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March 31, 2013 8:49 AM   Subscribe

How to make a Doctor Who "Bells of St. John"-style wifi name, from the BBC America Doctor Who Tumblr. (No spoilers in the article, inevitably spoilers in the comments.)
posted by Katemonkey (193 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Department of Homeland Security knocking down doors in 3, 2,...
posted by cjorgensen at 8:52 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was wondering how long it would take for people to start doing this.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:54 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The episode wasn't so strong as to make me want to mimic anything from it.
I also wonder how many people are right now changing their passwords to rycbar123?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:04 AM on March 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Check and see if there is a software update for it, or email the manufacturer.

Hey Netgear, you need to update your firmware! I can't use this Doctor Who SSID!

FUCKING CUSTOMERS
* adds "Can't use Doctor Who SSID" to bug tracker *

posted by scose at 9:26 AM on March 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


I still loathe Clara.

In happier news, Tennant and Piper are returning for the anniversary special!
posted by Windigo at 9:55 AM on March 31, 2013


* adds "Can't use Doctor Who SSID" to bug tracker *

Wait until they get my request for custom fonts. The kerning on ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ is terrible.
posted by Gary at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now I don't know where I am.
posted by tomboko at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Tennant and Piper? That's like a baseline. I'm holding out for Eccleston, McGann, McCoy, Baker, Baker and Davison. Throw in Aldred and Hines, and you can mark this fanboy sated. *gently foams at mouth*
posted by bwerdmuller at 10:07 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


First episode of the season and I'm already tired of Clara. Feh.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tennant and Piper? That's like a baseline. I'm holding out for Eccleston, McGann, McCoy, Baker, Baker and Davison. Throw in Aldred and Hines, and you can mark this fanboy sated. *gently foams at mouth*

Well, I'd really love Donna back, too, but I'll take what I can get
posted by Windigo at 10:12 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


For me, the new episode wasn't terrible, it just wasn't very interesting.

Oh, and computers DO NOT work like that, Moffat.
posted by Kitteh at 10:17 AM on March 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Assyrian Dalek, ca. 865 BCE
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on March 31, 2013


> Oh, and computers DO NOT work like that, Moffat.

BAH! It disappoints me every time they show a computer - and I'm an "easy suspension of disbelief" - I'm not looking for tiny nits to pick. The fact that you see generic interfaces in big type with no branding, e.g., makes total sense to me dramatically, even though real-world monitors are crowded with stuff.

But, man, it's like they go out of their way to be ridiculous on TV and the movies. I groaned out loud in Jurassic Park when they show a bizarre 3-d interface and someone says, "I know Unix."

What's funny is that Sherlock actually handles all the technology very well. The popups on screen representing people's IMs are an extremely clever device and I expect to see these as standard in future films.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:22 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


For me, the new episode wasn't terrible, it just wasn't very interesting.

For me, the mediocrity of an episode increases in a parallel with the rise in volume and bombast of the soundtrack. This first episode, then, rates as "astronomical" on the mediocrity scale.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:23 AM on March 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Murray Gold's scores are the equivalent of having someone shout "THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING" next to you on the couch.
posted by Kitteh at 10:25 AM on March 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


gah... the episode was classic moffat, great at first impression - the small moments totally carry you away and get you saying "f*** yes dr who", then you realise you've just watched a tv show where a major plot point was someone uses a touch-screen slider to manipulate emotions and a women (or lets be honest, manic pixie dream- girl) is so incompetent with computers she doesn't know how to connect to a wifi network.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:34 AM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Oh, and computers DO NOT work like that, Moffat.

The only new-Who episode I've watched was the first one with Eleven (I think?) where he hacks into every computer on the planet simultaneously from his cell phone, or something.

So I don't know what happened in this episode, but in general I don't get the sense that Doctor Who is a show that takes things like technological verisimilitude terribly seriously.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:37 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Computers? Heck, sonic screwdrivers didn't work like that until Moffat came along!
posted by Catblack at 10:44 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Computers? Heck, sonic screwdrivers didn't work like that until Moffat came along!

Yeah...I have to say I'm getting pretty fucking weary of the deus-ex-machina use of the sonic screwdriver. It's lazy damned writing. It needs to get lost in a bottomless toolbox for a season or so, and force the writers to actually write.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:54 AM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]



But, man, it's like they go out of their way to be ridiculous on TV and the movies. I groaned out loud in Jurassic Park when they show a bizarre 3-d interface and someone says, "I know Unix."


Actually that was real.
posted by forgetful snow at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


There's a reason you don't see sonic screwdrivers in action movies.
posted by homunculus at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Eleven's the best. You'll cry your eyes out", indeed...in a book by Amelia Williams. The Moff is just fucking with us now.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:11 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and computers DO NOT work like that, Moffat.

I laughed my head off at the typing really fast duels. But I've given up bitching about this stuff: computers are not privileged, television gets everything wrong. Cars do not work that way. Telephones do not work that way. Medicine most especially does not work that way. With one or two very recent exceptions, the police do not work that way (and there's less excuse for this than any of them, given how many police shows there have been). The law and courtroom procedure do not work that way. Why should computers be any different?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on March 31, 2013 [21 favorites]


What's funny is that Sherlock actually handles all the technology very well. The popups on screen representing people's IMs are an extremely clever device and I expect to see these as standard in future films.

I already have -- trying to remember which one. Shame, perhaps? The timing of production may even be that it was simply happenstance. It wasn't used quite so plotfully, though.
posted by dhartung at 11:27 AM on March 31, 2013


Fun premise, crappy crappy execution. I know it started out as a kids show, but everything feels so very on the nose - oh, she's english - cuppa tea! Doctor on a motorcycle - drive up the shard! And the Oh So Very Cute relationship is bordering on creepy uncle.

It's killing me because even old episodes with tissue paper plot at least held up until the credits rolled. I've been a lot of things watching Doctor Who but until now, I haven't been bored. I'm hoping it's the 50th anniversary and Sherlock drawing focus but this series concerns me.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:33 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually I don't think their relationship is at all inappropriate: she seems at least as emotionally mature as he is, and given the mysterious back story she's in some sense pretty darn old, too.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:39 AM on March 31, 2013


The fact that you see generic interfaces in big type with no branding, e.g., makes total sense to me dramatically, even though real-world monitors are crowded with stuff.

The Doctor's hacking duel was silly.

But Clara's hacking scene was interesting in that they didn't use the usual fakey-generic service names -- Finder Spyder and the like. Instead, there were actual verbal and visual mentions of real services: Facebook, MySpace, a brief flash of Google+.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:39 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Note for all its vintage look that was a modern Triumph Scrambler; I don't think the TARDIS likes oil puddles. Also it means he didn't have to bodge on it for two or three hours to get it running, which would really have messed up the plot.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 AM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, how did she get his number in the first place? Is there someone else who is aware of both of them?
posted by asra at 11:58 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could have been clearer - it's not that I think their relationship is in appropriate, it just falls squarely into 'if this was real life this wouldn't be 'cute', it would be stalking' territory. That, and Eleven's tendency to be uncomfortably childlike in relationships with women.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:59 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, how did she get his number in the first place? Is there someone else who is aware of both of them?

Clara made a quick comment of "The woman gave it to me." Of course, the question is "what woman?" Will we see River again?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:07 PM on March 31, 2013


I laughed my head off at the typing really fast duels.

he types like a muppet - just flailing away with those hands against the keyboard.
posted by russm at 12:10 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The popups on screen representing people's IMs are an extremely clever device and I expect to see these as standard in future films.

I've definitely seen it on quite a few TV series over the last few years, the first film I saw it (or similar) on was back in 2001: All About Lily Chou-Chou

The one thing that really bugs me about computers in TV is the use of IP addresses, e.g. things like 145.753.0001.32. That and disks/cards that can only be read once (which is technically possible, but not in the contexts described); also every single computer related thing in every single episode of 24. Ever.

So, how did she get his number in the first place? Is there someone else who is aware of both of them?

I am going with yes on that one, given: "She said: `it's the best helpline out there`, `best in the Universe`, she said".
posted by titus-g at 12:16 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well if River is going to be in the series then it's definitely inappropriate...he's a married man.

Spoiler:
I don't like they undermined Oswin's awesome computer skill by making it something that she gained almost by accident, rather than hard earned graft.

Young Girls in UK, Europe and USA, need more role models promoting STEM subjects, a positive capable, intelligent female computer scientist here, could have a significant effect on University / career choices for 5-10 years.
posted by Dr Ew at 12:33 PM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm so glad someone else mentioned the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing. I'm going to paraphrase a comment I made elsewhere:

Steven Moffat's stomping my face into a curb while yelling "YOU WILL FIND THIS CHARACTER INTERESTING! AND QUIRKY! AND BRILLIANT! AND YOU! WILL! LOVE! HER!". The only difference is that this time the curb is labeled "Oswin" instead of "River Song".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:18 PM on March 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


This was the first Who I watched in a while (though I missed half of it because I was busy struggling into some Spanx and trying to find a skirt) and I have to agree that the Doctor's behavior, in a real human being, would be creepy and deserving of a call to the police. But because he's an alien, it's endearing?
posted by subbes at 1:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am going with yes on that one, given: "She said: `it's the best helpline out there`, `best in the Universe`, she said".

My first thought was Sally Sparrow.
posted by zarq at 1:29 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is there no end to River Song but we never see any more of the fully-virtualized accidentally-hyperintelligent Miss Evangelista? She'd make a great recurrent "ghost in the machine" type of character. Also, Talulah Riley. Because Talulah Riley.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:36 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, somewhere online where people *didn't* like the latest Who ep.

Metafilter: My tribe.(1)












(1) Except you people who consider Donna a good assistant. Donna was horrible in ways that make my brain actually itch.

But I do realise that when it comes to assistants, one persons mead is another persons poison so, YMMV.

posted by Faintdreams at 2:18 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Didn't work, so I changed mine to "Scary Dr. Who wifi name"
posted by mecran01 at 2:24 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, how did she get his number in the first place? Is there someone else who is aware of both of them?

