Doctor Who - Season 31

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Steve Evil
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:16 am

Alright, so how many of you here have seen the finale? Can I talk about it yet? Or at least The Almost People? I'm bursting here. . .

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:49 pm

Steve

We can't accommodate, I'm afraid. Season pause doesn't run til this weekend.

Mark your thoughts as SPOILERS but feel free to post -- just don't expect any answers from this side of the...er..."pond".
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:45 am

Okay, Mr. Evil. It ran last night on BBCA.


Yeah. About that ending.

SPOILERS BELOW, SWEETIE, SPOILERS

I HEREBY DECLARE THE REST OF THIS THREAD TO CONTAIN SPOILERS, BE WARNED AND NO COMPLAININ'

(At least 'til the new sheriff -- who is currently on a train comin' in from St Loo -- arrives.)
- 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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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:13 am

Barber wrote:Mark your thoughts as SPOILERS but feel free to post -- just don't expect any answers from this side of the...er..."pond".



You must've howled at the irony in that statement.

I wondered, early in the episode, why Amy was being so insistent that Melody's last name be Pond. It's highly unusual that a child takes the mother's maiden name, but this was just the first of several twists in an attempt to make things fit. I did rather like the fact that the Tardis won't translate Gallifreyan for travelers. Kind of a fail-safe system.

This finale -- while a lot of fun and big -- was weak in a number of surprising areas. I'd rank it below PARTING OF THE WAYS, JOURNEY'S END and DOOMSDAY for quality (and yes, I know this is only a season break not the end of a series, but still).

Things that rather bugged me:

Matt Smith has done a terrific job as The Doctor in many ways. His mania is second to none, and he has a particular glee in his approach to the character.

One thing he has never effectively pulled off, however, is The Doctor when he gets angry. At best Smith appeared mildly miffed in this episode, even when supposedly enraged and at his most threatening. David Tennant pulled off this subtlety in a far more effective manner, running the range of gleeful to furious to energized within seconds, but never letting you doubt each of the emotional states as they passed. Smith seems a bit more disconnected and insincere during the angry bits -- he cannot convey that seething inner quality of the Doctor's dangerous side. Smith nailed the gentle scene with Rory, Amy and Melody beautifully. But in that terrifying moment of realization of what Amy was holding, he seemed far more downcast than genuinely enraged.

Other things: The bending to make it fit name of the baby, though the realization of her identity was terrific. But I cannot help but feel that the story was not in full bloom when they started foreshadowing it. All of the essential elements came from only the last few episodes. It's almost as if Moffat only decided on the cliffhanger while writing THE REBEL FLESH. If Amy was indeed replaced, when was it done? And if it preceded THE REBEL FLESH, why did they just happen to go to that place in the two eps before the cliffhanger? Usually such things are suggested much earlier in the arc (Bad Wolf, Turn Left, etc.)

One thing Moffat does very well is to give depth to minor characters in short scenes. Lorna Bucket and the gay couple were nicely defined in just a couple of exchanges. But in what should have been a defining moment of the episode, gay husband "fat guy" is -- we know -- beheaded and made a monk. Woohoo? So what happened when his husband discovered him missing. Nothing. Was there a purpose to making him a monk? Nope. Just a scene, feeling distinctly like filler. It did nothing to further the story, essentially filling in inconsequential details, and then leaving them hanging.

The appearance of Melody in THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT was a nice setup for this episode's biggest revelation, but the rest of the hour was just simply too cobbled together for my tastes, and really didn't have the grand drama that the telling could have accomplished. Rory had some great moments, not the least of which was asking the Cybermen his question. But still. Just not effective on the whole.

The first half of this series has had some very good stories. Nothing classic, but very good. Just not this one.
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby FinderDoug » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:38 am

While there were some enjoyable points, the whole thing felt rushed - my primary disagreement being that the Doctor has earned this 'reputation' he has with (apparently) the universe as the fiercest warrior ever, with only mere glimmers of this before this episode. I'd have bought this line of reasoning with Eccleston's Doctor, who seemed not so far removed from the Time War that he'd be willing to take a swing at you. In fact, the current Doctor seems to have gone out of his way to NOT be a "great warrior" (Amy says as much to herself when watching the rallying speech before the Doctor shows up)> So for me, a great narrative question cum story hole is where this perception came from, especially since River reinforces to him that this is the perception. (And as a total aside, in what TIME does this perception exist? For a non-linear character, how do you explain the development of this persona of the Doctor as Conan the Time Lord?

