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Hello, Goodbye Raggedy Man
January 3, 2014 10:47 AM   Subscribe

"When Your Doctor is No Longer the Doctor: How to Survive Regeneration" Doctor Who expects and experiences change like no other story, and sometimes it's good to remember that it's all OK.
"What’s odd about Who fandom is how its rhetoric consistently changes over time. It’s not like Star Trek where there are distinct, separate series, each with their own entity that are easy to define and keep apart in your mind. Doctor Who may shift in tone and execution, but it’s still ultimately the same show. The Doctor is still the same character. Except now, your Doctor is no longer the Doctor.

It’s a weird feeling."
posted by ZeusHumms (148 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Am I alone in not feeling like any particular Doctor is "my Doctor"? I'm a hardcore fan of the show and the books and the audiobooks and all of that, but have never fixated on one particular incarnation as "mine." Nine and Ten were the doctors my oldest son and I watched when he was growing up, and Eleven has been the one my daughter has watched with me, and of the classic stuff I find Three the most enjoyable. But it's the whole universe of the show that feels "mine," and maybe that's why regenerations don't upset me. I think it's like how college sports fans can adore one particular team their whole life, even though the roster completely changes every few years.
posted by jbickers at 10:55 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Doctor Who expects and experiences change like no other story, and sometimes it's good to remember that it's all OK.

has everything suddenly become "upworthy'd" in an unironic way like some sort of language virus?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:00 AM on January 3 [14 favorites]


Am I alone in not feeling like any particular Doctor is "my Doctor"?

No, you're not alone. I mean, there are actors whom I've preferred over the others (that I've seen.) But, I don't identify with any one Doctor and "mine." But, then, I've never been into hard-core fandom. I like the show. But, I'm not hanging on every nuance of its production like some (i.e. the Gallifrey Base crowd.)
posted by Thorzdad at 11:02 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


"upworthy'd" in an unironic way like some sort of language virus?

Correction: You won't believe this lovable new linguistic trend!
posted by jaduncan at 11:05 AM on January 3 [15 favorites]


But I think this article is aimed at the very new DW fans, who aren't yet aware of what's about to happen (even if they understand the basic premise - they just don't get it emotionally yet).

I'd have to go waaaay back to the mid-80's for this article to be addressed to me, so it seems superfluous to me. But I'm not its audience.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:06 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


has everything suddenly become "upworthy'd" in an unironic way like some sort of language virus?

I don't get it.
posted by kmz at 11:07 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


yeah ennui.bz, you wouldn't believe one man's opinion on what's a new trend... and what isn't!
posted by rebent at 11:07 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Five and onwards are simply The Continuing Adventures of Four With A New Face.

Fine blokes, the lot of them. But it's just not the same as when I was a lad watching PBS on an old black-and-white set because that's the only one that could pick up that faraway station on its rabbit ears.

Also, The Curse of Fatal Death is totally canon.
posted by delfin at 11:07 AM on January 3 [8 favorites]


Man, this is great (also, I knew it would be a tor.com article from the pull-quote; they have such a distinctive editorial style over there). I almost wish Moffat would have read it--it's a nice counter to the prevailing sentimentality of the current series.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:07 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


The death of the protagonist is usually the death of the show. Dr. Who goes on, which makes regeneration more like real death than most things onscreen. The sun will rise the day after your loved one dies and it will feel obscene.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:08 AM on January 3 [14 favorites]


1 Weird Old Trick Amazes 50 Years of Doctors!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:08 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I know I was really upset when Fred Rogers regenerated into Caillou.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:09 AM on January 3 [17 favorites]


Read the article, and you won't believe what happens next!
posted by mrbill at 11:10 AM on January 3


There was also this article in the Guardian today about Doctor Who (and Sherlock) fans influencing shows for the worse. (I thought that DW was slipping, but that season 3 opener of Sherlock was notably terrible.)
posted by Catblack at 11:10 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I also don't really feel the same connection to any of the numbered Doctors, but I do bristle a little bit when the theme song changes.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:11 AM on January 3 [8 favorites]


Catblack - is it fans, or is it Moffat? While Moffat can write some real corker of an episodes, his ability to craft long-term has been... shaky. Then again, I think our expectations of television today are orders of magnitude greater than they were when Doctor Who started.
posted by petrilli at 11:13 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


jbickers, Thorzdad, and infinitewindow, a great deal depends on how impressionable you were at the age you were introduced to your first Doctor, I suspect. I've mentioned my own ambivalence about whether Pertwee or Baker counts as "my" Doctor before, but a lot of that has to do with how young I was at the time, with only a child's rudimentary comprehension of how dramatic fiction worked.

has everything suddenly become "upworthy'd" in an unironic way like some sort of language virus?

This Gallifreyan stole a time machine and abducted his granddaughter. What he did next will restore your faith in the Time Lords. So why doesn't he look the same?
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:14 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I'm bothered by it. I wasn't that into Nine (if he's not into it, neither am I), but 10 and 11 are mine--as far as I'm concerned they are pretty much the same dude.

On the other hand, it bothers me greatly that after hundreds of years, the Doctor is now aging forwards rather than backwards, and by a lot. It just bugs me logically, dammit! So I am not psyched for another new one.

Actually, the whole reason it took me a very long time to get into Who was because of the ever revolving cast. It still annoys me.

*yes, I know there is no logic in Doctor Who and I should really just relax, but still.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:15 AM on January 3


I know I was really upset when Fred Rogers regenerated into Caillou.

think of how i feel - every year the lions regenerate into the same suck team they were last year
posted by pyramid termite at 11:16 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Am I alone in not feeling like any particular Doctor is "my Doctor"?

No, you're not alone. I mean, there are actors whom I've preferred over the others (that I've seen.) But, I don't identify with any one Doctor and "mine." But, then, I've never been into hard-core fandom. I like the show. But, I'm not hanging on every nuance of its production like some (i.e. the Gallifrey Base crowd.)


