. This is the 50th Anniversary Year, so I can forgive it, but looking back on NuWho as a whole and then comparing it to, say, Pertwee's first year (giving us both the Autons and the Silurians), this modern era is almost certainly too dependent on old ideas.

Still...admittedly, I did a dance of joy when I learnt that the Zygons are returning. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:10 am 
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The main problem with JNT's returning monsters was that they sort of expected people to know who they were, and what they were. Nothing was properly explained and unless you were in on the show's history, stories were in danger of becoming a mess. I mean, YOU try and explain Attack of the Cybermen to a non-fan in three minutes - something I think is impossible (to its full extent) being as it relies on knowledge of Mondas, Telos, The Tenth Planet, Tomb of the Cybermen, The Invasion, Ressurection of the Daleks - and more... you could argue An Unearthly Child for the pointless TARDIS Chameleon Circuit nonsense at the beginning.

Too many stories were like that - the issue wasn't bringing monsters back, it was how they were written. Inevitably, if you're a slave to continuity, it makes it harder to do something that "breaks" continuity. That's why I prefer stories like The Happiness Patrol, Paradise Towers or Ghost Light from the JNT era - stories that rightly or wrongly try to do something new with Doctor Who. I say rightly or wrongly because let's face it, these type of stories had as many failures as successes (some - ignorant - people would claim that they were all failures) and a whole season of "odd-ball" stories wouldn't work. You need traditional stories to contrast with the radical stories. I don't think the programme would have survived as long as it did though if there was no returning monsters or characters.

My least favourite era is Jon Petwee's. Which is odd, because as a child reading all the books, it was my favourite. But now I see it for what it was - a dull period or largely formula stories. The fact they made the formula themselves doesn't matter - there was too much reliance on UNIT, The Master, The Master being betrayed, pompus government officials, and science (of the mad and good kinds). I find it all awfully dull these days - but there's plenty of people who would happily cite the Pertwee Era as their favourite, or Barry Letts as the best Producer, or Terrence Dicks as the best Script Editor. I don't want to be seen to slight their achievements (and I know they had artistic and business limitations forced upon them), but I think Nu Who has a long way to go before it becomes as insular as the Pertwee era.

I don't like the new Zygons. The old ones were much better, these look too bulky and squat. Bodybuilding Zygons. The originals had a lithe thinness to them, until you got to the head...

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:25 am 
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2099net wrote:
You need traditional stories to contrast with the radical stories. I don't think the programme would have survived as long as it did though if there was no returning monsters or characters.


Good point. But (and I know you're referring to the JNT era rather than modern times) it's completely different nowadays. There are popular, successful new monsters. Weeping Angels fare better in polls than Daleks. If, post-S7, the amount of returning monsters was reduced and they were instead substituted with new concepts and ideas, Doctor Who would start looking to the future more. Yes, it should look to the past too, but it automatically does so just by, for example, including Vastra and Strax or UNIT now and again.


What did you think of The Rings of Akhaten? I wasn't expecting much more than something on the same level as The Beast Below, so I was rather happily surprised. Like the episode before it, I loved it loved it loved it. It was a visually stunning, often funny and often touching story about the improbable miracles that make us, and also about religion (it does a much better job of showing the Doctor's stance towards it than The Impossible Planet). "It's what they believe...and it's a nice story." But when the 'God' turns out to be a greedy parasite, the Doctor has to step in and stop it. The message is clear and I'm glad it's shown to children: tolerate religious beliefs and practises, respect them, maybe even discover something beautiful in them; yet when they get out of hand and threaten innocents (could the message be made any more clear by making the Queen a frightened little girl?), then it's time to step in. The usage of chaos theory-style concepts was long overdue in Doctor Who, and it worked nicely alongside the religious subtext.

Also, Matt Smith was fantastic. Again.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:01 am 
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But I think we've already seen the limitations of the Weeping Angels. Seriously, both (proper) times they have come back they've just been diminished. How can the Statue of Liberty one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, be a Weeping Angel based on what we learned in The Time Of Angels regarding copies of Angels? It's just nonsense, because good as they were in Blink, they're really a one-note monster. And I think other Moffat created monsters are - the Silents for example. I'm not saying they're bad - far from it - Moffat king of the plot, creates monsters specifically for the plot. Really, its how it should be done. But take away the plot and you loose part of the character of the monster.

It's undoubtedly better for story telling, but its not really better for an ongoing series. People like "nods to the past" and people like seeing monsters return. The fact that people liked the Angels in Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone shows that against the odds IMO - because those Angels sure weren't Blink's Angels, nor were they logical evolutions of Blink's Angels.

Classic Who monsters may be a lot more generic, but it doesn't mean they can't evolve. Look at the Ice Warriors - arguably Seeds of Death was a step backwards (but it introduced Ice Lords), since then we've had the two Peladon stories (which had them as allies in one, flipped them back to foes in the other) and this weeks Cold War introduced the concept of an Ice Warrior out of armour.

Likewise the Daleks have had an up and down history, but the best Dalek stories add something new - I actually think Power of the Daleks was an fresh new take on the Daleks, and moving forward Death to the Daleks was an interesting "what if...", of course Genesis is unparalleled in storytelling and influence and while it gets lots of flack, Destiny is actually a cracking story (if not production) which explores the Daleks' relationship with their Creator better than any other story. Does it mean I like all Dalek stories? No. Does it mean Dalek stories can't be boring? No. Does it mean I like the Daleks? Yes.

OK - my feelings on the last two stories.

The Rings of Akhaten - I feel this wasn't quite there. I felt too much effort was placed on the audio/visuals and not enough on the story. Again, this is probably the result of having to fit an entire new planet and culture into 45 minutes, but it didn't work for me. The storm trooper type guards and the "mummy" (it really did look like a dried up Draconian didn't it?) were good, iconic designs - but they literally did nothing. I also felt the ending was a RTD ending - but unlike most of RTDs endings, I didn't "feel" the emotional truth to it, so it fell flat for me.

That said, you've given it an incredible thoughtful and plausible reading to the story. I'll keep that in mind on next viewing and my appreciation of it may go up exponentially. :up:

Cold War - This has really torn me. I can't criticise much about this - personally, I would of set it on a British submarine just to side-step the entire language issue which always feels odd when applied to Earth languages. I also feel David Warner was wasted too. Geez, you cast David Warner in a role and have him do very little, it just seems wrong.

I think the selection of an Ice Warrior for the enemy was a good one - I guess this was Gatiss' homage to the many Troughton "Base Under Siege" stories, but again it didn't really work - not enough time to know the characters. I think the stories where people in an enclosed space and are taken down one-by-one work best with slower pacing.

