2019-05-23 04:34:32

As people probably already know, I'm a massive doctor who fan, I collect the big finish audios (or at least some of them), and can give you chapter and verse on most aspects of the whoniverse.

Its been odd therefore that for the last few years, TV Doctor who has just not registered with me. I can some up the reason in two words, Steven Moffat! the  previous show runner, with his stupidly convoluted plots, lack of pacing, irritating characters, Amy Pond, Clara Oswald, egotystical rewrites of basic lore of the universe and general crappiness!

The last who I watched was season 8 (there's a topic still kicking around with my thoughts), two episodes into season 9 my dad's digital tv lost its archive, and I just didn't care enough to find the episodes from another source,  much less actually pay some money to watch them. Indeed, the last who I bothered to actually buy on DVD were the season 4 specials up to the death of the tenth Doctor, as the Eleventh and Twealth doctor's eras were so bloody disappointing.

I was however interested to see season 11, not actually for the reason most people wanted to see season 11, that the Doctor now happens to be female, but because the series was changing show runners, meaning the over all tone, style, characterisation and plot would go through a radical change (I dread to think what the terrible Moff might have done with a female doctor).

I admit I've been reluctant, which is why I missed the season on initial broadcast, that and the fact that I generally need to hijack my parents' tv to watch it.

I'll also admit that with the current climate, and some comments I've seen about Doctor who elsewhere, i was rather worried that things would get too preachy, misandric and inclined to play to the hardline sjws, as unfortunately has already happened in a few of the more recent audios (riversong series five,  the torchwood story night of the Fendhal for example).

So, I've now started watching through season eleven, and my verdict is that  it is bloody! frigging! seriously! awesome!

Yes, I just said it awesome!

Certainly the best doctor who since David Tenant, and possibly more like classic doctor who than we've  up to now.

So, I've watched up to episode 3 so far and in this topic I'll leave some of my thoughts on each episode as I watch them.
People are free to chime in, but no spoilers please.

Episode 1: The woman who fell to earth

He who  moans, one of my favourite youtube commentators on all things Dr. Who Find his channel here called this a typical doctor who start of series story and was most unimpressed because of it.
Oddly enough though, that was what impressed me.

No big speeches, no glitz, no universe destroying biggest aliens ever, just the doctor, some normal everyday characters, and an alien killing people. I’m going to repeat that so people get it Killing! People! This might seem odd for a show one of whose principle monsters yells “exterminate” all the time, however one other thing that really got up my nose with Moff is that there was never any bloody death! If anyone died, the doctor went back in time (blinavich limitation effect or not), and reversed it, or pulled out some flashy flangy doomy device of magical plotsolvingness.

Not here. People die, bad things happen, and wonder of wonders the doctor even solves the hole mess  with something actually logical for once.

The alien predator wasn’t that interesting, but this first episode didn’t’ need interesting! Heck, the first ever episode from the sixties had no aliens at all, just the doctor and his time machine and how ordinary characters react to them.

And lets get to characters, we have actual people we care about, including the guy who gets killed! We get enough backstory to know who these people are, and for them to be ordinary enough, without the script either making them so dysfunctional we want to kick them, or praising them so effusively we want to punch them, indeed actually having speak like real human beings once rather than in constant soundbites definitely a good thing to see.

As I said above, I didn’t care that the Doctor was a woman. What I did worry about is that the script would! Care about the doctor being a woman and turn her into an over flirty sexually creepy confidence machine like pretty much every female character moffat has written ever. What I was pleased about, is that didn’t happen.
What did happen, is that she was wonderfully weird, very scatty and lots of fun in a completely random way, indeed she reminded me of both David tenant and tom baker at different points, oh, and also thank god no romance!

Its not that I don’t like romance in doctor who, however after a gripping success with rose, the subject just got ran into the ground, and hoary old convention though it is, I worried that just because the Doctor now has a uterus, we would be seeing love stories everywhere! Thankfully that’s one trap the writers haven’t fallen into (I wonder if Chidnal was just as  sick of the moff’s flirt machines as I was).

My only miner criticism, is I do wish the Doctor hadn’t given a self aware speech about “things move on and evolve but stay the same”
In general I’m pleased that this Doctor is holding back on big grand speeches (particularly since in the moff era often the big grand speeches were a substitute for actual  resolving of plot), and  the doctor had already convinced me she was the doctor by, well acting like the doctor, being awesome, building sonic screw drivers, looking at the world in a slightly offbeat way. Don’t tell me what to think? Just show me you’re the Doctor and I’ll be behind you, and likely every other hard core whovian who isn’t a complete moron.
Fortunately this was only a brief moment, and was undercut by the alien basically turning around and saying “Well see if I care I’m going to be evil anyway!”

So a cracking start. Indeed I  while I agree with he who moans this was the standard doctor who opener for a new doctor, at the same time,  that was what I wanted, a concentration on character and plot and establishing the setting, and freedom from all the hyper vivid crap we’d seen before, so thumbs up from me on this one.

Episode 2, The ghost monument

Okay, nothing I love more than a big scifi journey story with lots of dangers along the way, and that is what this had. Its also nice to know  pacing is still there with this one, indeed the stories feel far longer than the moff’s efforts mostly because they concentrate on smaller scale events, and nothing personally grabs my attention like a good old quest across a dangerous planet for a mysterious goal.

I loved the dangers, and the build up of last week’s alien of the week to be something really threatening. I do wish a bit more time had been spent on the journey, since in trying to get in character moments, the backstory of two  secondary characters and! Find the tardis, it was all a bit of a rush towards the end, but on the other hand, it was nice to see the Doctor actually using her brain to solve problems, rather than just yelling “by the power of almighty technobabble, demon begone!”

