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March 28, 2013 4:11 AM   Subscribe

Something is coming. Not Winter (well, yes, that), but the new half-series of Doctor Who. Here's the prequel to this weekend's episode: The Bells of St Johns. And here's what you really want: Madame Vastra, Jenny 'n' Strax The Sontaran in: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To London, Boy.

And here's Blastr's theories: 5 things The Doctor's soon-to-be-revealed biggest secret could be.
And here's io9's the 12 Most Mortifying Moments in the History of Doctor Who.
(Also, Charlie-Jane Anders thinks Doctor Who needs more women script-writers). See also The Guardian.
And if you are interested in the details of how Doctor Who came to be born 50 years ago, aside from picking up Peter Hannings' The Key To Time, you could take a gander at this series of articles..
Also, if you like stamps and you like Doctor Who, have I got hot news for you? Yes.

Also, spoilers (or random conjecture) about a long-awaited return or two.

Here's the BFI: The Second Doctor Panel with cast and crew after a showing of the 1960s classic story: Tomb of the Cybermen. And here's the first ever regeneration, in cartoon form.

And a Random Peter Jackson moment.
posted by Mezentian (171 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I figure a post of this nature is inevitable, so, here it is.

I really can recommend the series of articles on the conception of Doctor Who. They've turned up some surprising stuff.

There aren't any any hard spoilers as far as I can tell.
posted by Mezentian at 4:18 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are we getting it in Oz a week late, or is the ABC doing the first showing on iview again?
posted by bystander at 4:22 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ABC is showing it 7.30 Sunday night, so about 12 hours after broadcast. No idea what time the iView goes up, but I believe it's the same time. I think the US is the same. NZ is April 11.

I'll be watching it live on the ABC, and buying the DVD when it comes out. So, you know, GUILT-FREE for any infraction on my part.
posted by Mezentian at 4:25 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


And taken down by the BBC :(
posted by zengargoyle at 4:38 AM on March 28, 2013


Second link is dead "This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds." Boo!
posted by Captain_Science at 4:38 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll be watching like everyone else, even though Stephen Moffat ruined Dr Who.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 4:50 AM on March 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


Odd. If the second link is the prequel: have at it. That link is working for me just now.
posted by Mezentian at 4:59 AM on March 28, 2013


The Vastra, Jenny & Strax vid link is the one being blocked. Bummer. I really like that team. Oh, well...

I suppose it's asking too much to hope that the new episodes feature less running-around and shouting at a mile-a-minute, while an overbearing soundtrack blasts-away? I'd really like to see a more serious Who for once.

I'm already popping the popcorn for this Saturday night...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:12 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just started the series (2005-current). I struggled with the first season and mostly because I was not a fan of Rose. She did eventually grow on me but it took a bit. I'm currently in the middle of season 3 and I'm really enjoying the show. I am drawn to the episodes that show 'The Doctor' at his most "human". Episodes like: 'The Girl in the Fireplace' or '42'. I'm happy that I have so much more to look forward to.
posted by Fizz at 5:15 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am bummed. I am not a good geek, so I have not yet got into Series 7 (or whatever you call season of the new generation). This is because NetFlix is only up to Series 6. I want to watch, but I also want to catch up. I'll get out of this thread before it spoils too much. I really feel Series 6 was a bit much, what with the Rory and the Song and the what have you. But I will leave now.. I hope... Hm.
posted by cavalier at 5:17 AM on March 28, 2013


I loved most of nuWho, but this season has been really bad. And I don't think I like the new companion - she's too perfect of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and I'm not sure if I should fall in love with her or be annoyed. My sister theorizes she's been created, in the show, to be the ideal companion.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:22 AM on March 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Holy cow, Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory, that link is spot-freaking-on.

I'll be watching, treasuring the few moments that feel like Doctor Who and aren't just pandering to people who are fans of being fans of Doctor Who.

(Bonus fun-killing: Boy, Moffat's gonna waste no time making the whole Madame Vastra and Jenny thing tedious as hell, is he?)
posted by Legomancer at 5:23 AM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Legomancer, I like your snarky reviews. Please keep writing them this season.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:25 AM on March 28, 2013


Just watched the prequel. "What! Oh man that was an ending I never saw coming in a million years," is what I didn't say.

I'm ready for this show to stop being about this show.
posted by Legomancer at 5:26 AM on March 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


Okay, the speculation about the "spoilers" about "a long awaited return" - I can see the fan demand for the second suggestion, but the first one? Has there really been "fan demand" for her? ....And did they think that maybe the reason there was chemistry between her and The Doctor was because the two actors were dating at that time?

...Oh, and I don't buy any of the talk about David Tennant not coming back in some fashion. The fan payoff would be too big, and the man himself is too big a fanboy as well, to have it not happen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:27 AM on March 28, 2013


Geekery is about things which not only don't exist literally, but have no metaphorical value: bullshit science, people who come back to life after being killed off, different versions of time-travellers bumping into each other in different timelines and CGI "energy" emanating from people when the plot requires it. - from This Link up thread

Wow. That describes so much that's empty about modern geekery, 'awesome' culture, and 'extruded fantasy product'. Things exist without weight or history behind them.

I dreamed a whole Doctor Who episode a few nights ago. David Mitchell was another companion and I defeated the aliens by being a horrible singer. David Mitchell should be The Doctor.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:32 AM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Legomancer, I like your snarky reviews. Please keep writing them this season.

I would rather write not-snarky reviews. I don't enjoy disliking Moffat's tenure on the show. It's not fun or entertaining to me. This is literally the only TV show I've ever given a damn about. Buffy, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica...when they got awful I just quit watching and didn't think about them afterwards. It would be harder for me to stop watching this new show (though I nearly have several times, especially after "Let's Kill Hitler") but maybe it would be best if I did.
posted by Legomancer at 5:32 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed a few of the Dr Who novels that came out before the new show started. Lance Parkin wrote a few novels covering interesting ground, like the idea of a Time War, what regeneration would mean for a society, and how time-travel could get really, really messy.

In the books (which form some kind of variant canon) the Doctor was, variously, the original Time Lord, the person who invented time travel, and a half-human. Sometimes, a future version of him was also the head of a rebel fraction of Time Lords who lived in the 13 days when the UK changed it's calendar over.

Of course, these are all complex ideas that would take some explanation. Seeing as modern Who is beset by people various crying that it's too complex and/or not emotional enough, I don't expect any great shake-ups. K9 might come back, I guess. Perhaps Davros is actually his dad? Whatever.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:47 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad The Vastra, Jenny & Strax vid link was working when I posed it, and that had been up for a few days. I can't seem to find a replacement. The timing!

EmpressCallipygos: yes, there has been. Weird, huh?

Charlemagne In Sweatpants: I am going to assume you didn't grow up with it, but all of the companions have been created to be ideal. Impossibly girl or not. Or Rose. Or Amy. Whoever. But as I have said before: for me, it is an article of faith. There will be good, there will be bad, but there will always be something (mostly). Unlike most shows it swerves direction every few years. And I am okay with that.

Legomancer: Just roll with it. It will reset sooner or later. And you might enjoy the next iteration. Me? Moffatt is less explainy than RTD, but he has less crazy to explain (albeit bigger things to explain). And I loved "Let's Kill Hitler".
posted by Mezentian at 5:49 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


K9 might come back, I guess.