Given the time conundrum aspect of her character, I assumed that it was a future version of Oswin herself that had set up this particular meeting with the Doctor i.e. ensuring that she was given that helpline number and that the wifi password was what it was. It seems like the kind of idea that Moffat would enjoy. Mind you he has mined that territory pretty heavily with River so maybe she's the culprit in this instance as well.
posted by MUD at 2:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, who has the number? I am trying to think, Rose and Martha, for sure. Sally did not have his number at all in her episode. Unfortunately, Donna can't be the one. Amelia? But Rory's gravestone would place Amelia's time ending prior to this post 2011 London riot period. Any other candidates?
posted by jadepearl at 3:09 PM on March 31, 2013


I liked the premisse of the episode, which was nicely creepy and just plausible enough in a whovian context to be scary -- would make a great urban legend -- but they just rushed through it without resolving much and all the goey eyes the doctor made at the latest miss very special but no personality didn't help.

The original series would've handled it better, when the doctor was less likely to chase after girls (or boys), the plot would've been spread over half a dozen 30 minutes episodes or so and it could have all been handled slightly more mature and not so much as a collection of kewl scenes.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:37 PM on March 31, 2013


Well, who has the number? I am trying to think, Rose and Martha, for sure. Sally did not have his number at all in her episode. Unfortunately, Donna can't be the one. Amelia? But Rory's gravestone would place Amelia's time ending prior to this post 2011 London riot period. Any other candidates?

If River can fly the TARDIS, I'd bet she can call it.

There was a moment when I had a terrible feeling that perhaps River is Clara's dead mother. Moffat has liked stringing companions together so far, hasn't he?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2013


What Doctor Who desperately needs is a new showrunner. Moffat is awful. His episodes and plotlines are all hat, no cattle.
posted by Malor at 4:14 PM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Finally, somewhere online where people *didn't* like the latest Who ep.

I hated it, and literally facepalmed at a few of the lines (OsWIN) and joked about the Doctor driving up The Shard a second before he actually did it. Hated the music, hated creepy stalker Doctor, hated Manic Pixie Dreamgirl Oswin.

But other people seemed to love it for some reason.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


It annoyed me that the phone in the TARDIS didn't match from the last time it called in The EMpty Child. And the TARDIS dressing room was ditched in favour of a locker where the "engines" used to be.

Small things.
posted by Mezentian at 4:40 PM on March 31, 2013


Faintdreams: SOMEONE ELSE WHO DIDN'T LIKE DONNA! *hugs you* I like Martha the most of the recent character.
posted by Canageek at 4:49 PM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


I actually thought the TARDIS herself engineered the call - much like she decides where they'll be landing - (and I would love for it to be true) but odds are better it's an alternate version of Clara.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:55 PM on March 31, 2013


I actually thought the TARDIS herself engineered the call, (and I would love for it to be true) but odds are better it's an alternate version of Clara.

Vastra is probably also in the running.

I did like the episode (and oswin) for 'some reason', some of which may be shared habitus; for instance I don't see: 'oh, she's english - cuppa tea!' on account of because: actually, a cup of tea is the normal, rational, response in that sort of situation (no, really, this happens in real life as well!).
posted by titus-g at 5:24 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's telling that Louie CK and the Doctor have the same motorcycle. Just sayin'.
posted by sonascope at 5:38 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Malor: "What Doctor Who desperately needs is a new showrunner. Moffat is awful. His episodes and plotlines are all hat, no cattle."

I'd be surprised if a new showrunner would fix it, to be honest. The BBC is getting exactly what they want from Who at the moment.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:50 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wonder:


┓̱͕̲̫̫̲̈́┏̦̥͆̅͗̑ ̜͌凵̗̣͖̽ͬ̓́ ͎̜̜͛̈̿̄̓̾=̤̯̦͚͋̑ͨ̽ͧ̚╱̳͍̭̈̋ͩ̈́⊿͉̳͈͎̠̦̖┌̪̞̤̯̩̀ͥ̔̌ͩ̅̋┬̗͔̥̓͂̑ͅ┐̻ͫ̀̐ͨ̐̉͑



HUMANITY: NO CARRIER
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:10 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


everything feels so very on the nose - oh, she's english - cuppa tea! Doctor on a motorcycle - drive up the shard!

I'm confused about a part of this... What's wrong with English people drinking a cuppa?
posted by meese at 8:15 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing wrong with a cuppa, but why didn't she put it down somewhere in the TARDIS instead of running through the plane with it?
posted by peppermind at 8:18 PM on March 31, 2013


Oh god, I have a lot of feelings about Doctor Who.

Speaking as someone with a little blood in my tea stream, of course there's nothing wrong with English people (or anyone else for that matter) drinking a cuppa. There's not even a problem with making it Clara's cute little thing to never let go of her mug.

The problem is that, stuff like that used to be written as cute little asides that you caught if you paid attention. Now everything is (forgive the expression) turned up to ELEVEN - it feels like all the wit and subtlety has been lost. Everything has just become so ploddingly obvious - HURR YOU KNOW HOW THE ENGLISH ARE WITH THEIR TEA.

The music tells you exactly how to feel, The Doctor is mooning like a silent movie star, jokes and characters are returned to repeatedly with ever-diminishing returns. It just feels like a slightly dull kids show and it's so much more than that.

*MOFFAT!!!!!*

posted by Space Kitty at 8:52 PM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


The show has a ton of problems, ranging from rampant sexism to major plot holes. But it also takes risks that very few other shows do -- certainly among family shows on basic cable. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but at least it's always different. The moment Doctor Who becomes consistently good, it will also be unchallenging and uninteresting.

I thought this episode had really excellent moments. The repartee was perfect. The enemy was original and went beyond being a monster of the week. There are lots of mysteries left to solve in the remainder of the season. I am worried about Clara's childlike helplessness -- I'm not sure the Doctor has had a companion who is so completely useless before. But maybe she'll have an incarnation where she is actually skilled in some way the Doctor is not. We'll see.
posted by miyabo at 9:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just out of curiosity, how many of Clara-haters have watched "The Snowmen"?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:47 PM on March 31, 2013


Donna was horrible in ways that make my brain actually itch.

The blatent fuck-awfulness of Donna Noble has basically immunised me against any level of terrible in a future Who companion. Mind you, I am getting quite tired of Moffatt's belief that every female Who character has to be first and foremost a riddle to be solved, rather than an actual person.
posted by permafrost at 2:32 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's another point that bothers me about how the show is being run right now...When we first see the Doctor, he's living in seclusion as a 13th century monk. Now, who wouldn't want to see at least a few episodes of what it would be like to be a timelord living among 13th century monks? What does a timelord do in such self-imposed seclusion? That sort of juxtaposition could make for some brilliant writing, and it would give us a more fleshed-out view of the Doctor, sans all the constant running and yelling and screwdrivering and saving the fucking planet every 20 minutes.

But, noooooooooooo....
posted by Thorzdad at 4:30 AM on April 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Thorzdad: That sort of juxtaposition could make for some brilliant writing, and it would give us a more fleshed-out view of the Doctor, sans all the constant running and yelling and screwdrivering and saving the fucking planet every 20 minutes.

Viewers appear to want constant running and yelling and screwdrivering and saving the fucking planet every 20 minutes. If you want secluded drama in medieval cloisters, I suggest that television may not be the medium for you.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:07 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you want secluded drama in medieval cloisters, I suggest that television may not be the medium for you.

Or you may want to watch Cadfael, which stars Derek Jacobi as a 12th-century monk who solves murders.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Now, who wouldn't want to see at least a few episodes of what it would be like to be a timelord living among 13th century monks?

It's been done. Sort of.
posted by Grangousier at 7:31 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Contemporary American TV audiences in particular would find the Who that British fans and older fans are pining for tedious and too subtle. Me, I get where the criticism comes from, but I really don't care, because I'm just grateful as long as Who's still around in whatever form, because then it always has the possibility of getting better again. There were long stretches in the early years of the series that I hated as a kid, but to me, even those weak episodes were better than no Who at all.

Also, while I agree that Moffat seems to have been phoning it in the last couple of seasons (I'm wondering if he hasn't just been taking on too much work lately), I thought the new episode was a huge improvement, and I don't quite understand how people are reading Clara as helpless: she was the one who hacked into the Wi-Fi-from-hell system thingy when the Doctor couldn't, after all (I don't think that hand-wavy stuff about something having come back with her when she was downloaded will hold up over time; I think that was something of the real Clara peeping through.) And she keeps revealing herself to be resourceful in different ways and more than willing to stand up to the Doctor and call him on his grandiosity and other BS.

That said, I do wish the new show could get past putting so much focus on the Doctor's relationship with his companion (and maybe even get back to having more than just one or two regular companions again) and that the romantic-interest angle were more understated. My inner-eight-year old fan-boy still cringes a little at the thought of the Doctor and his companions having obvious romantic entanglements at all. It was better IMO when the Doctor kept his feelings a little closer to his chest, and any romantic sentiment the Doctor might have felt toward a companion was subtext, not text. (Also, agreed: the writers take too much license with what the sonic screwdriver can do. In the old days, if the Doctor rigged it up to do something other than opening doors or fixing things at a critical moment, it was a rare measure that carried some risk of failure. Now, with just a few quick adjustments, the damned thing just seems to be able to do whatever the Doctor needs it to do--it's more like a magic wand than a piece of technology.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Actually, the Doctor hacked the system, but Clara got deep enough into it to determine the base of operations, but the point's the same...
posted by saulgoodman at 7:42 AM on April 1, 2013


I'm surprised that more people don't actually give their wifi networks names starting with 'a'. My apartment complex has so many networks now that that's the only way I can guarantee one of my networks will pop up first and be hooked up to first. On the other hand, this makes the most sense with Apple iOS devices, which only seem to list available networks in alphabetical order.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2013


And weren't they always called companions, at least in fandom?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2013


Donna Noble was the worst companion since Adric and had the most paint-stripping foghorn of a voice since Teagan.