I  do agree with he who moans that having characters just tell us their backstory  was a  bit clunky, particularly since  one was so transparently a selfish bastard and the other one was so transparently not, on the other hand, it was good use of the time allotted, and in other hands this one could’ve just been a pointless run around.

I also did a bit of a facepalm about the “timelss child” mystery box reference, but hay I’m willing to give Chidnal at least a bit of leeway with constructing a full series plot here.

While part of me does sort of wish they hadn’t found the tardis that quickly and we could’ve had a sort of divergent universe situation with the Doctor chasing the tardis being flung through time, at the same time, its nice to see things back on form, and the new   tardis interior is indeed awesome.
So, another thumbs up from me,  but then again, this is just the sort of episode I like by default.

Episode 3 Rosa

Back when Martha Jones was the companion, I was wondering why exactly more wasn’t made of the fact she’s dark skinned. Surely, in the time of Shakespeare, much less 1913 England, let alone 1930’s New York, people wouldn’t have   just ignored her skin colour? I even wrote an essay (sadly edited by a site I  no longer write for), on how new Who should be using its companions in historical settings to be interesting, rather than just giving us a series of rose Tyler clones.

Interestingly enough, that essay  was censored because I dared to suggest that in history someone might use the “n” word, and suggest that Doctor who, being able time travel, should actually do exactly what the first Doctor did in the Aztecs, the Crusades and the Highlanders, and tackle less pleasant aspects of history, heck the audios have done so in audios like son of the dragon, the Marian conspiracy and most recently (also featuring black slavery), in the behemoth.

However, now we have a story that actually uses the race of its companions to show us something interesting about history, and do so in a way which isn’t in your face or preachy, or worse, hating of everyone who isn’t that given minority. Yes, the arseholes in the story are white, but the white characters (the doctor included), are not arseholes!
Indeed, a friend of mine said that watching this episode “made him almost ashamed to be a white person”, however personally I just admired Martin Luther King  etc rather more, as well as got to learn about a historical figure, Rosa Parks, who’s only vaguely known about in Britain, which is just the sort of experience I value in a doctor who story, and the sort of thing well written historicals, like the audios the Peterloo massacre and the angel of scootari have given me in the past. I’m! not ashamed myself, (after all I’ve never treated people that way), but that doesn’t stop me appreciating  knowing the history of people who stand up against oppressive systems irrespective of their race.

Okay, social message aside, the story was still a good one. Changing history is always an interesting theme to play with, and I loved some of the Doctor’s humour here. I also liked the fact that Rosa, Martin Luther King and other people, even down to the arsehole buss driver were shown to be actual characters, indeed character seems a strong point of this series, which is all to the good, especially  after mister “We can’t do character development off earth” Moffat.

My only issue here was with the villain.
Firstly, the idea of a 79th century white supremacist goes pretty much against everything we’ve seen in Doctor who of the future so far, and it might have been nice if there was at least something  more to his motivation, EG some specific group or cult, rather than “oooh look he’s a racist”

Secondly and more seriously, if he couldn’t actually do any violence, hence why he was going around with the changing of history and why he had a gun that just transported people through time (though why he didn’t just zap Rosa with this gun and get her out of the way without killing her I don’t know), why exactly was there a huge plot going on to change history back and stop him?
Why couldn’t the doctor, who we know is adept at Venusian Aikido just knock him out and lock him in a cupboard while Rosa made her protest, or even use his own time gun on him to just zap him somewhere else.
There really should’ve been more of a reason for the plot here, since while the changing history back plot was lots of fun, it did seem the most complicated way to solve things, and unfortunately my brain kept going “why the hell don’t you just get rid of this guy!” which eventually Ryan did, rather than being able to just sit back and enjoy the history changing.

Other than that though,   thumbs up  again!

It’s great, thus far we’ve seen an origin story, a space adventure, and a historical set around a notable historical figure, and the series is going pretty damn well. I also am really liking both the thirteenth doctor with her scatty humour, clever way of solving problems and definitely off hand manner, and her companions, though I do slightly  wish the pot would get stirred up a bit there as thus far it’s a bit too happy families, still its early days, and I definitely know Chidnal can write good emotional conflicts, I also suspect one companion or other might be up for the chop, which is great! I love watching a series  where nobody is safe.

So, hurrah for new who once again! Its really nice to be excited to watch Tv doctor who again, and assuming something doesn’t go disastrously wrong in the next few stories, I’ll probably be continuing through the rest of the thirteenth doctor’s run.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up +1

2019-05-23 04:39:10

totally agreed. it got way too convoluted and hard to follow which considering it's a family show must have left most of the kids baffled. the hole peter capaldy thing left me cold. he didn't sute the part and they way they wrote him was terrible. I think the latest ones are more back in the original spirit of the show.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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2019-05-23 04:51:38 (edited by Dark 2019-05-23 04:53:33)

My dad would agree with you. he introduced me to Doctor who and bought me my first video, doctor who and the silurians as it happens when I was just nine.
He actually  said the show now reminds him of pertwee era who, and since that's his favourite era of the show that's definitely high praise indeed.

About stupidly complex plots, Amusingly enough, in a recent audio River song (who is a far more appealing character now they've got rid of all the flirty moff nonsense), actually said "sometimes I get confused about who I am" which seemed to be an admission from the writers big_smile.

I disagree on Capaldy though, the frustrating thing there, is he actually had the potential! to be an interesting Doctor, being Scottish and grumpy and not just a bad David Tenant clone like poor mat smith (really no offense to the Actor but my god the writing of his character was crappy).

the problem with Capaldy is everytime he tried to do something actually interesting or dark or doctorish, Miss Oswald basically told him off!
It was as if Moffat, and the other writers working for him forgot the name of the show was Doctor who, not the Clara show, heck, they even went back to earth between stories turning the Doctor into basically a time space version of Uber!

