A Conversation for Ask h2g2

The latest Doctor Who

Post 21

Terran

It's all gone very 42 and Power of Three - so how you feel about those episodes might shape your views. Which probably shouldn't be shocking. But Woman who fell to Earth felt a lot better and gave me hope.

Jodie is perfectly fine as the Doctor (if a little dull thus far - aside from the obvious change, which wasn't an issue for me so doesn't even factor in my enjoyment). But I'm really struggling to stay interested - and it has always interested me until this season.

It all just feels very... Meh. Which is a shame because I was really looking forward to this series.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 22

SiliconDioxide

I only got around to watching the latest ep. last night, which in itself says something.

Plot holes so large that they required another universe to contain them.

The "Grandad" moment, a potential high point of the series, telegraphed so far ahead in a scene all on its own could have been so much more.

The Dr left Hanne with an abusive father.

Bah


The latest Doctor Who

Post 23

Hoovooloo

"The Dr left Hanne with an abusive father"

Well yeah, obviously. That's the "Doctor"'s MO now. When the Doctor was a man, much was made in recent years that "Doctor" was a name he *chose* for himself because he MAKES PEOPLE BETTER (or at least aspires to). A lot of the point of the 50th anniversary episode, the run-up to it and the aftermath of it was that the Eighth Doctor regenerated into *something else*, something he didn't feel *deserved* to be called "Doctor". If only the present incarnation had the John Hurt version's self-awareness. I'm prepared to believe it's the same Time Lord/Lady. But it's not the Doctor.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 24

Otto Fisch ("Stop analysing Strava.... and cut your hedge")


As a fairly casual Dr Who fan, I've enjoyed a few things about the series. I liked the Rosa Parks episode, and quite liked the India partition episode. I liked each of the companions (and Bradley Walsh has impressed me) individually, though together I think they're less than the some of their parts and it feels like they're struggling to get enough screen time.

I think I liked some of the reduction in complexity - at times recent series have required quite a lot of the casual viewer in terms of remembering stuff from previous episodes/series to follow the plot. And this is supposed to be a family show, it's not 'The Wire'.

But... too many episodes didn't quite make sense to me. Not just in terms of plot holes, but in terms of things left hanging, and a general sense that some plots that could have been spread over two or more episodes were crammed into one show.

I'd be interested in Hoo's take on this one... I thought the show tied itself in knots about pacifism and non-violence. I'm unsure why it's okay to lock someone in statis forever (or whatever it was), but not to kill them. I think I'm right in saying that part of the point of most Doctors is trying to avoid violence and solve things peacefully. They mainly talk and run away, and solve things with cleverness, not aggression. There's the War Doctor, and various things about daleks, but I think they're the exceptions.

I've tried to work out what my problem with the current Doctor is, and I think it might be that she has no obvious scary side. My sense is that the Doctor is a fantastic ally, but a formidable foe - someone not to cross.

From what I remember, previous Doctors got righteously angry and made threats as part of using talking rather than violence. The Doctor had steel. Even those who were a bit manic-pixie did the fuller range of emotions. Perhaps an over-correction after Peter Capaldi? I don't remember Peter Davison's Doctor very well - was he similar in the not getting angry stakes?


The latest Doctor Who

Post 25

The Left Reverend Doktor Baron Grim

I giggled cynically at the "crossfire" scene. So cartoony.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 26

Hoovooloo

"I'd be interested in Hoo's take on this one"

Thankssmiley - blush
I'll have a take on it after I've seen it. So far I haven't bothered, which speaks volumes.

I've also heard that the New Year special is going to be the only episode in 2019, and that the next season won't be until 2020. To which my response was "good". I'm hoping the rumours that Chibnall and Whittaker will move on after that are true, and that someone who actually understands the series and character will take over. I don't mind if Whittaker's character regenerates into a man, woman, or child. I don't mind if they're from a visible minority. I just hope they regenerate into the Doctor, because whatever else this character is, it isn't that.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 27

Bluebottle

Am I the only one annoyed by how the number of episodes per year is definitely decreasing? Below is the number of episodes + specials (usually Christmas) for each calendar year:

2005 13+1
2006 13+1
2007 13+1
2008 13+1
2009 3
2010 13+2
2011 13+1
2012 5+1
2013 8+2
2014 12+1
2015 12+1
2016 1
2017 12+1
2018 10
2019 1

<BB<


The latest Doctor Who

Post 28

Terran

"Am I the only one annoyed by how the number of episodes per year is definitely decreasing?"