Oh and constant Brit tea drinking isn't a cliche... it's reality. I'd totally take my own mug* on adventures in time and space. *goes to put the kettle on*

*It's a Dad's Army one
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:02 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Doctor needs to read this article and thread. He was seriously creepin'.

Also, all you Donna haters forget the best thing about her - the Wilf.
posted by charred husk at 8:35 AM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Are there "Canadian"-style Maple trees in the UK?
posted by drezdn at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2013


Wilfred Mott is hands down my favourite new era companion. The bit in The End of Time when he tells the Doctor he'd have been proud to have him as a son is for me the only genuinely affecting bit in the whole episode.
posted by permafrost at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I figured out why Clara annoys me so much. She reminds me of the annoying girl in those particularly annoying "ahahaha we're wacky uni students!" BT adverts.

If we end up with her, the Doctor, and a hipster guy hanging out in the TARDIS and talking about how great their Internet connection is, I am so done.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:08 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not a hipster (at least I don't think so - although I am a smartass) and my DSL sucks.

Am I invited?
posted by Samizdata at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2013


I liked Donna.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:23 AM on April 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


The power of this crazy kids' show that adults love is that it seems to have enough for everybody. Donna lovers, Tennant haters. Those who eyeroll at the three billionth time the Daleks survive and those who can't get enough.

On my first time all the way back through from Eccleston to the present, I had to revisit my unabashed love for Eccleston and discover he's great but not as great as I remember. That Tennant really does create a whole new kind of sad demigod, making that character his but falling into the messiah trap (messiahs can only ascend or die, they don't get to retire). I remember loving Martha but disliking Donna... and on the second pass those roles switched (Donna's chemistry with Tenant is a masterwork).

Further, I enjoyed a rare depiction of a fully formed couple who love one another, the complex and historical romantic feelings Amy had to figure out and the degree to which her utter humanness was her real mystery. I liked the Ponds as much the second time through, maybe more, but their later plotlines did start to feel like I was making fun of myself a bit.

And I like Clara. She has reason and thoughtfulness and seems untroubled by her own navel which is kind of the mortal opposite of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for my money.

Finally, once you unlayer the degree to which Computers (and everything else) Don't Work That Way... her basic premise that the people are the weakest link in computer security and her resulting approach to solving the problem was a rare moment in Who when I didn't have to just chalk it up to the fact that Who is fantasy, not in any way science fiction*. The means may be magic, but several times in this episode I was pleasantly surprised that the writers thought through the extensions they were building on to the universe.

* This doesn't stop me imagining all the ways the Sonic Screwdriver must actually be richly intelligent agent software wrapped around a myriad of action-at-a-distance gear merely presented as a realspace totem so even non-Timelord-psychic level users can imagine "setting 4841" and make happen what they need to happen. Imagining the user experience implications of non-omniscient but still psychic software activates my squee circuits.


posted by abulafa at 11:50 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


charred husk - Also, all you Donna haters forget the best thing about her - the Wilf.

I'd love to have a series with just Wilf and the Fourth Doctor hanging out.

And I liked Donna; nice to see a New-Who Doctor who didn't have a companion constantly moon-eyed over him
posted by nathan_teske at 11:52 AM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Going To Maine: I liked Donna.

I think Donna is both my favorite companion, and my least favorite, if that makes any sense.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:52 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am getting quite tired of Moffatt's belief that every female Who character has to be first and foremost a riddle to be solved, rather than an actual person.

I have a horrible suspicion that's how Moffatt actually feels about women in general.
posted by webmutant at 12:08 PM on April 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I seriously love you guys. I agree that Martha was the best modern companion. Her story is awesome, and she jumps in to figure out each situation she's thrown in. And then at the end she's left to wander the world and spread the gospel of the Doctor and her family is left scarred. I can't quite fault Donna for being in some terrible episodes. (Like that 90's rave flyer of an ending with the Adipose.) They wrote her out rather terribly too, in my opinion.

I really think Matt Smith has it in him to survive a new show runner. I just hope Moffat gets smart and brings the show down to Earth after the 50th anniversary. Though perhaps not down to Earth ala the Pertwee era. He needs to at least slap the sonic screwdriver out of the Doctor's hand.
posted by Catblack at 12:18 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doctor Who: classic villains confirmed for 50th Anniversary
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2013


I thought the episode was so so. It seemed, particularly at the moments when the Doctor is looking for a new outfit and when he's rolling out the motorcycle, that the episode took a momentary dip into awkwardly whimsical and almost cartoonish (the music in the dressing scene where he's looking for clothes). The one thing that stood out was the whole passing around the fez for money, then upending the fez, laughing and leaving. Wha?
posted by Atreides at 2:16 PM on April 2, 2013


Well, the whole idea was ... meeting them for breakfast. Drawing attention was likely part of that if not explicitly stated.

I liked most of it, although I agree it was sort of a generic episode in a lot of ways with some location shooting in London (or was it all greenscreened?) thrown in for glamor. But even with the MPDG aspects of Clara's character I thought she did well, and I didn't think it was a sonic screwdriver deus ex machina ending so much as a common Who trope about turning the baddies' machines of power back on themselves and seeing how they like it, ha. I felt the basic concept of a viral infection in the "soup" of Wi-Fi to be just the other side of reality from existing security threats (and Lord knows the botnet problem on PCs per se is tremendous), and making something ubiquitous in our lives like mobile technology a scary horror gag -- identity theft indeed -- is straight-up Moffatt playbook.

The thing that I noticed was that downstairs hallway in the TARDIS set (which as you may know was rebuilt in the new studio (Roath Lock) they moved to on Cardiff's waterfront). Looked cheap and really generic, like some of the flats you might see behind a set on SNL.

I do wonder who the woman in the shop was, though -- Sally Sparrow, I hope. Because Carey Mulligan is awesome, even simply imagined offscreen.
posted by dhartung at 6:42 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are we ready to talk about last night's episode, then?

I really, really liked the Doctor's speech about halfway through, about how the little girl was unique and there would never be another person like her. It echoed some comments I've heard Neal Degrasse Tyson make about how we're all made of the same stuff that the universe is made of, and how beautiful that is. I also liked the fact that this episode came the week after Easter, as the whole "that's not a sacrifice, that's a waste" was as fine an anti-Christian screed as I've ever heard.

I'm also really liking Clara. She's shaping up to be strong and independent in a way that reminds me of Martha and Donna. (She's also fiercely pretty, and I can't remember the last time I was crushing on someone this hard.)

Finally, the tone of the show: I think what Moffet's done this season, and it's probably why most folks here seem to hate it, is turn the show from a sci-fi to a weekly fairy tale. It very much has that storybook feeling now, from the pacing to the lighting to the music (especially the music). I can see why people don't like that, but I'm a sucker for it.
posted by jbickers at 7:28 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked the episode OK, and I get what you are saying about the fairy tale vs. sci fi thing, jbickers, but I didn't feel like the emotion of this episode was earned, if you know what I mean. The whole tear running down the Doctor's face, and the infinite value of Clara's mother's unlived life? I guess I just wasn't invested in it totally. Maybe it would have been better after we learn more about just who/what Clara is?

Side question: How are my fellow Americans pronouncing "Clara"? Like the Brits on the show pronounce it (claah-raah) or a more standard US pronunciation (something like clair-uh)?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:50 AM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I no longer have any idea how the plots are supposed to work or why the characters do what they do or how the monsters are defeated. The Doctor might as well have been making animal noises for the last half of this episode and it would have been just as clear. You know how Star Trek scriptwriters would just write [tech] in their scripts, and later fill it in with something like "reverse the polarity of the space time defibrillator and fire the photon beam at the dilithium"? I think Doctor Who scriptwriters just write [dreck], and later fill it in with "this girl is the most important person in the universe and this leaf is the most important leaf in the universe and I have many memories, and all of this will fill up a sun parasite, because what actually did happen is large but what should have happened is infinite." I doubt there's any sense to be made there.

I get that we're not supposed to think critically about either [tech] or [dreck], and just let it wash over us, but it's getting pretty difficult. It's like they're actively challenging the viewer to not ask questions about why anyone does anything.
posted by painquale at 2:07 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


I expected the Lovecraftian Elder God to be defeated by all the Whos down in Whoville singing their song, but I'm not sure if what happened was better or worse. If it was just 'The Doctor feeds Azathoth is memories and makes it explode' that would make sense, in a comic book way.
Also I was kinda bugged by how all the problems were solved either by Magic Wand or Speech! I thought the Doctor was supposed to McGyver up things?

Still I did enjoy it on the whole.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was pretty disappointed in this week's episode, and that's mostly because it started out by reminding me of exactly what I loved about Doctor Who during 9 & 10--it began with a really creative SF premise. There hasn't been much of that the past few seasons. The minotaur ep, I guess. And The Beast Below. But for someone who has the whole universe at his disposal, his trips have gotten narrower and narrower and less weird and exciting, to me, at least--without my really noticing. Both my husband and I noticed that, and commented on how we've missed that, and we were both really excited--until we got to the little girl's performance. The Doctor's speech just felt hollow, and where such a speech felt appropriate at Stone Henge, the emotions here just weren't earned, at all. And I don't dislike Clara, but I agree--we don't really understand the context of her emotional relationship with her mother well enough. Much of this might be because of fundamental writerproblems: it was mostly told, not shown. I could see feeling that emotion for, say, Rose Tyler's loss of her father but that was clearly illustrated to us.

And oh, the corny, unnecessary cruiser scene. It seems we've abandoned running for variations on vehicular chases and bleh.

During the commercials, Jenna-Louise Coleman said something like "my favorite episode all season was the one on the alien planet" and I couldn't help but be like, shit, does that mean this is the only one? It was followed by Moffat saying that he wanted to show how the whole universe was open for Clara now, and in retrospect, it's exactly what he did with Amy--but then didn't really follow through with that. (And I liked Amy more in The Beast Below than almost anything we saw after.)