In a way, the belittling of the main character was almost worse than the convoluted plots (he who moans has a particularly scathing video on kill the moon). 

I'd be interested to see if other writers could do a semi decent job with Capaldy's doctor now they're out from under moff's thumb, they managed it with River song which I didn't think was possible, but in general I don't think I'll be going back to rewatch the rest of season 9 or season 10 any time soon.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-06-02 18:43:14 (edited by Dark 2019-06-04 12:05:51)

Okay  I’ve now seen a bit more of the thirteenth doctor, so more thoughts incoming.
Its going to be interesting to watch these with description I think, sadly  they don’t seem to have description on broadcast, which is weird, but hay if the series continues being actually worth watching I might even buy them on dvd, though as it is I’m finding them fairly easy to follow with my remaining vision and with the plots being actually sensible.

4: Arachnids in the UK

My dad commented that this one is one which really reminded him of Pertwee era who, and I can see why since its basically the same plot as the green death, though of course the green death had giant maggots and a super computer rather than giant spiders and an idiotic American company director.
I liked the setup, the horror here, and the fact that Chidnal managed to do a very Russel T Davies like domestic angle with his characters that actually had something to do with the story without being all “oh look isn’t the doctor scary/great”
Really, the hole thing of “companions family worried about companion with the doctor” was nice in Rose but got played to death and back, and by the time you had Danny the pudding brain pink and miss tell off the doctor Clara it had got waaaaay old.
Here the companion’s family were just people who did stuff which related to the plot which was nice.

Oh, and even actual death!

I only had two miner niggles, firstly, the hole “oh we have to dispose of them none violently by letting the spiders starve to death” was a bit over played. Had the doctor gassed the spiders or destroyed them all in some other way that would’ve been okay, indeed while I’m no fan of guns, the argument that 8 people with guns would’ve got themselves roundly eaten if they tried to Rambo their way through the spider hoard would’ve been much more sensible than “guns are bad!”  Though I have to say the bit with the wrap music was hilarious!

Indeed, I wonder if we’re playing the “the doctor is caring” card a bit too much here, since while I’m all for not slaughtering species needlessly, when you’ve got a mutant spider hoard who are probably all going to die anyway, and are certainly going to murder lots of people, well all bets are off. I also wish something more satisfying had happened to the arsy Hotel director since he really needed more comeuppance.

Credit though to Chidnal for actually managing the “yes travelling with the doctor is awesome and while its nice to go home travelling is more fun”, moment without over egging the pudding to ridiculously insane levels, though I will say I still miss Murray gold’s orchestral score for aesthetic reasons, while the random electronica does feel more like Classic who, classic who rarely had epic music.

All in all though, a pretty good monster horror and a nice simple who story with something creepy, plus some good characterisation.

5: The tsuranga conundrum

Okay this is the first episode that I felt was slightly off track. Not terrible, not bad, just the first with some obvious defects in the writing.
The setup of the Doctor and crew  essentially doing Alien on a hospital ship with different patience was an interesting one, and I liked the introductions of the various characters, the problem is, for the first time in the series, it felt as if the plot was over stretched.
At the beginning, the Doctor takes waaaay too long running around behaving like a right git and not picking up that she’s on a hospital ship full of sick people, even though her Tardis was missing. While I get that she was being single minded, this is the first time I found myself actively disliking the doctor, particularly with how the senior medic was just a nice guy genuinely trying to help, she was literally endangering patience here. At this point, the medic’s sudden decision to trust her felt more a convenience of the plot than to do with anything she’d done up to that stage.

The Alien here was if anything too! Over powred, I could get behind it eating anything, and eventually eating energy,  it also is toxic to anyone who touches it? Indeed, to say how dangerous this thing was made to be, it really didn’t actually kill anyone or do that much damage, indeed more problems here seemed to be caused by rather contrived bureaucracy (I don’t think anyone in reality would blow  up an ambulance even if they didn’t know what was wrong there for fear of disease).

This was also the first time in the series when I thought things approached levels of axe grinding, with the awesome female general and her male android bit of fluff, plus the played for laughs male pregnancy, which also served to basically sideline all the  male members of the tardis crew into a comic subplot and make some rather heavy handed notes about fatherhood, though I admit I might be a little too harsh on this end of things since recently I was reminded of Bloodchild, Octavia butler’s wonderfully sensitive, wonderfully  disturbing and definitely not the least bit comical pregnant man story.

Then again there were things I liked, Losing the head medic was unexpected, although I expected the female medic to have more to do after that. I also liked some of the nods to technology and galactic history here, it actually feels like being in  the middle of a complex time.
The doctor’s sermon on  antimatter was also fun and very doctorish as well.

Sadly while the end of this was a wee bit predictable, with the noble sacrifice almost inevitable from the moment we here that someone is ill, and again going a little too far along the “not killing dangerous alien predators”, it was at least an interesting story, even if one I wasn’t quite as happy with, which is odd, since usually I enjoy futuristic horror on principle.

Still it wasn’t “bad!” just not particularly good, and certainly way better than lots I saw in series 7 and 8.

Hopefully the next couple of stories will pick matters up, since I’m still liking this tardis crew, and this doctor and generally the direction things are going.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-06-05 08:11:25

would starting to watch dr who from season 1 actually be worth it?
I have wanted to start on dr who many times and all that, but lol can never seem to get a good starting point.

dark wrote:

Its going to be interesting to watch these with description I think, sadly  they don’t seem to have description on broadcast, which is weird, but hay if
the series continues being actually worth watching I might even buy them on dvd, though as it is I’m finding them fairly easy to follow

Audiovault has the season 11 of Doctor Who described, just in case you are interested to give it a go. smile

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.
Follow me on twitter

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2019-06-05 09:13:46

Thanks Grryf, good to know. In this instance, assuming the series doesn't go completely tonto in the last few episodes, I might get the dvds, as it'd be nice to have the audio description and pictures together.
As regards Dr. who, well there are several places you could start.