*ahem*

The Sarah Jane version or the "Disney" version?
K-9 has been back for a while. Good dog, all of him.
posted by Mezentian at 5:50 AM on March 28, 2013


I've been rewatching the newer Who the past few months: I think in retrospect I like Eccleston the best out of the modern three.

I don't think Rose stands up that well
(man, mothers really come off as pretty bad under these writers)

I kind of liked Donna Noble's tenure

the last two Doctors are really not all that different in personality
posted by edgeways at 5:59 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Agreed that Donna Noble was the best companion and that's final. She wasn't a cute little girl in wuvv with the Doctor, she was a grown-ass woman who wanted no hanky-panky ("are you kidding? You're another species, there's probaby laws against that!") and had attitude the size of a Mac Truck.

Plus, the comedic chemistry between Catherine Tate and David Tennant is delightful. You can tell that they absolutely love working together, and that they both know "boy, we are coming up with some good shit here". I've only seen that happen a couple times with other actors, and whenever it happens it is an absolute joy to watch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on March 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


I'm ready for this show to stop being about this show.

I agree with this so much. It was good, for a while, but now it's devolved into wanky pandering nonsense driven by a man who thinks he can do no wrong as long as he's got a smidgen of an audience to condescend to. I turned off at the end of season five and nothing I've seen about the current run has made me regret my decision.

Who badly needs a new crop of writers and producers, preferably one that isn't overwhelmingly male (seriously, not one episode written by a woman since 2008?) and/or slavishly devoted to Moffat's "vision".
posted by fight or flight at 6:23 AM on March 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's funny; a few years ago I decided to start watching Doctor Who from the *very* beginning and greatly enjoyed the silly, cheap, predictable and awkwardly-timed charm of it. The cliché editing and lackluster writing of the recent stuff has turned me completely off of it. Though okay, I LOVED David Tennant.
posted by Mooseli at 6:26 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So on Saturdays I tend to have crazy dreams (because it's the only day I get to sleep in), and this last weekend, I dreamed that I saw the new episode a week early. The first 45 minutes were just a modern day Clara hanging out in London with her friends with no sci-fi or fantasy elements at all and, a fact that dream-me didn't notice until my partner asked "Is the Doctor ever going to show up?" Nothing odd happened except that Clara seemed to occasionally speak in nonsense words.

At this point, I explained that I thought the episode was Stephen Moffat's commentary on a Russell T. Davies-style companion introductory episode because apparently even in my dreams, I'm an incurable fanboy. Then we realized that Clara was speaking in nonsense because of the "monsters in the WiFi" premise promised in all the interviews and she was a robot. Then the Doctor showed up and she died again. And then there was another, different modern day Clara for the Doctor to meet. I tried to think it was genius even though it felt like Moffat was ripping off himself, and I knew that part of the Internet was going to hate it.

Then I woke up.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:35 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


the last two Doctors are really not all that different in personality

I disagree.
I can see why you would say that. But it's not accurate.

Agreed that Donna Noble was the best companion and that's final.

I agree with this. Oh, how I agree.
posted by Mezentian at 6:42 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In defense of what has happened to the show, it does seem like it's a deadly mixture of having time travel, SF's dumbest and most easily abused premise, and tacking to the prevailing winds of today's "geek" culture. Everything JJ Abrams has ever done has the exact same sort of "whoa, Keanu" faux-deep BS. I blame the Matrix. (ok that's totally arbitrary).
posted by selfnoise at 6:44 AM on March 28, 2013


EmpressCallipygos: "Donna Noble was the best companion and that's final."

I think I might agree with you. She's up there with Liz Shaw and Romana I in my books.

Also, if ever there was a Doctor who needed adult supervision it's this one.
posted by charred husk at 6:45 AM on March 28, 2013


the last two Doctors are really not all that different in personality

Eccleston: The Doctor as Traumatized Veteran Grimly Going Through The Motions While On Holiday
Tennant: The Doctor as Jesus
Smith: The Doctor as Hobbes from Calvin & Hobbes

I have always liked Smith's portrayal, but when I think about them as characters, I definitely think Eccleston's Doctor had the most dramatic potential and interest.
posted by gauche at 6:48 AM on March 28, 2013 [21 favorites]




Smith: The Doctor as Hobbes from Calvin & Hobbes

On some talk show, Matt Smith described The Doctor as "like Willy Wonka, only more alien." I heard that and thought, "...you know, yeah."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doctor Who: The Writers Room - podcast looking at Doctor Who writers.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this point, I'm past caring about what the Doctor's "oldest secret" 50th-anniversary tie-in could be. What I really want to know is really why executive producer Caroline Skinner suddenly and unaccountably stepped down only two weeks before the new series begins.

Skinner was the fourth to do so under Moffat (and that makes three women for those keeping track). Only Private Eye has dared to cover the noisy public fight she and Moffat got into at a party during the BBC Worldwide Showcase festival. Supposedly, Moffat had to be "led away by colleagues while bellowing at Skinner that 'you are erased from Doctor Who!'"—which sounds even more suspicious when Private Eye, in one of their libel-dodging euphemisms, noted their "very close working relationship".

Moffat's no Jonathan Nathan-Turner, but he could wind up having the second-worst legacy on the programme if he isn't careful.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:57 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


. For better and for worse, Davies was more interested in people than in science fiction.

This is true, and my argument with Moffat. And, indeed, why I enjoyed the dreadful Torchwood: Miracle Day better than any 11th Doctor series.

And yes, Donna Noble was the best Companion in the new era. I just have to stop thinking about what happened to her in the end.
posted by jeather at 7:04 AM on March 28, 2013




On some talk show, Matt Smith described The Doctor as "like Willy Wonka, only more alien." I heard that and thought, "...you know, yeah."

Wait, is this where I learn that another beloved bit of British writing was originally a rejected Doctor Who script?

I'm referring, of course, to Charlie and the Great Glass Police Box.
posted by gauche at 7:13 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Moffat's no Jonathan Nathan-Turner,

Yes, well.... thank the lord for that.

If Moff wants an open marriage (and I have seen no sign of that): fair play.

I think there's some grasping at straws with Skinner leaving to give support to some Moffatt anti-women agenda, which there exists no basis more so far as I have seen going back to Press Gang. People leave jobs now, and by all accounts Who is Hard.

But, remember when Moffat was HOMOPHOBIC? WOOOOOO! OOOGY-BOOGY.
posted by Mezentian at 7:23 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also Who-related though a bit depressing, book review of JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner by Richard Marson:
...for Nathan-Turner and Downie, making passes at Doctor Who fans became something close to a social reflex. ("Doable barkers" was their gruesome term for those who aroused their interest.) The most bizarre narrative involves a wealthy fan who, in exchange for visits to the studio and the occasional souvenir from the set, kept Nathan-Turner supplied with escorts. It's both an unedifying scenario and a telling measure of the occult power of the programme...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suppose it's asking too much to hope that the new episodes feature less running-around and shouting at a mile-a-minute, while an overbearing soundtrack blasts-away? I'd really like to see a more serious Who for once.

It is asking for too much. Davies set the tone for the new series with his over the top lazy writing and now Who has a good actors, a good budget, and awful writing. Whenever I saw Moffat's name associated with a show previous to Who I looked forward to something interesting. Now I know to expect a steaming pile.

I would not be surprised if the entire universe was in peril every fucking episode.
posted by juiceCake at 8:01 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


God, remember when we were excited about Moffat taking the reins and it was gonna be all "super strong episodes with great storytelling and whoo-hoo"?