Of course, we didn't actually see many people die in this. I know this is a common comment of mine, but a two-parter would have allowed more deaths and let the viewer identify more with the victims too. Too often stories are rushed. I think it would have made the story more memorable. RTD was ruthless with his killings - chucking in both casual and cureball deaths all the time, Moffat still seems to be writing stories or producing stories with as few deaths as possible.

Sadly, while watching this I kept thinking of Dalek - even down the to Ice Warrior in chains. Bells of St John's iconography reminded me of The Idiots Lantern and this reminded me of Dalek. I know we've had a lot of New Who episodes now, but it does seem to be offering the audience choice left-overs from itself...

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 4:38 am 
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Oh Neil. How could you? I never thought such a talented and emotive writer could have misunderstood the unique "horror" of the Cybermen so much. There was no reason what so ever for these to be Cybermen and not random robots from the planet Zog.

And alas, The Great Intelligence in the finale, but no Yeti. I want's me Yeti. :x

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:00 am 
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Hello again. Why have I been absent? Exams. Now that they are all but finished, I can explain my feelings on the rest of Season Seven. But first, perhaps, I should reflect on what came before.

Doctor Who is seen as a sci-fi show. That's probably where it all originates. Now, it obviously has been a science-fiction show at times - especially in some of the early stories of the Hartnell era - it is more closely in tune with the fantasy genre, albeit the urban Wardrobe Fantasy subgenre (going into something normal and commonplace like a rabbit hole, a wardrobe or a police box, and finding a world bigger on the inside). Where does fantasy specialise? Ideas. So it seems strange that Steven Moffat, Lord of Great Ideas, appears to be such a poor match for Doctor Who. It's really puzzling.

But here's the thing: when Davies brought back Doctor Who, although it was still a fantasy with strange, subversive, fittingly alien ideas (Cassandra, farting alien prime ministers, the Anne Droid and, thanks to Moffat, gas mask zombies) that was no longer what it was primarily all about. Davies turned Doctor Who into a show about characters. A bit of an emotional soap opera, exploring ordinary people like Rose, Mickey, Jackie and (later on) Elton, LINDA, Donna and Wilf. The probable reason for this is that for the past several years before 2005, American television was reinventing the whole sci-fi and fantasy concept. No longer was it a platform for ideas above all else, but a platform for something that could reach a wider audience, as well as an adult audience: they became platform for relationships, and realistic, convincing characters. On the one hand, this is really good, because in my opinion, characters make stories great. Character-driven tales top plot-driven tales almost all the time. But to transplant good characterisation and developing relationships into the cult phenomenon of sci-fi and fantasy, American TV series (e.g. Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, etc.) had to transplant it from somewhere. They needed an influence. Hence: the soap opera. And with characters and relationships came the extra baggage of story arcs.

I really loathe story arcs. They hinder individual episodes' abilities to tell stories, potentially stop the audience from widening and make both the writers and the fans focus more on the resolution to the mystery rather than enjoying themselves. It's a cheap trick that works really well to keep people watching, and to continue squeezing out more and more juice from the same show. Thus, when Russell T Davies transplanted the same tried-and-tested formula of soapy characters-and-relationships to the revived Doctor Who, story arcs came along for the ride.

So, in many ways, the stage was set for Doctor Who to be blasphemously and outrageously ruined, by transforming it into a soap opera with story arcs. It was an abrupt transformation, certainly, and could have failed (in fact, considering the continued fan-loathing of Love and Monsters, you could say that it occasionally did). But here's the thing: Davies is a FANTASTIC writer. And the one thing he loves to write more than anything else is about people. Ordinary, flawed, awkward, embarrassed, simple, wonderful people. And considering how Davies restricted the impact of the story arc to featuring only a few repeated words and phrases (Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Saxon, disappearing bees, etc.) the arc didn't impede the show's ability to have exciting, individual, standalone episodes. The tiresome formula Davies adopted certainly did, but that's another story. And, ultimately, although it was a big change from the past, it was both a massive change for the better (developed companions!) and also a fitting change when you look at how Doctor Who is influenced by other shows and what's going on in the world. (The best example is the Pertwee era of Doctor Who, which plagiarises the formula of The Avengers). And because The Doctor - the perpetual, ever-lasting, definite article - supposedly loves people, especially humans, as much as strange new worlds, it makes sense for Davies to make it about characters.

Enter Steven Moffat, who has had the...strangest impact on the show out of all the writers. He's a God of Ideas, and crafts great stories like The Empty Child to showcase them. But, slightly problematically, he can't write characters. His sitcom writing days have probably scarred his ability to do so for life, so instead of getting the lovably realistic and relatable characters we get from Davies' scripts, even Davies' weaker scripts, Moffat supplies us with characters who are little more than walking-talking archetypes, the kind of people you have said speak "hyper-realistic" dialogue - always coming up with the smartest, wittiest thing to say. The first big sign of this being a problem is in Blink. Yes, it has the ingenious concept of the Angels, yet because Moffat presumably felt pressured to do something with the characters too (due to the Davies formula), we end up with characters like Larry and Sally.

Perhaps when Davies left and Moffat took over the show could have been about ideas, and left characters by the wayside, returning to tradition. It's incredibly frustrating that Moffat chose not to do this, because an idea-driven fantasy series as Moffat would like it would have been great, but it's totally understandable why he chose to keep it reasonably character-focused. And because Moffat can only write sitcom characterisation, we get some of my least favourite companions ever: we get Amy, Rory, River, and, most recently, Clara. Stranger than the continued yet ineffectual focus on characters and their relationships was Moffat's choice to replicate the story arc. Yet it makes sense when we look at what Moffat really is: a sci-fi geek. Now we come full circle. Science fiction in Doctor Who, even when Hartnell did it, was often more to do with its impact on people and society. This is where the best sci-fi comes from (1984, Brave New World, Black Mirror, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Wall-E, etc.) Unfortunately, Moffat is a man of ideas rather than characters, and you need characters to explore the impact of ideas on people and society. So we get River Song, and the plot of The Big Bang, and so on. And when you think about it, story arcs seem to suit what a sci-fi geek likes in storytelling. Plus, there's the fact that Moffat wanted to rebrand Doctor Who as an international product, and once again the show comes full circle: having been influenced by American sci-fi and fantasy, Moffat tries to market it the show to the fandom of American sci-fi and fantasy. So story arcs have to stay for that reason too.

And when examining it closely like this, we can see how utterly ill-suited Moffat was to follow in Davies' footsteps. He's an ideas man, but worse still is a sci-fi-geek who writes sitcom characters. This is why Doctor Who has been falling since Davies.