But hey, Susan shout out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:42 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The best things about the episode were all the new aliens in terribly cheap costumes and all the terribly cheap sets. At one point, through a cardboard archway, you could see a "space" backdrop that looked just like a black sheet of paper with pinhole lights poked through to make stars. It was all very 4th Doctor era; I found it charming. More lo-fi Who please.
posted by painquale at 4:04 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


It was actually pretty surprising that they didn't just populate that marketplace with Ood and Judoon. Maybe we'll see more of these new weirdos later on.
posted by painquale at 4:08 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm really getting sick of episodes that exist purely to beat the audience over the head with the message "regular ordinary people are the most important and unique thing in the whole wide universe AND ATTENTION MUST BE PAID". But apparently that's actually written into the show bible so it won't go away until Moffat does. It's the worst thing about NuWho.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The best things about the episode were all the new aliens in terribly cheap costumes and all the terribly cheap sets. At one point, through a cardboard archway, you could see a "space" backdrop that looked just like a black sheet of paper with pinhole lights poked through to make stars. It was all very 4th Doctor era; I found it charming. More lo-fi Who please.

Oh god, yes. It looked and felt really home-grown, in a way. The production values have felt really high since Matt Smith's arrival but somehow to the show's detriment, even compared to the rest of NuWho. It doesn't feel quite as inventive or charming, really, you know? Just a touch too polished. The uncanny valley of television SF.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:37 PM on April 7, 2013


With the Doctor's speech, I found myself thinking "I wish you hadn't had to do that, but you did it really well." I do think Matt Smith is increasingly excellent, even if I'm not sure what, exactly, he's doing excellently. He carries whatever-it-is superbly. Also, JLC's performance is hugely stylisted, but I think brilliantly so. And it looked great, and they spent the entire costume/makeup budget at the same shop, and a fair amount of the effects budget, too.

Oh, well, next week it's Ice Warriors and in a few weeks it's Neil Gaiman, and maybe in a couple of years it's Toby Whithouse, not because he's especially or particularly fabulous (though the last couple of series of Being Human - Being Human 2.0 - were my favourite apart from the the pilot), but because every few years this series ideally turns into something completely different.

That's the thing that we all should remind ourselves about this series - in a few years it will be quite different, and if not quite different, it won't be quite Doctor Who.
posted by Grangousier at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


But hey, Susan shout out.

Or was it?


Well, it probably was, and it clears up (probably) any speculation about whether Susan was actually the Doctor's granddaughter.

Well, okay, it mostly confirms the fact that the Doctor has a granddaughter, who he left stranded on a Dalek-ravaged Earth struggling to re-build and not fall back into a new dark age.

And it, really, addressed the question of why he's never popped back to see her on-screen*: he's got some pretty impressive stalking skills.


The thing about the home-grown aliens (and how I wish he had a Confidential for this episode) is apparently the SFX guy has been kit-bashing them from other aliens in Who (and I assume SJA and Torchwood) for a few years, knocking up off-model concepts in his spare time -- which is why the Hath breather turns up, for example.

It was certainly a better menagerie than the The One With The Moxx Of Balhoon and the Wicker Men of Wherever (The Ambassadors from the city state of Binding Light), and the Adherents of the Repeated Meme.

next week it's Ice Warriors

Ice Warrior. Who oddly got left off the promo, although there is something in the vents.
But Ser Davos Seaworth.

(*I am of course ignoring The Five Doctors and anything written by John Peel).
posted by Mezentian at 3:02 AM on April 8, 2013


Written by? I want The Doctor to MEET John Peel. And save rock and roll.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:02 AM on April 8, 2013


Not that John Peel.
posted by Mezentian at 5:03 AM on April 8, 2013


Well, it probably was, and it clears up (probably) any speculation about whether Susan was actually the Doctor's granddaughter.

Well, okay, it mostly confirms the fact that the Doctor has a granddaughter, who he left stranded on a Dalek-ravaged Earth struggling to re-build and not fall back into a new dark age.

And it, really, addressed the question of why he's never popped back to see her on-screen*: he's got some pretty impressive stalking skills.


Eh? The episode I saw only had him saying he'd traveled to that planet with his granddaughter. Susan called the first Doctor her "grandfather" all the time, I don't see how that's not a reference to One, but also how it's anything more than a reference to One.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:17 AM on April 8, 2013


Seriously though, how do y'all pronounce Clara?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:43 AM on April 8, 2013


I don't see how that's not a reference to One, but also how it's anything more than a reference to One.

But it is never explicit.

There's a wedge there future writers can use, because he didn't say "Susan, My granddaughter".
I was making a meta-comment on the flexibility of Who canon. Hell, until Gridlock(?) it had been 40-odd years since the doctor had really referenced his family.

If you remember, for example, in 1983 Susan wasn't the Dr's kin but the daughter of the president of Gallifrey.

Seriously though, how do y'all pronounce Clara?

As Smith does. Clar-rah.
posted by Mezentian at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2013


There's not even a problem with making it Clara's cute little thing to never let go of her mug.

It could be like Julian from Trailer Park Boys who has a glass or rum or rye and coke in his hand 90% of the time.

This was definitely a heavy children's episode what with a child queen, monsters that roar, a magical leaf, and an evil giant pumpkin. It was Phantom Menace quality, but that's what Moffat seems to like it seems.
posted by juiceCake at 7:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


and an evil giant pumpkin.

This is an Americanism, I reckon.
posted by Mezentian at 7:27 AM on April 8, 2013


I missed most of this latest episode because I was nursing my son through a nasty stomach bug, so I don't have an opinion yet, but I'm thinking jbickers might be on to something here about Moffat's having subtly shifted the show's format from sci-fi to something more like fantasy. I could see Gaiman's direct and indirect influence pushing the show in that direction as well.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:50 AM on April 8, 2013


I'm thinking jbickers might be on to something here about Moffat's having subtly shifted the show's format from sci-fi to something more like fantasy.

That's not new, and it was explicit in the Moff trailers off the bat.
posted by Mezentian at 7:55 AM on April 8, 2013


Goddamn, Moffat is terrible. Davies was far from perfect, but his stuff held up much better; it made more sense, and worked across episodes. When he did character arcs, they were at least interesting.

That last episode was just so bad. I don't think he's even phoning in these scripts, I think his dog is phoning them in.

They really need to take away that guy's typewriter. Matt Smith could be a brilliant Doctor, but he's being cut off at the knees by that hack.
posted by Malor at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My wife and I were both super excited to watch how this season would deal with the doctor having lost ALL OF HIS MEMORIES. Like, how were they even going to go anywhere in the tardis? Would the doctor have to re-figure out his own past and who his enemies were and maybe not even realize that he wants to save his pet humans all the time?
Would Clara be in charge? Dragging him along to solve a mystery that he might not even believe exists?

And then somehow his feeding of his memories to the great pumpkin just... didn't happen?
Because of the leaf?

Anyway. I liked it, like the new companion, and thought this episode wasn't bad. But it was, so briefly, the BEST EPISODE because the doctors thousand years of knowledge seemed like it was going away and oh man.
posted by Acari at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2013


Aha, here's the episode discussion. At least they didn't fall into the trap of "love saved us" but the "everyone is a special snowflake" saving us was not much better. What is it with the second episode of the new companion?

Next week is a bottle episode and some of those have been great. The previews looked a lot better then "OMG interesting stuff", which may be the issue with this one. It had that proper Hinchcliffe era feel and Moffat (whom I like as a showrunner overall, as unpopular as that opinion is around here) does far better with that set of tropes than anything else in NuWho.
posted by immlass at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2013


and an evil giant pumpkin.

This is an Americanism, I reckon.


Making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween may also have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

Source

Immigrants from Ireland and Scotland brought the tradition to North America. There, the pumpkin replaced the turnip as pumpkins were more readily available, bigger, and easier to carve.[1] The term jack-o'-lantern is in origin a term for an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore, used especially in East Anglia, its earliest known use dating to the 1660s. The application of the term to carved pumpkins in American English is first attested in 1834,[8] and the carved pumpkin lantern association with Halloween is recorded in 1866.[9] In the United States, the carved pumpkin was first associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween.[10] In 1900, an article on Thanksgiving entertaining recommended a lit jack-o'-lantern as part of the festivities.

Source
posted by juiceCake at 8:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, hell. It's obvious, but I never knew that.
posted by Mezentian at 4:03 AM on April 9, 2013


I'm with Acari -- how is it that the Doctor didn't lose his memories, if they were "eaten" by the evil sun? And what's going to happen to these worlds, now that the sun around which they orbit is now gone? I guess they all freeze to death or something.

Also, what the hell was up with the relationship between the vampire in the pyramid and the planet? They sing to the vampire to keep it asleep, thinking it is their god. But then it wakes up, gets out, which actually just wakes up the planet, and then the vampire dies? I get that they were trying to go for some sort of neat surprise twist -- the villain we thought we defeated isn't really the villain, and the real baddie way worse -- but seriously, what the fuck? None of that made any sense to me.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:07 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dog. Phoning in scripts.

Admittedly, it's quite talented, as dogs go.
posted by Malor at 2:52 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked the Blade Runner references, but the sonic teasing was just mean. "Oh, you want us to get rid of it? Well, even the Doctor knows it's a bit too useful so maybe we wi-OH NO, JUST KIDDING."
posted by lucidium at 5:11 PM on April 10, 2013


I'm with Acari -- how is it that the Doctor didn't lose his memories, if they were "eaten" by the evil sun? And what's going to happen to these worlds, now that the sun around which they orbit is now gone? I guess they all freeze to death or something.