The first episode of this season, that is season eleven was actually intended as an introduction as I said above, and really doesn't require any previous knowledge of the series so far other than that the Doctor is an alien who travels through time and space in a time machine disguised as a police public call box.

Season 1  of new who from 2005 is another place to start, I did that with my lady and we're currently watching through Season 4, though as I said things went downhill in season 5 quite badly thanks to the new show runner.

There are then the big finish audios, in particular here I am thinking of the eighth doctor audio stories with Lucy miller, starting with blood of the Daleks. These were intended for people who didn't know as much about the series and wanted to get into doctor who in a way that was a bit more serious than the 45 minute, occasionally overblown tv new who stories, and are probably worth a go, indeed they have likely the most explosive ending I've seen for any character for quite a long while.

big Finish of course do a lot of other stories, from continuing adventures with different doctors, to individual series about certain characters, their are various isolated stories with other Doctors that are  worth a go, albeit some others which rely on the classic 1963-89 series, though if you want some suggestions of good isolated BF audio stories just ask, though if your a ccomplete Dr. Who novice I'd probably suggest either the tv series, starting with either series one or indeed series eleven, or the 8th doctor and Lucy miller stories if you wanted more of a good quality audio drama.


With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

2019-09-13 04:54:27 (edited by Dark 2019-09-13 05:27:48)

Okay due to a lot of factors, including the fact that I can only watch Dr. who over night at my parents, and the fact that they've been having issues with their tv's wifi, its been ages since I continued on with Doctor who season 11, however, despite episode 5 being a miner dip in quality I wanted to continue on with the next few stories, so thoughts on episodes 6 and 7 incoming.

6:demons of the Punjab:

I loved the premise of this one. As I've said, having Doctor who go to  periods of history I'm less familiar with is always a good thing, and while I do know India gained independence in 1947, I didn't  know  anything about the formation of Pakistan, plus like Rosa this is a great way of using the background of the companions to create compelling stories, both in terms of Yasmin being Pakistani, and in terms of it being her nan's past, and whats more a past which is stil very relevant for people today.
I also really liked the fact that for once we got a species of  alien assassins who insisted they'd reformed and werent' killing people anymore, and were actually telling the truth! oh and the fact that they were wonderfully disturbing aliens was pretty cool too.

On the other hand,  to say that this is an episode about a Hindu and Muslim getting married, why the hell wasn't there more about actual religious beliefs involved, its as if the show wants to acknowledge different people's religions but not want to suggest that those religions actually involve believing anything.
The part when the couple decided to do "a Hindu thing" and "A muslim thing" and decide to "make them our own traditions" without any mention of God or gods actively made me wince,  likely along with  lots of Hindus and muslims out there, not only do I severely doubt anyone in 1947 would've actually thought like that, but also no matter how   many big speeches the doctor gives regarding "having faith in the power of love,"  last I checked having religious beliefs actually involved believing in something other than yourself, especially at weddings when you think said higher power might have brought you together.

this is a  major contrast to some of the audios, and made the historical period rather disappointing, since if your not actually going to show me a different culture and set of beliefs in history, the  doctor might as well stay at home.

I also found the Doctor's total lack of botherment about Yasmin's potentially changing her own timeline a bit disconcerting, especially wandering off and leaving  Yasmin quite happily hobnobbing with her nan while the Doctor rushed off after the aliens, mmmmm, quite a far cry from Father's day where Rose nearly destroyed the world by trying to change her father's past, indeed the hole changing timelines plot got dropped a bit too quickly.

lastly, this is the first  episode where I've felt the cryticism that the series has an overt political message a bit much. not that I mind themes and meaning in things when they're done well, but the endless "nationalism is bad, lets all band together, drawing lines on a map wrenches people apart" was so on the nose brexit related it wasn't funny, especially contrasting the  nationalist thugs and the good hindu muslim wedding, though admitedly part of this might have been that Manesh, the brother  with the Indian nationalist kick just wasn't the world's greatest actor, and thus never convinced me he was quite the good man who'd gone wrong the script wanted him to be, had his acting been a bit more convincing, and ad we been given more reason for him to believe what he believed, I might have bought the change   personality and the murder of his brother a bit more, idneed the confrontation between the two brothers was just not as half as fraught as it could've been.

so an episode with sum major plusses, including the wonderfully wierd teleporting aliens who actually did turn out to be on the side of right, nice use of character backstory and for once a halfway decent soundtrack, but  with a few minuses as well, though in general I thought it was better than number 5.

7: Kerblam

Not based on Shazam at all big_smile. Okay this one I really liked!
Give me a good old fashioned   Doctor who investigation story about mysterious deaths in a futuristic location complete with freaky robots, some offbeat culture and a  little alien wierdness any day. Very much a classic who style story, it reminded me strongly of the robots of death (there was even a nod to that in mention of robophobia).
I liked how we got to know the different workers, and how the issue of there being too few human workers was introduced, indeed where the previous story was a bit too overt with its message, this one was far more subtle in introducing the idea of automation removing people's jobs.
There was a little that was slightly too obvious, Ryan's talk about his dislexia was a bit on the ball, and the  Kira the ditsy worker was introduced a bit too quickly, but both were appealing characters so I didn't mind.
I also loved the way this one did so many switches  around with the identity of the actual killer, making you think it was first the robots, then the evil nasty boss who actually turned out to be a nasty guy doing the right thing, then the robots themselves, then the Ai of the system which actually turned out to be doing the right thing as well.
the fact  that it was one character who we'd seen, who we'd liked and a character who Graham was friends with (gotta love Graham), was absolutely great.