I remember posting on another forum in 2014 about it, when it went down to 12+1, and everyone just gave a big shrug and said it was fine. I was equally disturbed how unbothered people were about it when Chibnall took over, and it was only 10! I remember when it came back in 2005 how scared we all were that we could lose it again, to see this apathy is bizarre. I get that it's challenging to make, but we're fans, we should be asking for more. I wouldn't mind so much if the quality went up, but actually it seems to make the quality go down (although that's subjective). US Sci Fi series can go up to 20+ episodes- is the way they make things really that different?


The latest Doctor Who

Post 29

Bluebottle

I would have thought that if you have a core cast of 4 people then each individual's workload per episode goes down. So surely it therefore becomes easier for 4 people to appear in 15 episodes than 2 people to make 13, so if we have a larger smiley - tardis team, surely there should be more episodes per year?

<BB<


The latest Doctor Who

Post 30

The Left Reverend Doktor Baron Grim

In general, one noticeable difference in US shows and British shows is that British shows tend to film in more locations and more set scenes. US shows tend to have fewer locations and sets and put more production value into the fewer sets. This was very noticeable in the '80s comparing shows like THHGttG, and Doctor Who to Star Trek and V.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 31

Hoovooloo

"Am I the only one annoyed by how the number of episodes per year is definitely decreasing?"

Probably not, but the apathy is there because of the decline in quality.

US shows have bigger casts, sure, but ultimately they have much, much more money. To pick an example: a typical episode of Deep Space Nine did TWENTY SIX episodes per year. Huge sets, state of the art special effects, and a core cast of nine characters, some of them requiring extensive makeup every day, plus a rotating guest cast of many more. But it was a punishing schedule, early starts, late finishes, hard, hard work churning the stuff out... but the budgets were along the lines of two MILLION dollars PER EPISODE, and that was twenty five years ago. There's simply a great deal more money in US television. People moan about how much people who work for the BBC are paid, but Michael "Worf" Dorn's hobby when he was on Star Trek was COLLECTING FIGHTER JETS. Not models - he'd buy AND FLY actual decommissioned jet fighter aircraft, although his contract stated he wasn't allowed to fly them during shooting seasons in case he had an incident. All the money paid to every single person who's worked on Doctor Who since 2005 probably wouldn't, together, come to what Patrick Stewart earned from TNG, even before the movies.

The workload on Doctor Who is known to be hard when it's 13 episodes. That's why we ended up with "Doctor Lite" episodes like the execrable "Love and Monsters" and the unbelievably brilliant "Blink" - it gave the main cast some needed downtime.

It's worth saying, though, that from 2005 until recently, Doctor Who was made by people who CARED. Russell T Davies CARED - he'd been a fan since childhood. Eccleston CARED, because he's a serious actor and wanted to do a good job. Tennant CARED, because he was a fan. Moffat CARED, because he was a fan. Matt Smith CARED, because... well, I don't know why, but he obviously really, really did. And good grief Capaldi CARED, because he'd wanted that role since he could write his name.

And now we have Chibnall and Whittaker, for whom it is very, very obviously just a job. They did Broadchurch, they're gonna do this, then they'll do something else. It forms no part of their personality or backstory whatever. Jodie Whittaker NEVER, as a child, wanted to be the Doctor. I'm not saying you have to have been a *fan* to be any good at making it, but you've got to CARE. I don't see anyone caring. I'm watching the season finale with my wife tonight. I want to like it.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 32

Hoovooloo

Well, since you asked...

There were good things. Let's do those. Lovely first ten minutes - great images, good CGI, good atmosphere, nicely set up creepy and mysterious situation.

Bradley Walsh remains by far the best thing about this series. He's terrific, and badly, badly let down by the scripts. More on that in a moment.

And that moment when the Ux said "How can you know the creator?" and the "Doctor" just looked at her and said "Yes... how can I?". THAT was proper Doctoring. That, right there, was the first time this character, whoever they are, gave some indication that they're familiar with the Doctor and how that Time Lord behaves. Practically every other line and delivery was wrong, but that one absolutely nailed it.