It's funny you should say it that way because I typically think of fans who have one and only true favorite "mine" Doctor as not actually hard-core fans of Doctor Who.

(I don't necessarily think this is right 100% of the time, and I believed it a lot more 3 or 4 years ago. Just funny how even from the inside and the outsides fandom and fans can look different to folks.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:19 AM on January 3


the new doctor is really just yet another head on the same hydra that is stephen moffit
posted by rebent at 11:20 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


ennui.bz: "has everything suddenly become "upworthy'd" in an unironic way like some sort of language virus?"

Is this where I can self-link to the silly side project that I've been working on?
posted by schmod at 11:22 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Sometimes I'm not sure what I'd rather be less: the show runner for Doctor Who or quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
posted by charred husk at 11:22 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Petrill: I believe it's Moffat (whom I had great hopes for, given his RTD era DW eps, and well done Jekyll series.) But clearly the fans -- specifically those nu-who fans whom the older fans detest in the manner of a dalek hating a genetic abnormality -- are influencing the show for the worst. How I long for Capaldi's doctor to be stuck on earth for a few seasons without a Tardis! How I long for a slowed down story where the Doctor proves that one person (WHO IS NOT HIM) matters!
posted by Catblack at 11:23 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


This Gallifreyan stole a time machine and abducted his granddaughter. What he did next will restore your faith in the Time Lords. So why doesn't he look the same?

You don't happen to submit pieces to SFFWorthy, do you?
posted by greenland at 11:23 AM on January 3


is it fans, or is it Moffat? While Moffat can write some real corker of an episodes, his ability to craft long-term has been... shaky. Then again, I think our expectations of television today are orders of magnitude greater than they were when Doctor Who started.

It's the time we live in and the general quality available, I think. Any objective re-viewing of Dr. Who would likely reveal at least as much (if not more) shaky writing through the decades.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:24 AM on January 3


While not especially feeling that any given Doctor was my Doctor, I'm pretty sure five, six and seven were not.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:24 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Tom Baker is my Doctor, but I've loved others. Having just started watching the 11th Doctor episodes for the first time, I'm not that impressed (could be the Moffat influence). Just finished the Silurian 2-parter. Does he get better? Looking forward to what Capaldi can do with it.

Minor derail: My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?
posted by arcticseal at 11:24 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


greenland: "You don't happen to submit pieces to SFFWorthy, do you?"

Goddamnit. This is how I interact with the internet in a nutshell...
posted by schmod at 11:25 AM on January 3 [8 favorites]


does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

Adric.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:26 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Catblack - is it fans, or is it Moffat? While Moffat can write some real corker of an episodes, his ability to craft long-term has been... shaky. Then again, I think our expectations of television today are orders of magnitude greater than they were when Doctor Who started.

Can't it be both? I honestly think that many problems in fandom-driven series come about because the writers start . . . indulging in the squee, so to speak, growing sentimental about characters and concepts the same way a fan would, which gets in the way of good emotional storytelling. It's hard to let in a little human nuance when you're gobsmacked my the cleverness of your own creations, when you only listen to positive, but not negative feedback, and so on.

But then, I am a cranky, emo sort who really does like stuff like character deaths and realistic mourning and likes that aspect of Doctor Who. I thought RTD was better about this than Moffat--only sentimental about Rose, really, whereas Moffat is particularly sentimental about Amy but also about pretty much everything that's happened during his own run so that it becomes a mess of regurgitation and call-backs without emotional heft. Hoping Capaldi wipes the slate clean, but, mm, we'll see.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:26 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I certainly don't feel like any one doctor is "my doctor." That may be partially due to the fact that, despite being aware of the show for, oh, 30 years or so, I only actually managed to start watching it with the new show popping up on Netflix, and Christopher Eccleston just wasn't there long enough for me to fixate on him--not only was I familiar with the regeneration premise going in, I'd already had a couple of different doctors right away.
posted by Four Ds at 11:26 AM on January 3


Am I alone in not feeling like any particular Doctor is "my Doctor"? I'm a hardcore fan of the show and the books and the audiobooks and all of that, but have never fixated on one particular incarnation as "mine."

Peter Davison was "my" Doctor for years; I came on board for the tail end of the Baker years, but I preferred Davison's slightly stern, slightly anguished man-of-slightly-befuddled-action shtick more than Baker's at that point wholly mental Doctor in terms of imprinting on the show.

But I feel like both Tennant and Smith kicked the asses of any of the Doctors I watched growing up. It's partly that the writing gives them more to do, but partly that I think the actual craft and caliber of TV acting has ramped up tremendously in the last 20+ years. As I've mentioned in other threads, Smith has this ability to turn on a dime from a goofy boyish adventurer to a 1000-year-old man that just blows my damn mind.

So Smith is kind of "my Doctor" now, I suppose, but I'm actually really happy he got cycled out now, relatively quickly, and after a lot of really fun episodes. I'm super stoked about Capaldi. I understand people's concerns about Moffat, but thought the Night/Day/Time sequence was an utterly fantastic capstone for Smith, and I'm very much looking forward to where they go from here.

I spent a chunk of the Christmas holidays watching classic Davison eps, and frankly, it makes all of the whinging about NuWho seem completely asinine. Classic Who definitely had its high points, but it was in large part meandering, nonsensical, dull-as-paint material marked by cardboard sets and bad lighting. I'll take the Tennant and Smith years, even with the goofy, grating episodes, over most of the "Classic" era any day.
posted by Shepherd at 11:30 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


I do bristle a little bit when the theme song changes.

Agreed. The original still sounds the most futuristic.

Similarly, it's surprising that the first regeneration is also the one with the best special effects. Full face and seamless.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:31 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

I found Piper to be just okay in the first two reboot seasons, and the whole Battle of Canary Wharf thing was actually pretty great, and partially redeemed her.