I also loved the conveyor belt sequence. While in general the lack  of big pointless action sequences and focus on plot has been refreshing (especially after moffat's ridiculously  confusing mess with explosions every minute), I was wondering if things had gone too far  the other way, then we get a sequence like this, which was awesome for tension in such an investigative horror story.

I will say the love conflict plot didn't really hit quite as well   s it might have done, since there really wasn't time in between introducing all the characters for it to come off, since you can't really convince me two characters who share approximately ten seconds of screen time are madly in love with each other, which made the emotional sense of the lone mavarik bomber fall slightly flat. On the other hand, the fact that the bad guy was someone decent who'd just gone waaaaay over board in protesting a bad situation was again a great observation, also congrats in not providing easy answers, and while my socialist bones were tingling at the "leave everything to the corporation," particularly a  corporation who do lots of dodgy things like literally own their own workers engage inn apparent brain washing (as per Kira), give them ankle bracelets like slaves,a  and whom the Doctor really didn't criticise as much as she should've done, at the same time i liked the idea that change might be possible, if slow and that the head of people, who was bloody annoying turned out to be reasonable anyway, actually I loved this one's sense that lots of decent people (and Ai's), could just get wrapped up in one huge mess, but that blowing things up in massive violent gestures didn't help, albeit some acknowledgement that the  corporation created the problem in the first place might have been nice.

So, this one was definitely a good point for the series, especially in the twisty plot and appealing characters, and so another win for the thirteenth doctor!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-09-13 14:17:48

"Hello; I'm the Doctor. Now run!"
Once I jumped off of Dr. Who a few years ago I've never found it in me to get back into it. I loved the convoluted story lines though with their time loops and things like the Pandora box. I was happy when they got rid of Pond since I wasn't a fan. But after that I'd pretty much had enough of Dr. Who. So reading your thoughts is pretty interesting, but I still say "nah, I'm good."

My favorite parts were when they'd decide to put in quirky humor in the middle of a serious scene. Like when the US President comes out on a red carpet with all his music and stuff and sees that everyone is staring at him and he goes silent with an embarrassed clearing of the throat. Today I don't remember what episode it was but it was one of the funniest moments ever.

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2019-09-14 13:55:27 (edited by Dark 2019-09-14 13:55:51)

Agreed on surreal humour, that's always been one of Doctor who's strong points, however I'm afraid the pandorica and the change to mat smith as the eleventh doctor was the  Beginning of the end for me,  schizoid plots, no actual death  and bloody annoying characters from Amy pond, to river song to miss I'm so smug Clara oswald.
As I said in post 1, when my dad missed recording season 9 I never bothered to go back and catch up, and had Stephen Moffat still been show runner I probably wouldn't have bothered now, despite the thirteenth doctor being a lady.

Remember though, new who is probably only the tip of the  Iceberg as far as doctor who goes. Classic Doctor who ran from 1963 to 1989, and  had some amazing stories. Whats more, a lot of the classic Dr. Who actors are still making audio dramas as well, heck these days they've even got some of the actors from the beginning of new who, and have further adventures with the tenth doctor and with characters like Rose tyler and Donna noble, not to mention lots of absolutely awesome torchwood stuff.

Then again, I will say its really nice to be able to actually be interested in Tv doctor who again, rather than being continually more and more pissed off and generally board by the hole thing, as has increasingly happened since 2009.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-09-14 20:18:04

I haven't seen Capaldy, but I did like Mat Smith. I haven't seen series 5 much though.

I am not someone who is ashamed of my past. I'm actually really proud. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but they, in turn, were my life lessons.
Drew Barrymore

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2019-12-27 19:21:52 (edited by Dark 2019-12-27 20:10:21)

Well having been at  my parents for Christmas, my rather leisurely stroll through the 13th doctor’s first season continues, so thoughts incoming on the next two episodes, the witch finders and it takes you away. Needless to say, spoilage ahoy for these two stories for anyone who hasn’t seen them.

Episode 8: The witch finders

Okay I loved the start here, with the really nasty ducking, and the poor old lady dying, it’s nice that the past feels dangerous again, I also really liked the fact that the lady in charge of the witch trials was very much an ordinary person, not just a ranting stereotypical hell and damnation merchant, indeed though there was a lot about “sin” and “satan” here, I did like the fact that the Doctor reminded everyone that Christianity’s central teaching was “love thy neighbour.”

Also, a great way of handling past sexism to treat people dismissing the doctor’s opinions and poor old Graham being mistaken for  head witch finder, indeed making a subject comical is a great way to highlight things and not feel heavy or preachy.

All that being said, I’m afraid the episode took a major dip when king James turned up. Honestly, he was so over-the-top I thought he was going to turn out to be a con artist, or alien construct or something, but that this wooden ranting idiot actually was! The king? Really I’d have been quite content just making this the story of a bunch of paranoid villagers, especially with how well Willa and Becca were presented as real characters, ---- despite the fact I don’t think anyone in the 16th century would be called “becca.”

I did think things got a bit too moralistic when Yasmin was talking to willa about being scared or being picked on, and the  statement that Becca just picked on people  because she was scared herself, then again I freely admit if Becca savage had just been a completely cardboard loopy Christian I’d probably been more irritated, and obviously in only 45 minutes one doesn’t’ have time to show too much, still I was disappointed how much attention went on King James, ---- oh and btw was it me, or was he coming on to Ryan?

This is one where I agree with He who moans reasoning, but not with his conclusion, since he also completely hated King  James and thought Willa needed way more focus, but he utterly repudiates the episode, where as for me these were elements that turned what might have been a really good, suspenseful episode about paranoia and witch hunts, into a mostly okay episode with a stupid portrayal of a historical character which I could only take so seriously, despite the grim tone of the beginning.

