Doctor Who - Season 31

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adriane17
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby adriane17 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:53 am

I think Smith has made the role his own already. Gillan is good too.

Although I enjoyed The Pandorica Opens I reserve judgement until The Big Bang.

What really annoys me since the series returned in 2005 is that EVERY season has to have a "story arc" with a "season finale" - I appreciate that the BBC is aiming at the widest sale possible but can't we just have a season of self-contained stories with two or three two parters but without an arc.

If it's true that The Yeti will be back soon then perhaps we will be heading that way after the Moff has his RTD moment. At least we ca enjoy a few more Troughtonesque moments.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:28 pm

Terry Pratchet's been saying some of the same stuff I've been saying for years. But nobody's telling HIM he's stuck in the seventies:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/03/te ... -doct.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/tvandra ... doctor-who

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby adriane17 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:16 am

Since when has Doctor Who ever had any sound basis in science - just like Discworld in fact - it has always been pseudo science at best. As long as we suspend our disbelief then all's fine.

Thought last night's finale was OK. Found it rather hard to follow watching it with other fans in a bar (you could hear a pin drop but some of the dialogue was either too rushed or worse mumbled) but I'm disappointed that Moffat seems determined to carry on along the RTD soap opera route and it looks as if we are stuck with story arcs for a while yet...

Still bring on The Yeti on Christmas Day!

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:03 am

Well, I'd disagree with that: not that it was ever a pargon of hard sf, but there were episodes that were at least as plausible as the original Star Trek. I mean, on close examination they'd probably fall apart, but at least they were theoretically plausbile on some level. Granted it has fluctuated over the years, but it was never quite the fairy tale it is now.

I mean, the sonic screwdriver might have been based on some dodgy physics, but it's now a magic wand that can do absolutely anything. Anything at all. There aren't even pretend limitations (remember when Jon Pertwee couldn't break out of an old fashioned prison because the lock was "too primitive"?) It's as much about narrative consistancy as about science fiction - introducting new elements into the narrative at the very end to create the solution. It's not about the accuracy of the technobabble, but about the attitude. Finding solutions based on evidence and observation (even if its observation of fictional, or even fantastical, evidence), and the implications of the scenerio. My favorite moment ever was when Colin Baker once tried to explain ethics and morality to a robot: the depiction of robotics and computers may have been tosh, but the words meant something.

I'll discus the finale when more people have seen it. I did not watch it in a pub there aren't enough Doctor Who fans in the vicinity :(

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby adriane17 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:28 am

My comment that if we just suspend disbelief all's fine was too sweeping. I don't like the way that the series has gone since the McGann TV movie in 1996 (turning back time and the Doctor is revealed to be half human). The sonic screwdriver is now a deus ex machina - those who introduced it back in Fury From The Deep could never have imagined what it is now - and the story arcs are becoming totally implausible. If you watch almost any story from the original run you can just about believe it for example both The Dead Planet and The Tenth Planet work well as introductions to the Daleks and Cybermen. The original run probably seems dated and clumsy to the modern TV audience but was amazingly innovative for its time and budget - The Web Planet; The Invasion; etc.

I'd loved to see a return to those type of stories.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:14 pm

I suppose it depends on one's preference.

I concede the new series is better drama; but I insist the old series was better science fiction. Most people prefer drama; I for one prefer science fiction. I don't think the later negates characterization - I think a story of an individual learning to question his religion or question his society is as valid "character development" as sexual tension and crocadile tears.

I will say Moffat is a better storyteller than RTD. I love the "imaginary friend" angle. "Hungry Earth" had a bit of ol' school politicking that was nice to see. I hate the new theme song and despise the new Daleks. Still unecided about Amy, but rather taking to Rory funnily enough. Despite all my bitching and moaning, Chirstmas is still too far away. . .

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby adriane17 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:35 am

Exactly - Christmas seems a long way away.

The general consensus at The Fitzroy Tavern (London meeting place for Doctor Who fans on the first Thursday of every month if anyone is passing through) last night was that Season 31 was a success. No-one liked the Dalek one and quite a few were disappointed at the Silurian redesign.

Much as latter day Who will never better the early stuff for me I've enjoyed watching Smith more than Tennant towards the end. Almost certainly the show will still be in production for its 50th anniversary.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:01 am

Since I'm on record about being lukewarm towards Matt Smith, let me add the following addenda:

1) Vincent and The Doctor was one of my favorite WHO episodes in a long time. I actually teared up in the penultimate scene in which the Musee D'Orsay Curator (in a brilliantly subtle turn by an uncredited Bill Nighy) describes Van Gogh's position in the history of art. As Steve E points out, it played far better as drama than it did as SF, but within that context it was an excellent story.