Then. She just. Kept. Coming. Back. Again. And again. And again. AND I HATE HER SO. For one thing she forgot how to talk between S2 and S4. And for another I hate that whole premise of "ehhh fans are sad so let's bring her back and look! Now she is the key to everything in the universe!!" (See also: Starbuck in BSG; President Roslin in BSG; Boomer in BSG, jesus christ the second half of BSG was godawful.)
posted by like_a_friend at 11:37 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Thorzdad: It's the time we live in and the general quality available, I think. Any objective re-viewing of Dr. Who would likely reveal at least as much (if not more) shaky writing through the decades.

I think there's a point here that must be made, and perhaps cuts right into the heart of the matter. That the new series would rather dash the viewer around to a new location, whiz-bang right to their eyeballs, in hopes of distracting them from it's own shaky writing. And I'd prefer a few more 10 minute long scenes where the issues of the episode are addressed and explored and no one has to run off into the tardis for some macguffin at the end of the universe. The show has turned to these grand, empty stories, when all of the older fans loved the show for it's (visually blander) thought-provoking stories.
posted by Catblack at 11:41 AM on January 3


For one thing she forgot how to talk between S2 and S4.

Has there ever been a definitive answer to what the heck happened there? Bad dental work? Fly-by-night elocution lessons? Some kind of small stroke?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:42 AM on January 3


My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

Adric, Mel, Marfa "Doctah, I Loff Ewe" Jones, River Fucking Song....
posted by davros42 at 11:44 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


The show has turned to these grand, empty stories, when all of the older fans loved the show for it's (visually blander) thought-provoking stories.

Pretty much the same problem with nuTrek vs. BeigeTrek. I'm not an old timer when it comes to Who, but I really rather like the Davison episodes I've seen, particularly, contrary to what Shepherd says. Though honestly I'd just be really chuffed if modern Who was more like the 8th Doctor audio dramas--they tend to be both charming and mysterious. A more languorous pace, sure, but there's something really appealing in the way they build.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:44 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've been a little aggressively anti-Classic, which isn't fair to it (or Davison)... I actually really enjoy the classic era, and had a great time revisiting it, but I challenge anyone who wants to get angry about a wooden Cyberman in the Christmas episode to sit down and actually watch all four parts of Terminus, beginning to end, without a break, and tell me that it's head and shoulders above recent material.
posted by Shepherd at 11:48 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


There was also this article in the Guardian today about Doctor Who (and Sherlock) fans influencing shows for the worse.

Not to mention Community. That episode last year with the Inspector Spacetime convention was pure fanservice to fans of another show and was just terrible.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:55 AM on January 3


1970s Antihero: "does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

Adric.
"

WHARZ THE GODDAMMED MEGA-UPVOTE BUTTON? WHAR, MATTHOWIE, WHAR?
posted by IAmBroom at 12:00 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Excuse me.

That just undid months of expensive therapy and memory subduction. Thanks, Obama!
posted by IAmBroom at 12:01 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Not to mention Community. That episode last year with the Inspector Spacetime convention was pure fanservice to fans of another show and was just terrible.

Funny you mention this: the convention I went to last year had a couple of staffers go rogue and bring in the actor who plays Inspector Spacetime as a surprise guest.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:02 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I am sort of an outlier amongst my friends. I grew up on Pertwee to Baker #2.
I was that dork that watched it religiously. Then the reboot came and I liked Eccleston. None of my friends do/did (if they were even watching it then).
Then Tennant came and, dear lord, I could not watch that saccharine crap. I gave up after a season of him. I have since gone back and powered through it, at the recommendation of many friends, only to wish violent, painful death on that character at ever turn.
While I don't have any incarnation I would call "My Doctor" I do have the opposite.
I don't mind Smith's Doctor so much, but that might just be because he isn't David Tennant.
(My dislike of any companion, even Adric, paled in comparison to that.)
posted by Seamus at 12:02 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Seamus, you are not alone.

(I would've just said "YANA", but being from the middle of the Tennant episodes you may not have got it...)
posted by Pinback at 12:07 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I've been more torn up to see companions go during Nu Who than Doctors. Each regeneration lets me see the old boy in a new light and that's exciting. But Donna Noble being lost to us forever? That's heartbreaking. I was even blubbery when Rose was banished to the alternate universe, though she's been outshone so much since by other companions and has been such a mumble-mouthed mess in her return appearances that I can no longer fathom why.

Donna was the best though. I'll miss her more than nine, ten, or eleven. I'll get echoes of those personalities forever. Donna is lost to us for all time.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:18 PM on January 3 [12 favorites]


I'm an old-skool fan and Baker is "my" Doctor in the sense that he's the one I watched most as a kid, though I saw a few of the Davison eps as they were being aired (starting with the last episode of Earthshock and not knowing about regeneration, either! O.O I could have used this post then.). I'm slowly filling up my classic Who card and I really enjoy Pertwee, Troughton, some of Davison, and Hartnell. I'm working up my nerve to get into C. Baker and McCoy. I love Smith and Ecclestone, and Tennant I like in small doses. So basically I have "my" Doctor, but I love them all, and even in "my" Doctor's run, there are better and worse parts.

The show is occasionally great, but objectively there are a lot of stinkers. That's been true throughout both runs, Classic and Nu. I think to the extent that any show caters to its active fanbase, it needs to be wary. When it comes from the love of the show in their own heart--their own fanboy/girlism--it's one thing, but when it's catering to other people's perceived wants, it's always problematic. (Which is not to say your fannish instincts can't be breathtakingly wrong. $DEITY knows RTD's were on occasion.) But that's not a Moffat problem per se, just a statement about fannish engagement with showrunning and vice versa.