Those things also bothered me. Apparently the memory monster was licking the Doctor and not eating the memories. As someone said up above, a doctor without memories would be kind of interesting. Though, obviously, once the new version of Doctor Who ceases to be popular, CW will order up Teaching Assistant Who, and it will be about the Doctor before he's a doctor and knows everything, and therefore, follows young hip TA Who as he learns everything that he knows by now. Or something. Something.
posted by Atreides at 1:00 PM on April 11, 2013


Atreides: CW will order up Teaching Assistant Who, and it will be about the Doctor before he's a doctor

I could kind of get behind a Rise of the Time Lords or something sort of prequel. Of course, being Time Lords, the whole concept of "prequel" is a little problematic, but that hasn't stopped them so far.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:06 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


a doctor without memories would be kind of interesting

Although many people don't like Colin Baker's 6th Doctor (and yes, many of the stories were a bit... terrible), but one of the things I enjoyed so much about him was that he was so unstable. His memories were jumbled, his personality was almost schizophrenic -- he was definitely an alien. Tom 'No Relation' Baker was also wonderfully befuddled at the beginning of his tenure as well. The slower burn of Classic Who allowed the performers to experiment a bit more with the Doctors and develop their personalities over time, whereas with 10 & 11 they were a bit confused immediately following their regeneration, but then fairly quickly settled into a 'style.' Not that I don't love both versions (in fact, there really isn't a Doctor I don't love).
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:12 AM on April 12, 2013


Oh my god, this week's episode. "It's in the walls!" -- on a submarine. This is certainly the stupidest episode of NuWho, by many miles. I'm not familiar with old Who, but it wouldn't shock me if it's in the the top five stupidest episodes, ever.

It's so bad, they should put it on RiffTrax.

I went back and checked; this ep is by Mark Gatiss. If it had been by Moffat, I would have quit Who completely. I'm still tempted; whoever greenlighted this script is a goddamn moron.
posted by Malor at 11:55 PM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just thought this episode was boring. In a way, it was refreshing to have a boring one but I'd much prefer something in between totally overblown and mawkish and drab.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're both right: it was stupid and boring.
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on April 14, 2013


I enjoyed the Rings of Akhaten a lot but Cold War absolutely did not work for me. It just seemed to be a succession of moments that didn't make sense. I start off wondering what kind of submarine in the 80s has enough spare space to bring a frozen mammoth on board? But, whatever, it's a means of kick-starting the plot so let's ignore that. Then I'm thrown by the weird focus on the sonic screwdriver as Clara's passing out (I presume it was just to state that the screwdriver was lost and thus out-of-bounds for this script but it seemed really overplayed). Then the Doctor says that Skaldak is more dangerous out of his armour than in it - why? Why is no-one asking the Doctor why the alien is more dangerous outside of the cybernetic war-shell that his entire race spend their lives inside? And even before we get to the "It's in the walls!" ridiculousness mentioned by Malor, Skaldak is pulling crew from the deck and making them disappear in the ceiling! A ceiling that is inches at best from the tops of everyone's heads.

Thankfully I'm still enjoying Doctor Who in general so I can just mark this down as being an episode I didn't enjoy rather than confirmation of some deeper malaise in the series. Fingers crossed for next week.
posted by MUD at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm about as easy-to-please with NuWho as a person can get, and this episode didn't do it for even me, for all the reasons listed above. But mainly, because of the pacing - 5/6ths of the time spent setting up some interesting dilemmas, then an incredibly rushed ending. And oh my god, the monster with 5,000 years of red-hot rage decides not to push the big red button because two people he has just met asked nicely. Really?

I saw someone say on Twitter, and I think they're right, that this story could have been incredible had it been classic Who, and had the luxury of stretching out over 4-6 episodes.

To add to the list of plot holes: Doctor and Clara can speak Russian because of the TARDIS. How does the ice warrior speak Russian?

Also, I was doubly disappointed because I think Mark Gatiss is one of the best writers of Who around. I quite loved "Night Terrors," and his early Big Finish audio "Phantasmagoria" is one of the very best.
posted by jbickers at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plus, even if you ignore the fact that everyone on the "Soviet" submarine speaks with a strong English accent, even before the Doctor and the Tardis translation field show up, you've got a nuclear-armed military crew, from an absolutist government, that has no concept of military discipline. Everyone on that crew pretty much ignores the captain and does whatever the heck they want, like melting a giant block of ice in the storeroom because they're curious about it. I was expecting the captain's second-in-command to start flipping him the bird at any second.

And then strangers show up on the bridge of a nuclear vessel, and nobody bats an eye. At the very least, they'd have instantly arrested and immobilized the Doctor and Clara, plunging to their doom or no.

Mark Gatiss should never, for the rest of his life, be allowed anywhere near any device that can produce a screenplay.
posted by Malor at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haters to the left. This was a classic Hinchcliffe-style bottle episode, and I loved it. Four twenty-minute parts of this would have been the best thing I've seen in NuWho in years, possibly ever. I didn't catch that it was a Gatiss episode, but I'm not surprised. More like this, please.

(And yes, they should have thrown the Doctor in the brig, but that's almost every episode ever.)
posted by immlass at 3:37 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was a classic Hinchcliffe-style bottle episode,

Uh, no. Especially not the 'classic' part, which implies that it had any redeeming value whatsoever.
posted by Malor at 5:00 PM on April 14, 2013


I saw someone say on Twitter, and I think they're right, that this story could have been incredible had it been classic Who, and had the luxury of stretching out over 4-6 episodes.

&

Four twenty-minute parts of this would have been the best thing I've seen in NuWho in years, possibly ever.

Exactly what I was thinking. If this were 4 20 minute episodes (or 2 45 minute ones), with a nice slow burn (freeze?), it could have been great. The Doctor and Clara arrive earlier (and more discreetly); Stepashin convinces the Captain they must be NATO spies who somehow remained hidden onboard all this time. They are there, he thinks, to steal the piece of strange technology that the Professor has discovered, frozen in ice. Take more time to establish the characters -- Stepashin, mistrustful of the West and aching for war/glory; the Professor, a man of science, who finds a kindred spirit in the Doctor; the Captain, a loyal soldier for Mother Russia, but level-headed and not looking for violence. Keep Skaldak frozen for the first 20 minutes of the 1st episode. The Doctor doesn't know what's in the ice, but readings from the Sonic Screwdriver tell him it's something alien, military, and dangerous. Stepashin unthaws him, wanting to get hold of the potentially game-changing weapon inside the ice. Skaldak is weak at first; still some sort of miscommunication, one or two of the Russians gets killed, Skaldak imprisoned. Episode 1 ends with Stepashin sneaking in to talk to Skaldak, hoping to work out a Soviet-Ice Warrior alliance, and Skaldak convinces him to activate the beacon to the other Ice Warriors. Ep 2, the Professor finally convinces the Captain to let the Doctor talk to Skaldak, at which point he learns that the beacon has been activated. Skaldak refuses to negotiate, thinking he's got backup on the way. Stepashin comes back, but by this time Skaldak has become convinced that there are no ice warriors on the way; he convinces Stepashin to let him out of his armor (or just let him out), at which point he kills Stepashin and begins his plan to launch the missiles, destroying the Earth and himself. Cue stalking scenes and obvious Alien references. Doctor & Skaldak have their confrontation, at which point we discover that Skaldak is not motivated solely by his military code, but by the loss of his daughter 5000 years ago and his belief that he is the last of his kind. Doctor gets to make a "I'm last of the Time Lords, but I'm never alone" speech, Clara gets to sing with Skaldak or something, then the Ice Warriors arrive, and Skaldak deactivates the missiles once he realizes that he has another chance to be a great Ice Warrior leader and fight for honor, blah blah. Hey, it's not great, but at least there's some sense of logic to it, and the characters have believable motivation.

Other nitpicks: Huge waste of David Warner, who is such a great actor. For a Professor, he was pretty stupid-- why would he think that a mammoth would fit within a block of ice roughly the size of a refrigerator? It's called a Mammoth, dude; that means that it is, you know, mammoth, big, massive -- not just somewhat larger than a person. And presumably the sub is not actually going to just give the Doctor and Clara a "lift" to the opposite side of the planet, right? I mean, somehow the Doctor is going to recall the TARDIS from the South Pole?

Clara theory: Clara is the impossible woman, who has died twice yet somehow exists in different places across time; in the moment after Skaldak was teleported to the Ice Warrior ship but before he had sent the signal to shut off the missiles, she sang "Hungry Like the Wolf." A callback to S1's Bad Wolf, perhaps, as part of the lead-up to the 50th Anniversary? Probably not, just a flickering thought.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:04 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


My Clara theory: Clara is Sarah. I'm still working out the details, but I'm 70% convinced she is a call-out and circle-back to Sarah Jane. I'm probably wrong, but that's my working theory.
posted by jbickers at 8:18 PM on April 14, 2013


Do you mean Sarah Jane Smith, the Companion to the 3rd & 4th Doctors? I'd be surprised if they did that, considering that Elisabeth Sladen died only 2 years ago. It would seem a bit tacky, I think, given that Matt Smith and David Tennant both worked with her.

Or do you mean Susan, the Doctor's Granddaughter? That I could see.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:06 PM on April 14, 2013


I thought it was fine, and would have been vastly improved if you got rid of every scene with Clara. I really dislike the way her main method of acting consists of flitting her eyes around without moving her head.

Mainly, I liked the villain. He had a personality. I thought his deciding to spare the sub made some sense. I usually hate it when the Doctor saves the day by appealing to the monster's sense of empathy (e.g. last episode), but it made sense with this guy. They were just trying to talk him down from being irrationally furious, not trying to show him a glimpse of humanity's inherent goodness that he had never seen before. That's much better.

To add to the list of plot holes: Doctor and Clara can speak Russian because of the TARDIS. How does the ice warrior speak Russian?

The TARDIS. The translator affects people and creatures in a large sphere, not just travellers in the TARDIS, and its effects stick around long after the TARDIS leaves. This was first established in David Tennant's first episode, I think, and they rely on it a lot.
posted by painquale at 5:36 AM on April 15, 2013


I'm not familiar with old Who, but it wouldn't shock me if it's in the the top five stupidest episodes, ever.

