Doctor Who

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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:35 pm

Haven't really had the time to give in-depth reactions throughout the season, but now that the season finale is nearly here, I have a few thoughts.

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The first half of the season had its moments, but was inconsistent, not so much episode-to-episode as within the episodes themselves. Kill The Moon was the absolute nadir of the season and in my view is one of the worst episodes ever, right up there with Time-Flight, Time and the Rani, Boom Town, and the entire last quarter of Tennant's first season. The atmosphere was ok for the first 10-15 minutes, but the "science" was just ludicrous. Giant, unicellular, prokaryotic germs on the moon, which is really a giant egg, out of which a dragon is going to hatch, and the pieces of the moon are just going to disintegrate? The confrontation between Clara and the Doctor at the end was one of the only good portions of the episode. Capaldi's Doctor is quite gruff and very much about burying emotions and it was interesting to see Clara bristle at that a bit.

- Deep Breath and Listen were probably my two favorites from the first half of the season. The Caretaker had some good bits, as I think Danny Pink is probably my favorite of the "boyfriends". Not that Rory wasn't great in his own way, or the part well-acted, but Danny is the least melodramatic, most sensible and is used the least as a "but the Doctor is a crazy alien!" plot device of any of them. And it's nice to see that the writers are being kind enough to the Doctor to at least make him right nearly all of the time as a counter to his more curmudgeonly and condescending attitude.

- The one thing he hasn't been right about - Danny, his being a soldier, and what that means or doesn't mean - has been good, too. Going back to the 3rd Doctor, he's never much cared for soldiers and it's nice to see him grow a bit, too, and have one of his prejudices probed and explored. They have been very good about showing how Danny can't be fit into the Doctor's stereotype, as well - they could have gone over the top or had a bunch of retarded monologues; instead they are mostly doing it with concise, well-chosen demonstrations of his behavior and personality, rather than with yakking heads. Good stuff.

- The post-Moon episodes have been much stronger, overall, than the first batch. The two Matheson-penned stories, Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline were both quite nice. It's excellent watching a great team put together really good character development that is neither maudlin nor trite. That was huge complaint of mine during the Eccleston and Tennant years, and it's been mostly absent for several seasons now. They are really developing Clara, this incarnation of the Doctor, and their understanding of each other, tremendously, and it never feels fake or dumb. Congratz all around for that.

- I was really worried Mummy would be silly and goofy but instead it was very intriguing. Although some of the earlier episodes fell down a bit (the aforementioned Moon) one thing that has also stood out with this season is the creativity of the ideas. Even when the idea turns out to not work, it's still something of a noble failure - at least they tried something outside of the box. And I thought Mummy and Flatline were both successes - idea of a 2D universe invading ours was so refreshin git felt more like something a Big Finish writer would have done rather than someone writing for TV Doctor Who.

- In the Forest of the Night was largely inconsequential, but I don't think that hits you until it's over. The development of the principals continues strongly here, show-don't-tell, and without overblown dialogue. I'm not 100% sold on the story or the explanation (we need to get some of these writers to add some more science to the science-fiction) but Boyce is a children's writer and from that perspective the episode works well enough.

- Dark Water - hoo boy! And i had been thinking Missy might be the Rani. The occasional rumors that swirl around about making the Doctor female always aggravate me a bit, but I'm totally ok with making the Master female. Michelle Gomez does a terrific job, too. The Doctor seems a bit daft in not having sussed out that she was 1) not a robot and 2) a Time Lord but the rest of the episode works nicely. The Doctor/Clara relationship was, finally, a bit overdone at the start, though prior to the dream-state volcano scene I liked that Clara's reaction to Danny's death was one of shock, quiet and it was acted well. I wish that instead of saying, "I know when to change things and when not to" we would get something that is less of a "handwave" response from the Doctor (just waves the objection away without explaining).

Perhaps in the historical records it is actually because of the Doctor that these various things happen, so that by showing up and saving people from the Daleks, for example, he is simply doing what is always supposed to have happened. When he goes back to history he already knows about, he becomes aware of what can and can't be changed because he knows how it turns out, but when dealing with the present/future/unknown, he's the historical force that causes it to happen that way to begin with, and/or he just doesn't know. At least he does explain about the paradox loop.