I miss that naivete.
posted by Kitteh at 8:07 AM on March 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


There have been a few good, introspective episodes. The God Complex, for one. The Woman Who Waited, as much as I kinda hated that one for Reasons.

I'd really like the new companion to be a person rather than The Most Important, Special Girl in the Universe (Who the Doctor Also Loves and That's Not Creepy Because We're Not Going to Examine the Ramifications of an Immortal Male God Being Heartbroken Over Teenagers). But I don't think that'll happen.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on March 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


I like 'The Girl Who Waited', not for what happened per se, but thought it was a well written episode. Most other Who is just fun-to-watch fluff.

And, I'd certainly cede that Moffat's intentions and attitude towards women may be under too fine a microscope, but from time to time I gotta say things strike me as off kilter and I can definitely see why he comes under the criticisms he does and not all of it is undeserved.
posted by edgeways at 8:14 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm also sorry to miss the Vastra, Jenny & Strax video - not least because I have this probably irrational fan-girl desire for them to have their own series. I don't know if there is enough story potential to sustain a whole series, but my world just needs more Victorian, alien, lesbian crime fighting.
posted by jb at 8:21 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


11 is quite different from 10, and Smith is pretty awesome and original

Donna is the best companion evar and not just because she's basically me if I were a companion

/ word of not-god
posted by jb at 8:23 AM on March 28, 2013


The Vastra, Jenny & Strax video is called Demons' Run - Two Days Later.
I am happy to put the 10 MB file (.flv) up on a sharing site if there is interest -- and someone can rec a good one without a sign-up.

I'd really like the new companion to be a person rather

Her name was Donna (and could have been Martha).
posted by Mezentian at 8:29 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I was going through the reboot episodes, I hated Tennant at first because he was so PRETTY. I liked Eccleston - decidedly not pretty and kind of a dick. I learned to love Tennant and thus am trying not to immediately hate the new companion. But, yeah, manic pixie dream girl is an apt description of my first impression and I hope they prove me wrong but fear they won't.

That said, still having a Doctor Who midseason premiere viewing party at my house Saturday.
posted by misskaz at 8:32 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd really like the new companion to be a person rather than The Most Important, Special Girl in the Universe (Who the Doctor Also Loves and That's Not Creepy Because We're Not Going to Examine the Ramifications of an Immortal Male God Being Heartbroken Over Teenagers).

Yeah. I don't like Clara already because she's some magic special blah blah crap and we don't even know what it is. It looked, at first, like Amy would be a person, but she was special. It's like 11 cannot conceive of a person who is just fun and interesting instead of deeply embedded in the structure of timey wimey. It's annoying. Even though Rose ended up that way (and Donna, briefly), it was more a function of choices they made than Amy.

And, I'd certainly cede that Moffat's intentions and attitude towards women may be under too fine a microscope, but from time to time I gotta say things strike me as off kilter and I can definitely see why he comes under the criticisms he does and not all of it is undeserved.

I agree that his personal intentions and attitude towards women are probably under too fine a microscope (and that I often do this myself), but I think that looking deeply at the way his Who treats women is a reasonable thing to do, and the way his Who treats women is overall poorly, and even his response to criticism seems to misunderstand what the criticism is (see the stupid motherhood magic Christmas episode).

I'd also watch a Jenny/Madame Vastra/Strax spinoff.
posted by jeather at 8:33 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]




Her name was Donna (and could have been Martha).

Yeah, I loved Donna. I agree that she was sort of special in a way, but it really is different when that specialness is derived from personal choice rather than circumstance (that circumstance being the mere presence of the Doctor).

Thought it was interesting, that River Song gave some acknowledgment to the Doctor's predilection for youth in her last episode, but it wan't really developed. Instead we had nonsensical hand-waving. Funny, how "timey wimey" at first seemed to be a perfectly apt description for how time travel works and now seems just like an excuse.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:47 AM on March 28, 2013


I'll be watching like everyone else, even though Stephen Moffat ruined Dr Who.

That was just absolutely spot on.

I've completely given up at this point. I could just about cope with McGann and Ecclestone - even a couple of Tennant episodes - but since then it's been like, I dunno, attempting to enjoy watching someone repeatedly shitting all over the face of a beloved childhood toy.
posted by jack_mo at 8:55 AM on March 28, 2013


You watch it about McGann!

Seriously, his run as 8 in the audiodramas is the best Who of the last decade. He's my Doctor. Lucie Miller is amazing, too--even though she's "special," in a way, the whole Aunt Pat storyline was handled with the perfect amount of gravitas and respect.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You watch it about McGann!

Seriously, his run as 8 in the audiodramas is the best Who of the last decade. He's my Doctor. Lucie Miller is amazing, too--even though she's "special," in a way, the whole Aunt Pat storyline was handled with the perfect amount of gravitas and respect.


I know, right? The Eighth Doctor radio episodes are so so so good. I think the only thing that makes me angry about them is that I would have loved to see them as television and I never will.
posted by Kitteh at 9:06 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


which sounds even more suspicious when Private Eye, in one of their libel-dodging euphemisms, noted their "very close working relationship".

I'm sorry, I'm feeling dense: is this a euphemism for "everybody knows they actually despised each other from the get-go" or "everybody knows they were fucking"?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:17 AM on March 28, 2013


I'm glad I'm not the only one who is tired of the Doctor saving the day by simply telling aliens who he is. The worst was when his speech was something like "I'm the DOCTOR! And I've got a bunch of ROMANS, the toughest humans who ever existed!" The Daleks would be thinking, hmm, one nuke or two?

It is extra frustrating because that scene could have used one of the oldest, funniest, tropes best suited to the Doctor:

Doctor, pretending to be Cyber Leader over the radio: I hope this is done soon, those Daleks smell terrible.
Dalek Leader: WHAT? OUR AROMA IS PLEASANT!
Sontaran Leader: You do kind of reek. Do you ever bathe in there?
DL: YOU WILL BE SILENT, YOU HAVE THE HEAD OF A POTATO.
SL: Salt shaker!
Cyber Leader: You are both ugly next to the perfect cyber form.
DL and SL together: SHUT UP, Alphie!
Atraxi Leader: GIIIIIIIIIIANT EYEEEEEEEEEEEEE BAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! (elbow drop)
(Brawl starts)
posted by BeeDo at 9:24 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've completely given up at this point. I could just about cope with McGann and Ecclestone - even a couple of Tennant episodes - but since then it's been like, I dunno, attempting to enjoy watching someone repeatedly shitting all over the face of a beloved childhood toy.

I look at like the old saying that a guy loves the smell of his own farts, but other people, not so much. However, in Moffat's case, he seems to be intoxicated by not only his own gas, but that of RTD, which, as referenced above by Kitteh, was something we did not expect to happen.
posted by juiceCake at 9:49 AM on March 28, 2013


"different versions of time-travellers bumping into each other in different timelines..."

While I have to admit that River Song has been hit or miss, the idea and potential of this very much fits in with a show about time travel, and it's ramifications.

"if ever there was a Doctor who needed adult supervision it's this one."

I personally don't think that attitude shows much of an understanding of who the Doctor really is, as a character.

In many ways, he's a tragic, rather cursed figure. He's incredibly old -- old, even by the standards of his own people, who have been wiped out -- and has lived long enough to see practically everyone he's ever cared about leave him, in one form or another.

