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Author Topic: New Doctor Who  (Read 45812 times)

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Thad

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #280 on: April 11, 2010, 10:16:11 AM »

Little heavy on the election-year moralizing, but pretty good overall I thought.  Nice job at providing a solution that should have been obvious but wasn't, at least not immediately.

Observation: the Eleventh Doctor is a pathological liar.  At the end of the first ep, he promises Amy that he has no other reason to ask for a companion besides the company (and whatever meter he's standing next to spikes and then goes off) -- that comes back in this one when she shows exactly why the Doctor needs companions by preventing him from doing something horrifying.  And then that whole bit about how he never interferes with anything, which of course is all he EVER does.

Next week's: well, we'll see; it's not a Moffat episode.  Premise is interesting enough -- one of those that seems obvious until they put a twist on it.

One of the lines in the preview for next week's suggested they may finally be bringing back the Daleks for good.  Of course, there's a dilemma there -- the Doctor reassures himself with the knowledge that the Time Lords' sacrifice was worth it to wipe out the Daleks; if you bring the Daleks back permanently then you mess that up.  On the other hand, you can do Doctor Who with only two Time Lords, but (much as I'd love them to appear less frequently) you can't do Doctor Who without Daleks.  And each time they come back when they're supposed to be wiped out is increasingly more absurd and contrived.  So that needs to be taken care of somehow.

I've seen a lot of griping about the new opening titles but I've decided I like them.  It's a nice contrast to the ostentatious horns of the previous version.  I was disappointed that they didn't include the bridge in the credits version of the theme in the first ep, but they did in the second and it sounds quite good!
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Mothra

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #281 on: April 11, 2010, 10:29:35 AM »

I like the new theme well enough and I do like the opening as a whole, but I will say I liked the time vortex in the RTD run more than the current portal to hell. Really though, what's important in my book is that they kept the tumbling, barely-in-control angle of the Tardis' travel there.

I've honestly never really seen a particularly good Dalek episode so I'm not eager to see them back. I guess they have to be there because it's Doctor Who, but again, I find them utterly uninteresting. The only thing I really like about the buggers is that they have that charming Skeletor quality of only getting excited ever when they're being total assholes.

They just love their job with a passion.
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Thad

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #282 on: April 11, 2010, 11:45:23 AM »

See, I think Dalek, The Parting of the Ways, and Doomsday were all perfectly serviceable Dalek stories.

When the season's over and you're jonesing for a fix, maybe grab Genesis of the Daleks from Netflix.  (Or buy it.  I think it's worth it.)  It's pretty much the best Dalek story.  I also like the original Dalek story from the First Doctor's run and the Sixth and Seventh Doctor Dalek stories.  (I probably wrote more about them in the Old Doctor Who thread.)

I really do think they had the right idea back then, when each Doctor would have ONE Dalek serial.  There's been speculation that this would be Moffat's "Let's get 'em out of the way early" take and then they'd finally get a rest for a few years, but that sure looks like a Dalek city in the adventure game.  Of course, games are rather a different thing than TV; the show could get away with a few years without Daleks, but releasing a game without them would tend to limit your audience.

ALSO:

Loved the "THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE HIGH ON DIGNITY" bit, too.

I loved the bait-and-switch.  Because all the news coverage in the British press was "OMG TIGHT WET CLOTHES THEY ARE SEXING UP THE SHOW THINK OF THE CHILDREN" and in context it really could not have been any less sexy.
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Bal

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #283 on: April 11, 2010, 11:58:11 AM »

I like that observation about being a pathological liar. He also lied when he said he forgot why he put the water on the floor, which he immediately followed up upon by checking on the result of that experiment while he sent Amy off in what he said was a mission to find out what the creepy faces were all about, but in all likelihood was purposely to get her arrested. His apparently absent minded behavior seems to be a guise in general. He's used it to explain away some of his smaller lies, but moreover, in both episodes so far, he's absent minded until he puts on his serious face. Seems like, underneath, he's more pissed off than absent minded.
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Thad

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #284 on: April 11, 2010, 12:08:41 PM »

Yeah, forgot to mention the glasses but I noticed that too.  He doesn't have the air of actual malevolence about him that #7 did, largely due to the (seeming) absentmindedness you mentioned, but he DOES have the same sense that he's playing a very elaborate game of chess and his companion is a piece in it.