And this is why Series 7 joins the pile of NuWho I dislike. A lot of people agree on how dreadful the first half is, and while the second half looks quite excellent in comparison, the second half is still generally poor. I desperately attempted to convince myself it was good for about two weeks, until Mark Gatiss' episode was broadcast, and then I realised how it was all in vain.

I loathe Cold War. Hide is okay. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is okay. The Crimson Horror is, strangely enough, delightful, but mainly because it has Dan Starkey, the superlative Diana Rigg and doesn't take itself especially seriously, so it lacks the irksome quality of overt 'gritty' darkness that's inescapable in British and American film and TV today. Nightmare in Silver was actually, truly horrible, even if you like the Moffat formula (it's the best argument against single-episode stories, and I also honestly believed for most of it that Gaiman was deliberately setting up the child characters as annoying little shits in order to kill them off in a dark Dahlesque way. The tragically underused Jason Watkins character certainly had a Willy Wonka vibe).

And Name of the Doctor is a complicated case for me. I could criticise how disappointing and lacklustre the resolution to the Clara mystery is, as well as how it demonstrates how Moffat includes story arcs for the sake of including story arcs (didn't he say that Series 7 wouldn't have any story arcs), and I could perhaps point out how it doesn't resolve anything to do with the Silence, Kovarian, et al. And it doesn't really reveal anything about the Doctor, at least not in regards to the question of who he is.

(Personally, as a little aside, I would have revealed the Doctor as the original 'Master of the Land of Fiction', referencing the Second Doctor story "The Mind Robber" and had it transpire that the whole universe was his creation that he had dived into. It would reflect how we wanted to become part of the stories rather than just watching them, which would have been a very fitting, logical explanation. I would have then made it so that the reason people forget the Silence is because they know that the universe is fictional, so they both exist and don't exist. And I would have made the Whispermen progenitors to the Silence. Oh, and in a little scene, would have suggested Kovarian was a surviving Gallifreyan - after all, the Doctor always says he's the Last Time Lord rather than the last Gallifreyan. It's shamelessly metatextual and would probably change everything, but it's the 50th Anniversary - how else should you do it?)

Nevertheless...I was shrieking and giggling in delight for much of Name of the Doctor. The opening sequence was wonderful. It even had Eccleston appear near the end of the episode. Yet I do believe that it was merely a distraction - a marvellous distraction, in fairness - for Moffat's shoddy attempts to try and clean up the over-complicated mess he started three years ago.

It's a shame that I - and probably many others - will always remember the Moffat Era as a time of poor characterisation, annoying companions, an unnecessarily fetish-like focus on story arcs and lousy resolutions. After all, Moffat is good at coming up with ideas. But despite all my sorrow for Moffat and the unfortunate problem he had in following the Davies formula and the enthusiastic pretty boy-type Doctor pioneered by Tennant (which evidently had an effect on how Smith's cliché, lazy version of the Doctor was characterised, regardless of how good Smith is at acting), I'm really glad he's almost certainly going to be packing his bags next year.

As for Smith's imminent departure: it's probably safe for him to be leaving. He hasn't overstayed his welcome for most of fandom, and I was getting a bit of sick him. I hope the 12th Doctor will finally shake off the qualities of its two predecessors. It won't be Sally Hawkins or Peter Capaldi like I want him/her to be, and it probably won't be a version too different to the Tennant/Smith archetype, and Clara is staying for another year, so...oh, for fuck's sake.

On a positive note, Neil Cross and Toby Whithouse are rather good writers, and I hope to see episodes from them again next year. Gatiss and Chibnall? Not so much.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:09 am 
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Blimey! Thinking of starting a Fanzine Ollie? :o

I don't know how to respond to that. There's a couple of things I've wanted to say for a while now so I think you post leads me to do so as it touches on many similarities.

Despite my preference for Davies' scripts, by no means is Moffat a bad writer. He wouldn't have been approached by Spielberg to script Tintin if he was. It's odd, but Davies and Moffat are both the yin and yang of Doctor Who. Davies does the people, Moffat does the plots.

It's a common opinion that Davies fails when it comes to endings. Personally, I'm not as down on a lot of Davies' conclusions as the majority of fandom as I feel that while they often have little narrative sense, they have an emotional sense.

The whole ending of The Parting of the Ways is complete nonsense, full of plot holes. But ultimately it doesn't really matter (to me). It's emotionally correct because it's the ultimate conclusion to the themes of that 1st (new) series. The Doctor inspires Rose to be a better person (just like Nine inspired others in all of his stories). And it ends with her, refusing to be cast aside and fighting to come back and ultimately saving the Doctor (via nonsensical plot device). To me, the finest writing for Rose was when she was being sent back to the Powell Estate in the TARDIS and screaming to be taken back to the Doctor. Forget all the Ten/Rose moments - this was EVERYTHING Davies had been wanting to show us. This was why Rose was popular - sadly, later Ten/Rose episodes emphasised Rose's selfishness and sense of entitlement which - while always there - turned the character from being likeable but flawed to (in my opinion) simply unlikeable.

(It's interesting to see that even Davies, "the king of character" could make character mistakes. I suspect it was because Rose was created specifically for the Ninth Doctor's more passive persona and didn't really work with the more youthful and active Tenth. I suspect Captain Jack was created to be Rose's love interest had Nine continued.)

Davies was also more literal than Moffat. Davies prefered monsters to be similar to creatures on Earth. Sometimes this worked (The Jadoon) sometimes not (The Racnoss and the Cat-Nurse-Nuns - although "Cat-Nurse-Nuns" is almost as wonderfully sounding as Elton's "rudimentary pulley system"). Moffat seems to prefer abstract threats. A crack in the universe, The Weeping Angels, The Silents, "The Shadows" (Vashta Nerada), The Whispermen, perhaps even time itself! Even The Clockwork Robots, Prisoner Zero and "The Astronaut" are more unnerving than most of Davies creations.

I think each author's approach to the "monsters" shows their preference. Davies WANTS them to be instantly recognisable, just like he want his characters to be instantly relatable. His vision was behind the Bronze Daleks being more tank like than any other designs. People know tanks. Notice how Moffat's "Phat Daleks" seemed to attempt to be more iconic. If you ignore the bumpy behind, Moffat's Daleks were attempting to be the perfect, ultimate Daleks which had been imagined but never properly realised since the 1960's (see the comic strips, Amicus movies and various Dalek annuals).

Personally, I prefer the Moffat version. (The backtracking in Asylum really angered me. No good will ever come from appeasing fandom - but that's another argument).

And that's the thing. I'm torn because I like both versions of the Daleks, just like in general I like both versions of Nu-Who. Both had stinkers. Moffat's has more stinkers than Davies. But I could argue Moffat's attempts more. I don't mean effects or budget busting wise. I mean conceptually. The Higher the concept, potentially the further the fall.