So... why is he so prone to be whimsical and immature, in most all of his incarnations, with pretty obvious internal suffering during his recent incarnations when he gets too serious? Why does he, eventually and invariably, push the people he cares about away from him, especially when they start to get visibly older and more adult?

It's a coping mechanism. It's how he survives and can keep going on to do what's needed. (And, presumably, it is needed. There seems to be pretty clear indications from past Doctor Who series that it's no coincidence that he keeps running into trouble, which is a curse in itself, especially since it puts those around him in grave danger.)

Frankly, I think that Matt Smith plays this kind of character quite well. Despite some hit & miss episodes, there was some real writing talent in the last season... and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming series, and also to the new companion, who simply hasn't been alive enough yet -- much less a compainion -- to lump into the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" category. If anything, it seems to me that you are stereotyping her, with no real basis whatsoever.

Also, I would check out this interview from yesterday:

"What Jenna in particular brings [is] a tremendous speed and wit, a sort of unimpressed quality that makes the Doctor dance a bit harder I suppose. . . The Doctor is always the remote inaccessible mysterious one and the companion is always the fluffy friendly one . .. . but this time Clara is the slightly difficult to get to know one, who's probably going to be slightly difficult to hug. Because the Doctor is haunted by her and met her twice before, so he thinks, he's the slightly needy one. She's the unsolvable mystery and the enigma and he's the one chasing after her. It's a reverse of the normal Doctor/companion dynamic, which I've been rather enjoying."

It's impossible to stereotype her as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl quite yet, and it certainly sounds like Moffat is trying to avoid her being compared to the Rose/Amy character type. That said, it seems pretty fair to say that The Doctor is a bit of a Manic Puckish Dream Boy. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)
posted by markkraft at 9:54 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm glad I'm not the only one who is tired of the Doctor saving the day by simply telling aliens who he is.

Call me crazy but I thought Moff took that idea - crested by RTD - used it brilliantly in The Eleventh Hour (which for my money is up there in post regen episodes with Power of the Daleks, Spearhead from Space and Castrovalva -- and is actually better than most of them) and The Pandorica Opens, then pushed it as far as it could go and scrapped it.

I doubt he has the whasits to give the Doctor's name (and seriously, the Doctor as God idea makes me stabby with knives), and I bet it will be three-card shuffle anyway because that is what Moffat does well.

Moffat is not beloved of RTD's "ideas", but he is beholden to them to some extent. And he needs to move on from that and knows it. He isn't an idiot.

Russell and Stephen are fanboys, god love us (and I am - I grew up with it too) and there no bits of culture, not even Stars Trek or Wars, that are quite the same.

I have faith. And even if I don't, it'll get forgot down the road.
posted by Mezentian at 9:58 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been enjoying Doctor Who lately and am looking forwards to new episodes.

Weird, I know.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


I have been enjoying Doctor Who lately

How dare you like something other people like?
HOW VERY DARE YOU?

IS IT SUNDAY YET?
posted by Mezentian at 10:07 AM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


To be fair, I usually enjoy watching it. But it falls apart like a few minutes after the end of the credits for me. It's the writing. It just makes no sense. And Moffat really doesn't know how that less is more. So many aspects of the show--the angels, Amy and Rory, even River (my love!) have been pushed too far, overworked. I wouldn't be surprised if Madame de Pompadour comes back, because Moffat often can't resist (RTD couldn't either), but what kind of sense does that make, either logically or emotionally? You know?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:11 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


but what kind of sense does that make, either logically or emotionally? You know?

It doesn't need to make sense.
That, to me, and again, my uncritical love survived Colin Baker through Eccleston, it just IS. A THING. I LOVE.

For every Fear Her there is a Dalek, for every Love and Monsters there is a Vincent And The Doctor. It changes. It adapts.

It's not a Joss show, nor a JMS show (or even a Kripke show) but it trucks on and it gives us what we need. Of course, I can pretty much defend any episode (aside from Time and The Rani), so what do my words matter?
posted by Mezentian at 10:41 AM on March 28, 2013


Of course, I can pretty much defend any episode (aside from Time and The Rani)

Challenge: ACCEPTED. Planet of the Dead. Go.
posted by trunk muffins at 10:44 AM on March 28, 2013


This is just wonderful, and precisely why the very early Doctor Whos cannot be bettered. Modern Doctor Who is just an exercise in pandering to modern "science fiction" cliché. In the sixties the programme was genuinely weird, off the wall and unnerving. Now it's just stale.
posted by Decani at 10:45 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It doesn't need to make sense.

I can say "fuck it" and just relax with the logical progression if the emotional progression works. It usually doesn't, though. Amy and Rory should have been gone the first time they said goodbye. The one word that hooked the Doctor with Clara's arrival should have been "children," not "pond." And so forth.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:47 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the real heart of the difference between old Doctor Who and today is largely a matter of the shorter format.

Every episode seems overpacked and too rushed, and when they try to run a common theme through the stories, it invariably feels like more like windowdressing than an actual mystery, leading towards a final premise that usually fails to fully impress.

That said, Doctor Who also has to face modern commercial realities, unlike the old series, which could drag individual stories on over half a dozen episodes. They want each episode to stand on its own as much as possible, in order to boost viewership, because ratings success is what keeps the series going on into the future, able to afford it's rather high production costs. They've been very successful with this, both in the U.K., online, and especially on BBC America, where they are racking up about 25% viewership growth per year... but commercial realities are obviously going to affect the narrative structure. I don't see how they couldn't.

So, which do you want? The Doctor Who you used to love, or the Doctor Who that's capable of being around for another fifty years?!
posted by markkraft at 10:58 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


can --- will.

think it's cool (honestly and no snark intended) you are such a huge fan Mezentian. Your unquestionable love comes through pretty clear. I think you may be using your post and the thread as a little bit of a soap box to evangelize though.
posted by edgeways at 10:59 AM on March 28, 2013


I think the real heart of the difference between old Doctor Who and today is largely a matter of the shorter format.

I think that's true, and I think Moffat's inability to properly develop and plan his mytharcs while nevertheless shoe-horning them in is a real problem. I'm one of the biggest River Song apologists you'll find, and even I think Let's Kill Hitler was rushed, nonsensical rubbish.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:03 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the real heart of the difference between old Doctor Who and today is largely a matter of the shorter format.

This goes back to Sylvester McCoy's run and Delta and the Bannermen, when they started making three episode serials that didn't have enough time to make sense.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:03 AM on March 28, 2013


(Not that Who always made sense before that, but DATB is the first one where I remember feeling like it didn't make sense because a huge chunk of the show was missing or something.)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:05 AM on March 28, 2013


There are plenty of shows that do capable drama in hour long episodes, including Doctor Who. However, if all you're interested in doing is hitting the same easy-to-hit targets over and over, no amount of length is going to give quality work.
posted by Legomancer at 11:10 AM on March 28, 2013


This goes back to Sylvester McCoy's run and Delta and the Bannermen, when they started making three episode serials that didn't have enough time to make sense.

On the other hand, there's an awful lot of six parters that feel padded by corridor running and repeatedly getting captured and escaping to no end.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on March 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Challenge: ACCEPTED. Planet of the Dead. Go.

Michelle Ryan.

And it wasn't Time And The Rani.
And the idea of the swarm wasn't awful.

The one word that hooked the Doctor with Clara's arrival should have been "children," not "pond." And so forth.

You know the crack in the ice that makes everything shatter?
THAT IS IS.
That was the worst thing about that.

