Doctor Who?

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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby cmsellers » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:07 am

KleinerKiller wrote:Huh. Well for what feels like the first time since I started reading this thread, I liked the episode way more than you seemed to, Marc. By no means was it free of the expected Moffat bullshit, but I quite enjoyed a lot of it.

See, I watched the antepenultimate episode a month or two after it aired and the last two episodes just tonight. because I found the season increasingly hard to get through. And I thought that the finale episodes were the worst of the lot.

The premise was an interesting one (a starship where time moves slower as you go further down), but then it all went downhill faster than a bowling ball in a black hole's gravity well from there. Even Marc didn't even address all of the questions I had, but I don't have the energy to articulate the remainder right now.

The finale arc felt like fan fiction written by a dyslexic four-year-old for her Make-a-Wish and then run multiple times through Google Translate. Pretty much the whole time I was alternating between "what the fuck?" "seriously!?" and "CyberBill sure looks like a cheap sex doll."

KleinerKiller wrote:But I can't remember the last time watching this show felt like a chore for me. Even in the worst Davies runs, even in Series 9 with all of its Ashildr tedium, there was some redeeming value and I eagerly awaited the next episode even if it looked pretty bad. This series... just drained my excitement. It was so tedious, so empty, so focused on proving the show's "woke-ness" to critics and spitting futilely at the Empire of Trump rather than on telling compelling or entertaining stories. "Thin Ice", one of the apparent critical and fan favorites of the series, was one of the lowest points of the run for me. Yet the fans can't get enough. And don't even get me started on how crappy a partner Bill was, because I like to think I've said enough on that already.

This just... didn't feel like Doctor Who. I've seen bad Doctor Who, but this was bad in a new and different way. It was bad television. It didn't feel like the show I used to know. I can recognize and rationalize episodes as far varying in their terribleness as "Fear Her," "The Rings of Akhaten," or "Hell Bent" because those at least still feel like subpar Who. I can't recognize or rationalize Series 10. I have no idea what most of this was.

Now that pretty well sums up my reaction to the finale arc. "Thin Ice" actually felt like Doctor Who to me, for all that I didn't much enjoy it.

Also, the joke about Trump in the finale was the single most facepalmy moment I've had in all of Moffat's time manhandling the show.
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby Marcuse » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:29 am

2017 Christmas Special - Twice Upon A Time

Spoiler: show
Oh hey, remember when Doctor Who started back in the 50s? No, me neither. Probably something to do with having been born about 37 years later than that. Opening with footage from an old original series Who doesn't fill me with any nostalgia, but at least they had the brains to make their scenes fit in with it properly. This also introduces something that seems to be shot through this: fourth-wall breaking. We're told that the old footage is 700-odd "episodes" ago, rather than any kind of sensible measurement. I'm sure this is a way to evade having to put a concrete figure on the timescale, but then it would work just as well to not have it.

We see the events of the end of the previous episode from the perspective of the First Doctor this time. He's also regenerating and also doesn't want to. Because parallelism is totally cool and not at all nonsense. He mistakes the Doctor's TARDIS for his own and makes some slightly funny comments about how the TARDIS looks different to cover for the new series redesigns. Then time stops, because reasons. Then a captain from World War One walks out of the snow (none of these people freezing to death in the South Pole or anything) and points a gun at them and asks for a doctor. Lol so random.

The man is obviously injured and so they take him into the TARDIS too. Cue the obvious and entirely superfluous dramatic music and shocked gasps as yet another person learns its bigger on the inside. Seriously. Enough with that. The First Doctor decides to actually try to help the guy they took into the TARDIS to help, while he spars with the Doctor about who he is. Apparently a time travelling race of people find the idea of meeting their own future selves so unthinkable that they can't imagine that the person literally saying they're the same person is in fact the same person.

The First Doctor's cure for what I can only assume is a gunshot wound is...brandy. And the Doctor has some brandy lying about for plot reasons. Sure whatever. The First Doctor makes mention of the guy being in shock, but that doesn't really explain why Mark Gatiss (gonna call him that because I don't recall him being named) is walking and holding his chest like he's been shot. Whatever, who needs continuity. Amongst this, they also start doing something very strange with the First Doctor; they begin having him express 1950s social attitudes at random and for laughs. I'm truly unsure why they would make such a strange decision, because while there's one funny comment in there (about the TARDIS being a restaurant for the French) it fundamentally doesn't make sense at all. Sure the Doctor in episodes in the 1950s would probably express views that we don't agree with now, but the idea that in a modern show having a returning character from a long time ago express the real world attitudes of the time in which the show was broadcast is muddling the terms of reference for the character to the point where I can't identify the thought process that determined that was a good idea. The character itself has nothing to do with 1950s Britain, but the cultural icon of the Doctor does, but that's in the real world, so the character in 2017 is referencing the social attitudes of real world 1950 because the last episodes the character was included in were broadcast in the real world in 1950 and probably reflected those views by default. What? It's like if someone wrote the Trek movies and still had Kirk slapping the female ensigns' asses. Oh wait, they actually literally joke about that here. Yay.