I think sometimes people can be too swayed by the opinion of others. At first I hated "Love & Monsters", now I think its bloody wonderful. Perhaps the best script Davies did. Everyone is so "alive" in it. It's a perfectly ludicrous situation, but everyone seems so natural in it. And so many quotable lines, lines not written to be quotable or written to be punchlines or zingers, but lines that flow from word to word with elegance and grace.

I think sometimes people get worked up in what the programme (or episode/story) should be, and forget to judge it on what it actually is. That's not to say anything you have written is wrong Frankenollie, and I fall into the same trap.

Was "Nightmare in Silver" really that bad? If it was any other monster than the Cybermen I would suggest most people would find it average at worst. Not the absolute disaster both you and I think it was.

While it would still have significant narrative problems, such as you point out criminally underuse of Watkins' showman character (just like David Warner was criminally underused in Cold War), it wouldn't have tarnished an iconic monster. At the end of the day, the recorded A.I. figures for "Nightmare in Silver" are not dramatically lower or higher than any other for the series since it came back. The general public who simply want a little adventure, with some thrills and laughs saw little difference between this "disaster" of an episode and "Blink", "Midnight" or "The Parting of the Ways".

As for "The Name of the Doctor" I thought it was a massive disappointment. To end on a cliff-hanger promoting the 50th Anniversary Special was, I think, Moffat going too far. I don't know if the Silence plot is officially supposed to be over now (was it over when they thought him dead?) but I was expecting a major door being closed by the season finale. What's the point in making the series stand alone episodes and heavily promoting the fact if you end with a "to be continued".

The episode literally had no conclusion.

Is the Great Intelligence dead? Is this how he "time travelled" to 17th Century Tibet? Is he like Clara, everywhere and nowhere. Is he infect an infinite loop destined to be forever be recreated without form in the snow, to gain a body and finally sacrifice it due to his hatred of the Doctor? I'm sorry, but the Intelligence presented here seemed like nothing like the Intelligence from the 60's episodes, or indeed from the 2013 episodes.

Clara's story wasn't a disappointment. I'd say this is a rare occasion of Moffet copying Davies. Logically (as with most time travel) there's umpteen flaws with what was shown. I'm sure it could be picked to pieces faster than the Vashta Nerada can strip the flesh off a bone, but emotionally it seemed right. It seemed satisfying. It seemed correct.

But like Rose once Nine left, what does this mean for Clara in the future. With her mystery revealed, that story is (I would assume) over. Now that the programme is defined by the companions just as much as the Doctor, will she have enough to keep viewers interested next season?

But again, ending on a cliff-hanger. What were they all thinking. Does the 50th Anniversary episode even need cross-promotion from the preceding season's finale? Is that how little they think of what should be a thrilling, momentous, joyful celebration?

I worry that the Anniversary won't be joyful after seeing this. The "other" Doctor certainly seems far from a barrel of laughs. He almost seems like he could be a "Dark" Doctor. :evil:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:58 pm 
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2099net wrote:
Blimey! Thinking of starting a Fanzine Ollie? :o


My blog's essays can be long-ish too. :D

2099net wrote:
Despite my preference for Davies' scripts, by no means is Moffat a bad writer. He wouldn't have been approached by Spielberg to script Tintin if he was.


I think Moffat is an adequate writer, on the whole. His - often incredibly ambitious, and frequently ingenious - ideas are better than their execution. His characters are of the sitcom breed, which is cheap and lazy. He can hold a plot together and write humour, yet I don't think he is an exceptional talent. Davies on the other hand is a writer who pens scripts from the heart, imbuing characters, dialogue and situations with a lovely, beautiful realism. He is not an idea man (and in this regard I agree with your contention that Moffat and Davies are yin and yang), he likes people. And I do too; it's why I favour Davies' intelligent, family-friendly soap opera to Moffat's geeky science fiction.

When it comes to endings...I agree with you on how Davies' conclusions are emotionally and symbolically correct, even if they are devoid of logic. Rose risks her life to save the Doctor because he has inspired her. Once again, Moffat is the opposite: he writes endings that are, from a logical standpoint, brilliant. The solution to the conflict in Blink is wonderfully clever. Similarly, the method with which the Doctor defeats the Silence in Day of the Moon is great too. I think this has to be a factor in why some fans may prefer Moffat to Davies: he's neater and more satisfying, especially to the world of "geekdom", whose denizens gobble up plot and internally-correct logistics. In a manner, Moffat's tidier, more literal fashion of endings is better; Davies resolves things by changing the rules, pulling a lever to switch how it all works. Moffat uses the ingredients of the plot to write a more convincing ending.

Nevertheless...Davies' endings are more fun. When his endings are criticised, virtually all examples are the series finales, because the endings to his other stories (e.g. Tooth and Claw, Midnight, etc.) work properly. Perhaps the reason Davies throws reason and logic out the window is because it's a bit of fun. The finales - especially those of Series 3 and 4 - may have dark beginnings, yet always descend into anarchic, chaotic, rule-breaking silliness. They're cheesy and emotional and blissfully tongue-in-cheek. This can be perceived as a bad thing (and I think the different but similar sense of self-awareness in the way Moffat's characters speak can spoil things), but they create a mood that's carefree, and joyful, and liberating. And I think the overriding message is more important than keeping things logical: it doesn't matter if you live on a council estate with your mum and have no A-levels, or if you're an aging, aimless temp from Chiswick, you can change the whole universe for the better.

And, to follow this chain of investigation, we should look at what the kinds of messages in Moffat's stories. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances has an undeniably good one, advocating sexual freedom and joy. Yet Day of the Moon sacrifices the kind of joyful message that Davies specialised in, as well as something else, in favour of an ending that makes sense in the context. Yes, of course the way the Silence are defeated is ingenious and clever, but it's still a message glorifying ruthlessness, even a bit of xenophobia. And what is the "something else" Moffat sacrifices for a logical ending? The Doctor's character. Gone are the days of Tom Baker stressing over whether he has the right to wipe out the Daleks; along comes Moffat's version who cheerfully commits genocide. While flirting.

2099net wrote:
Davies WANTS them to be instantly recognisable, just like he want his characters to be instantly relatable.


Interesting observation. Davies always wanted DW to be reliably, consistently on at a teatime slot on Saturday's, quite unlike Moffat's repeatedly split-up series. Perhaps Davies wanted to construct something safe, reliable, recognisable, relatable. The routine formula of modern-day-Earth episode/New Earth story/historical figure story/old monster two-parter etcetera seems to suggest this. Moffat, on the other hand, might prefer to be more unusual, strange, surprising and subversive. Maybe this is more of what DW ought to be, and has traditionally been. But, even if these assumptions were definitely the case, I would still prefer Davies. He wrote a show that ascended to convincing character drama, something that achieved what only a handful of classic stories had attempted to do. Meanwhile, Moffat's show, as I have suggested previously, seems to be slickly structured to look like the cousin of Battlestar Galactica or Buffy.