I do miss the days when regeneration (and companion departures) were a thing that happened and not a Special Event. Special Eventism is IMO one of the real downfalls of Nu Who. Just tell a damn story, people.
posted by immlass at 12:28 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


I think the most widely disliked companion was probably Mel. She gave off a "children's program presenter" vibe that made a lot of people want to throw things at the screen.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


For me the Nu Whos have been much of a muchness... much more jarring was/is the switches of the old Docs and the switches in tones of the program as new producers were brought in.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 PM on January 3


You'll never guess who Stormaggedon regenerated into, but you'll cry when you see it!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:38 PM on January 3


Mel has a history in light entertainment, which is likely why she gave off that vibe.
posted by arcticseal at 12:39 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Tegan is the worst companion I've seen. Her acting is the quintessential Producer's Boyfriend/Girlfriend performance. Just awful.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:41 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Adric, Nyssa, Teagan, Turlough, Kameleon, Peri, Mel...there really is a pretty rough run of companions from when Romana leaves up until they add Ace during the McCoy run.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:44 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I have no proof that's what she was. She could have easily have been Someone's Relative or what have you. But it's inconceivable that someone saw her act and said, "Yes. This person! Very talented!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:44 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Not a bad article, though they keep misspelling "three" as "eleven".
posted by happyroach at 12:45 PM on January 3


I never forgave Lalla Ward for taking over Romana. What started out as a wonderful thorn in the Doctor's side became something twee in a series of ridiculous hats.
posted by xingcat at 12:48 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I never forgave Lalla Ward for taking over Romana.

Another season or two of Mary Tamm would have been nice, but Lalla had her moments.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:52 PM on January 3


My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

Clara.

Ugh.
posted by Windigo at 12:52 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I was even blubbery when Rose was banished to the alternate universe

That backing track, "Doomsday", was like the single time Murray Gold's music did anything for me ever in new Who, it was perfect.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:56 PM on January 3


I don't enjoy Clara either, especially when she was paired with Matt Smith. They were insufferable together. But I can see her becoming more enjoyable with Capaldi. He's going to put up with her MPDG bullshit.
posted by cazoo at 12:56 PM on January 3


In what way was Clara a MPDG? She's the most level-headed, calm companion in ages.
posted by plastic_animals at 1:05 PM on January 3


Donna Noble wasn't just a great character herself, she made Tennant's Doctor a better character. The two of them together are hilarious and entirely believable as friends who both enjoy each other's company and simultaneously are on the verge of barely being able to stand one another. Plus, 'Turn Left.' I mean, come on.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:05 PM on January 3 [15 favorites]


Minor derail: My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

There's a real loathing among a lot of hard-core fans for Jenna Coleman. Too cute, too manic, and they really have a hard time with the whole "impossible girl" thing. But, a lot of them hated Karen Gillan, too, for similar reasons.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:08 PM on January 3


Adric, Mel, Marfa "Doctah, I Loff Ewe" Jones, River Fucking Song....
posted by davros42 at 11:44 AM


Eponysterical.
posted by like_a_friend at 1:10 PM on January 3


Minor derail: My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

I very much disliked the Donna Noble character when she first appeared, but she grew on me by the end.

In retrospect, this may be because she seems to be the only woman that doesn't seem to be in some sort of co-dependent relationship with the (modern) Doctor.
posted by madajb at 1:12 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


What's been different about NuWho and especially Moffat's treatment of companions is that the Doctor leaves them behind and then comes back for them repeatedly. Especially beginning with season 7. It indicates a change in the Doctor's relationship with his companions that wasn't there previously that I can't quite put into words.
posted by charred husk at 1:15 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


What was genius about the character of Donna Noble both as she was written and as Catherine Tate performed her was that she was the embodiment of one of the Doctor's core beliefs: that ordinary people are extraordinary.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:17 PM on January 3 [8 favorites]


I think his next companion needs to be the recently widowed trophy wife of an Italian billionaire who can either spend the rest of her life cruising the Med drearily banging tennis pros or traveling the universe with a lanky old Scotsman.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:17 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


But, a lot of them hated Karen Gillan, too, for similar reasons.

My only problem with Amy Pond is that she distracted everyone from the ACTUAL companion of that series, who was obviously Rory the Centurion.
posted by like_a_friend at 1:19 PM on January 3 [18 favorites]


What's been different about NuWho and especially Moffat's treatment of companions is that the Doctor leaves them behind and then comes back for them repeatedly.

That's exactly it: a companion just leaving isn't something that happens anymore. The door is always open for a return, even when most of them are set up so return is winkingly "impossible". And the only one they've kept their promise on was Donna, who I wouldn't mind seeing return (for a better leave taking if nothing else).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:19 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Yes! Rory is one of my favorite companions, because he sees through the lies the Doctor tells himself.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:20 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I always wanted the very young Matt Smith to have a late-middle-aged companion... a Colm Meaney or Brendan Gleedon type. Having a companion who looked old enough to be his father but was actually centuries younger would have been a cool dynamic.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:21 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Well, there's Wilf.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:22 PM on January 3


I loved Wilf.

Fun fact: Bernard Cribbins (who played Wilf) was the narrator of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:25 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I personally think Martha was the best companion of the reboot, up until that two parter where she had to go preach the Doctor as messiah. She tries to figure out each situation she's in, and handles herself well for that. But even my appreciation of her run is based on the quality of the episodes during RTD's era. And I never thought during it, that I'd be praising RTD's run of the show. But he really could crank up the melodrama while keeping things logically consistent. Of course the "Doctor as messiah" thing is what RTD's era was all about, and never should have been. But Moffat has run that concept far into the ground.
posted by Catblack at 1:25 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


the Doctor leaves them behind and then comes back for them repeatedly.