We also have a very strange moment where the Doctor carelessly refers to Gatiss' character as a "world war one captain", to which he acts very disturbed and then never brings it up again. Why bother having that in?

But speaking of WWI, we cut to a flyover shot of a nameless battlefield in 1914. Gatiss and an unidentified German soldier are lying in a crater pointing pistols at each other. Despite the clearly desperate circumstances, Gatiss' character is able to deliver a monologue about how he doesn't want to kill the other guy except in self defense, but there's a conundrum because the other guy will probably kill him in self defense too, so they're...going to kill each other apparently. Dunno how someone so scared their hands are shaking can coolly deliver such a monologue, but the German doesn't even speak English, nor he German. So it was all pointless. It's rendered extra pointless by time stopping and him being confusingly abducted, only to be dropped into the South Pole. Someone in VO starts complaining of a timeline distortion and a massive Vermicious Knid appears and grabs the TARDIS.

Oh hey plot. They get dragged into a room that calls itself death and they're made a weird offer. Give up Gatiss and get to speak to Bill again. But they send Bill in without receiving the price they demanded. The Doctor claims she's a copy, and we get emotional about how Bill died because he didn't know she was rescued by puddle girl. Whatever, nobody cares. Go away Billbot. She insists that she's real because she's constructed of the same memories and thoughts as Bill, so therefore she's real. The Doctor doesn't buy it. The spaceship is a designed to hoik people from their time of death and harvest their memories then let them die when they're supposed to again. Sounds a lot like the wheeze the Doctor used to get Clara back to me. Yay recycled plot devices. The central thingy is a person that's made of glass, spoopy. They do a little "oh isn't the Doctor amazing" montage but also call him the Doctor of War again, like he's actually John Hurt. They're setting up for tension between him and the First Doctor, presumably to create uncertainty whether the First Doctor will choose to regenerate or not. But we know he will so it's moot and not truly revisited.

But Gatiss got other ideas. He's decided he's done living, and he can just give himself up for Billbot and all will be well. But the Doctor ain't got time for that and sonic screwdrivers them all out. The manage to slide down chains without removing the surface of their palms and drop off the TARDIS and run to the First Doctor's TARDIS. I guess they already had the set built, so whatever. They bounce to a place where the Doctor can access the largest database of people in the universe so he can find out what the glass people are. But PLOT TWIST, it wants to kill him.

The planet itself is honestly pretty cool. It's all collapsing and shit, and while the animation is reused it's fun enough. There's not enough broken hellhole worlds in Who and this one is at least somewhat interesting. There's head crabs here too, and one of them gets Gatiss. It means nothing because nothing happens except for woo scawy, but it's pretty obvious that the head crabs are de-shelled Daleks. Because this is depowering them and making them more interesting, I'll give him credit for that.

It turns out that the source of this database is Rusty, the Dalek that hates Daleks and the only original character I ever liked from Moffat's run. Credit for bringing him back, and credit for the cack handed way the Doctor manages to get him to cooperate. I like the idea that Rusty now thinks the Doctor is a Dalek and wants to kill him but can be talked round when the Doctor points out that helping him is hurting all the other Daleks. Negotiating with an insane hate tank by manipulating the fact you made it it hate other people more than you is cool.

Meanwhile, Billbot turns out to be....a robot acting all sinister and shit. No way. Not foreseen at all. She scares the shit out of Gatiss for no reason, and then goes hunting for the First Doctor who has been abandoned in the wastes for no reason. She starts asking him why he left Gallifrey and why he stole the TARDIS in the first place. He gives an answer that's forgettable, but amounts to "I think evil is best so how can good keep the balance?" to which the answer is "because of people choosing to be good". This is about as unsatisfying as it gets. It's dumb to have the First Doctor convinced of the efficacy of evil but simultaneously scandalised by the reported exploits of the Doctor.

The Billbot grabs him like a villain, and we cut away to the Doctor realising that the glass people aren't evil, they're a time travelling archive that grabs people out of time and saves their thoughts for historical record without interrupting the timeline. They're not actually evil. I'm actually in favour of this, despite the out of place evil moves the Billbot makes. It's more interesting to have something weird be benign and in a Christmas ep it's totally acceptable.