This goes back to Sylvester McCoy's run and Delta and the Bannermen, when they started making three episode serials that didn't have enough time to make sense.

To be fair, even the extended Ghost Light didn't make sense.
Or Silver Nemesis.
posted by Mezentian at 11:18 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lentrohamsanin: "This goes back to Sylvester McCoy's run and Delta and the Bannermen, when they started making three episode serials that didn't have enough time to make sense."

It's sort of amusing to read the recent Adventures with the Wife in Space and Time blog now. Up until this point she has repeatedly complained that stories were an episode or two too long. Now she's gotten to McCoy and she was startled to find herself saying that stories needed a fourth episode.
posted by charred husk at 11:21 AM on March 28, 2013


t's sort of amusing to read the recent Adventures with the Wife in Space and Time blog now. Up until this point she has repeatedly complained that stories were an episode or two too long. Now she's gotten to McCoy

NO WAI! The last time I read that, which I am sure was this time lat year, they were in te second doctor era.

That is not only one forgiving wife, that is one focused husband.
posted by Mezentian at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2013


Michelle Ryan.

There is no way for me to respond adequately which does not involve an image of Grumpy Cat.

And it wasn't Time And The Rani.

Well. I'll give you that.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:34 AM on March 28, 2013


Ghost Light is a weird fan favourite that I just do not get - its a bunch of disconnected ideas that could make a story, but just aren't connected into a story. TBH I think there's a lot of wishful thinking going into pretending it has connective tissue that it does not have because of some neat images and thematic stuff.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or Silver Nemesis.

Oh god that bizarre tangent on nordic mythology where the cybermen are all like "why, yes, of course we're familiar with the giants". It's easily been 20 years since the last time I saw that and my eyebrow still hasn't traveled back down my forehead.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:49 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]




Obviously, we are setting ourselves up for a fall by convincing ourselves that these questions will be answered satisfactorily, but more worrying is the way that we tolerate mediocrity because we convince ourselves the finale will be triumphant.

I came to the realization that you just have to assume that the resolution of a plot will be useless. It's like Moffat has this great idea, and puts it in, but doesn't know how to deal with it, and just gives up and makes it stupid later on. River Song was a wonderful idea which he just didn't know what to do with. I wonder if he just doesn't understand his own ideas, or thinks them through enough, to sustain them for more than an episode.

Oh man, this blog post sums up my feelings so well. It sums up some of my uncomfortableness with people who are die-hard fans of the current show. I mean, I watch it, but only for the flashes of brilliance it occasionally shows. It goes down too easily, like candy.

It sure is pretty though. The money and care taken on the filming and looks of the thing is quite incredible, and it's almost worth watching for that alone.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:09 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having recently listened to the audio release of The Celestial Toymaker's surviving soundtrack, I think I can happily say that one of the best things about Doctor Who is you never know what you're going to get, and sometime what you get is The Crystal Maze with narration.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2013


So, which do you want? The Doctor Who you used to love, or the Doctor Who that's capable of being around for another fifty years?!

markkraft, for me this is an easy one. The Doctor Who I love. I've said many times that I would rather Doctor Who be taken of the air than produced poorly. Because really what is the point of keeping something around that I don't like?
To me that's like making it so my dog can live forever but won't greet me happily at the door when I come home, won't like playing tug of war, etc. She might be alive technically but wouldn't really be my dog anymore.
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:52 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Why Doctor Who Needs More Female Writers link

It's woeful. Author Jenny Colgan who, as JT Colgan, wrote a Doctor Who tie-in novel, says there are plenty of women writing fantasy and science fiction. "There should probably be more women in the room," she says. "I think producers and commissioners should sometimes be a bit bolder about trusting girls with their toys. I mean, come on: Margaret Atwood, Ursula le Guin, Madeleine L'Engel, Audrey Niffenegger, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Stephanie Meyer ... it's hardly as if women don't have a proven track record.

That ellipse makes it look like the list was truncated, and if so really? You couldn't have moved it forward one and dropped Stephanie Meyer so the list would remain credible? If I wanted Twilight in Doctor Who I'd want RTD back at least his crappy relationships are better written.
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:56 PM on March 28, 2013


for every Love and Monsters there is a Vincent And The Doctor.

I actually liked Love and Monsters. It's no Blink, but it has its moments, and it'll always hold a special place in my heart for Elton's final speech:
"When you're a kid, they tell you it's all... grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid...and that's it.

But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder.

And so much better."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Moffat is not beloved of RTD's "ideas", but he is beholden to them to some extent. "

No he's not. Here's what you do say,"RTD Fuck you, watch this" and reboot the series. Everything up until now has been false memories implanted by the Master in an attempt to manipulate the Doctor. There would be a CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency) agent trying to de-program the Doctor and explain to him what has happened. (Because of course the Time Lords are still around what kind an idiot would remove them from Doctor Who) Romana could still be Madame President of Gallifrey.
Silurians would still have a third eye in the middle of their damn head. Sontarans would not be cute little comedic side kicks, the would be ruthless warriors who if you had to fight more than a handful of you better have a small army with you.
And of course the Doctor wouldn't be falling in love with some talking apes. They are his most favorite of the talking apes, but that's still all they are.
Also the Master would have a freaking proper evil goatee and be an evil genius, not some crazy giggling madman who shoots lightning from his hands.
posted by MrBobaFett at 2:08 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was a huge fan of Season 5, less so of Season 6 (because River is tiresome) but still liked it, and haven't been too impressed with Season 7 thus far. 11 is my first Doctor, so I'm perhaps more inclined to defend Smith and Moffat than I otherwise would be. But even so, I feel like Moffat falls into that classic trap that so many writers do where he has no idea where his stories will go when he starts writing it, and maybe doesn't want to know because, I don't know, muses. He starts off by saying "hey, wouldn't it be cool if there was this big mystery here about the impossible astronaut and this creepy lady in an orphanage" and then doesn't know what the mystery actually is, and ends up at episode 6 of 12 and goes "oh, shit, okay, half the series left, um, cloned liquefied Amy." I love big complicated story arcs that pepper their clues throughout each episode, but in order for that to happen you need to know what the progression of the arc is before episode 1 starts.

Alternatively, I would also be okay with Doctor Who being silly irreverent innocent fun about the wonder and marvel of the universe, but then it needs to stop taking itself so damn seriously.
posted by Phire at 2:08 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of the shortcomings of modern Doctor Who come from getting completely jumbled up trying to please everyone at once, and I'm sure that's a BBC thing as much or more than it's an RTD or Moffat thing. And yeah, you're going to leave disappointed if you approach a show that tries to be all things to all people with the expectation that it should only be certain things to just you. It's not the same show, it was planned from the outset to be a bigger, sexier, flashier Who. I still watch it because it still does cool things that I enjoy in the middle of doing other things for other people that I can kind of ignore.

And seriously, farting CGI baby-faced aliens that made shitty jokes about fat people were in the fourth episode. The problems inherent in New Who are not a recent development.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:37 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


People on the internet make me feel so self-conscious about liking RTD-era Who, even if it was sentimental at times. I also loved Buffy and its season-long save-the-world story arcs and Big Bads, so. If that makes me uncool I guess I'll be sitting at the table with the rest of the nerds, having a good time.