As to the aliens, again I completely disagree with he who moans here. He utterly hated the aliens for doing yet another alien invasion plot and being yet another “take over the world” alien race.
Personally, I didn’t mind. Sentient mud is creepy, sentient mud that takes over dead bodies is super creepy, and it’s nice to meet a good old bad alien race in Doctor who.
My only issue with the aliens, is that they cut the character plot dead.

Willa didn’t really get much of a moment, Becca was pretty much erased, and why the hell the aliens wanted King James the super ponse I don’t know, indeed when the doctor said “they’ve got King James”
I wanted to quote red dwarf:

“quick, let’s get out of here before they bring him back!” big_smile.

So, whilst not as good as it might have been, it wasn’t too bad either, sort of a 6-10 type of episode, if I was bothering to give ratings.

Episode 9, it takes you away

Okay, first thing before we start, it’s been fairly obvious this series has been trying to be representative, with the Doctor being female, and companions including Ryan obviously dark skinned, and Yasmin, obviously Pakistani. They’ve actually done this extremely well, using  the racial angle to tell some interesting stories Rosa, demons of the Punjab, and concentrating on the Doctor being the Doctor, rather than making a huge song and dance about the Doctor’s gender, accept for a few occasions where it’s relevant.

Here however is where that pyramid falls down utterly, since in It takes you away they include their first blind character,  the way she’s treated is absolutely abysmal.

First, I’m expected to believe that this girl, who is apparently fourteen, spends the entire episode looking for “her daddy” and crying because she’s lost him.
I was willing to let this slide at first, if a monster was in the offing (after all everyone’s scared of monsters, hence them being monsters). But then we learn that the “monster” was supposedly her dad having set up speakers to trick her into staying inside?

If this wasn’t bad enough, the Doctor (yes the hero of the hole series), actually lies to her by writing messages asking Ryan to “look after her” whilst pretending to write a map. Yeah, great example of honesty there Doctor, as well as “look after?”

I thought the point of this was the tired old cliché about the blind character knowing their way in the dark, once she went into the maze behind the mirror, especially with how much was made of the goblin alien’s lantern, however no!

The closest thing Hanne gets to an actual character moment is  an alternative universe construct of her dead mum isn’t actually her mum with a hug. Please excuse me, I need to take some insulin  to balance all this sugar!

I thought we were going somewhere with her not getting on with Ryan and I did appreciate the moment whe he asked “have you always been blind” and she sighed, but honestly she was far too incompetent to make this work, feeling around the place and needing Ryan to describe her surroundings, they also played the lying card waaaay overly much.

Oh, and just to cap the hole thing, the big happy ending is that she goes off with her dad, this mentally unstable man who  terrified her and lied to her.

really! To quote commic book guy from the simpsons: Worst! Character! Ever!

The sad thing is, this aside, the episode was actually really good. I love the way I couldn’t predict what was happening, and unlike He who moans, I utterly disagree that Graham meeting grace in the alternate universe wasn’t a poignant moment, since actually the fact we’ve had so many  call backs to Grace has made her a presence in the series, though I do agree with he who moans that this should’ve been a two parter really to get all the development and all the ideas across. The resolution was a little too pat, as well as feeling overly sentimental, despite me liking the frog universe, or maybe Hanne just gave me a sentiment overload big_smile.

I will say though, much as I thought the alien trader was wonderfully icky and highly disturbing, I do think this series is playing the “it looks scary but it’s nice really” card a bit too much.

Thus far, episodes 4, 5, 6 and 7 have all had aliens who looked scary and weren’t, and whilst this worked, the mystery in kerblam and the genuinely reformed Killers in demons of the Punjab, anything can be overused, or maybe I’m just a little too sensitive to this because it’s something that Moffat did over and over and over again, from Vincent and the doctor onwards.

So there are my thoughts, I’ll probably finish the series soon, since I want to watch the last few before the new year’s special.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2020-01-02 02:23:10

it’s not been as long before I got to these last couple of episodes of Doctor who, so thoughts incoming
and spoilers ahoy, stop here before the spoilers of spoiling begin to spoil your enjoyment of Episodes 10 and 11.

Episode 10, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Okay he who moans had a good old winj at this one for not being the finale he expected. To be honest, I wasn’t coming into this one expecting a finale, there had been no particular leadup, no indication that there would be one so in general I was slightly more favourably inclined.

I will agree with he who moans that the title is very misleading, since there really isn’t much of a battle here.
I enjoyed the exploration part and some of the random big sf ideas, like the psychic planet, the two person race with mental abilities, and of course the return of the stanza, however other parts felt a little off.
For example, I do agree with he who moans that the psychic planet was a totally wasted concept, indeed even when the Doctor first comes up with the idea of neural balancers to block the signal, she warns everyone that they might be unstable, so I was expecting hallucinations, weird happenings and a lot of creepy horror, but no.

I admit I did like the Uks, mostly because the way their faith was handled genuinely surprised me. Someone doing bad things in the name of a creator who turns out to be a psycho alien, I was expecting  that same “religion is always  bad” message which I’m getting rather tired of. For the doctor who actually acknowledge the Uks faith might be based on something, and even utter a prayer at one point.

Okay I will confess the Uks switch, and the fact that basically the entire finale ran around a huge techno magical ritual to reverse the planet destruction was something of an anti-climax, indeed I really wish this one had been a two parter since we really should’ve had more time to get to see the setting, understand the ideas and feel major jeopardy. That being said at least I got the idea that the doctor solved this problem sort of with her brain rather than just shouting at it which mostly happened in the Moffat era, indeed her big speech about how awesome she was was nicely short and to the point, which in general is one of the plusses of this doctor.