I think Smith's said otherwise -- basically that the eccentric behavior is the Doctor acting on instinct and then he only realizes the significance of what he's seen at the end -- which is plausible (it certainly describes Amy's behavior in this episode) but doesn't quite fit with the water example.
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Bal

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #285 on: April 11, 2010, 02:04:24 PM »

I don't think it's malevolent at all, just misleading. Sort of how the previous Doctor used nonchalance and a clever attitude to put people people at their ease, or distract them from his actual intent, this one does the absent minded act. He also doesn't bother to explain as much to people, he just acts on whatever conclusions he's come to.
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Misha

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #286 on: April 11, 2010, 10:27:08 PM »

I basically hated this episode. [spoiler]Ok the churchill bit at the end was neat, and certain of the small bits, but every major element was basically nonsensical and annoying. I get the whole "humans are evil" message people always like to put in scifi but I just find it ridiculous that when the whale is already offering to do exactly what we want people would hide and torture it forever for no explained reason. Even worse, who the fuck would POSSIBLY think it's ok to try and feed kids who fail a test to it? The whole "let each citizen decide on their own whether to perpetuate the evil" thing was pretty cool but was pretty much spoiled by the massive secrecy and devouring. The reasonable-seeming approach of the rulers of a society choosing to perpetuate horror in exchange for society's survival is made totally unreasonable by the ridiculous means by which they go about it. Finally, why was the doctor's first thought not "let's make contact with other humans and find a NON spacewhale powersource" instead of let's kill the spacewhale. Clearly all the OTHER nations found some way to exist without being on the back of a tortured creature. You can make the transition off the spacewhale's back. Your options do not need to be either kill the whale or kill humanity.[/spoiler]
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Thad

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #288 on: April 12, 2010, 06:13:21 AM »

Nah, #11's not malevolent; I was saying #7 was.  Maybe "malevolent" is too strong a word -- "sinister" would be better.

Moffat's repeatedly emphasized that there's only one Doctor and he's not (as yet) writing the Doctor specifically for Smith, that it's up to Smith to make the character his own.  So it's perfectly reasonable that he would do similar things to the previous incarnations but with a completely different tone.

Drethelin's right, on the whole, about the lack of narrative coherence in this one -- it's the least logically consistent ep Moffat's done, and if it were a Davies episode we'd probably all be howling about the overbearing moralizing, lack of subtlety, and the fact that the Smilers don't really make sense as monsters.  (Purely a hypothetical, of course, as no other writer but Moffat would have created the Smilers.)  That said, he also highlights the episode's strengths.  I think it wins on tone and a couple of very clever ideas even though the story is pretty illogical.  It actually highlight's Moffat's "fairytale" approach pretty well; the story doesn't have to make sense so much as give children nightmares.

The more I think about it, the more important the Doctor's lying is.  Basically this ENTIRE EPISODE was about how secrets and lies are destructive.  In fact, the Doctor is absolutely outraged that Amy tried to hide something from him -- he's not only a liar, he's a hypocrite, too.

It's been pointed out elsewhere that the spike in the meter when the Doctor first lies to Amy resembles one of the cracks in spacetime that the season arc appears to revolve around.  And [spoiler]we see another one on New Britain[/spoiler].  Could there be a connection between lying and the appearance of the cracks?
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Bal

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #289 on: April 12, 2010, 06:46:43 AM »

RE: Finding another nation's ship. The whole ship was built around the whale. If there was a "release the whale with no consequences" button, the Doctor surely would have pushed it.  Finding a new power source would be rather pointless, given that there was nowhere to install it, and no means of removing the whale without dismantling the ship.
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Mothra

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #290 on: April 12, 2010, 03:11:47 PM »

Huh, I hadn't noticed the crack thing, but you're right. I'm sure it's just the season finale big bad, but I'd love if it was somehow the Doctor's doing.
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Bal

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #291 on: April 12, 2010, 03:25:50 PM »

It can be both. It often is.
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Verde

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #292 on: April 13, 2010, 01:33:35 AM »

Little heavy on the election-year moralizing, but pretty good overall I thought.
The day after this episode aired, the incumbent Labour Party released this party political broadcast starring Pertwee Jr and with David Tennant doing the voiceover. Seems Dr Who is doing the election and the election is doing Dr Who. Or maybe we've just become so obsessed with Dr Who as a nation that we need a Time Lord to tell us who we should vote for.

Re: All of this stuff
[spoiler]Lots of words behind a spoiler tag.[/spoiler]
I agree the whole thing about building a country around a whale flying around in space was incredibly dumb, but an energy source that comes at the cost of the lives of innocent people and children, as well as the larger theme of whether torture can be necessary, may not be entirely nonsensical in an episode where elections are a constant theme and that aired just three weeks before the UK goes to the polls to decide whether we want to keep the government that took us to Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm glad it wasn't 45 minutes of posturing over Iraq, but let's not pretend there isn't a less-fantastical real world parallel going on right this very second.