I am familiar with Old Who,I have seen every extant episode at least twice (Galaxy Four aside) and I would advise you not to make this wager.
As stupid as that line was.

Plus, even if you ignore the fact that everyone on the "Soviet" submarine speaks with a strong English accent,

It wasn't obvious why?
If every planet has a north....

Mark Gatiss should never, for the rest of his life, be allowed anywhere near any device that can produce a screenplay.

League of Gentlemen.
P.R.O.B.E
The Unquiet Dead
Night Terrors.

I argue you need to reconsider your position, regardless of the ones I did not mention.
posted by Mezentian at 8:02 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


+1 to Mezentian. Also, don't forget Gatiss' extraordinary writing for Sherlock ... and, he's written the forthcoming 50th anniversary docudrama, which I have very high hopes for.
posted by jbickers at 10:17 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


jbickers: the forthcoming 50th anniversary docudrama

I'm really looking forward to that, too. And it just gave me a great idea. Create a new Doctor Who spin-off series that is about a mysterious Time Lord who travels to Earth in 1963 and gets stranded. He decides his best chance to get back to his own time and galaxy is to create a "fictional" TV series about the Time Lords in hopes that news of it will get to some actual Time Lords passing through late 20th C. Earth and they will investigate. The action of the show will consist of various Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-like escapades happening behind the scenes and at the periphery of various classic Doctor Who episodes, as for some reason the baddies tend to notice the show far more often than the Time Lords do. In certain episodes, for example, the costumed Daleks get replaced briefly with very confused real Daleks; perhaps The Wire tries to sneak her way into the broadcasts; maybe the Judoon abscond with an entire soundstage and our Time Lord hero must keep Verity Lambert and William Hartnell from opening any of the exterior doors, lest they discover they are actually travelling through space. The grand mystery of the series is the identity of the stranded Time Lord. It is occasionally hinted that he is a very late reincarnation of the Doctor himself, but that reveal will have to wait until the end of the series...
posted by Rock Steady at 11:01 AM on April 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


And also, I understand how random things can annoyingly break your suspension of disbelief, but I submit that if you are worrying about accents and translation matrices, you will find it hard to be happy with the bulk of Doctor Who (or really any TV sci-fi).
posted by Rock Steady at 11:04 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady, that would be all kinds of awesome, because within that universe, the wiped episodes could be recreated wholly new.

My other dream scenario (i.e. never gonna happen) is for the Doctor and whoever the current companion is to travel to 21st-century London, where they help Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson solve the riddles left by a modern-day Jack the Ripper. Guest starring Cumberbatch and Martin, of course.
posted by jbickers at 11:33 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


jbickers: Rock Steady, that would be all kinds of awesome, because within that universe, the wiped episodes could be recreated wholly new.

Oh yeah! Genius. I hadn't thought of that. They'd actually be better than the existing episodes, as you'd have more leeway for making strange things happen in them. Maybe there is even some reason why they were "accidentally" lost...
posted by Rock Steady at 12:06 PM on April 15, 2013


Also, don't forget Gatiss' extraordinary writing for Sherlock

I certainly won't forget his extraordinary horrible writing for Sherlock. The first season episode he was involved in wasn't bad but the second season of Sherlock was new Who all over again. I suspect the docudrama will be a docusuperdupermelodrama.

And also, I understand how random things can annoyingly break your suspension of disbelief, but I submit that if you are worrying about accents and translation matrices, you will find it hard to be happy with the bulk of Doctor Who (or really any TV sci-fi).

Indeed. The accents are because the show is for the most part, produce in England and hence there are, not surprisingly, a lot of English actors in England. Who has never been a hard science fiction show and now it's more horror than sci-fi. The amount of money and time needed to develop distinct languages for every character, subtitling, and dealing with no one being able to understand each other would swallow up a lot of the stories.

My other dream scenario (i.e. never gonna happen) is for the Doctor and whoever the current companion is to travel to 21st-century London, where they help Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson solve the riddles left by a modern-day Jack the Ripper. Guest starring Cumberbatch and Martin, of course.

Given the quality of the writing these days I would not be at all surprised if this did happen because it's FUN!

I was glad the BBC resisted any Doctor Who meddling with Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes.
posted by juiceCake at 8:38 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then why not make it an English submarine, for chrissake?

If they really wanted to make it Russian, and make it actually work in the Who universe, they should have had the crew speaking Russian, with subtitles, before the Tardis showed up, and then bam, instantly switching to English, possibly with a Russian accent. They wouldn't need to explain it, they would just need to do it. Net run time would be just about the same, cost slightly increased. They could even have dubbed in the Russian, I suppose, to cut the cost down even further; at least they'd be making an effort.

With fantastical shows like Who, the world as we know it needs to be right. Being accurate with real-world things lets you get away with almost anything in the supernatural aspects. But if you get the basics wrong, especially as horribly wrong as they did here, then the audience spends most of their time rolling their eyes, instead of watching your story.
posted by Malor at 12:36 AM on April 17, 2013


Who has never been a hard science fiction show

...so far, so good...

and now it's more horror than sci-fi.

Um. If not earlier, by the Fourth Doctor it had certainly veered heavily into the Gothic Horror genre. [1990 article] Indeed, my own antipathy toward horror in general -- I'm really very much a hard sf, Asimov-Clarke-Niven type -- was in part alleviated by learning that horror was, in fact, the genre into which this show I loved so much was slotted.

I will say that, indeed, I see more body horror elements creeping in, as it were, in NuWho.

So, horror with sci-fi (space opera-ish) and occasional fantasy (but not high fantasy) elements. But it's more of a classic-Scooby-Doo type of horror where there aren't actually any monsters, really, and fear and conflict are often simply manifestations of lousy interspecies (or interdimensional) communication, with all that implies about the human condition today.
posted by dhartung at 1:53 AM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Then why not make it an English submarine, for chrissake?

Because it's cooler and more interesting to be a Soviet sub? They've done the British thing enough.

I don't see why the translation issues are a bigger deal in this episode than in pretty much every other episode not set in England. There's almost always a pre-credit sequence in which we see an alien world or Germany or Venice or wherever, and everyone is speaking English even though it's before the TARDIS arrives. This is one thing that the viewer has always had to turn a blind eye upon, through OldWho and Nu.
posted by painquale at 2:02 AM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Then why not make it an English submarine, for chrissake?

Probably because the audience for Who might be more comfortable with Russians being the threat at that time in history then their own people.

Similarly, the Timelords (oh wait they're sort of probably most likely gone until they're not again), Movellans, Daleks, etc., are all "speaking" English as well. I imagine this has to do with 3 key elements:
  1. Budget
    It would probably be out of budget to develop unique languages for each alien race, as well as hire either native actors for different languages on Earth or get a translator to teach the English actors do speak the small clips of a language they don't know properly

  2. Time
    Taking up story time dealing with the difficulties of not understanding each other would swallow so much of the narrative it wouldn't be practical (which also relates to budget since stories would have to be 3 to 4 times, if not more, longer to accommodate this dynamic). The show being fiction and not a documentary, the show being in all sorts of ways totally unrealistic, and the show being produced in the real world without an unlimited budget makes being realistic on language but not the other elements such as time travel, jumping to different universes, etc., impractical, not to mention bizarre.

  3. Location
    The show is produced in England. It features English actors primarily as well as English writers. This is not unique to England. Many American television shows and movies are also in English and when they do feature another language, it's often very briefly with sub titles and then someone magically can speak English, such as Sean Connery's character in the Hunt for Red October (and subsequently, apparently his entire crew). Battlestar Galactica was produced in the States and the Cylons spoke English. In Star Trek, they have a universal translator so though not everybody speaks English, the show was broadcast in English, just like Who (the exception being a smattering of Klingong words). Shows produced in France are often entirely in French, even when dealing with people outside of France. Same with Vietnamese shows, and I'd wager, Polish shows too.
posted by juiceCake at 6:54 AM on April 17, 2013


With fantastical shows like Who, the world as we know it needs to be right.

As the person for whom Vampires of Venice failed because of some historical problems (no, datewise that's right on top of Lepanto; if you shut down Venice for that long somebody would notice), I get your complaint here, but 1. Who is no more hard SF than it is hard history (and yes it was originally a history show, too) and 2. It's always been done on the cheap, sometimes less cheap than others, and cheap means cutting corners and inaccuracies.

Sometimes if you can't suspend disbelief enough to run with it--and I couldn't in Vampires of Venice--the problem is less in Who than with you.

If not earlier, by the Fourth Doctor it had certainly veered heavily into the Gothic Horror genre.

This is why I was calling it a classic Hinchcliffe-type story. My enjoyment of Moffat as showrunner is predicated on his tendency to call back to the period of Classic Who that I loved best. He doesn't always succeed, but he's at least looking in the right spot to find some good Who. (He also mines Three a fair amount, but with a bit less of the political do-gooding, probably because of differences in press issues these days.
posted by immlass at 7:04 AM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, then!
posted by dhartung at 4:13 PM on April 17, 2013


Finally finished it last night. I suppose, thanks to some comments in this post, my expectations were lowered and thus, met. I was satisfied, but it did feel like a weak episode, if only because it simply tried and failed to pull off what it set out to do. The glaring example was the creation of an enemy that had the ability to move about a submarine virtually undetectable and to stalk its inhabitants. It's a classic suspense-type setup, which never got suspenseful enough. The only time I was a little anxious was when the old Russian professor/engineer? was sitting in a doorway, completely exposed, and I kept on waiting for the ice warrior to grab him.

The speech by the captain, intended to rouse his crew to the defense of the world, was somewhat weak. The grabbing of the victims by the long reptilian hands often felt anti-climatic, as they were overexposed due to repetition.