I disagree with your point that Moffat tries to be significantly more unusual with monsters than Davies, however. Davies certainly creates familiar-looking, recognisable aliens, with a silly, cheerful, Wonderlandesque sense to his twists on identifiable objects and animals like rhinos and cats. Moffat has his own brand of familiar, instantly recognisable monstrosities, such as gas mask zombies (the masks being an icon associated with a certain period) and statues. The primary difference is that Moffat makes these familiar images become unpleasant and scary, whilst Davies makes them bizarre.


2099net wrote:
I worry that the Anniversary won't be joyful after seeing this. The "other" Doctor certainly seems far from a barrel of laughs. He almost seems like he could be a "Dark" Doctor. :evil:


Perhaps a joyless special is what fandom wants. Have you seen the alleged 50th Anniversary trailer on YouTube?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD997i_89RM

It's horrid stuff, looking like a generic, dark/apocalyptic sort of finale, rather than a celebratory, nostalgic special. Yet fandom loved and praised it. WHAT?!

For God's sake Moffat: you're bloody doing it wrong if you're going to make it dark and "gritty". Don't give us the Doctor's dark secrets, give us a party.

And another thing - why does it need to look forward so much, especially at the expense of appearances from classic Doctors? Every single other episode should be looking to the future. This special should be a little pause and reflection on the enormous amount of stuff that has come before (which, to digress briefly, isn't merely the television series. There better be some references to the countless novels, particularly those from the Wilderness Years, not to mention the Shalka Doctor and the Cushing movies). It should be a light-hearted, silly, breezy, pleasant little adventure. It shouldn't be one that is necessarily strange, surprising and scary, but one which can be watched and enjoyed by everyone from the most dedicated fanatic to the mum who only watched Tom Baker.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:35 pm 
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Hi Sorry this reply is so late, I've been busy... but I have been watching some Doctor Who episodes (more of which later)...

Dr Who'N'Ollie wrote:
I think Moffat is an adequate writer, on the whole. His - often incredibly ambitious, and frequently ingenious - ideas are better than their execution. His characters are of the sitcom breed, which is cheap and lazy. He can hold a plot together and write humour, yet I don't think he is an exceptional talent.


I think with something like Doctor Who which is a challenging series to write for simply because it's run-time is so short and because most episodes have a whole new location and guest cast to introduce there's two options. One is Davies' which is to make everyone identifiable through recognition, and the other is Moffat's which is basically heightened-reality (as I like to call it).

Both use stereotypes. This is not a criticism of either of their writing skills... I'm pretty sure anyone having to introduce a character, tell a story and tie it all up in 45 minutes would. Notice how Davies insisted on everyone wearing what were effectively modern clothes in his episodes? Even people in the far future wore ties; spacesuits looked like NASA spacesuits; fast food vendors looked like greasy-spoon cafe cooks etc.

Davies did have a natural gift for dialogue, you cannot deny it. But that wasn't all he did - he also kept them "real" visually. Moffat does the opposite. He defines his characters by television itself to a certain extent. While this is not to yours or my liking, I don't think its necessarily wrong. It's just different.

However, it's interesting that I think Madame Vastra is Moffat's most consistently well-written and "normal" characters - its as the fact she is a Silurian and Victorian is forcing him to tone-down the "smarts" and make her more natural to signal she is likeable and sympathetic (or she's just the straight "man" for Strax).

Besides, no matter how much you may hate oh-so-smart Amy or Clara, neither is close to the unlikeability of S2 Rose. Even Davies can get it wrong (even if Rose's selfishness was probably well-written and accurate).

Quote:
And, to follow this chain of investigation, we should look at what the kinds of messages in Moffat's stories. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances has an undeniably good one, advocating sexual freedom and joy. Yet Day of the Moon sacrifices the kind of joyful message that Davies specialised in, as well as something else, in favour of an ending that makes sense in the context. Yes, of course the way the Silence are defeated is ingenious and clever, but it's still a message glorifying ruthlessness, even a bit of xenophobia. And what is the "something else" Moffat sacrifices for a logical ending? The Doctor's character. Gone are the days of Tom Baker stressing over whether he has the right to wipe out the Daleks; along comes Moffat's version who cheerfully commits genocide. While flirting.


Yes, there does seem to be contradiction with Moffat's view of Who. He was famous for not having any death in his stories when writing for Davies. Even when people did die, they were "saved" or died from natural causes. Davies threw death around like raindrops in a storm. And yet, as you say, Davies Who was more uplifting and more fun despite the body count.

I'm not sure I agree with you about Day of the Moon's ending though. In certain respects it was a classic case of turning the enemies weapon/power/forces against them. It is after all what the Doctor has done often. Sometimes with due warning, sometimes... not so due. But the scene in the Silent's timeship with River shooting the Silents is... wrong for the character I agree.

I've been watching a lot of Moffat's Who lately and some things have struck me... some things I knew all along (you know, fans complain about Davies' plots a lot, but Blink really is just as nonsensical if you think about it. How did the Angels get to the police station in a city - even at night they were likely to be seen. We see one on a window ledge. How did it get up there? If it was seen would it stop mid-flight and crash to the ground. Also, is it just humans which cause the Angels to be "quantum locked"? The Doctor says "sentient" doesn't he in his description of the Angels? Does that mean a pigeon would cause them to freeze? An ant? And then... how the heck did they carry the TARDIS back without being seen? (Not to mention why?). Even the end of Day of the Moon is somewhat dubious... surely any Silent about to be attacked could issue a counter-order?

But I don't think any less of the stores because of this. As stories they work, just like I feel most of Davies do. On the whole I don't have a major complain with Moffat. But I am sad he's not moving on with Matt. The cliff-hanger to the 50th Anniversary Special was the first time I strongly felt Moffat's take of the show was sufficiently different from mine. I've always felt it was slightly different from mine. Oddly, despite me always saying the programme's strength is that it can be anything and everything - and let's remember I love The Kandyman (including the Lemonade to the feet!) Moffat's Doctor Who is just too... fantastical for me.

The most popular Nu-Who monsters in the Weeping Angels are too fantastical to me. Yes, I'll say it again, I find the Kandyman, a robot made of candy who bitches in his kitchen all day (in between pressing buttons to execute people because they aren't happy) and get his feet stuck to the floor - twice - with lemonade less fantastical than the Weeping Angels. God, GallifreyBase will hate me. :lol:

Quote:
For God's sake Moffat: you're bloody doing it wrong if you're going to make it dark and "gritty". Don't give us the Doctor's dark secrets, give us a party.