So in the end they return Gatiss to the world war, and time resets itself. But then instead of dying they all go play football in No Man's Land like in the history books. Sure sure, so Christmas so mawkish. Forgivable shit. Then the Doctor gets all his Christmases in one go when he gets to speak to Billbot and Nardolebot to say goodbye to them, then gets a Clarabot to return all his memory of her in a heartbeat in a last-minute-will-not-affect-anything move.

The First Doctor fucks off to regenerate, turning back to old footage for that. Then we get the main event; the Doctor wanders about the TARDIS like a drunk, spouting truisms like "always be kind" and "hate is always stupid and love is always wise", tell that to Rusty you idiot. Then they do the explody regeneration again. That was a small disappointment because I thought the Matt Smith- Capaldi regeneration was striking for its suddenness and lack of overdrama.

I thought they missed a trick with changing to Jodie Whittaker in that she didn't see herself and say "still not ginger". Given they know how much controversy has been caused by the change in gender (regardless of how legitimate it is) it would have been a clever move to have her use something that harks back to even before Moffat was in charge to anchor the character together in a way that wouldn't have required anything of the new series to do anything. As it is, she presses a button and the TARDIS explodes. Okay. We see nearly nothing of Jodie in full, mainly being close-ups of her eyes for some reason. We can tell next to nothing from her depiction here and I don't think speculating is worth it. Watch this space for like...2019 I guess? I don't know when they're starting again.

Overall this one was about average for a Christmas special by Steven Moffat, which is to say it makes no sense and is filled with unnecessary TARDIS wank, unnecessary Doctor heroism wank, and ridiculous plot threads and items which are raised and dropped faster than your average piledriver. I'm not massively offended by it, it serves the job of being entertaining on a basic "something for your eyes to look at" way, and Rusty was fun.
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby KleinerKiller » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:15 pm

So this episode was mostly mediocre and I have little to say about it, but a prevailing theory gaining more popularity in the fandom is that

Spoiler: show
the Doctor was always trying to regenerate into a woman, but the First Doctor's overwhelming sexism somehow kept him from doing so, and that the combination of directly confronting him and being exposed to such an amazing woman as Bill allowed him to finally get it right -- that's the rationale for Whittaker's only line being "oh, brilliant".

Also quite a few of them are hoping that this is referred to down the line as "transgeneration" / "transgenderation".


Who diehards continue to perplex and irritate me.
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby SandTea » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:52 pm

Marcuse (and others more knowledgeable than I but he mentioned it)
Spoiler: show
They do mention the ww1 captains name at the end before time starts again when he asks the old dr to look after his family. He gives his name and it's played like we're supposed to recognize it. The younger dr even gives a little surprised wink and a nod sorta thing and assures him he will. I can't remember *---googling---* yeah found it.

Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart.

Who is relation to The Brigadier they say? I'm not fluent in whovian but did remember being confused like I was supposed to know that name.


Kleiner, as far as I've seen, everyone espousing that has been a Poe. Well, at least on non Who-central comment sections (since I don't read any so mostly news articles and yt comments). I do hear a lot of "a time traveling alien is ok but one with boobs!? Nuh-UH" or at least thats my interpretation of them :D
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby Marcuse » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:49 am

SandTea wrote:Marcuse (and others more knowledgeable than I but he mentioned it)
Spoiler: show
They do mention the ww1 captains name at the end before time starts again when he asks the old dr to look after his family. He gives his name and it's played like we're supposed to recognize it. The younger dr even gives a little surprised wink and a nod sorta thing and assures him he will. I can't remember *---googling---* yeah found it.

Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart.

Who is relation to The Brigadier they say? I'm not fluent in whovian but did remember being confused like I was supposed to know that name.


You're absolutely right about that, I just forgot it because I didn't get the reference and because it was so steeped in 1950s content I assumed it was some reference to an old companion or something. Also, Mark Gatiss is way easier to remember.
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby cmsellers » Fri May 18, 2018 10:32 pm

Still haven't watched the Christmas special, should at some point so I can read Marc's review.

But any rate, do you guys remember the Fisher King? For some reason, I found him the scariest of all the Doctor Who villains I've encountered except the original weeping angels.

Any rate, it turns out that the Fisher King was a figure from Welsh mythology, though a very different one.
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Re: Doctor Who?

Postby Marcuse » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:26 pm



So it begins again.

Honestly I have no impressions right now because there's so little actual content here. I'm all for trailers that don't spoil the plots, but this gives next to nothing away. Aside from the ultra-diverse ensemble no characters feature at all. I also have no idea who any of these people are so right now I can't care about them.

I'm reserving judgement, because there are elements of the aesthetic that I dig.
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