Dunno what to expect from the 50th anniversary special but I really hope McGann is involved somehow. I feel so bad for him. Imagine having the opportunity to be one of the Doctors! and all he got to do was that cruddy movie and then audiorecordings and that's it.
posted by trunk muffins at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with liking Buffy. There is something wrong with wanting Doctor Who to be Buffy and not Doctor Who to.
And I wish (in vain I know) that McGann would not be involved or ever mentioned in the same vicinity as Doctor Who again.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:09 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Hugo nominations are announced this weekend, I imagine that will give people plenty to complain about as well.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on March 28, 2013


Oh yeah. That's the stuff.
posted by trunk muffins at 4:27 PM on March 28, 2013


In the Gaiman-authored episode, at least one other Time Lord was named -- "The Corsair". I'm not fanboy enough to know if this is a Gaiman invention or has some official (Old Who) semi-official (Big Finish audio, comic books, etc) or unofficial (fanfic) origin. I'm assuming he made it up.

What I'd love to see is an episode about that Time Lord, that takes place in a different time and place. In the end Eleven could turn up as the person who's been telling this story to Clara.

In other words, instead of random human guest episode (Love and Monsters, of which I am in the "loathed it" camp, or Blink, best episode ever), random Time Lord guest episode. And since they're all dead it would have to take place somewhere and somewhen else.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:34 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]




Cool. This would appear to be the original entry on Gaiman's tumblr (differs mainly by having some Interesting Illustrations (but don't get your hopes up)).
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:58 PM on March 28, 2013


Nthing that the timing format has been a problem for the development of Nu Who. But Who is always going to be a mixed bag, with some Doctors, companions, writers, showrunners, etc. that we each like more or less. Love the good, ignore the bad, and if you hate it, wait until the next one comes along (it will).
posted by immlass at 5:19 PM on March 28, 2013


Forget a Madame Vashtra and Jenny spin off (Moffatt would only run them into the ground anyway) I want more Corsair!
posted by peppermind at 6:53 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


But The Corsair is dead, and as I understand the Time War, never existed in some way. Kinda.

ArtW's link about women and non-white writers is ... interesting.
For one thing, Dancing With The Stars has writers? And not a one is a woman?

And including Locke & Key is a bit misleading. It was one pilot, unless there's a series I don't know about.

I'm not fanboy enough to know if this is a Gaiman invention

The Corsair was indeed a Gaiman-insertion. But there to make fanboys argue about whether timelords can change gender or something.

markkraft, for me this is an easy one. The Doctor Who I love.

MrBobaFett, the Doctor Who you loves is still being made by Big Finish. And the old ones are still being released on DVD so you can relive the classics any time. I know my evening is going to be filled with The War Games (or I could just read the book, which is better).
posted by Mezentian at 9:53 PM on March 28, 2013


The Corsair was indeed a Gaiman-insertion. But there to make fanboys argue about whether timelords can change gender or something.

Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death is canon! This proves it!
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Only if Dimensions In Time is canon. Or what passes for Who canon.

In other news: visual effects house The Mill is closing down their TV department. But DW won some awards.
posted by Mezentian at 10:23 PM on March 28, 2013


Doctor Who is part of the Marvel Universe, that's totally canon.
posted by Artw at 10:32 PM on March 28, 2013


And part of the Star Trek Universe. Which is part of the Marvel Universe.
posted by Mezentian at 10:49 PM on March 28, 2013


The only thing canon about Doctor Who is the one you put to your head when you try to figure it all out.
posted by Catblack at 3:10 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


And part of the Star Trek Universe. Which is part of the Marvel Universe.

Which, it seems safe to assume, is a figment of Tommy Westphall's imagination.

Everything up until now has been false memories implanted by the Master in an attempt to manipulate the Doctor.

Ooh, that's a lovely idea. I can see myself jumping up off the sofa and cheering as the freshly deprogrammed 12th 8th Doctor (played by Maxine Peake) mutters 'Rose? Never heard of her'.

I originally wrote 'Rose? Who's Rose?', which, funnily enough, is exactly the sort of fan-licking line that Matt Smith would deliver with an eyebrows-aloft quizzical emphasis on the Who, to ensure that even the stupidest child watching will get it.
posted by jack_mo at 3:24 AM on March 29, 2013


Doctor Who: a 50-year history in one data visualisation
Terrible navigation but you can download it as a pdf via googledocs
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also been enjoying the Guardian's Best Dr Who Episodes Of All Time series
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:18 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me, there is an awesome fanvid trailer for the 50th here. I think it's quite well put together.
posted by Mezentian at 5:33 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


But The Corsair is dead, and as I understand the Time War, never existed in some way. Kinda.

Hey, if Amy can remember The Doctor back out of never-existed, The Doctor can just remember the shit out of The Corsair. Also, Daleks.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:29 AM on March 29, 2013


Well, I've been watching Dr. Who for almost 50 years and I love all the new ones (though the current season with Matt Smith is a little underwhelming).

I'm surprised that some of the episodes I liked the best are ones other people hated. I mean, take, "Let's Kill Hitler." It's breath-taking that they have an episode involving going back in time and killing Hitler - and then simply and deliberately refuse to use that idea and ignore Hitler almost entirely (thank Goodness - the idea is hoary!)

Yes, there's a lot of stretches - but they've been doing this for half a century and they've managed to more or less avoid repeating and to more or less remain self-consistent.

Let's compare it to the X-Files, a program that justly gets good reviews from SF types. Now, I like that show, but there's very little dramatic arc to any of the characters - they basically stay the same people, Scully is forced to open a little to the paranormal but they're quite recognizable from day one.

Now look at who we see on Day One of the Who reboot. Rose is a shop girl of limited ambitions. Mickey - look at Mickey! He's a craven coward as the show starts - by the time he leaves the story arc, he's a full-time freedom fighting terrorist (on the good guys' side, mind you).

And yes, it's schmatzy, but the reboot has made me cry on several occasions. I hadn't really realized how pathetic the Cybermen were until the reboot. Harriet Jones's final exit had me both laughing and crying at the same time.

Lots to love... I could have written far more.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Poor old Mickey.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's compare it to the X-Files, a program that justly gets good reviews from SF types.

I believe that sci-fi types are diverse group because X-Files is, to many, the poster child for a series going to hell because the writers setup an ending they didn't think through. The alien arc became a laughing stock. It had such great and interesting potential. It ended up being murky and ridiculous. This pattern was repeated in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, which was great for a couple of seasons and a half and then rapidly went down the toilet.
posted by juiceCake at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm well-aware of the X-Files issues - I watched through them on Netflix, to a point. My point was in fact that Dr. Who has worked better in being an ongoing series than the X-Files.

But I had a great solution for the woes of the X-Files.

There should have been a sudden plot upheaval where the aliens suddenly tipped their hand and took over, and the show moved from depicting FBI investigators to being about resistance fighters, like The Invaders.

They didn't take my suggestion. Pity...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:08 PM on March 29, 2013


You've not been watching Fringe, have you?
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mezentian it's true, all the best Doctor Who for the last several years have come out of Big Finish. Gallifrey so far has been great, Dalek Empire is also amazing. The couple Second Doctor episodes I've listened to we great. The Sara Jane ones were pretty good an UNIT sounded promising so far.
I have to be careful tho because they have also made crap with that Paul McGann chap. Can't be involved with anything that crosses with that story.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:59 PM on March 29, 2013


Is it a coincidence they're showing a show about a man who dies and is resurrected on Easter weekend?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:30 PM on March 29, 2013


There should have been a sudden plot upheaval where the aliens suddenly tipped their hand and took over, and the show moved from depicting FBI investigators to being about resistance fighters, like The Invaders.