2) The redesign of the Silurians not only didn't bother me, but I actually felt they'd been improved upon in a way that the original series would have benefitted. In fact, their redesign was very much in the vein of some of the original run's designs, but accomplished with a somewhat larger budget. Some of the charm of the original program was its cheesiness, a conceit that newer audiences won't accept. Consider the fourth season Fires of Pompeii. The blast of the volcano, and the images of the Pyrovile had to have been of a higher standard than a man in a suit made of red tin foil. There's no way the current generation of audience would have tolerated poor special effects -- they've been raised to a higher standard. But what made FoP stand out was the confrontation between The Doctor and Donna regarding his indifference to the victims of his actions. It established the longer storyline involving the humanization of the Doctor and his tendency to get other people killed. Donna wept over the death of five people versus the thousands who were being killed -- and this hit the Doctor below the belt. It's a more sophisticated form of storytelling then we would have seen in the original series, I think. No punches pulled.

3) The Power Ranger DALEKs. The less said the better. PLEASE let history reverse itself.

4) Matt Smith is doing fine in the role, but I don't want "fine". I suppose my biggest issue with his performance is the loss of Tennant's humor. There was an infectious glee with which Tennant attacked the role, and when he (inevitably) figured out the answer you could not help but be swept up in the revellation. When Matt Smith reaches the same (inevitable) point in the storyline it's almost as if he's embarrassed about it and is walking through the dénouement. A solid example of this is Amy's Choice. The Doctor has always displayed -- in every incarnation -- a degree of arrogance and self-assurance. This is largely missing in Amy's Choice, and -- again -- so is any sort of mania. Madness yes, mania no. It is up to Amy to make the insane mental leap and get them killed in the Van.

I miss the mania, and regret the (Power Ranger Daleks) marketing.

YMMV
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:47 am

Jesus Christ my entire post has just been deleted. A slip of the finger, bam, all gone. And people wonder why I hate computers!

Well, what I was saying was that I didn't like the Silurian design because it looked human. Two eyes, two nostrils, lips and chin with scaly skin. A distinct lack of imagination. I'm not lamanting rubber suits, but the attempt to create something genuinely alien. Something that's not like us, that can't be made safe and familiar by taking off a mask. The budget of the costume is a matter of complete indifference to me.

I also mentioned that the scene in the art gallery was indeed a wonderful moment.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby adriane17 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:22 pm

Something truly alien was The Tenth Planet Cybermen design with the linen face and hands and holes for eyes. That would work well today.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:44 am

Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers - Spoilers -

The series finale double episode The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

I caught the second half after being bugged a bit by the first half. It's been getting good marks from almost all critiques, but here are my issues. Some niggles, some not.

1) The alien army. It is out of character for the Daleks -- who have tried to destroy the universe themselves -- to stand in alliance with anyone. Their war with the Cybermen was evidence of this. And why was the Dalek more afraid of River Song than it was of The Doctor. (Though I did love the echo of the Doctor's own threat against the Vashta Nerada. "I'm XXX, look me up.") Despite the desire to include the Daleks in the following episode, I would have found it far more effective to have all his enemies present except the Daleks.

In addition, one of the races involved were the Silurians, which just a few episodes ago it was established that they would have been in hibernation during the events at Stonehenge.

2) Did the Vortex Manipulator violate one of the basic tenets of Whovian Time Travel? It sent the Doctor back into his own timeline -- something which previously has been said to be impossible. Yes, there've been a few precursors: "The (fill in a number) Doctors" are excellent examples. But in this case he just jumped willy nilly back and forth. Apologies to the Great Machine, but it seems to be far more effective a method of time travel than is the TARDIS.

3) Is the TARDIS far more of a thing than has ever been explained before? It would seem to be the end-all be-all controller of time. It's no longer "just" a time travel machine, in many ways it IS time, at least according to the "exploding throughout history" explanation of the destruction of the universe.

4) What about all the dinner guests at Amy and Rory's wedding? The blue box pops in, the Doctor gets out and everybody starts dancing. So much for keeping himself a secret.

5) I did laugh at the Doctor's boredom with the "unwinding" of his life. Odd that it only took him back one series before he yawned and stopped listening. I also appreciated the clue-in as to what he was doing while Amy's eyes were shut during the Angels' attack.