Which is also bizarre to me as an old skool Whovian. You knew it was a one-way trip with the Doctor because there's no guarantee he can come back if he leaves you behind!
posted by immlass at 1:26 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Martha was hamstrung by the stupid unrequited love storyline. And I sort of pitied her that her big sendoff was RTD doing the filmic equivalent of the old "I should set up the only two black people I know" thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:28 PM on January 3 [11 favorites]


I went to the Chicago TARDIS Who convention and Freema Agyeman was very diplomatic and gracious about her time on Who but also made it plain that she thought the unrequited love angle they gave her was a mistake and a waste of Martha's character.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:30 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I didn't like yet another companion being in love with the Doctor right after Rose, but I did like Martha's way of handling the unrequited love thing. Falling for the Doctor is believable, and her response was a mature "NOPE, I'm out, pining after a Time Lord is crazypants." which was refreshing.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:34 PM on January 3 [8 favorites]


My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?

My husband really disliked her too and her terrible acting is largely what stopped him watching the whole franchise.
posted by shelleycat at 1:37 PM on January 3


Also Martha and Mickey pairing up: I like the "Smith and Jones" thing of it, but other than that, yeah, super lazy. He was always fun though, the Doctor was a total prick to him but despite being really ill-equipped for it, he always stepped up when it counted. Shades of Mickey in Rory.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:41 PM on January 3


Doctors come and go, but I still miss Ace.
posted by kyrademon at 1:51 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Sometime back during the 5th Doctor's run, I came across an interesting book of media criticism titled Doctor Who: An Unfolding Text.

One of observations was that the styling and storylines which were developed for the 3rd Doctor came from the popularity of the James Bond films at the time — the producers even used a clip of an exploding helicopter from a Bond film in one of the Doctor Who episodes.

Of course, the influence wasn't only one way — James Bond is on his 5th regeneration by now...
posted by rochrobbb at 1:55 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


That the new series would rather dash the viewer around to a new location, whiz-bang right to their eyeballs, in hopes of distracting them from it's own shaky writing. And I'd prefer a few more 10 minute long scenes where the issues of the episode are addressed and explored and no one has to run off into the tardis for some macguffin at the end of the universe.

That's not writing, it's format. The old show serials were at least four episodes, each 25 minutes times long. That's at least twice as much time to tell each story, slowed down even further because each story was stretched over weeks (or days in reruns). The style had its advantages, particularly that it gave the Doctor time to casually explore each new setting. It was easier to see him as a traveller motivated by wonder. However, in practice, it usually meant that a very high percentage of the show was recap and filler.

The change in format is why Ten is like Four on amphetamines, or why Four is like Ten baked out of his gourd.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:04 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I have a Doctor that I consider *my* Doctor (Seven), but I have, in fact, gotten over it. I also will never stop being bitter about the loss of Donna Noble.

The Doctor had spent like three seasons getting more and more pompous and full of himself, and she managed to smack him upside the head and make him look as stricken as we'd ever seen him with: "Is that why you travel with a human at your side? It’s not so that you can show them the wonder of the universe, it’s so you can take cheap shots?"
posted by instead of three wishes at 2:06 PM on January 3 [12 favorites]


Since we're kind of spitballing now, my other wish is for Capaldi's Doctor to run into Susan Foreman.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:18 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Wilf was great. I view him as my TV Dad.
posted by arcticseal at 2:26 PM on January 3


The thing I don't like about NuWho I've realized isn't the bombast or the pacing, or anything else. It's the way the Doctor's status has been changed, so that he's now this larger than life legend and just his name makes enemies tremble in fear.

Since I've figured that out I've wanted the NuDoctor to be making some grand speech about how "HE! IS! THE! DOCTOR!" only to have a bored looking villain shoot him twice in the stomach. Some complete, in Doctor who terms, nobody who has a tiny evil scheme unfolding on a single planet, and doesn't know enough to be intimidated, and because of it is a serious physical threat.

The companion(s) manage to drag him back to the TARDIS to recuperate, and then it's suddenly about 1 or 2 people, alone against a planet. A planet that is not interested and does not care about the Doctor and won't hesitate just because they've heard his name. They'd win, because it's still Doctor Who, but it would be a nice antidote to the Doctor's apparent magic plot armor.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:29 PM on January 3 [11 favorites]


Minor derail: My wife hates Billie Piper, does anyone else have such a visceral reaction to a companion?
I have not enjoyed any of the companions of the SMoffat era. Karen Gillan in particular, not merely because Amy Pond is such a stock MPDG but because she cannot act. At all. Period, end of story. I also really disliked some of the ways in which River Song was written.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:33 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


So, yeah, Ten was My Doctor. And a perusal through my posting history will point to the pulchritude as being one of the factors.

But it is far from being the only one. The bigger one, actually, has to do with the actor himself: no matter what role he is in - whether it be The Doctor, Peter Vincent, Hamlet, a cop, Barty Crouch Jr., Benedick, King Richard II, a creepy stalker, or a camp Ghost Of Christmas Present - you can see in each and every one of those performances that there is a little eight-year-old kid from Paisley in the back of his head that is completely and dementedly overjoyed that he actually gets to do something so cool for a job.

And that is part of why Donna was also my favorite companion. Not only for the character backstory (office temps represent!) and not only for the attitude and the "FUCK no I don't wanna shag you, dude" vibe she brought, but because the comic chemistry between them is completely delicious, and they thought so too. They genuinely and visibly loved working together.

That kind of enthusiasm and joy is ridiculously compelling. Matt Smith loved being The Doctor too, and so did Tom Baker and so did Peter Davison, and, and, and...but David Tennant has been the first one who grew up aspiring to play The Doctor, and found that he genuinely loved acting in general as well, and so his whole career has been one long grateful victory dance that "holy shit it all worked out YEEEEHHAAAAAAA!"

Mind you, Peter Capaldi also grew up as a fanboy as well, which is why I'm curious to see what his take is going to be.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:59 PM on January 3 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I liked it better when the Doctor was content to play a minor facilitating role in the resolution of some conflict between cavemen or blob-like aliens. Now he not only has to be the real Jesus and save the entire universe every episode, he needs all his former foes to assemble and pay homage repeatedly.