Oh, great. Now I have my bitter Threshold memories bubbling to the surface.

Oh, what could have been.
posted by Mezentian at 6:15 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


My point was in fact that Dr. Who has worked better in being an ongoing series than the X-Files.

I disagree. though what that has to do with apparently justly good reviews by Sci-fi types when it got a lot of bad reviews, I don't know.

You can't trust the new Who. An idea is introduced that means the characters are affected in a certain way in one episode and then a few episodes later, it's over turned. Rose was never to be seen again, but there she is again. The Time Lords were "all gone" and yet there they were again, etc. It's muddled story telling that makes any situation meaningless because it could turn out that none of this or that actually applies this episode, though it did previously, and may again.

That's the problem with doing everything big. My god, look, they can't possibly cross over to that other universe ever again, high drama! Oh wait, they can, but for sure not after this. My god, the Doctor is so alone and he lived through a time war where all the Time Lords were killed, how sad, except, maybe not, there's the Master, and Rassilon can show up to.
posted by juiceCake at 9:18 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dislike Planet of the Dead all you like, but remember it contained the immortal line about the Doctor's gadget which "goes ding when there's stuff".
posted by Coaticass at 2:06 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, "it goes ding when there's stuff" was in Blink.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 AM on March 30, 2013


Placeholder comment so this thread shows up in Recent Activity after I've watched the new episode.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 AM on March 30, 2013


Tennant and Piper to return.
posted by Artw at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2013




Tennant and Piper to return.

Called it!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 AM on March 30, 2013


Tennant and Piper to return.

Please.
God.
No.
More.
Rose.

(Also spoiler I could have lived without, and I just told my partner was never going to happen, but apparently a spoiler could not have missed, so whatever.)

Gonna go limb-like:
John Hurt
is
Omega.
posted by Mezentian at 9:32 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


On consideration:
Rose, but no Captain Jack?

And Mr Hurt might be playing Drax, Azmael or Cho-Je.
But I am guessing Omega.

Incidentally, apparently the readers of Dr Who Monthly consider Planet of the Dead to be the worst Who ever, replacing The Twin Dilemma. That seems wrong.
posted by Mezentian at 9:40 AM on March 30, 2013


Return of Chicken Monster!
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2013


Not quite sure what singles Planet of the Dead out as quite so awful... There's worse episodes even within NuWho and that's even without digging into the dying days of the 80s incarnation. And if the TV Movie counts...
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I refuse to believe The Doctor wears a clip-on bow tie.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:11 PM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Typing!
posted by Mick at 1:14 PM on March 30, 2013


Only three Hugo nominations, they're slipping. Also up against Blackwater, which is one of the best episodes of anything.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on March 30, 2013


Well, well, well.

(Won't make any sense until you've seen the episode.)

I wonder who wrote it in real life.
posted by Grangousier at 2:23 PM on March 30, 2013


What happened on her 23rd Birthday?
posted by fullerine at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2013


Her mother died.

(At least, I assume that was what was implied.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2013


No, "it goes ding when there's stuff" was in Blink.
posted by EmpressCallipygos


D'oh! Getting the Doctor's humorous gadgets mixed up.
posted by Coaticass at 4:41 PM on March 30, 2013


Okay, so I documentes it here as a joke, but despite some of the off details, my dream was freakily accurate.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:13 PM on March 30, 2013


Fair warning, I have seen the episode and am about to discuss it. Spoilers, etc.

Actually, I rather liked it. Of course Clara is Special, but we knew she had to be, and she's so internet-phobic that she doesn't understand the idea of twitter -- apparently having trouble with wifi connections means you don't understand computers at all -- but we'll let that go. The first minute or so was the dialogue from Blink, about wifi instead of sculptures, which was sort of dropped and picked back up as needed, and we'll let that go as well.

We'll forget that the Doctor trapped River in a computer in the Forest of the Dead and thought that was a-ok and better than dying, whereas here it was worse to be trapped in a computer than to be dead.

We'll pretend that the uploading through mirror-headed robots made sense -- that any of the wifi mind control made sense, really -- though it failed at being creepy.

But for all that, I had fun. I rolled my eyes occasionally at some of the references that were less clever than they were hoping to be, but I didn't hate the characters or the plot, which is better than most of 11.
posted by jeather at 6:33 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I found it pretty serviceable, too. It felt almost like a pre-Moffat ep, in a refreshing way. Next week's also looks promising.

Plus, Matt Smith on a Triumph.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:43 PM on March 30, 2013


The Forest of the Dead computer after life was a simulation though, this one was more like a living hell.

I liked it, as silly as it was.

The reveal of the big bad was quite nice, too.
posted by Mezentian at 8:39 PM on March 30, 2013


My review of the new episode.

SPOILER thoughts:






Brain uploading was arbitrarily declared bad now? Why?

Since when was the Doctor a hacker?

I predicted the dumbest moment of the episode - the Doctor driving up the building - as a joke a second before it happened.

The music was annoying, the cutesy flirting was annoying and creepy, and Oswin was annoying. I actually groaned out loud when she said 'OsWIN'.

My excitable little brother was annoyed too. To the Cloud!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:29 AM on March 31, 2013


I've been told in another place that the clip-on bow tie is actually the second Doctor's.... someone else says they saw Four's scarf in the hall (I'll have to rewatch to see if that's true). So I think we can expect references to the other Docs in forthcoming episodes.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:50 AM on March 31, 2013


Apparently Moffat hates twitter - he signed up for a while but the abuse he got had him soon backing out - and hence the digs at it in that ep
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


And some more nerdary...

Oswald... I'm sure that name's got another connection to Who?
Clara's birthday = 23 Nov, that rings a bell too.
Missing year 23... wonder what else had a 23rd year delayed...?
She died (back in Victorian times) aged 26... hmmm, what died after 26 years (and came back again)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:05 AM on March 31, 2013


Brain uploading was arbitrarily declared bad now? Why?

I think the problem was that, in this case, the uploaded people were confused and trapped, not just contentedly living in some Matrix-like simulation.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:35 AM on March 31, 2013


I've just watched it for the second time, and I didn't think they were digs at Twitter, per se, but accurate snark.

(I watched his Twitter for a while and, why would you put up with that?)

I like fearfulsymmetry's ideas. I suspect it's just meta commentary, but not I am curious what the 16 might have been. The gap between the '89 series and the re-commissioning?

Seems to fit, but as a nod to the fans more than any story reason. Still, who knows? They seem to be dropping the program name in a lot these days.

I'm curious: did anyone else pick the Big Bad?
I did, back when The Idiot's Lantern was getting made, but not this time around.
posted by Mezentian at 6:59 AM on March 31, 2013


That was ... okay. Though christ, do we really have to have an enigmatic history-laden sharp-talking gorgeous twentysomething woman as a companion again? That shit's getting kind of boring/obvious.

Talking of which, I take it everyone noticed that the book the younger of Clara's charges was reading (whose cover provided the image of the young girl on the stairs) was written by Amelia Williams?
posted by Len at 7:21 AM on March 31, 2013


I feel like we got a rehashed episode doused in Moffatyness.We've seen technology as the tool of the Big Bad a few times already, with the cybermen and bluetooth, and then The Wire and TV. It's hardly shocking. Too many in jokes and references, not enough plot or character development.
posted by peppermind at 7:21 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mezentian: I'm curious: did anyone else pick the Big Bad?
I did, back when The Idiot's Lantern was getting made, but not this time around.