Anyway, never saw the Cybermen coming, and thought that was brilliantly done. The explanations about what's really going on mesh very nicely with what we've seen, leaving very few gaps or flaws. Very much looking forward to tonight's conclusion.
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:11 pm

Liu Yuante, your probably the first person who has really responded well to Danny Pink that I have met. Comparing him to Rory on the other hand is high-treason :wink:

===

Traditionally, for me, Doctor Who finales either 1) bore me to death, 2) have good, enjoyable character interactions but tend to drag when dramatic or scary or action moment is needed.

This was more the second then the first but, despite individually good scenes, felt like it ran out of steam near the end.

-Clara didn't click with Danny enough to help rescue that story but she was strong early as she faced cyber-men and strong with the Doctor, like the hug scene. The ending of the episode in regards her would have made a pretty strong way for her character to bow out, I simply hope her reappearance next time is explained properly this time.

-Glad the current version of Master isn't dead but teleported out. Loved the way she killed her assistant! Missy was a lot of fun but slightly erratic, felt like they were trying a bit too hard to sell the eccentric aspect at times though the Mary Poppins aspect was great. Gomez really pulled off her big serious scenes at the end with the Doctor

-Slightly sorry to Osgood go but death didn't have any impact and glad to see Unit again. On Brigadier moment, I had mixed feelings. I understand their wish to give the Brigadier a bigger send off then they gave when he died and the execution wasn't bad, I liked it but there was something that didn't quite sit right

-Master needs to get the cyber-men fixed, amazing how conveniently the two bucked their programming.

-I thought Master lied about where to find Gallifrey and thus the Doctor's frustration in the Tardis but I'm reading she told the truth?

-The exception to the character scene enjoyment was the Danny Pink stuff, had it's moments but a lot of it felt... cold, flat. They never built Pink well and he was a character few people seem to care for. "Nice enough chap" seems the highest praise he gets and that isn't enough for such scenes. Yes yes he loves Clara but his suffering didn't move me. He was better as a faceless cyber-man.


As for the season overall.... it has been a series of 6 or 7 out of ten episodes, no stand out episode or moment that will linger forever, did give two villains that look promising for the future
Missy and the 2 dimensional things
. No episode that I hated or was utterly bored by. Capaldi's Doctor was fun and good serious moments from him, hopefully scheduling will mean more room for him next time, I liked Clara without her becoming the next Amy or Dona or Rose's Mum. Danny Pink was... sort of just there for me, he seemed a nice enough bloke but I didn't warm to him and words about the Doctor that worked with others, somehow didn't work from him.

Meanwhile I felt the storylines based around the three had it's moments yes but Moffat did not wrap them up sufficiently well.
I felt the time when Clara just reapprered for the train episode without explaining how things had shifted from episode before typified the slackness about it.


Oh and for moving the time-slot of kid shows like Doctor Who and Atlantis, bad call by the BBC.
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:44 am

That was a lot of fun, second only to the Katherine Jenkins one for my Doctor Who Christmas special favourite. Funny, good side characters, monsters weren't scary unsurprisingly but the story used them well
even if prone to sign posting and almost spinning out of control
, nice movie nods and the appropriate Christmas spirit.

major spoilers
-SANTA! Elves were fun too.

-The sleigh section, after the initial thrill, was sad. The lady in the wheelchair, the so very lonely shop worker Shona...

-Best dancing ever

-Loved the joke about Alien

-Felt the Danny Pink scenes worked well, particularly his cutting remark about only saving Clara and his gentle persuasion
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:28 am

My quick Xmas special review - "A terrific and well-acted horror piece partially-marred by the occasional presence of Santa Claus".

Also:

They should have gone with the first ending (Doctor returns to Clara decades later). Maybe not as happy, but definitely more poignant, and reversing it 3 minutes later completely obliterated any meaning or pathos that it had.


Also, in response to my positive view of Danny Pink - well, Rory was pretty great. But, it's also true that Rory was especially great to those likely to identify with him. He's a young man in his twenties, brave, funny, and increasingly self-confident as time goes on. I'm trying to find a way to say this without sounding insulting, and I don't think I'm going to succeed, but there's a time in our lives when we look at someone like that and think - yeah, that's the way to be. Especially when he questions the Doctor (the series' representation of authority).