Let's put aside the reverence; this is really crap writing, not an inch above average fanfic.
posted by Segundus at 3:06 PM on January 3 [8 favorites]


I've only recently become a fan, and my kids and I are about halfway through the first Matt Smith season. Is this also Moffat's first season? I think so. I feel like I can't quite get a grip on the 11th Doctor--like I don't understand him the way I did number 10. And it feels like I ought to have a grip by halfway through his first season.

Though I got a hint in an episode that had two short bits of dialogue that are basically re-used in the first season of Sherlock. I can't remember one off-hand, but the other is when the Doctor tries to entice Amy Pond to come with him by telling her it's dangerous in this sort of alluring gleeful way. Then I read someone's commentary about the arrogance the 11th Doctor has, which was always part of the Doctor's character, but not to this degree, and I thought, "Oh, this Doctor is the proto-Sherlock." He's arrogant, and very off-hand about his companions--not nearly as compassionate as Number Ten. Ten was always very connected to humans--he was always falling in love with them, even if only for a moment when they did something brave or wonderful--and Eleven does that, too, sometimes, but there have been a couple of instances where I expected him to reach out with compassion toward a "villain," and he's been antagonistic instead.

Matt Smith is charming. But I'm not sure I like what they're giving him to work with.

I actually find the actress who plays Amy Pond so visually appealing that it distracts me whenever she's on-screen. You say she can't act? I hadn't noticed. She's just so peaches-and-cream-and-freckles lovely. I love Rory, and I like that it isn't just the Doctor and a lone love-crossed woman. I'd love to see a male companion. I read the other day that the next companion after Rose was supposed to be Elton, the REO Speedwagon fan, and it was the first time I regretted Donna--I think Elton would have been a great companion.

My thoughts on Doctor 11. Another few days of marathoning the show while crocheting, and I'll be caught up with all of you and your Peter Capaldis.
posted by not that girl at 3:11 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Is this also Moffat's first season? I think so.

He was one of the staff writers during the Russell T. Davies era, and took over as show runner when Matt Smith took over as Doctor.

I actually agree that the writing has suffered as a result. I think Moffat is a better writer when he's only got one little bit of turf to work in as opposed to trying to Chart The Entire Scope Of The Show (don't forget, this is the guy who gave us Blink). He works best with boundaries. And him being show runner meant there were no boundaries any more and he could go a little too wild.

I actually once compared Moffat and Davies to Lennon and McCartney - when they were partners their styles sort of kept each other in check, but then when they parted ways then there was no check on Moffat any more and he went all the way into "The Doctor Is the World's Best Superhero" territory and things suffered.

(I leave it as an exercise to each individual to decide whether Moffat is Lennon or McCartney.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:24 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I took a bit of time to read comments in various forums after the Christmas episode and the 50th anniversary episode, and was reminded that the thing I find most exasperating about Who after thirty-five years of fandom is probably the rise of the fan-as-monday-morning-quarterback thing. I guess the changeover from Davies to Moffatt and the existence of the internet probably created the perfect storm conditions for every other fan of Who in the universe to loudly pontificate about how how they should have done it, or who they should have cast, or how an arc should have gone, or [so on and so on and so on].

I guess "my doctor" would have been Baker, mainly because my local PBS played and played and played those episodes in my boyformative years, and I knitted the damn scarf, flollopped around in the long coat and the hat, and secured, at great cost, a quantity of jelly babies, which I'd offer to people at random moments that were meaningless to the 249 million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand other Americans who had no idea what the hell I was talking about, but they're all the Doctor. In adulthood, I love the remaining scraps of Troughton that come around. They're terribly written, as was almost all Who until the Hinchcliffe era, but there's a quality to that guy that was just special.

There are companions who didn't float my boat, but it's a lot like life in that, over your lifetime, you will have friends that you just sort of got stuck in with, who really didn't mesh well with you, but you still went on road trips and hung with 'em until they went off to travel with space pirates. You have adventures that you still talk about, moments in which Eleanor Bron had an opinion about you, and shruggier ones, which were just sort of, I dunno…eh.

When my bestest best friend and I would fight off the drunken dormies for control of the TV in the lounge at his dorm to watch Who, we just watched it. Sometimes, you'd get a real magical piece that just stuck with you and which you kept thinking about, which planted a seed in your head, and sometimes, it would just be a lot of screaming and running down hallways that would fade quickly. I don't remember any conversations about what the producer was doing, what his motives were, or his grasp of gender portrayal in a story arc, or how he'd done this, that, or the other—but then none of the sort of intensive deconstruction that you get now. We would either say "wow, that was cool," or shrug.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with the intricate post-mortems, per se, but I wonder what the overall appeal is. There are things I didn't care for that RTD did, like all the weird religious allusions, and I think maybe Moffat is loosey-goosey with plot, and I've hated every title sequence since JN-T ditched the psychedelic 1970s titles with Delia Derbyshire's transcendent music, but I just can't fathom the point of microscopic analysis. We're not going to get 4-6 23-minute-long episodes again, we're not going to get Delia Derbyshire, and the actors are going to have to largely meet the only-cute-people-need-apply rules of all contemporary TV, but ultimately, if it's stopped working for you, you can stop watching…or write to Moffat…or write a kick-ass script and send it in.

At the first episode of the revived series, as I was vibrating out of my seat from excitement that Who was finally back, I watched and afterward I sort of wished it was paced a little slower, but as the new series went along, the dialogue is better, the companions have existed for more than to either entice lecherous British fathers to watch with their families or to constantly ask "why" so that Doctor has an excuse for prattling explication, and arcs span seasons and multiple seasons without being incomprehensible and difficult, like Trial Of A Time Lord. My niece has watched a few of the shows I treasured and she's right on when she watched the otherwise excellent Talons Of Weng Chiang and pointed out that it was racist as a motherfucker (and "what's up with that rat, Uncle Joe?"), which I forgave because I was twelve and living in a country of idiots, and she doesn't because she's twenty and sophisticated. As storytelling, the new era is better in enough ways that I have to cut it a bit of slack even when it keeps hitting the "entire universe in peril" button that I'm not so keen on.