So... I could go on and list all the shit bits, but I'm not going to, because one bit boiled my brains to the point everything else faded into the background.

On the planet surface, the "Doctor" took Graham to one side and talked to him as though he was a recalcitrant toddler. She forbade him from taking a reasonable action in the face of a literally genocidal killer. Bear in mind this is the same woman who, MINUTES after chiding someone for "robophobia" and saying some of her best friends are robots, murdered hundreds (thousands?) of them by forcing them to detonate bombs they were holding, incidentally killing a human standing among them. THAT woman presumed to lecture Graham on what is reasonable to do to the person who was responsible for the death of his wife.

Now on the upside: for the first time in ten episodes, this show provoked an emotional reaction in me. On the downside, that reaction was hatred for the lead character, the smug, arrogant hypocrite. I'd have cheerfully punched her in the face at that point. To his credit, Graham refused to back down, and even said "I understand". And shamefully the "Doctor" then patronised him even further by saying "You don't understand". Yes he fscking does you narcissistic bint, he just DOESN'T AGREE WITH YOU. If you can't process that, that is YOUR PROBLEM.

And to his even greater credit, Graham did in fact choose not to kill Tim Shaw, and instead sentenced him to an eternity of torture in solitary confinement in a cell in which the prisoners were shown to be capable of movement - despite the name "stasis", it's clearly solitary confinement, recognised as a horrible torture and possibly worse than death. Well done Graham - good lad.

Except the writers had a further indignity to heap upon him. He ends up EXPLAINING HIMSELF to the "Doctor", as though he owes her an explanation. He didn't. And when he does, he characterises his action as weakness.

What he should have done was stand up straight, look her in the eye, and say "No, actually, I didn't shoot him. But the reason I didn't had everything to do with what my wife would have wanted, and NOTHING to do with that patronising lecture you tried to give me. So in future, don't bother. Understand?"

He should have DEMANDED that the "Doctor" show him some damn respect.

But that's not the way this series works. The "Doctor" has to be right, even when she's defending tooth-faced Hitler from those who might stop him, even when his access to unlimited power is EXPLICITLY HER FAULT. I have come to hate this character, and not in a good way.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 33

SiliconDioxide

I agree with your summary of the most recent episode. I too felt there was a sublime ten or fifteen minutes in there.

This eternal incarceration thing is becoming a bit dull. When the doctor condemned the "family of blood" to a fate worse than death I felt had been a bit harsh, but locked up in perpetuity now seems to be the punishment of choice. I wonder if it is just a device to allow them all to escape later when we next run out of fresh bad guys.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 34

deb - I'm in love with my soup maker & I don't care who knows it

Well. I just saw the trailer for today's special. And there it was, right at the end, one word. I won't put in a spoiler, but I did tell the TV to smiley - bleep off.

Although to be fair it would be an appropriate end to this series.

Deb smiley - cheerup


The latest Doctor Who

Post 35

Hoovooloo

I think they added that one word, because I don't remember it from when the trailer was first shown.

When it was first shown, I said to my wife "The thing they're talking about had bloody well better be a Dalek, or what's the fscking point of anything any more?". I didn't trust the creative team to make it one, but I assume from the trailer/spoiler that it in fact is. I haven't bothered watching the special yet.

I'll get round to it some time this year, probably.

It's so annoying to me that the precipitous plunge in quality is coincidentally contemporaneous with the casting of a woman the lead. Because the plunge in quality is emphatically NOT because of that, but it will be so easy for anyone to say now or in years to come "oh yeah, it was a great show until they cast a woman, that ruined it".

I wonder if the show will survive. Perhaps it would be best if they rested it for two or ten or twenty years, until someone comes along who was inspired to get into television by the Davies/Eccleston/Tennant era. Someone who can rejuvenate it and make it good again. Right now it feels like Who did in about 1986, flailing about, dead on its feet but not yet put out of its misery. It's not just me, is it?


The latest Doctor Who

Post 36

The Left Reverend Doktor Baron Grim

I'm watching the episode currently. I now know what word y'all are talking about. smiley - shhh


The latest Doctor Who

Post 37

Terran

Hmm... How to talk about this spoiler free...