My one major problem here was Graham’s “revenge!” plot. Unlike he who moans, I didn’t mind the fact graham came up with this in this episode, of course it’d come up when he saw his wife’s killer. Likewise, his speeches about Grace being a fighter made a lot of sense.
I was expecting Graham to either go wrong, or to learn his lesson, perhaps revealing some of the alien’s backstory, maybe you’d find that even Stenza have spouses and graham realises that killing Tzim-Sha. Will bereave someone else.

However, Tzim-Sha. It turns out is a completely bat shit crazy alien who has already wiped out millions of lives on five planets and is planning to do more, yet the doctor tells Graham how bad it would be to kill him?

Revenge or not, frankly this guy needs to go! And hay if graham can get some closure in the process, why not, indeed the Doctor leaves that as a giant gaping hole in her plans.
At the end, when Tzim-Sha. Is punted into a stasis chamber I was sitting there thinking “well done Graham, you’ve just caused millions of other deaths!”

Really, I’m no fan of revenge, and am generally a pacifist myself, and in the past this has always been something I’ve liked in Doctor who, unlike Marvel super heroes the Doctor actually kills when necessary to prevent greater destruction, and when he doesn’t, there is a reason or flaw involved, however now no all killing is apparently wrong, ---- at least until we get to the next episode.

but of course Graham is the better man and therefore leaves open the threat of universal destruction on a massive scale! 

All in all not a bad story, though perhaps not the finale I was thinking of, I always like weird scifi ideas and it was nice to see religious faith treated sort of well, but too many glaring holes.

Episode 11, resolution

Okay I forgot this was actually the 2019 new year special, so oddly enough I thought I’d missed an episode and it was this year’s which was funny. Also, I was unaware this story would feature the Daleks which made a pleasant surprise.

The nice couple of archaeologists getting together was fantastic, and poor Lin who got possessed by a dalek. Possession of course is not new, but this was a particularly Dalek form of it, short, to the point and with lots of killing. Also, I liked that we didn’t have to harp on too much about Lin’s being stronger  Dalek and mostly stayed out of the cheese.
The Dalek’s battles were also absolutely spectacular in this one, indeed I almost applauded when the military opened fire, had no effect, and then ran. I don’t think since the first series episode Dalek have we seen a Dalek be this bloody scary or destructive, though I really do wish the Doctor had taken matters a bit more seriously, indeed that is a mienr problem with the thirteenth doctor, she is almost a little too confident and over the top sometimes. Whilst I’m no where an ecleston fan, my god you feel the fear when he confronts the lone Dalek, and whilst Jody didn’t need to give us a big “I am the doctor and I am awesome speech” at the same time, if your main character isn’t taking the threat of the most evil beings in the universe seriously, even when it’s trying to kill you, neither do your audience. It was also extremely jarring watching this after episode 10, because all of the Doctor’s “no killing, revenge is bad” speeches, and then “it’s a dalek, Kill it!”
I’ve no problem with killing Daleks, they’re evil psychotic megalomaniacs who want to exterminate all other life forms, however this was so much of a change of tune for the Doctor I didn’t really credit it.
Unfortunately, the major idea I got was “killing is bad unless I do it.” which is probably not what Chidnal was going for.

My one other problem with this story was Ryan’s dad.
Okay, Ryan is pissed at his dad for leaving him alone a lot, because his dad apparently worked off shore. Okay, fair enough. However the Doctor’s first words’ to Ryan’s dad were all about how disappointing he was, and pretty much everyone else joined in.
That Ryan is pissed at his dad make’s sense, however the tongue lashing this guy was getting from all sides, a guy who apparently felt guilty himself, I actually wound up feeling more sorry for Ryan’s dad than I did for Ryan.

I also really wish there had been time to deal both with Lin’s possession and Ryan’s. Lin basically just fights off the Dalek then the Doctor just brings her around with no resolution, and really after being essentially mind raped and forced to kill she needed more closure here. Likewise, Ryan’s dad just hulked out of the Dalek possession?
I actually would’ve preferred if perhaps Lin told Ryan’s dad how to fight off the Dalek possession, and encouraged him to beat it, though I suspect again running time got in the way.

Also, why couldn’t Ryan’s poor dad not go for a trip in the Tardis? Indeed I hope that happens next series, since this poor guy needs some closure.

So there was season 11 of Doctor who, and our first full time female Doctor.
All in all far better than the Moff’s drek, and I’ll certainly be back watching Doctor who again.
That being said, there were a little too many occasions where emotionally this series took the easy option, and where, despite chidnal’s promise of actual death, not enough darkness or hard hitting stuff happened, for example, I was sure we were going to lose Graham at the series finale, and whilst the concept of having everyone’s  grandpa in the Tardis is an awesome one (it reminds me pleasantly of poor Evelyn smithe), I would’ve appreciated the shake up, indeed accept for Grace we haven’t really had character death at all. We don’t even see some of the harder edged  domestic drama russel included, indeed poor Yasmin felt rather under used especially with Ryan and Yasmin’s potential interest going completely unexplored.

Likewise, the thirteenth doctor is comic and lots of fun and full of confidence, but I’ve never really seen her rattled or on the edge of things.

one reason I was never a fan of Tom Baker’s fourth doctor, is that his character felt far too safe. He was always calm and collected, quirky and lots of fun even when being possessed or facing imminent death.
Unfortunately, the thirteenth doctor is feeling the same way.

Hopefully though now that her character, and that of her companions is established, we can shake things up next season, since whilst the series doesn’t have some of the excesses and overstatements of new who, ti also feels slightly as if they’ve been playing matters safe in terms of messing with characters and danger, and since the show runner gave us such horrific torchwood stories as cyber woman and adrift, this will hopefully change.

Also, I’ll say the revealed title of the next story gives me a lot of hope.
#the next story is entitled:
Spyfall, Part 1"

That’s right part 1! Part ! as in the first of two parts!