Also -

though the case might be made for Amy and Rory both having enough timey-whimey stuff around them that they could have a very unusual regenerating TARDIS/time baby, I'm not buying into that leap yet


I guess I'm going to be forced to buy into this leap after all, though I'm still sussing out just how badly River has been screwing with the Doctor for the last season and a half; and I won't even get started on how the revelation COMPLETELY reduces the risk/tension of the remainder of the 'Amy's baby as Doctor killing weapon' since UNLESS they plan to completely negate River Song, we pretty much know she turns out okay (for if she didn't, then at the point the baby is abducted, a branch would form in the timeline and we'd see River's personality change, no?)

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Alejandro Riera » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:03 pm

And now we have these news, my fellow Whovians...a much shorter season of the Doctor for 2012 apparently to make room for a more ambitious run in 2013 (the series' 50th anniversary):

http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2011/06/dw ... s-for.html

Still don't know what to make of this.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:47 pm

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:16 am

Well fine, just don't go calling ME the naysayer no more!

Fact is I loved the series. Each and every episode (even the pirate one!). Moffat appears to have finally ditched the moronic irony of the RTD years and made the show scary again.

I'll agree that the Doctor as warrior theme is getting tiresome; not only does it leach suspence, but it just doesn't fit the Doctor's persona, and especially not this particular Doctor's. Still, as far as plot holes go, this was small potatoes compared to what RTD used to get away with.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:45 am

SPOILERS

I had kind of a surprising connection which may end up being completely ignored by Moffat and company, but bears mention.

River Song has now been shown to be a) partly Time Lord, and b) capable of regeneration.

Which bears the question: did she really die at the end of Forest of the Dead?

Things that make you go "hmmmm..."
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:13 pm

"SPOILERS, SWEETIE, SPOILERS!"

Ben W. wrote:Without going into "spoilers", all I can say is that atheists will be absolutely tickled pink by THE GOD COMPLEX, the latest episode of Doctor Who.


Okay.

Gotta say I'm losing interest in Doctor Who as the season progresses. This is going to surprise some folks, but there it is.

First, THE GOD COMPLEX.

Not a great episode. Contrived plot -- essentially retelling the legend of the Minotaur complete with...well, Minotaur. In a hotel. With lots of munchy people just sitting around as plot devices/feeding tubes. The entire episode just felt contrived to me. A low rent MIDNIGHT.

Secondly, Rory, who has become a truly compelling character, is told by The Doctor that he really has no faith. Not true. Irresponsibly not true. He has faith in Amy. He spent a few thousand years having faith that she would return to him. This annoyed me to the point of really not caring about much as we were shown little Amy yet again and The Doctor then trashes her faith in him. Utterly uncharacteristic and unbelievable.

(And what's up with the Doctor Seuss "Whovian" except perhaps as an inside joke?)

Next, The Doctor. Or, more accurately, Matt Smith's portrayal. I've never been a tremendous fan, but it's gone beyond that. I don't find the current characterization of The Doctor to be terribly compelling. Manic, yes. Compelling, no. For one thing, he lacks the weightiness of a thousand year old character. For another, despite repeated comments on the topic, he lacks any real sense of The Doctor's rage. Eccleston and more particularly Tennant, nailed this aspect of The Doctor. When Smith attempts rage, it comes across as more immature pissyness than anything more intense or dangerous. When Eccleston and more particularly Tennant became angry, they conveyed a true sense that the were capable of anything, of any action, of any act, which would rain utter agony down upon their target. With Smith I cannot escape the sense that the worst he could do would be bitch-slap ther aggressor. Yes, yes, they've "shown" his actions -- blowing up entire Cyberships behind Rory to make a point, but Smith doesn't convey the same character as his actions would portend. Blowing up a Cybership is much more a Tennant/Eccleston act. Again, Smith might manage a bitch slap or two, but on a good day he would seem to be challenged in the Dangerous Expression Department by a koala with indigestion.