By contrast, Danny is humble, self-effacing, mature and comfortable with himself. He doesn't especially like the Doctor, but he respects that Clara does. He doesn't want any part in a life like that, but he's not stuck on himself to the point of going on about it constantly. In some ways he's small-minded - doesn't have any concern for things of grandiose wonder and beauty - but at the same time he finds that same wonder and beauty in the things that make up everyday life. He has a more mature and adult look on the world and would guess that this perspective finds less resonance with viewers the younger they are.
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:40 am

I hope you got coal in your stocking from Santa :wink:

Very much agree with that


I more like Rory due to his love of Amy and that relationship. With Danny, the idea is fine, great actually and would have liked to have seen more on that but felt things were mishandeled+the actor didn't pull it off for me and for quite a few others.
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:08 pm

Doctor Who tonight! Yay! Not quite been the build up one would expect, maybe just not been looking in right places
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:56 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Doctor Who tonight! Yay! Not quite been the build up one would expect, maybe just not been looking in right places


How was it? I recorded it on DVR but haven't watched it yet.

Incidentally, what do you think of these new Complete Doctor Who books? It annoys me that subscriptions aren't available to U.S. residents, so we just have to get them from our local comic shops (assuming they order them). They probably won't tell me too much more than I've already read, but at the same time I absolutely must have them :wink:
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:46 pm

I can't speak for the cartoons. On the episode, it is quite a popular episode but I wasn't a fan, found it all a bit erratic with some really good bits, some bad and lacking oomph after the opening.

episode spoilers
Good: Started really well, the chaos of war, the child, the hand-mines, the doctor's encouraging words and then Davros. Also seeing Colony Sarff stuff was good, some nice nods and a bit of a creepy figure. The Doctor's first apperence with the tank and the guitar vs the weary warrior, the bad futuristic jokes. Missy's rallying cry, Davros.

Bad: the Clara+Missy thing fell flat for me throughout the episode which is a bit of a problem given they play a key part. Not helped by overloading Missy with eccentricity now. the PM thing just felt "look how important Clara is", episode lacked tension.
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Yuán Shù » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:36 pm

I quite liked the season opener for what it was, but I'm pretty sure I'd let Capaldi's Doctor get away with murder. I agree that it was pretty erratic; I thought the pacing was rather uncomfortable for much of the episode.


I was very pleased with the Davros bombshell at the beginning; I'm interested to see what they do with Davros this time around.

I was happy that they included a Tom Baker speech in this episode, though the throwback seemed a little forced.

I like Clara, but I don't know how long she can remain an interesting companion. She seems a bit too on top of things, and I feel like that might begin to take away from the Doctor.

I'm glad to see Missy return, and I'm very interested to see how they write her character arc this season. I hope that they tone her down a little bit once everything gets under way.

I wonder if invisible Skaro might be foreshadowing Gallifrey's return?
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Re: Doctor Who

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:43 pm

So season 9....

Started off with a fair two parters which tended to have one episode good, other lacking. Example using this thread, first episode erratic but enjoyed the second episode. The only "potential classic" episode was the penultimate episode for me, loved the mystery in that one. It was a solid season overall, rarely dreadful, not really great, had some nice tension episodes, still has a strong doctor. I do think the late hour for Doctor Who is disappointing given it is meant to be a family show

-Was great seeing Davros again

-Under the Lake Ghosta and the Fisher King were quite creepy, was great having a forceful deaf character as well.

-Maisie Williams was seen as quite a coup but didn't feel she performed that well, she wasn't bad but she could be a bit erratic. I did like the idea of Ashildor and the way "Me" developed, the loneliness and the anger (the loss of her children scene was excellent).

-I liked use of baby translations in episode 5

-Sleep No More had some intresting ideas but execution was poor, the only episode I really disliked

-The last three episodes and Clara overall: I liked Clara as a character, she was spunky, mixed well with the Doctor, brave but felt there were too few classic moments to make her a Amy/Rory/Donna top tier companion. Most of her best moments going into the last part of the show were being other Oswald's like the Dalek.

The raven episode was widely popular and I admired it technically but for whatever reason, the episode didn't click. I have no idea why. Was a nice idea after the heavy handed hints that Clara died through a moment of recklessness. The maze one was intruiging, monster wasn't scary as hand revealed early on but good usse of mourning theme. Which was then all underminned by the last episode.

I initially thought the waitress Clara was another Clara like in Matt Smith's time. Would have been better if it had been. Clara had a good death, why take that away from her? It also didn't feel right, I could see the Doctor going ballistic and something like that (though the coup was badly done) but not for Clara, not for her. The episode had fine technical qualities but it has been a long time since I have failed to buy into the basic idea of a Doctor Who episode.
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