And also, you're in submarine, temporarily at least, stuck on the bottom of the ocean with water dripping in...but no attempt to add the additional threat of flooding compartments? Too predictable? I think it'd have made an excellent dual threat and also serve as a means to one, force the two parties closer and closer, and as well, add a sense of urgency on the ice warrior's part to execute his attack before being overcome by water.

The TARDIS disappearance also felt a little contrived, especially given the sheepish explanation given by the Doctor at the end; as if he was channeling the writers who couldn't figure out a better reason to explain the Doctor and Clara being stuck on a sinking Russian submarine.

So, in sum, perhaps the worst episode of the Clara era...but not completely awful, if only because it was Who enough?
posted by Atreides at 12:03 PM on April 18, 2013


My daughter's biggest problem with it was that she didn't understand the Cold War references well enough. "So the Soviets were... bad, right?" was a question she adorably asked early on. She knows about the Cold War and what it was, but I don't think it holds much drama for her. Being born in 2001, she didn't grow up with the Nuclear Fear that those of us who grew up back then were inculcated with.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:21 PM on April 18, 2013


Interviews Like This One, About the Women of Doctor Who, Are Why You Should Love Jane Espenson* [VIDEO]
posted by homunculus at 8:43 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kind of take the Cold War for granted in terms of everything, but I was with a coworker yesterday who didn't know who Alexander Haig was. Doh. STOP FEELING OLD.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on April 19, 2013


Are Why You Should Love Jane Espenson

As someone who watched the new half-series of Warehouse 13 last night, yes.
Counter-argument: Miracle Day.

Anyway, for the back half of the second season we have movie posters including one that reveals the name of the season-ending story which I am very conflicted about. I mean, we've known (suspected) it was coming since Forest of the Dead, but they won't actually go there, will they?
posted by Mezentian at 2:54 AM on April 20, 2013


Mezentian, we already know the answer to that particular question.
posted by jbickers at 6:13 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't mind Hide, for what it's worth. Although it's hard not to see the Quatermass cross-over DNA is started life as.

But here's some (unseen?) clips from Dimensions In Time.
posted by Mezentian at 7:05 PM on April 20, 2013


"Hide" was fine. As I've said before, the show is no longer sci-fi, it's Fairy Tale ("love never ends!"), a genre with its own unique expectations and tropes, which is fine by me. I enjoyed it.
posted by jbickers at 7:58 PM on April 20, 2013


Dude, I say HIDE was one of the best new Who episodes of all time!
posted by johnasdf at 2:50 PM on April 21, 2013


Although it's hard not to see the Quatermass cross-over DNA is started life as.

A lot seemed to be cribbed from The Stone Tapes... in fact I think (it's a while since I watched it) I spotted a direct reference.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:25 PM on April 21, 2013


Visited my father today and we both agreed that finally, a decent episode had been produced.
posted by juiceCake at 6:53 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hide had the same basic premise as The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. But that book is somewhat impenetrable so I don't mind them making an unofficial television adaptation.
posted by miyabo at 7:24 PM on April 21, 2013


I liked this one a bit less than Cold War but for me it wasn't such a dramatic improvement over the preceding week. We're still mining that Hinchcliffe vein, although this time less by way of Alien than by way of haunted house flicks, obviously. Actually, I was really reminded of an episode of SJA that I'd have to go look up.

I'm hoping that we're like this through the end of the season. And I was really pleased when I found out the guy who wrote it was the writer of Rings of Akhaten. Who is apparently also the showrunner of Luther, which I haven't seen, but have heard good things about.

Big love for the shout outs to Three and Four. (Metabilis III and the Eye of Harmony!)
posted by immlass at 9:06 PM on April 21, 2013


Actually, I was really reminded of an episode of SJA that I'd have to go look up.

The Mad Woman In The Attic?
The Mona Lisa one?
posted by Mezentian at 2:12 AM on April 22, 2013


A lot seemed to be cribbed from The Stone Tapes...

I haven't seen that, but Neil Cross did reference that specifically, so you probably did.

I have heard rumours that Neil Cross is being positioned to take over as showrunner when Moffatt leaves, even if he lives in New Zealand.

I think, personally, they should do an entire season where the Doctor is stuck in 1950s NZ, earthbound and repairing the TARDIS, only able to take short hops.
The arc could be his subtle realisation that there is something not quite right with Mr Wilberforce across the street.

Peter Jackson to direct, among others.

Location filming at Ayres Rock. Plus the crossover with Neighbours or Shortland Street.
posted by Mezentian at 2:13 AM on April 22, 2013


In my Facebook feed this morning, someone was singing the praises of Call The Midwife (starring everyone's favorite empath) and said "Downton Who?" as in, who needs Downton Abbey. I branched the conversation into a Downton/Doctor crossover, and it was eventually decided that Lady Edith would make a fascinating Companion, but we weren't sure if Lord Grantham would permit it, even if the Doctor would be better marriage material than Sir Armsling there. He is a Lord, after all.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:11 AM on April 22, 2013


I would assume that Lady Sybil would fit the mold of the more typical companion, and in this instance, a Doctor is far better marriage material than the chauffeur. He is a Lord, isn't he? (OF TIME) One of the earlier episodes would have to involve a jump back where we meet a young Dowager Countess, who then also joins as a second companion, never knowing at the time that Sybil is her future granddaughter until the end of the series. Then at some point, she makes a sly reference to an event that happened on one of their adventures, the two share a knowing mirthful gaze, and then Sybil runs off to read socialist literature.

As an Easter egg, five minutes of Carson accidentally wandering into the TARDIS, visiting the Aztecs, scolding them for not being properly dressed, and then exiting to complain about the damn fool telephone contraption that was installed outside the garage.
posted by Atreides at 1:59 PM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just watched Episodes 2 3 and 4 and if the quality stays on that trajectory then even the miserable bastards in this thread will be happy.

Also, if the language spoke was based on location they'd all be speaking Welsh.
Ruth Jones for twelve!
posted by fullerine at 6:26 AM on April 23, 2013


even the miserable bastards in this thread will be happy

Didn't see anyone at all miserable. Is the bastard status something new in our profiles?
posted by juiceCake at 7:25 AM on April 23, 2013


I watched Hide last night. I think I enjoyed it more than the previous episode, but the ending felt rather tacked on. It wasn't enough to have resolution of the central plot, but the writer(s) deemed it necessary to tag on a "Surprise - flipped expectations, didn't we?!" type of conclusion. Not to mention, I was rather confused by a couple of things (SLIGHT SPOILERS):

1) If the TARDIS was needed to power the crystal thingamajig which amplified the empath's natural ability, shouldn't that power shut down the moment the TARDIS with Clara left to go save the doctor?

2) For all the talk of entropy and how the TARDIS would die within ten seconds inside the pocket universe, it seemed to survive with no apparent problems when it executed its rescue of the Doctor...and even went back for a second trip. Did I not nerd this enough to whip out a stopwatch and calculate how much time it appeared to be there or did they just setup the threat and ignored it's implications other than not landing the TARDIS?

There was also the strange contrast between the Doctor being the increasingly omniscient being (i.e. blood relations, soldier's background, ghost secret, etc..etc...) to being completely clueless to the creature in the Pocket Universe. It heightened the apprehension of the moments involved with the Doctor being clueless, but I thought the writers surrendered the actual fear of the Doctor quite quickly. I'd love to see the Doctor scared more often, by and by.
posted by Atreides at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2013


There's an absolutely insane rumour at io9 which I feel safe in posting here:
John Hurt is the Ninth Doctor.

If the TARDIS was needed to power the crystal thingamajig which amplified the empath's natural ability, shouldn't that power shut down the moment the TARDIS with Clara left to go save the doctor?

No, the crystal is a psychic amplifier. Presumably the TARDIS and the Eye of Harmony are enough to jump start it. The Eye is a pretty amazing battery.

For all the talk of entropy and how the TARDIS would die within ten seconds inside the pocket universe, it seemed to survive with no apparent problems when it executed its rescue of the Doctor...and even went back for a second trip

I write it off as "the TARDIS didn't stop" and also "the TARDIS punched through and was coasting with its engines shut off" but that I was all "What about the CBE?" so...

There was also the strange contrast between the Doctor being the increasingly omniscient being (i.e. blood relations, soldier's background, ghost secret, etc..etc...)

Actually, this is explained. He'd researched Quartermass-Lite and the Midwife when looking for an Empath, and presumably researched Hilde in TARDIS when he was developing the slides since her "facebook profile" shot turned up.
posted by Mezentian at 4:52 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mezentian: There's an absolutely insane rumour at io9 which I feel safe in posting here:
John Hurt is the Ninth Doctor.


Oh, that would be fun. I've been saying for a while that I'd like them to take more liberties with the freedom that is afforded to them by having a main character who completely changes his appearance at semi-regular intervals and can travel through time. That sounds like it is exactly what I am talking about.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:32 AM on April 24, 2013


There's a theory on reddit that I kind of like... David Tennant isn't playing a past version of Matt Smith's doctor; he's playing a version of the Doctor that fractured off or exists in a different dimension or something, where 10 never needed to regenerate. John Hurt is playing a different dimensional version of the 9 that never needed to regenerate into 10; he got old as 9. This is also a pretty clever way to incorporate the older actors who look too old to play their parts.
posted by painquale at 3:02 PM on April 24, 2013


Superman, Batman, And Doctor Who Have a Chat
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is also a pretty clever way to incorporate the older actors who look too old to play their parts.

If I recall, that was the plan they had in mind for The Dark Dimension before it was canned.
posted by Mezentian at 7:48 PM on April 24, 2013


Mezentian:
If I recall, that was the plan they had in mind for The Dark Dimension before it was canned.
It's also how they explained the fifth Doctor in Time Crash.
posted by charred husk at 12:33 PM on April 25, 2013


No, the Fifth Doctor in Time Crash was a past version of the Tenth Doctor. Ten was able to solve the little crisis on the TARDIS by doing something he remembered watching back when he was Five. Five just looked older because of some "time differential" handwavium.
posted by painquale at 2:18 PM on April 25, 2013


Well, that was wonderful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:38 PM on April 27, 2013


That was rather good, I thought. I like suggestions and glimpses a lot more than implications and winks, and that felt like it was leaning more to the former.
posted by lucidium at 7:37 PM on April 27, 2013


I thought it was awful; and really dragged its feet in the middle act.