Well the guest character was introduced in an interesting way. I really like the idea. I'd love to have seen it in another era of Doctor Who. But the conversations are so laboured and dull. Overall I actually enjoyed this more than most of the last season's episodes, though I fear this is damning with faint praise. I was 4 in 1986 so don't recall the feel of the time but I've seen every episode it is possible to see and the current era reminds me more of Peter Davison's era. It feels like the season 22/23 that Chris Chibnall might have written. I feel it's a mistake, but I get the feeling that this is the kind of Doctor Who he wants to write. A callback to the Davison era. Whether this is a deathnell for the series I can't tell. It feels like Doctor Who and Star Wars are in similar holes - and it will be interesting to see how they get out of them.


The latest Doctor Who

Post 38

Hoovooloo

It's not really possible to spoil this episode. Firstly, the trailer itself, modified as it was by the addition of the word "exterminate" (and did that word even appear in the episode?), gave it away.

The best bit of the episode was Charlotte Richie. Shame that as soon as she was no longer needed she kind of fell out of the plot.

There was so much potential to this story, so many things they could have done. In some ways it's a retread of 2005's "Dalek", in that it's using the trope Law of Inverse Ninjutsu. If you're not familiar with it, basically if you're facing a thousand [baddies], it's fine. If you're facing just one, you're screwed. It's the demonstration that these are badasses. Unfortunately, it fails on so many levels.

The best comment I've seen on this was someone pointed out that they had a scene where a human being controlled by a Dalek was driving a car, and the Dalek was demanding they go faster... and it didn't say "AC-CEL-ER-ATE!". Missing a sitter like that tells you all you need to know about the missed opportunities here.

There was the absolutely egregious killing of the security guard, which basically went "Hello, I'm gay by the way, urk!". It's more evidence, if you needed it, that far from being "too PC" or appealing to the snowflake SJWs or whatever, this series is in fact trolling those people *hard*.

The pacing was all over the place. The entire thing ground to a halt for a chat in a cafe. Also, who carries round a microwave oven in an OPENED box and tries to flog it to cafes? As in, has that EVER worked? It just seemed bizarre.

What also seemed bizarre was that the point of this seemed to be to establish the Dalek as a real threat, a single entity with the potential, even in a scratch-built DIY body, to take over the entire planet. And yet the very first thing you learn is that a bunch of primitives with spears and swords were able to subdue and dismantle it. And what was the point of that anyway? There was a big buildup of the thing being sent to Siberia and the Pacific (like those places were in communication with the UK a thousand years ago...), and then POW!, the other two bits just magically transport back to Sheffield and we hear nothing about that ever again. It's just ... sloppy. Pointless. Time-filling.

The Doctor offering the Dalek the chance to leave, and checking in with her "fam" (cringe) that she'd done the right thing just made me wince.

I so wanted this to be the one where the Doctor is held to account for all her ineffectual failures over the previous ten episodes, to find out the Daleks were behind many of the plots or whatever. Something, anything to redeem the rubbish that's gone before. Instead, what looked like an excuse for a new Dalek design at a time when they're not even selling toys any more.

Fridging UNIT was presumably supposed to be funny.

Having the Doctor nastily call the invading alien psychopath a "refugee", though - what the actual fardwarks was that? Did the script get a polish from UKIP? Tone deaf doesn't even begin to describe that line.

In summary... apart from this episode, there's going to be no Doctor Who at all in 2019. And my feeling on that is: good.

Can't believe I'm saying that. I so, so wanted this to be a triumphant reinvention, a two-fingered salute to the haters who started carping as soon as it was announced the 13th would be a woman. I so wanted it to *work*. And for me at least, it just hasn't, to the point that I actually think if it goes on like this in 2020 it would be better if it just got cancelled again and went on hiatus until fans who discovered the show through Eccleston and Tennant are old enough to be working in television and in a position to bring it back again.

There's a larger feeling here, for me at least. Doctor Who in 2018 is consistent in its effect on my mood with Brexit and Trump - it's part of a landscape that makes me feel depressed and pessimistic generally. Worse, it seems *deliberately* so. Things like the "refugee" line seem calculated, not accidents. It's schocking.

I need to get out more.


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