6) Rory certainly took excellent care not to be injured or otherwise melted down for two thousand years.

7) I was bugged by the fact that the universal reboot started on the morning of Amy's wedding day. Why then? If it was rebooted in that fashion, what happened to history? And since the whole of creation was taken from her memory, are there now billions of faceless (unknown to Amy) strangers running around the planet? Are only those planets she visited recreated? If the universe rebooted using the "specks" inside the Pandorica, was history recreated exactly the same, or is it somehow now completely different? If -- before Amy remembered him -- the Doctor was never born, what happened in the Time War? All the events which would have destroyed the Earth or ended with us subjugated to other alien species, etc.

I liked a lot of The Big Bang more than the events of The Pandorica Opens primarily because it was a smaller, more intimate tale. But I found that Moffet's series 31 ender was no better or worse than Davies' run, just less noise.

But there were too many holes for me to ignore.

YMMV
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:59 am

*Ahem*
More Spoilers. . .

Cool! I've never played with the fonts before!

I'm with you on almost every point, except that I think I liked "Pandorica" better than "Big Bang". Pandorica I think worked well as a "meta" episode (I can't think of any other term), a kind of examination/ celeration of mythology rather than an episode in itself. Kind of a dream in the Doctor's head rather than a real event. For all the reasons you mention, it doesn't work as a "real" episode. Nevertheless, I found the final scenes quite chilling: the pandorica opens, and its an empty chair! And they drag him towards it. . . It was quite claustrophic, and for a moment I was able to fool myself into thinking "Wow, maybe they got him this time!" No small acheivement in a series liek this.

Which is why "Big Bang" felt like such a let down. The Doctor's stuck in this mega prison, burried alive as it were at the heart of reality, and how does he get out?

They open the door and let him out.

I've rarely been so let down by a cliffhanger. And the rest of the episode, filled with careless (or intentional?) paradoxes and resolutions taken directly from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey just didn't do it for me. Some lovely moments, such as the Doctor sitting by Amy's bedside and telling the story of the "daft old man with a box", but altogether. . . better than End of Time, not as good as Bad Wolf.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:37 am

Upgraded the cable service last month, & as part of the package got BBCA. First, I wish to gripe at the Beeb for their spotty programming : look, you silly lime-suckers, how about if you show us more BRITISH shows??? Good Xt, why the farq do I want endless reruns of Kitchen Nightmares or ST:TNG?? Because there's "a Brit guy" at the helm??

Anyway. Contrasting blessings upon 'em because they're running Doctor Who and Torchwood... albeit on a schedule seemingly set by paint-sniffing monkeys. The latter has been showing at near random, but at least in sequential order & usually chunks of four. Because of this I've seen the very first episodes, & I now know that I enjoy the "darker" Captain Jack quite as much as the gallant what-the-hell swashbuckler I saw in his second romp through DW.

As far as "The Doctor":
-- liked Hartnell
-- liked Cushing
-- tolerated "Moe" Troughton
-- enjoyed Pertwee (an old song-&-dance man, & it shows)
-- enjoyed Baker 1, mostly for glimpses of the madness behind the grin
-- detested Davison at the time, though in retrospect his deep sighs & fuddledness make sense
-- detested Baker 2, though (again) his brittleness now makes some sense in the main arc
-- consider McCoy & McGann to be one too-long marching-in-place exercise, keeping the franchise alive
-- Eccleston: Best Doctor Ever, a young Al Bundy as James Bond
-- greatly enjoy Tennant, as he could be believably silly & steel-willed by turns

Which brings us to the new guy. Sorry, but Smith as an actor is... okay. Problem is, my first impression on his first episode remains: Harry Potter thru Time & Space. All he's missing is goofy glasses & a scar. A blatant bid for the teen-girl viewing segment.

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Steve Evil
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:34 pm

Daleks on the morning news:

http://www.itv.com/daybreak/entertainme ... ve/?cmpid=


I will never ever forgive the redesign. I also insist that the Cybermen will even the scores. . .

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:20 pm

Agreed on the Dalek redesign. It's as if we went from salt shakers to Power Ranger coffee urns.

I still maintain that the Dalek presence in Pandorica/Big Bang was completely out of character for the Daleks. They cooperate with no one, and consider other races most useful for target practice. The concept that they would join with other races to eliminate The Doctor -- as being too dangerous (?) (They've tried to destroy the universe more than once.) -- is contrary to everything they've ever stood for...
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.


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