I basically think this would've been a pretty throwaway episode were it not for the fact that there was just enough Moffat in there to save it. Nightmare fuel for kids, spot on pacing, a couple of laugh out loud moments, check. Rather more apprehensive about the next ep., what with it being Daleks and not written by Moffat, but we'll see.
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Royal☭

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #293 on: April 15, 2010, 07:33:19 AM »

"Beast Below" is beginning to become one of those episodes that as I reflect on it, I begin to dislike it more and more.

The illogical plot and haphazard pacing aside - the episode moves a little too quickly, with barely any time to really absorb and process what's going on - the biggest flaw comes near the end as the Doctor is preparing to zap the star whale into a coma.  Coming on the heels of the Doctor moralizing to Amy about how she doesn't get to make decision for him, he then proceeds to begin making a massive, torturous decision for the rest of the society.  It's blatant hypocrisy that weakens the character.

But that's only part of the problem.  While he's doing this, the Doctor shoots off a quick line about how after he's done, he'll have to pick a new name because, "I sure as hell won't be the Doctor anymore."  This implies that he knows full well the horrors of what he's about to do, and is willing to go through with it.  In effect, the Doctor openly admits that what he is doing violates his own moral code, but still considers himself to be the only one who can make that decision.

Then after that, nothing.  The only reason he stops is because Amy discovers that the star whale wants to help children, and the incident is practically washed away with a hug and a "Well, better not do that next time" mentality that makes the Doctor look like a psychopath.  It might have gone better if Amy could have helped the Doctor realize the other option for himself, instead of simply being a check on a cold-blooded killer.  It's similar to "The Parting of the Ways" in that regard, but without the transparency of a literal deus ex machina.

I dislike the episodes that imply that deep down, the Doctor is a controlling murderer who is only kept in check because other people have the foresight and determination to stop him.  This takes the character from being a thoughtful, morally ambiguous yet ultimately benevolent being to just being an irrational psychopath who follows his base urges.

Bal

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #294 on: April 15, 2010, 11:11:49 AM »

It's a pretty long standing theme that one of the reasons he keeps a companion around is to help him keep some perspective. He certainly lost it over the course of last year's specials.
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Mothra

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #295 on: April 15, 2010, 03:00:02 PM »

Yeah. I'm generally behind anything that paints the Doctor as just a really old man and not some all-knowing supergenius taking the best possible action in any given situation. He'd murder the star whale to save the city, yes, but given what he knew and what he had seen, what other choice did he have? Given the circumstances, putting it into a coma was the only way to end its suffering without dooming the entire civilization.

I like that given no other choice, the Doctor decided on the best action he had available. In other situations like this - the season finale with Eccelson, or in The End - he just decided to do nothing until a deus ex machina solved it for him. Letting the Daleks destroy all of humanity because it would go against his moral code to start droppin' genocidez isn't really the right thing to do.

That said, this episode definitely did try to do a bit too much in too little a time.
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Thad

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #296 on: April 15, 2010, 05:09:28 PM »

Coming on the heels of the Doctor moralizing to Amy about how she doesn't get to make decision for him, he then proceeds to begin making a massive, torturous decision for the rest of the society.  It's blatant hypocrisy that weakens the character.

I'm not sure if it weakens his character, but I AM pretty sure it makes me like him less.

The The USA Today solicited some questions for Matt the other day; I didn't get around to putting one in but I wanted to throw something in along the lines of "So, your Doctor seems to lie a lot, and is very charming and cavalier about it.  Without giving anything away, is he just not thinking, or is there something more sinister going on there?"

But that's only part of the problem.  While he's doing this, the Doctor shoots off a quick line about how after he's done, he'll have to pick a new name because, "I sure as hell won't be the Doctor anymore."  This implies that he knows full well the horrors of what he's about to do, and is willing to go through with it.  In effect, the Doctor openly admits that what he is doing violates his own moral code, but still considers himself to be the only one who can make that decision.

So we've got lies, hypocrisy, AND arrogance.

Then after that, nothing.

That remains to be seen.  As I've said, I'm pretty well convinced this is significant in the season arc.  The Doctor's own lies, secrecy, and (near) abuse of power mirror those of Britain itself in the episode.  That's not trivial.  That's going to come back.