The 50th Anniversary Special should be a bonkers joyride. I'm pretty sure we're not going to get that. (Although frankly I'm not sure what to expect - Zygons don't fit in with the narrative of the "Hurt" Doctor as we're led to believe it). No matter what we get, to start it in mid-flow from the ending of "The Name of the Doctor" is just going to turn-off any casual viewer expecting to revisit childhood memories immediately. My mum was confused by The Name of the Doctor (admittedly she half-watches each episode) and I can guarantee she's forgotten all about it now. Why drag this up for the 50th? Concentrate on the icons of the series, not the intricacies of the now.

Personally, I'm not one clamouring for previous Doctors - I think it would be pretty hard to write a story for all 11 (12?) Doctors - even as cameos - and you did you can't avoid the fact some are dead, all have aged and no matter what you did, you wouldn't please all the fans of a particular Doctor no matter how hard you tried. I was looking forward more to a glorious "Monster Mash" rather than a Doctor reunion. Or the Rani. In fandom the solution to any mystery or problem is always the Rani.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:11 pm 
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Quote:
Dr Who'N'Ollie


I have a nickname now. Nicknames are cool.

I think I recall seeing you called "Nettie" at one point, which I like, so henceforth, you shall be Nettie, Nettie (even if that has never been used in place of your username).

Nettie wrote:
However, it's interesting that I think Madame Vastra is Moffat's most consistently well-written and "normal" characters - its as the fact she is a Silurian and Victorian is forcing him to tone-down the "smarts" and make her more natural to signal she is likeable and sympathetic (or she's just the straight "man" for Strax).


This never occurred to me. Your observation that Vastra is written that way to compensate, so to speak, for her strangeness, seems accurate, although Vastra is not an especially good piece of characterisation. I think her actress is very, very good, yet Moffat's dialogue for her is rather staid and stoic. I suppose she's designed to be a semi-wise authoritarian figure, and this works mainly due to the portrayal rather than the material.

Nettie wrote:
Besides, no matter how much you may hate oh-so-smart Amy or Clara, neither is close to the unlikeability of S2 Rose. Even Davies can get it wrong (even if Rose's selfishness was probably well-written and accurate).


Well...you're right, but I prefer the principle and method by which Rose was written, yet her obnoxious behaviour in Tooth and Claw, The Idiot's Lantern, et al, did make her more annoying than Clara at least. I'm not sure whether I dislike S2Rose more than Amy, however. She was an amalgamation of everything I hate about Moffat's characters, as well as a piece of objectification, as well as someone whose entire storylines focus on stereotypes of being a woman, as well as generally just a conceited, selfish woman. I suppose companions must have somewhat conceited traits so as to be courageous and curious enough to fulfil their role, but there are several better-written examples than Amy, Clara and Rose when it comes to this job. Donna, Sarah Jane, Leela, Tegan at times...

Nettie wrote:
I'm not sure I agree with you about Day of the Moon's ending though. In certain respects it was a classic case of turning the enemies weapon/power/forces against them. It is after all what the Doctor has done often. Sometimes with due warning, sometimes... not so due. But the scene in the Silent's timeship with River shooting the Silents is... wrong for the character I agree.


I'd be more forgiving if his actions had been addressed later, and perhaps shown to have contributed (in some kind of timey-wimey manner) to the Silence and Kovarian's actions later. If Moffat had written it so that the Doctor's behaviour led to the kidnapping of Melody, that would have been good. However, it's not explicitly addressed, and is wholly shown to be a glorious, cheerful victory at the end of the episode. I enjoyed it upon first viewing, but looking back, it's unpleasant. It's not merely a matter of turning the enemy's weaponry against themselves: the Doctor uses post-hypnotic suggestion to turn every human from 1969 onwards into a murderer, in a sweeping act of genocide that not only kills the active members of the species, but also every single member of the species in the future. It's ensuring that even the descendants of the bad guys are killed by human descendants, merely because of the relation.

Nettie wrote:
How did the Angels get to the police station in a city - even at night they were likely to be seen. We see one on a window ledge. How did it get up there? If it was seen would it stop mid-flight and crash to the ground. Also, is it just humans which cause the Angels to be "quantum locked"? The Doctor says "sentient" doesn't he in his description of the Angels? Does that mean a pigeon would cause them to freeze? An ant?


Oooh, good thinking. That's an issue with Moffat (I apologise about the perpetual criticism of him, but I can't help it). Although both Davies and Moffat wrote stories with plenty of plot holes, Davies' focus on characters and emotions made it irrelevant, whereas plot machinations are often Moffat's focus, meaning plot holes are more damaging and important.

Nettie wrote:
The most popular Nu-Who monsters in the Weeping Angels are too fantastical to me. Yes, I'll say it again, I find the Kandyman, a robot made of candy who bitches in his kitchen all day (in between pressing buttons to execute people because they aren't happy) and get his feet stuck to the floor - twice - with lemonade less fantastical than the Weeping Angels. God, GallifreyBase will hate me. :lol:


Crikey, I love the Kandyman, and you've made me love him even more. It would be the best twist ever if he turned out to be the antagonist of the 50th Anniversary Special. The only bigger surprises would be the Abzorbaloff, Susan or the giant green penis monster in "The Creature From the Pit." And none of them would be as hilarious as the Kandyman speaking.


And in other Who news:

http://www.hypable.com/2013/07/05/russe ... dventures/
^ Luke Smith would have come out as gay if SJA had continued. Oh, I'm feeling sad about the lost potential again. In another universe, perhaps we could have had ten more years of Elisabeth Sladen being marvellous, Jo Jones being dopey, the Brigadier being the Brigadier, appearances from other past companions such as Ace (whose appearance had been planned before Sladen's death) and a gay teenage relationship on the CBBC.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:27 am 
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Dr Frankenollie wrote:

Well...you're right, but I prefer the principle and method by which Rose was written, yet her obnoxious behaviour in Tooth and Claw, The Idiot's Lantern, et al, did make her more annoying than Clara at least. I'm not sure whether I dislike S2Rose more than Amy, however. She was an amalgamation of everything I hate about Moffat's characters, as well as a piece of objectification, as well as someone whose entire storylines focus on stereotypes of being a woman, as well as generally just a conceited, selfish woman. I suppose companions must have somewhat conceited traits so as to be courageous and curious enough to fulfil their role, but there are several better-written examples than Amy, Clara and Rose when it comes to this job. Donna, Sarah Jane, Leela, Tegan at times...