(YES YES WE GET IT running around in endless corridors is Who canon fanservice. But it's pretty tedious.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:32 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of that was good, but FFS why must they spend so much of the story wallowing in its stupidest elements? Instead of a proper stroll through the bowels of the TARDIS, half the episode was a lame chase scene running from time-zombies. Less corridors, more library, please.
posted by homunculus at 9:39 PM on April 27, 2013


We're mighty sick of Doctor Who stories where time travel is magic
posted by homunculus at 9:50 PM on April 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bear in mind, running around in endless corridors is also pretty cheap to film.
posted by lucidium at 3:59 AM on April 28, 2013


Man, I disagree with that CJA review so hard. First, that brothers subplot was one of the best B plots I can recall on the show in seasons. I was genuinely interested in learning more about the backstory behind these morally ambiguous characters. And I thought that the exploration of the ship was great--not just the library, but the tiny glimpses of the pool, and the machine-building tree (a great, classic, cheap sci-fi set that managed to look really magical), and the frozen, exploded engine. I even liked the labyrinth corridors. And I mean, what:
Okay, so the creature chasing Clara turns out to be Future Zombie Burn Victim Clara. Or something. This reveal was unclear to me, even after I rewound it a few times. And there's more than one of them, because timey blimey.
There were four of them because the Doctor and the brothers burned too? Derp.

Anyway, I didn't mind the reset button at all because the point wasn't the characters experiencing the episode, the point was letting us experience the episode, seeing once again that the Doctor is super morally ambiguous, letting us know that his name is linked to the Time War, that sort of thing.

Honestly, the only thing I could have done without was the implication that the TARDIS and Clara are fighting for the Doctor, and that was mostly on the behind the scenes commercial thing anyway.

posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:08 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was an excellent episode. Not in my top 10, but probably in my top 20. A little confused about the mechanics of the reset button though, that didn't seen well thought through.
posted by miyabo at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2013


How weird that this episode is getting so many poor reviews. I thought it was easily the best of the season.

The whole time, I kept thinking that they finally got the characters right. The Doctor was manipulative and cunning, and although he wasn't in control of the situation, he remained composed. There was no "I am the Doctor, and I am scared." There was no dancing around like a jester; and when he saw the exploding Tardis, he didn't weep. He was your intimidating professor and not your hip TA. And this was the first episode in which I liked Clara. It's the first episode in which she hasn't been unrealistically eager to throw herself into danger, and magically able to solve problems the Doctor couldn't. I'm wary of saying that this is how it should be, because it makes her into a scared damsel in distress type figure, but I think this is a show in which all the companions should usually be in distress and should be there to be saved by the Doctor, not to save the day.

On top of this, you get some cool shots of the Tardis interior, some really grotesque monsters of the week, a Tardis library containing liquid books and a book about the Time War (who wrote that?! The Doctor?), a non-traditional B-plot with characters that were ambiguously protagonist and antagonist, the Eye of Harmony (!), an unsettling atmosphere, and interesting stakes. It was great!
posted by painquale at 9:06 AM on April 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks, painquale. That makes me feel a little less lonely. A lot of the most negative reviews seem to be based on poor readings of the episode; for example, I was telling my husband about how CJA complained that there was no reason for the Doctor to trap the brothers in the first place, because he saved Clara himself. But, as my husband pointed out, of course he had to trap them--they were going to destroy his ship.

But I honestly didn't hate the Curse of the Black Spot as much as most do, either, and it was also written by this guy (I found it normal-mediocre, not scathingly bad.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:48 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm now excited about this writer. I thought The Curse of the Black Spot was very bad, but I recognize that a lot of other people liked it, so it must have done something right. The central conceit underneath it was good. I remember that I thought the Murray Gold score was overwhelming and Amy was obnoxiously plucky, so maybe the problems had more to do with the screen than the page.
posted by painquale at 9:59 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, the liquid books were a great little bonus idea. I found the monsters quite frightening too, but possibly because I got it in my head that they were trying to kill their past selves to escape from the agony of their current state.
posted by lucidium at 3:03 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Steven Moffat: The Doctor Who Finale Will “Change the Course of Who Forever”
posted by homunculus at 7:07 PM on April 28, 2013


I liked this one a lot more than the last three. Clara still seems pretty generic, though. They set up this big mystery about her and now she has to stand around for half a season until we can get to it.

Steven Moffat: The Doctor Who Finale Will “Change the Course of Who Forever”

It seems like he's aiming to write an origin story for the Doctor which is completely unnecessary. I'm really hoping to be proven wrong, but every time a character says "Doctor Who?" it lowers my expectations further.
posted by Gary at 10:09 PM on April 28, 2013


My theory for tonight (which expires as soon as I get to sleep): Clara is, somehow, a human TARDIS, like Idris was briefly. Maybe she traveled with the Corsair or the Master or Romana, and got seperated and somehow became anthropomorphized. It always bugged me that only one TARDIS survived the Time War. And that might explain the Doctor's TARDIS's jealousy towards Clara.

Of course I'm just pulling this idea out of my ass, which like a TARDIS, is bigger on the inside. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey!
posted by homunculus at 12:23 AM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


If she turns out to be the Rani, Steven is going to get such a slapping.
posted by Grangousier at 2:52 AM on April 29, 2013


Clara is Davros!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:27 AM on April 29, 2013


... or possibly Romana
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:54 AM on April 29, 2013


The new series has already changed the course of Who forever directly into a Mentiad outhouse on Calufrax. Clara will probably be the Universe itself who needs the Doctor to save it once again.
posted by juiceCake at 6:08 AM on April 29, 2013


Given that it's Moffat, Clara is probably going to turn out to be the model who sat for the first weeping angel statue or some other damn thing involving them.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:41 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gary:
It seems like he's aiming to write an origin story for the Doctor which is completely unnecessary.
Stephen Moffat would agree with you, or at least 1996 Moffat would. He thought all you needed was the Doctor and the TARDIS - all that Gallifrey stuff was unnecessary. Which ironic since he has probably been building up the mythology of the Doctor more than anyone else. I wouldn't be surprised if the big reveal is some sort of continuity breaker that makes the Doctor's identity much more fluid than it has been. Do NOT expect the Cartmel Masterplan.
posted by charred husk at 10:20 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope you are onto something, charred husk. Doctor Who seems to work best when they have little nods back to old episodes rather than actually trying to stay in line with a continuity.
posted by Gary at 12:49 PM on April 29, 2013


. A little confused about the mechanics of the reset button though, that didn't seen well thought through.

It was the remote control of the Mag-Lock(?) that the future Doctor swiped from the Space Brother and sent back, so he could switch it off, get the shields up and get away.
It took me two watches to get it too.

Man, this batch of episodes have been divisive. I didn't mind it, but I was mostly annoyed by the lack of roundels than anything.

It always bugged me that only one TARDIS survived the Time War

Aye. When you had so many Time Lord exiles. I mean, even bad ones like The Master came back. But a nutter from the same cloth as Morbius?

My working theory is that the Doctor somehow used his name to seal the Medusa Cascade like a password, because there's something horrible behind it that the Time War unleashed. But why his name? No idea. It's always been a central idea of the show but never that important. I think Clara is some kind of ("bad wolf) warning he set himself.

.... which .... no. I have no idea. It does seem like Moffat is going into fanwank territory. But it is the 50th. Whatareyagonnado? He does seem to be making it continuity heavy. Creaking with it. As I kid I would have loved it. Now? Not so much.
posted by Mezentian at 3:23 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm growing more and more convinced that Clara is Susan, and "the name" that will be revealed in the anniversary special is simply "Grandfather." For such a huge anniversary, it seems like a very Moffat thing to tie back to the very first episode.
posted by jbickers at 5:58 AM on April 30, 2013


I'm growing more and more convinced that Clara is Susan

Why would Susan have the same face in such a short time span in her past?
(Ignore Romana II).

Jenny the half-Timelord is the more obvious answer... Moffatt wrote that, didn't he?
Same issues, though.
posted by Mezentian at 7:00 AM on April 30, 2013


I always wanted to know what happened to Jenny.

I watched the episode last night. It wasn't bad. It did trigger the same feeling of "isn't this too pleasant/sentimental an ending" that the last one had (and I'm starting to feel at the end of the newer Community episodes); what with the salvage brothers inadvertently being more the family and the little brother not being treated like an android. Right, okay, so maybe the entire episode was worth it if only for the fact that I got to write a line, "...and the little brother not being treated like an android."

I do feel pressure to educate myself more on the Who canon, as I am woefully ignorant.
posted by Atreides at 7:23 AM on April 30, 2013


It does seem like Moffat is going into fanwank territory. But it is the 50th. Whatareyagonnado? He does seem to be making it continuity heavy. Creaking with it.

I don't think so. Moffat really doesn't like continuity and has always spoken out about how it's alienating to new viewers. He be especially sensitive of that for a huge production like the 50th. I predict it'll involve previous Doctors, but otherwise just be a romp. No revelations are going to be based on knowledge of pre-nuWho events.

Jenny the half-Timelord is the more obvious answer... Moffatt wrote that, didn't he?

No, some other guy did. The actress who played Jenny had the last name Moffatt though. (And she's the daughter of Peter Davidson, who played the Fifth Doctor. And she married David Tennant.)

I doubt they'll use her. Almost everyone tuning in would say, "...who?"
posted by painquale at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I doubt they'll use her. Almost everyone tuning in would say, "...who?"

Yeah, she pops up in fan theories from time to time, but the window to bring back Jenny for the general viewing audience has long passed.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:26 PM on April 30, 2013


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