(Am I going too far?)

THE GOD COMPLEX crystalized these thoughts of mine. None of the episodes yet this year qualify as a classic, in my mind, or even manage to achieve the emotions, tension and characterization along the lines of, say, THE EMPTY CHILD, THE GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE, BLINK, SILENCE OF THE LIBRARY, the aforementioned MIDNIGHT, VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR, etc, etc, etc. (The lone possible exception I will admit may be THE DOCTOR'S WIFE, but that's an iffy one...)

Okay. Just felt like venting after an annoying episode.

On the other hand, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY exonerated itself in the last three episodes. It took some time to get through the middle, but the ending was really quite good.

But that's another story for another time...
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:25 am

Odd. I adored the God Complex. Only the pompous soundtrack bothered me.

I think you're spot on about Matt's Doctor though. I'm wondering if they made him purposely lack balls so that River-song could dominate all her episodes. I can't imagine any of the other ones getting so all "aw shucks" useless just 'cause a companion learns to fly the TARDIS. . .

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Ben W. » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:55 am

Okay, let's try to review the rules of this episode:

1) Hotel "guest" finds his/her room.
2) Guest sees his/her worst fear.
3) Guest falls back on personal faith - God, luck, conspiracy theories, whatever - for protection.
4) Minotaur gets inside guest's head.
5) Pupils dilate.
6) Brain-zap/ "Praise him".

I'd like to think that episode writer Toby Whithouse isn't criticizing faith itself, so much as how faith can be easily twisted into something diabolical - in the case of a fictional universe like DOCTOR WHO, being brainwashed by an alien minotaur into a rapturous imbecile, and in the case of real life, flying a pair of planes into the Twin Towers. Except Whithouse muddles things up by asserting that Rory has no "faith". Barber has already gone into detail about why this is bollocks, but Whithouse only amps up the confusion by giving the Doctor his own room. So, the Doctor has "faith", but what exactly is Whithouse trying to say? That the Doctor's faith is somehow "better" (or at least better monitored - notice his pupils didn't dilate) than the faith of the other characters? Yes, I know the question of what the Doctor saw in the room is liable to be answered in future stories, but I'm reviewing the episode on its own terms and not out of some grand season-long arc.

One way or another, this was one of the most thematically clunky episodes of the season.

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Moderator » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:00 am

Steve -

Did you enjoy the episode, or the theme of the episode?
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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby Steve Evil » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:57 am

Me? I enjoyed the episode. I liked the monster, and the hotel where there was something scary behind every door and how the Doctor really had to think about how to battle this thing (even asking it directly at one point). It's funny how I seem to enjoy the episodes more just as alot of other people seem to be enjoying them less.

I didn't really think much about the theme until Ben pointed it out. I could see how secularization would hinder a monster that fed on faith, but never figrued the episode was an attack on faith per se. I mean, there is a psychic monster that will feed off any human emotion, and this time it was faith's turn.

It was actually a kind of interesting inversion of an eighties Who episode in which the monsters (vampires - what else?) were repelled by faith. There were some really heart-tugging scenes in which the monsters tried to challenge the would be faith of their victims (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), and at one point the Doctor actually had to puncture his then companion's faith in him, just like now.

I rather thought that what the Doctor meant was that Rory just wasn't the priority at that moment. That the Minotar was taking down the guests one at a time, and had simply gone after Amy first. I doubt the author meant to imply that Rory was safe because he didn't believe in anything. Granted, in which case it was a clumsy delivery.

Looking at it now, I can see how the episode might bother someone of faith. But it's not like Doctor Who has become didactically atheistic. I mean, how many of RTD's episodes glorified faith? Remember how he defeated the Master the first time?


Now, let's see if the Cybermen get their due. . .

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Re: Doctor Who - Season 31

Postby reddragon70 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:25 am

Less than an hour til Who again. Looking forward to this one, always had a soft spot for Cybermen episodes.


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