I cannot tell you how much I hate S2 Rose. I guess it's after liking her some much in S1. There always was a little sense of... I wouldn't say selfishness, but perhaps entitlement?... about her. Look at Boom Town for the best examples. But she was (IMO - I know some feel different) never unlikable. In fact, as I stated before, the whole sequence of being sent back home and forcing the TARDIS to take her back to the Doctor in The Parting of the Ways is, perhaps for me, the definitive Davies take on Who. And I liked how Rose "rose" to the occasion without the Doctor in The Christmas Invasion too.

I think apart from that, the only time I liked Rose in S2 was the end of The Satan Pit with the nail gun in the shuttle. Probably her worst moment was the end of Love & Monsters. "No one upsets my mum!" - Not only was this a cliché of the worst type, but look at yourself, YOU upset you mum so much more than Elton did. I wouldn't mind if Rose learned something, but she apparently didn't.

It's a shame with such a wonderful episode - really, listen to Elton's narration... most of it just flows over you, or the interaction of people in LINDA... or of course Jackie - that the Doctor and Rose's bit at the end seem so clichéd.

(One could argue that's the point - Elton, the "unreliable narrator" remembers it that way, but I don't think that's the case. His earlier unreliable "Scooby Doo" memories are memories of a random encounter shrouded in expectation and fantasy. The final confrontation is - for Elton - really horrific. His friends' faces are shouting and screaming from inside an alien! I'm pretty sure his reality had kicked in.)

Of course this is all a roundabout way of saying the best thing about Rose turned out to be the creation of Jackie. Jackie was obviously Russell's favourite character to write for I would say.

Quote:
Nettie wrote:
I'm not sure I agree with you about Day of the Moon's ending though. In certain respects it was a classic case of turning the enemies weapon/power/forces against them. It is after all what the Doctor has done often. Sometimes with due warning, sometimes... not so due. But the scene in the Silent's timeship with River shooting the Silents is... wrong for the character I agree.


I'd be more forgiving if his actions had been addressed later, and perhaps shown to have contributed (in some kind of timey-wimey manner) to the Silence and Kovarian's actions later. If Moffat had written it so that the Doctor's behaviour led to the kidnapping of Melody, that would have been good. However, it's not explicitly addressed, and is wholly shown to be a glorious, cheerful victory at the end of the episode. I enjoyed it upon first viewing, but looking back, it's unpleasant. It's not merely a matter of turning the enemy's weaponry against themselves: the Doctor uses post-hypnotic suggestion to turn every human from 1969 onwards into a murderer, in a sweeping act of genocide that not only kills the active members of the species, but also every single member of the species in the future. It's ensuring that even the descendants of the bad guys are killed by human descendants, merely because of the relation.


Although of course, there were Silents in the present day - in the White House and one watches the Doctor's "assasination". Given it was based around "a fixed point in time" it seems certain some Silent's survived - my take on it was a massive set-back to the order, not genocide. I know the Silence (obviously the order as well as the Silents themselves - how else would they be able to track and recapture River Song) had time travel - but from a storytelling point of view I think it would be too confusing to have the destruction of the Silents be the cause of them kidnapping Amy etc, when they had already done it (off screen, between seasons too to add to the confusion).

That said, I've been thinking about the Order of Silence some more after watching most of the "arc" episodes. It's clear that there main motivation was to stop the Great Intelligence destroying time - The Name of the Doctor already shows us what that would be like. So by killing him away from Trenzalore, the tomb will never be created there, and history will be saved. So they are doing what is necessary to save everyone (and presumably they are targeting the Eleventh Doctor* because they want to preserve the majority of the time-line with The Doctor's actions in it). That also could explain how they see the Doctor as an enemy/threat. He the cause of their prophesied "end times" (every good Religion needs a prophesy and an "anti-christ" like figure to instigate it).

Moffat takes all the Doctor being God-like, both on screen and in print, and turns it on it's head. He makes the Doctor an unknowing Anti-Christ. Again, conceptually it's a stunning concept, typically Moffat. However, on paper and in practice, it's too complicated. Far to complicated. If the Doctor dies, there is no tomb on Trenzalore, so... no Order of Silence? If he dies elsewhere, wouldn't there still be a fracture in the web of time...? (Actually, perhaps not, the Silence think the body was burned).

Anyhow, I'm still of the opinion the Silence storyline isn't over. The Impossible Astronaut showed some Silents survived to the present day, I guess they found a way to deprogram the suggestion after taking heavy losses. I'm sure they will observed the Doctor on Earth at some point and realise he's not dead. The time travel thing about the Silence/Silents continues to bother me. I'm sure there's something we've still to discover. Omega? - Again, the symbols on the Cleric's uniforms, the fact the Silence feel that they can successfully manipulate time and the time-ship from The Lodger which is so TARDIS like can't help but point me to Omega. (Do you think River was also intended to be the pilot of the time-ship?)

If Omega is indeed the instigator of the Silence, I can see him convincing some races to join him. Others, such as Madame Kovarian seem to be enjoying "saving everyone" far too much, and actively seeks to humiliate him. My hunch is she has a personal reason to hate the Doctor.

Alas, it seems with only the Anniversary Special and the Christmas Special, this won't be tied-up even if it was intended to be on Matt's departure (in effect, his proper death). No unseen manipulator, no Kovarian back story and (perhaps after The Name of the Doctor) no more River Song.

Quote:
Oooh, good thinking. That's an issue with Moffat (I apologise about the perpetual criticism of him, but I can't help it). Although both Davies and Moffat wrote stories with plenty of plot holes, Davies' focus on characters and emotions made it irrelevant, whereas plot machinations are often Moffat's focus, meaning plot holes are more damaging and important.


Well, we've always had "plot holes" and continuity breaking. Part of that is what brings fandom together. I just think since the return of Doctor Who some people concentrate on the flaws, rather than the story. Moffet's Weeping Angels work in Blink, mainly because of that story's tone. The tone is just as much down to writing as emotion. So those questions I brought up, really don't hit you on first, second, third... probably not "ever" viewing.

Sadly though, I don't think the Angels have been used well since Blink, and tricks with the Angels since just highlight their flaws. If Blink was a perfectly knitted scarf, The Time of Angels/Flash and Stone and The Angels Take Manhattan are the rusty nails Blink gets tangled up in and starts to unravel hence...

Quote:
Nettie wrote:
The most popular Nu-Who monsters in the Weeping Angels are too fantastical to me. Yes, I'll say it again, I find the Kandyman, a robot made of candy who bitches in his kitchen all day (in between pressing buttons to execute people because they aren't happy) and get his feet stuck to the floor - twice - with lemonade less fantastical than the Weeping Angels. God, GallifreyBase will hate me. :lol:


Crikey, I love the Kandyman, and you've made me love him even more. It would be the best twist ever if he turned out to be the antagonist of the 50th Anniversary Special. The only bigger surprises would be the Abzorbaloff, Susan or the giant green penis monster in "The Creature From the Pit." And none of them would be as hilarious as the Kandyman speaking.