I honestly thought it was going to be some fresh new Cybermen twist – harvesting the minds instead of the bodies for some Matrix-ified jape.
posted by Len at 7:23 AM on March 31, 2013


on Not-preview:

peppermind: We've seen technology as the tool of the Big Bad a few times already, with the cybermen and bluetooth, and then The Wire and TV

See also the Sontarans with their evil satnav, and a whole host of others. The dangers of technology are fertile territory. Indeed, last night when I was watching this episode I was thinking, you know what would make a great episode of of Doctor Who? If they got Charlie Brooker, in Black Mirror mode, to write one. Though obviously he'd have to dial down the biliousness a bit.
posted by Len at 7:28 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


f they got Charlie Brooker, in Black Mirror mode, to write one. Though obviously he'd have to dial down the biliousness a bit.

Doctor Who is not ready for Pig-Fuckers, but your idea is otherwise brilliant.
posted by Mezentian at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2013


Ar. With the death of Confidential....
posted by Mezentian at 7:32 AM on March 31, 2013


Mezentian: Doctor Who is not ready for Pig-Fuckers

"You travel all through time and space in a mad blue box, you save the human race from every threat imaginable, you keep a lid on genocidal maniacs who can't go up stairs, you charm and inveigle your way through immense danger while wearing a bow tie or a big stripy scarf.

But you fuck just one pig ..."
posted by Len at 7:39 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Summer Falls by Amelia Williams is published by BBC Books on Thursday 4 April, priced £1.99.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:06 AM on March 31, 2013


Smithy apparently has hinted that paintings will play a role on the 50th.
The Winter King gets a mention in Amy's book (and if Amy and Rory don't turn up in the 50th in some pre-recorded nod I'll be surprised), and the little girl in the The Rings of Akhaten is the Queen of Years. I expect there to be little fake-outs like this for a while.

Not key to the story, but fake-outs, like the Bells of St John.
posted by Mezentian at 8:13 AM on March 31, 2013


Doctor Who is so British that Brits tend to disbelieve that it has become popular in the US. Their reaction at being told that one of their quirky national traditions attracts an audience unfamiliar with tea towels and gap years is a bit like an American being told that the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is being livestreamed unironically across France. Really? That’s what you’re watching? But only we watch that.

Doctor Who and the New British Empire.

posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Britain's best hope for international power is to keep exporting excellent culture: just keep seding out the Doctor Who, Sherlock, (insert favourite British product here) and we'll all feel inexplicitly loyal to your green and pleasant fields.
posted by jb at 1:37 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]




Oh god the Doctor was creepin' hard in that episode. The scene where he was outside her window I found myself saying, "Christ, Clara. Don't talk to him, call the police!"
posted by charred husk at 6:45 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Oh god the Doctor was creepin' hard in that episode.:

You never know what might happen to you when you run off with strange men...
posted by markkraft at 8:51 AM on April 1, 2013


I generally keep my slash thoughts and my Doctor Who thoughts wildly separate, so I'm really shocked how much I just shouted "Kiss!" in my head looking at this picture.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:22 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


MCMike, assuming you HAVE seen the famous John-Barrowman-and-David-Tennant-at-Comicon clip, right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The two of them always seem to have fantastic chemistry.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:55 PM on April 1, 2013


There are two kinds of characters that should never be slashed: under-18s, and 900+ year old aliens who are clearly more in love with their spaceship than they could be with any mortal (Doctor-TARDIS forevar!). Everyone else is fair game - and at least with Captain Jack, every conceivable pairing is believable.
posted by jb at 10:44 PM on April 1, 2013




The two of them always seem to have fantastic chemistry.

David Tennant has fantastic chemistry with everyone. If he did run into someone he didn't click with, some gland in his head would probably secrete a surplus to make up for it. It's like he cheated and used an extra d20 on his charisma roll or something.

Linking to my own WOO-HOO I ACTUALLY MET HIM ONCE comment because it illustrates how charming he is, and also just because I can.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on April 2, 2013


Yeah, yeah. I actually like Matt Smith more, in that he actually feels more like the Doctor, and less like a self-absorbed -- albeit charismatic -- gameshow host.
posted by markkraft at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Although I still haven't gotten around to "The Bells of St. John's" yet, I did find out that the Beeb is advertising for a new executive producer for Doctor Who:
If you are strong editorially, driven, self-motivated, approachable and passionate about making popular, ground-breaking television drama, we’d love to hear from you.

Experience of producing complex period dramas including effects is essential. You must have original and creative ideas for storylines and characters as well as the skills and abilities to communicate these to the team. You need experience of leading a production team; an eye for detail and be used to working with internal and external stakeholders such as co-producers. You’ll be privy to confidential and commercially sensitive information so it’s important you understand how to handle this.
It concludes, with characteristic British understatement: "This is not your normal 9-5 job, so you will need to be flexible with your time and duties and demonstrate resilience."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:40 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doktor Zed: I did find out that the Beeb is advertising for a new executive producer for Doctor Who

It's almost worth sending in my CV just so in the future I can say, "At one point, I was under consideration for the position of Executive Producer of Doctor Who."
posted by Rock Steady at 12:59 PM on April 4, 2013


"It's almost worth sending in my CV just so in the future I can say, "At one point, I was under consideration for the position of Executive Producer of Doctor Who.""

It seems odd that they'll accept CVs in Welsh, but not Gallifreyan.
posted by markkraft at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2013


And I know you're probably thinking that Gallifreyan is a dead language, but let's face it... there are still native speakers out there.

It's pretty obvious that the return of Gallifrey has already will have had happened, most likely sometime soonish in the somewhat near future, not to mention all those alternate realities and parallel dimensions. We've most likely already will have had seen a rebirth of Gallifreyan culture and identity, along with suitable holoshows, remedial education pills, and the like to make sure that native Gallifreyan exists forever... or at least until the next time war comes around.

I mean, which language and culture would *you* count on existing forever, anyway? The might of the Timelords... or the Welsh?!
posted by markkraft at 2:49 PM on April 5, 2013




I think "arc" might be over-stating it a tad, but it seems like it would have been a great idea.... making sense of the grand processional at the end of The End of Time.

10 great Doctor Who series openers.
The Leisure Hive seems to be missing. You can't tell me the first few minutes of that aren't gripping TV. Why, that opening tracking shot alone....

No Eccleston in 50th Anniversary Special.
No surprise there, but I still think he'll cameo in some small may, maybe as the emergency hologram.

And, for anyone interested in old DW, the BFI panels are a nice enough way to kill some time. They're up to the Third Doctor now.

As for today's episode... well.... it looked pretty in places, but there as more wrong than right about it. And they used the wrong opening song, it should have been The Power Of Love by Huey Lewis.
posted by Mezentian at 8:42 PM on April 6, 2013


I agree. As much as I love How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I don't think it mixed well with Doctor Who.
posted by peppermind at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2013


Who's first director, Waris Hussein, recently complained in an interview for BBC Radio 4: "There is an element now, and I know we're living in a different era, of sexuality that has crept in. Why bring in this element when in fact you needn't have it there? The intriguing thing about the original person, was that you never quite knew about him and there was a mystery and an unavailability about him. Now we've just had a recent rebirth and another girl has joined us, a companion, she actually snogged him."

(Nobody remind him about the time William Hartnell's Doctor accidentally married an Aztec lady.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2013


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