If it starts to suck, I'll stop watching. When it's good, I'll say "wow, that was good." In the middle, though, I'm not sure why fandom is now all about the endless deconstruction, detailed criticism, and an insistence that we would have done it differently.

Am I missing the fun part?
posted by sonascope at 3:29 PM on January 3 [16 favorites]


And that is part of why Donna was also my favorite companion. Not only for the character backstory (office temps represent!) and not only for the attitude and the "FUCK no I don't wanna shag you, dude" vibe she brought, but because the comic chemistry between them is completely delicious, and they thought so too. They genuinely and visibly loved working together.

Have you seen the episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks that Tennant hosted, with Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins playing? Basically all Tate and Tennant do is crack up hysterically when they talk, they are so ridiculous together.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:00 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I don't think that there's anything wrong with the intricate post-mortems, per se, but I wonder what the overall appeal is. There are things I didn't care for that RTD did, like all the weird religious allusions, and I think maybe Moffat is loosey-goosey with plot, and I've hated every title sequence since JN-T ditched the psychedelic 1970s titles with Delia Derbyshire's transcendent music, but I just can't fathom the point of microscopic analysis. We're not going to get 4-6 23-minute-long episodes again, we're not going to get Delia Derbyshire, and the actors are going to have to largely meet the only-cute-people-need-apply rules of all contemporary TV, but ultimately, if it's stopped working for you, you can stop watching…or write to Moffat…or write a kick-ass script and send it in.

Cultural criticism is generally more of a thing than it was in the Old!Who era and this is especially true on the internet, post Sepinwall and TWOP. I mean, you can read about the history of internet and fan commentary (a lot of it got big around the X-files, which also saw the rise of such funness of slashfic) if you want. It's fine if it's not your deal, but for those of us who grew up on it--and I was posting detailed diatribes about the continuity of Space Cases on usenet when I was 11--it's an added layer of interactivity and engagement in popular fiction. Kinda like getting drunk and talking about bullshit philosophy in college, but without the grandiosity. Picking about TV (and books and movies) helps to reveal our own values and is as much about the fans as it is about the creations.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:03 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


More fun facts: Bernard Cribbins had a role in the Peter Cushing movie Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., and he was one of the actors under consideration to play the Fourth Doctor.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:20 PM on January 3


Have you seen the episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks yt that Tennant hosted, with Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins playing?

About thirty-eight times. :-) I maintain that Catherine Tate trying to remember the lyrics to "Space Oddity" or "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" is hands-down adorable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 PM on January 3


Kinda like getting drunk and talking about bullshit philosophy in college, but without the grandiosity. Picking about TV (and books and movies) helps to reveal our own values and is as much about the fans as it is about the creations.

I think this is a big part of why, even though I'm pretty maniacal about science fiction (albeit mostly golden age stuff, as I just don't find a lot of magical language in more modern writing), I find the large scale social aspect of it baffling. The sort of drunken (or in my case, sleepy, since I rarely drink) talk about big subjects always got duller to me when more people were involved in the process, whereas just walking in the woods with a friend talking things down until you were lazily shelling molecules of meaning like peas had a sort of drifty delight to it. Watching online flashmobs go back and forth about Doctor Who and argue about canon and the personalities of the production team feels more like having a million drunk uncles at a party telling you about how the world should be, instead of the less rigorous mode of just saying to a friend, "Wouldn't it be cool if the Papal Mainframe was built on the core of The Library, which could mean that Tasha Lem could be—"

"Yeah, I had that thought, too."

I find it disruptive to the experience of immersion in the fictional dream to be so obsessed with the framework of a story that I'm thinking about it as the story is being told, but it's always possible that the current generation of audiences just multitask or enjoy the celebration of structure in lieu of just being in the moment. Years ago, I hit this point in learning audio synthesis where I could suddenly hear all the various little atomic-level manipulations in play, and it took me a fair amount of retraining my listening mind to stop noting "ah, FM on an 18dB lowpass filter, varied by an LFO that's being modulated by another LFO." I'm not sure that I wish I hadn't learned to hear such things, but when it meant I heard the machinery instead of the music, it felt like I'd lost something. I wonder, watching some of these conversations, if people are better than me at locking out such details, or if they just watch Who and note every Moffatism or Gillan manic tic and that's just part of how we watch now.
posted by sonascope at 4:59 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I find it disruptive to the experience of immersion in the fictional dream to be so obsessed with the framework of a story that I'm thinking about it as the story is being told, but it's always possible that the current generation of audiences just multitask or enjoy the celebration of structure in lieu of just being in the moment.

Eh, I don't even know if it's even necessarily generational per se, just that the conversations have become more common with the rise of the internet. I think it's a certain personality type. For me, having multiple Star Trek Encyclopedias always made the world seem broader and richer than what was just shown on screen. And talking about these things with the internet--plus structure, plus story, plus theories--feels pretty much indistinguishable from chatting with a friend, because, hell, we've grown up with the whole internet as our friend.

I mean, if nothing else, Moffat, it seems, was once one of Us--theorizing on Usenet about the meaning of the name "the Doctor" and all of that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:08 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Years ago, I hit this point in learning audio synthesis where I could suddenly hear all the various little atomic-level manipulations in play, and it took me a fair amount of retraining my listening mind to stop noting "ah, FM on an 18dB lowpass filter, varied by an LFO that's being modulated by another LFO." I'm not sure that I wish I hadn't learned to hear such things, but when it meant I heard the machinery instead of the music, it felt like I'd lost something.

This is interesting to me because I love being able to do this. For one thing it's given me an appreciation for the craft and, yes, art inside kinds of music (particularly very commercial music) I used to dismiss. And I just think it's great being able to look at things from the inside and beautiful to see how the pieces come together. I guess I'm just a born engineer.
posted by atoxyl at 6:15 PM on January 3


Man, Doctor Who was one of the first things I got OCD about. I had a drawerful of recycled T-120's painstaking vertically labeled with the damn Sony letters until I ran out of O's and had to use 0's.