Of course again, one of the some of the irony of the Kandyman is... him himself is far from happy. There's so much nuance in the script, and while McCoy talked enemies to defeat a few times, this is the only time it works. It's a perfect ending. I personally think The Happiness Patrol is a masterpiece - imagine that made with current Who values. A real "dark fairytale" Moffet seems to keen to write.

I'd really love the Anniversary special "big bad" to be The Rani in a simultaneous "F@@K you" and embracing of the fans. Added bonus to Moffet if Carla from Coronation Street ends up playing her for the double FU/shout-out.


Quote:
And in other Who news:

http://www.hypable.com/2013/07/05/russe ... dventures/
^ Luke Smith would have come out as gay if SJA had continued. Oh, I'm feeling sad about the lost potential again. In another universe, perhaps we could have had ten more years of Elisabeth Sladen being marvellous, Jo Jones being dopey, the Brigadier being the Brigadier, appearances from other past companions such as Ace (whose appearance had been planned before Sladen's death) and a gay teenage relationship on the CBBC.


I guess this is from the Green Death Special Edition, not some re-release of the SJA? I say that because I'm pretty sure some commentaries for SJA were recorded (but never used - how odd, we're repeatedly told the commentaries are the most expensive extras on the classic releases).

* Yes, so the Hurt Doctor means this is potentially the Twelfth Doctor. I'm hating this more an more. All the merchandise calls Matt the Eleventh. His opening story was The Eleventh Hour. His football shirt in The Lodger was 11 and his nightmare room in The God Complex was number 11. Still, I'm up for most of Moffet's endings. Hopefully he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and not make this matter.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:56 am 
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The best tribute to Doctor Who I have ever seen:



And also, the 50th Anniversary theme music:




Nettie wrote:
Of course this is all a roundabout way of saying the best thing about Rose turned out to be the creation of Jackie. Jackie was obviously Russell's favourite character to write for I would say.


Oh yes; I love Jackie. Strangely, some fans dislike her, whereas Wilf - who is very similar to Jackie in terms of what kind of character he is - is almost universally loved. She's probably the most real character ever written for the show.

Nettie wrote:
Alas, it seems with only the Anniversary Special and the Christmas Special, this won't be tied-up even if it was intended to be on Matt's departure (in effect, his proper death). No unseen manipulator, no Kovarian back story and (perhaps after The Name of the Doctor) no more River Song.


I don't mind. The complications and implications can be argued over by fans for years and years, which is much more preferable than a drawn-out, tiresome story arc with what would probably end up being a predictable and unsatisfying resolution.

Nettie wrote:
Sadly though, I don't think the Angels have been used well since Blink, and tricks with the Angels since just highlight their flaws. If Blink was a perfectly knitted scarf, The Time of Angels/Flash and Stone and The Angels Take Manhattan are the rusty nails Blink gets tangled up in and starts to unravel hence...


They're like most of Moffat's monsters - they were designed and irrevocably linked to a particular plot. Whereas the Daleks are creations with strengths independent from the plots of their serials, and are more versatile, the Angels were designed as monsters to suit the time-travelling, Doctor-lite plot of Blink, and suit their role in that best. The Daleks and the Cybermen have stories and settings built around them, whereas Moffat builds the monsters to suit the plot. The same can be said of the Empty Child in the WWII setting and the Silence/MIB aliens, fittingly the antagonists in a confusing story about conspiracies, the FBI and 1969 America. Unfortunately, the Angels' great popularity demanded they return. I don't think their subsequent appearances have weakened them, because I see the Angels of Blink as different entities to the Angels in the Smith era. Nevertheless, they have become underwhelming. Besides what I described above, another problem with the Angels is that they are too difficult to incorporate in a story. To use the usual examples: the Daleks and Cybermen are easy. Cybermen can be used like robots, and the Daleks can work and have been shown to work in numerous different situations and settings. The Angels demand a very specific kind of plot for them to work, and the new powers introduced in post-Blink appearances has, I imagine, made them even more challenging to write for.

Nettie wrote:
I'd really love the Anniversary special "big bad" to be The Rani in a simultaneous "F@@K you" and embracing of the fans. Added bonus to Moffet if Carla from Coronation Street ends up playing her for the double FU/shout-out.


Kate O'Mara is ageless. If the Rani did return, she has to be played by the same actress. Otherwise, there'd be none of the silly, campy fun that should accompany the Rani.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:13 pm 
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The BBC has announced that - to the surprise of virtually no-one, I bet - the Daleks are returning in the 50th Anniversary Special. :D

The first official photos of them in the special are going to be released "very soon", according to their Twitter (the BBC's Twitter that is, not the Daleks'. :wink:)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:51 am 
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It's not my idea, but I was sort of hoping the Daleks would be saved from the 50th and have a "proper" Dalek story for the Christmas special. After all, then we could have a 50th Anniversary special for the show and a 50th Anniversary special for the Daleks.

Given Matt's going to regenerate, I'd expect the Christmas special to be more action focused, so I wouldn't have expected Daleks to be out of place.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:05 pm 
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http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/355002


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:16 pm 
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Thoughts about the two videos above:

Caroline Skinner? Wasn't she "erased" from Doctor Who history? Obviously her executive producership must be a fixed point in time. :D

This just reminds me how much I love Barbara. I'd go as far as saying Barbara is my favourite "classic series" companion. Barbara especially shines in Planet of Giants (I know people always say The Aztecs is Barbara's story, but I think Planet of Giants is just as much Barbara's.

You know, people have said Moffat has got a fixation with children. Perhaps he does. I personally don't think the number of children in his episodes are unusual (indeed, its the lack of children in all the other episodes which is more unusual). However, although Davies started it, Moffat has delivered lots of hints and teases about the Doctor's family in the 11th Doctor's stories. And Susan was mentioned quite a lot here. Could we have a return of Susan in the 50th Anniversary special?

It's odd however that the episode skipped over Vicki - being the first of the companions to replace and established regular character, I thought that that would be worth a mention. (But I understand why Dodo wasn't mentioned. :wink: )

Moffat said at ComiCon that the anniversary would end some long running story-lines and answer some more questions. I can only assume that the clip of the French Revolution book was prominently displayed in the BBC America documentary on Moffat's insistence. Yes, the Special will finally explain how the book got back to Coal Hill School in 1963 for Remembrance of the Daleks. (After all "French Revolution" is an anagram of "Return of vile Rani"* eh? eh?)

* Well, nearly. Perhaps if you squint.

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