I dislike the episodes that imply that deep down, the Doctor is a controlling murderer who is only kept in check because other people have the foresight and determination to stop him.  This takes the character from being a thoughtful, morally ambiguous yet ultimately benevolent being to just being an irrational psychopath who follows his base urges.

But it's gone both ways.  In The Waters of Mars, a companion prevents him from doing something GOOD because she feels it's an abuse of his power.  It's not that he's a psychopath so much as the most powerful being in the universe -- with a corresponding loss in perspective.  Yes, in this case Amy has to physically stop him -- but her larger role, like Donna's, is to keep him grounded, to keep his own judgement from getting too skewed.

As for "controlling" -- that's been an aspect of the Doctor's character from the beginning, but it's been played to different effects at different times.

As for "murderer" -- a little strong, but he HAS certainly killed in cold blood on some occasions.  On others -- like this one -- he's agonized over it.

I think all of these contradictions and flaws make him a richer character, not a poorer one.  But I DO find them unsettling, especially in contrast to his sunny disposition.

I expect to see all this play out over the course of the next 11 episodes -- and then hopefully he'll have his shit together by next season.



MEANWHILE: Nrama covers the US premiere.  Highlights:

Quote
A very important aspect of the Doctorís own past will finally be dealt with this season as Newsarama learned exclusively Ė The Doctorís regeneration limit. ďItís been addressed in a very, very cheeky way by an old friend of mine and Iím not going to tell you any more about that,Ē said Moffat, telling us to ďwait and see.Ē

Something you donít have to wait for is discovering who the Eleventh Doctorís Big Bad will be. Smith told the crowd itís seen in the very first episode. ďAlbeit, not in the most conventional form. Youíre going to have to think about it and find out what it is, but itís in there,Ē he said. ďAnd thatís the one, thatís what takes us through the whole series and my god, itís bad.Ē

I'm going to reiterate that I think the shot where the Doctor lies and the equipment behind him spikes to look just like one of those space-time cracks is KEY.

Is the Doctor his own big bad?
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Royal☭

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #297 on: April 15, 2010, 05:20:49 PM »

I guess I find it a little unearned this early in the season.  This is taking place literally only hours after he regenerated, so not even he has a full idea of the extent of his character.

I don't mind his making tough - even wrong - decisions, being powered mad or anything like that.  I think the flaws do make him richer.  What I found weakened the whole thing was how it was kind of portrayed as a fluke.  Amy gleefully re-accepted him, they hugged and off to the next adventure.  It seemed like little reflection on the events had taken place.

"The Parting of the Ways" did this a little bit better.  The Doctor was planning on using technology that would wipe out Earth just to because he felt the Dalek's were too big a threat to the universe.  In the end, though, I think he determines that it's simply too big a responsibility for him to make a decision on, so he simply relents and plans to deal with the consequences of the Daleks.  It was a great moment that showed that he wasn't capable of genocide, even he felt the situation demanded it (so to speak).  Of course, the episode ends by Spider-maning the whole thing, but the character development was still earned.

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #298 on: April 16, 2010, 10:30:05 PM »

So Moffat claims it's a mistake, but apparantly freeze framing the nurse badge in Eleventh Hour reveals that Rory became a nurse in 1990, which along with the other timeless quirks of how Amy's house is difficult to actually date, is leading some people to speculate that she's got something to do with the cracks.  I think it'll be interesting to see, if nothing else, if it genuinely was just a production flub or if Moffat's intentionally misleading people.
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Royal☭

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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #299 on: April 17, 2010, 07:45:18 PM »

Enjoyed the new episode, even if the ending was kind of eh.  If there's one thing I absolutely adore about this new episode, it's how it manages to capture the pulp aesthetic of the old Doctor Who episodes while still feeling like a show that's made in 2010.  The scene where [spoiler]the Daleks turn on all the lights in Britain[/spoiler] looked both modern and retro at the same time.  The series as a whole seems to have been given a major visual upgrade, on pair from when production went up from Eccleston to Tenant.

You know, as much as I ragged on "The Beast Below", one thing I really loved was how much it wore its inspirations on its sleeve.  The entire episode seem to pull inspiration from a variety of sources, such as Terry Gilliam films, Half-Life, and maybe even Bioshock.  There's no denying that the voting machine, with it's analogue televisions and big "Protest" and "Forget" buttons doesn't look like an unused prop from Brazil.  I'm really liking the art direction this season, and so far it doesn't seem like a fluke.

Also, in the preview for next week, the Doctor greets the blonde lady seen in the previous previews with [spoiler]"River?"[/spoiler]
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