Finally, after the stupid and idiotic decision to cut all stories to an hour, two partners are returning, this means an hour and a half running time, and with Chidnal generally being able to actually write dialogue and not need an explosion every two minutes the way stupid moffat did, we can finally have the scope for longer stories, more exploration of locations, and all in all a far better standard of story telling than we’ve seen thus far.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2020-01-09 00:38:59

so any thoughts on the first 2 of series 12? i quite liked them for what it is worth.

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2020-02-13 12:51:29 (edited by Dark 2020-02-13 13:00:07)

Whilst I'm a little late in terms of broadcast due to me being very tired in the evenings after going to hospital with MRS Dark, I was less tired last night, so I treated myself to a fine glass of port, a box of coco covered chocolate truffles and the first two episodes of season 12.
This also means that this morning my thoughts are back, and since I will be discussing spoilers, if you don't want the plot spoiled, stop here.

01: Spyfall part 1

Okay, I admit I didn't care for this one at first. We seemed to run into an issue where action sequences got randomly dropped into the plot at inappropriate times, and where the doctor's companions ceased to feel like real people, albeit the geeking out over  gadgits was fun!
So we can suddenly infiltrate an evil millionaire's base and get access to him for no reason, and oh, look the two poor australian secret agents volunteer to keep watch outside the house, and are killed just in time for Agent O, who appeared to be the world's biggest none entity to remember the secret force field, ---- oh that was convenient (pun intended), shame about the poor extras.

Yet, with the revelation of the Master, so much of this makes sense. Why have the Doctor picked up by MI6 and then an attempted assassination? because Master is a psychopath who likes to play with people, he was probably laughing up his sleeve at the agents' tragic deaths.

Also probably the best master reveal ever and a nice way to get rid of the lingering bad taste of that flirt machine Missy, indeed Sacha Dhawan's master is one of the best I've seen, a completely random psycho with a wonderfully soft and menacing voice and tonnes of charisma, plus the spy aliens were just down right creepy and their dimension such a wonderfully alien environment.

That being said, hanging the cliff by teleporting the doctor to the rather easily escapable place Yasmin got out of earlier is not the best way to end an episode, and whilst a lot of the spy antics, bike chases, gadgets and card games were fun spy trappings, I never really got much of a sense of menace, accept when the Master appeared.

So all in all not a bad start, and one that improves with hindsight, but still a little over fluffy in places.

02: Spyfall part 2

As I said, starting with the Doctor in the really easily es capable dimension really wasn't such a good thing, though I did like the time hopping to different periods with the Master in pursuit, indeed seeing the dark skinned master mascarading as a nazi officer
by use of a perception filter was so wonderfully wrong! as were his antics at the 1854 exhibition (I love the way he appologised to the woman before tissue compressing her, since of course we had to bring the master's tissue compression gun back).

Also my god, so good to see Doctor who remembering it's continuity for the most part, everything from mentions of the fourth doctor's death, to the sound of drums timelord heartbeat, to even remembering that the previous doctor was actually male (something we've barely acknowledged previously).

it's nice to see the thirteenth doctor take on so much of the Doctor's back story.

Unfortunately, the plot back on earth was a little too muddled. The aliens' identity was never adequately explained and whilst the evil plan was pretty evil, it was no sooner stated than reversed. Indeed, I find it odd that this episode both featured the best example of an: "I went back in time and fixed it), plot, with the wonderfully tense sequence of Ryan and co landing the plane with the Doctor's rather garbled instructions, and the absolute worst example of a "go back in time and fix it" plot, with the doctor casually revealing that she'd already instituted a virus to stop the aliens coming through the machine only after the fact, ---- a reveal so deus ex machina it's worthy of Adam West's batman.

I also didn't really like the stuff with the team on earth. The idea of a tech company declaring people persona none grata and getting them pulled in by the police and monitored is wonderfully scary, as is the idea of a tech company destroying all privacy to gain power, (a theme which really should have been explored further). However, this again was where the Doctor's companions disappointed, since again they were just too super awesome at  everything! from avoiding the police to taking out a bunch of armed guards, that the nearly omniscient evil tech company felt virtually toothless.

I can't help comparing this to the similar situation in the sound of Drumbs when the Master was prime minister and went after Martha Jones' family, and you saw  down right desperate and nasty things , with innocent people being dragged into police cars and Martha finding bombs everywhere.

And the  big reveal, oh look, gallifrey has been destroyed, again!
this revelation I really hate, since yee gods, haven't we had about 8 series of trying to get the damn thing back?
And "all your history is a lie!"

Really, can we leave the Doctor's past and the past of the Doctor's people alone for a bit and actually tell a new story? After the damp squib that was the moff's answer to the time war, and the literal retcon of everything, I'd just like to leave all that behind a while and maybe have a new threat, or something else for the Doctor to get involved with, rather than yet more attempting to get us to care because the time lords have been destroyed again! since doubtlessly they'll get undestroyed in the future. Actually, this was one thing which was nice about the previous season, since whilst the lack of continuity references was mildly annoying, at least we weren't having to rewrite history yet again!

I admit, maybe it's that I've been listening to the time war audios, which are awesome and dark and disturbing, and the thought of all that casually reversed is annoying, maybe it's that I am still worrying  the series doing a mophat  build up mystery and nose dive into mediocrity,  I don't know, but this hole gallifrey "everything is a lie" sat badly with me.

All in all though, a fairly good start, with a great villain, some nice nods to the past, if a little incoherent, and a bit over fluffy with how depressingly competent and successful it made the companions, though hopefully this series will see some actual drama and consequence to these people, rather than just having them feel flatly virtuous and awesome, and either way, I do like the thirteenth doctor and the new master.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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