I had the entire Baker run (minus Shada), the entire Davison run, %75 of Pertwee, and the stray Troughton and Hartnell episodes. If they haven't thrown them out they're probably still in my parents' attic.

I can't get into the NuWho at all. sonascope nailed it above, the pacing is waaay too 2005. I watched most of Eccleston, although it didn't really trip my "Wow, I'm watching Doctor Who" meter. It was an odd science fiction show that went through the motions.

That being said, I really got into the 50th anniversary episode, I thought John Hurt was fantastic and the companion was only mildly irritating.

BAKER = WHO 4 LYFE!
posted by Sphinx at 6:22 PM on January 3


I do and always will LOATH the character of Donna Noble.


LOATH.
posted by Faintdreams at 6:31 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I do and always will LOATH the character of Donna Noble.

She ain't bovvered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 PM on January 3 [8 favorites]


This is interesting to me because I love being able to do this.

It's a worthwhile thing, though when it comes against the visceral, it's sad when the visceral loses out. I know now, for instance, exactly how the wavetable sweep is working on Thomas Dolby's "Windpower," and can appreciate the sort of distinctive, mechanical quality it has, but I liked it better when it was just something that I felt for it's properties and which conveyed mood without explanation. As a musician, it's good to know how these things work, but as a listener, sometimes a bit of mystery is even better.

Same goes with Who, in that I really don't want to know too much about Moffat's process. Barthes was right, the author is dead, and I just want to be immersed in the work he makes, not the tools with which he makes them. Different strokes, of course, and Penn & Teller built a whole career on spoilers, but I dunno. It's like when I found out that Ian Marter was written off Baker Who because they decided Baker didn't need a strong man. Too much inside story, I suppose.
posted by sonascope at 6:47 PM on January 3


Rose makes me upset. I actually stopped after the first episode because I could not get past her shtick. A few years later my son wanted to watch the show so I tried again and persevered. I don't know what it is about her, except that I always got the feeling that she was trying to suppress a smile, like she was going to burst out laughing as soon as she slurred out her lines. Sort of smug.
I thought Martha was boring.
I'm torn between 10 and 11, but I'm very excited for 12. And I'm super excited to see what becomes of Clara once there's somebody...different...waving the old sonic around.
posted by Biblio at 7:43 PM on January 3


I find it disruptive to the experience of immersion in the fictional dream to be so obsessed with the framework of a story that I'm thinking about it as the story is being told, but it's always possible that the current generation of audiences just multitask or enjoy the celebration of structure in lieu of just being in the moment.

I've never had trouble being in the moment (of things I enjoy, which do not include Doctor Who as it is currently done) and then afterwards to be able to focus on details and enjoy obsessive discussion. It doesn't need to be either/or.
posted by jeather at 8:14 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I could list out many reasons why I think the new Doctor Who stinks (and somehow stinks more since Moffat took over) but others have already covered most of the reasons above. I have a great fondness for the older shows, from Troughton through to Davison, and while I vastly prefer them, I understand that they aren't exactly perfectly-wrought pieces of art themselves. Even apart from the quality of most of the make-up and sets, they are often shabby affairs, especially when viewed from the lens of the modern, adult audience member. The writing wasn't always great. It could be dumb, repetitive, and sluggish with the maturity level fluctuatingd wildly.

But there was always a kernel of greatness buried in there somewhere, a firm foundation that would cause the show to bounce back from almost anything, no matter how ill-conceived the ideas (the killer Stonehenge monoliths come to mind). The series almost stumbled into it by accident, but it's always had a deep well of potential thanks to its solid, versatile premise and great acting turns by its various leading men and stable of BBC acting pros.

Given this, I was pretty excited when I heard the show was returning. A Doctor Who being created in a time when genre work was flourishing and much more mature was hugely appealing. Even at what I considered the height of the old series, the Tom Baker/Douglas Adams days, there was still plenty of room for improvement. For me, however, it was kind of like watching a beloved, old historical building in your hometown finally get renovated after decades of neglect, but ultimately housing a Chili's.

I can't really say that Davies and Moffatt truly did wrong by Doctor Who, though. The older series was rough enough that fifteen different modern showrunners would have created fifteen very different modern incarnations. There are so many questions one could ask about the Doctor and every writer is going to be interested in answering only certain ones. Davies and Moffatt were interested in questions about the companions and the legend of the Doctor. Fair enough! I'm glad people like it and are excited about it.

I do kind of wish that there was a Spectacular Spider-Man to Moffatt's Amazing Spider-Man, however. It'd be great if TV allowed for such things. Two Doctor Who shows with two different showrunners and story priorities. One show for people in it for the sappy bombast, and another for the people who want the brainier, weirder stuff.
posted by picea at 9:35 PM on January 3


So much hate for Adric.
When I was a wee bairn, and I started watching the Baker years, Adric was the stand-in for me.
I could admire the Doctor as the hero, couldn't work out Romana (she was as complicated as the plot to Warrior's Gate), but Adric was like me, only he got to travel in time and space and I did not.

I was sad when he died.

I sometimes wonder if the show suffers from a lack of young male characters like that (but I probably would have related to Rory).

I also think Evelyn Smythe should become part of the show. I think she would have worked best with a young "spunky" Doctor, but having her bicker with Capaldi will probably be just as good.

Also Ace. They were going to bring back Ace during the RTD years, if I recall my speculations, but it didn't happen for some reason. Liz Laden was available? Or maybe they felt the idea was too backward looking. Or maybe it was pure speculation I read somewhere.

And, while I'm not personally a fan of the idea, I think Sacha Dhawan or Suranne Jones would each make a fantastic Doctor.
posted by Mezentian at 1:54 AM on January 4


Matt Smith's tenure seemed like the character I liked (more or less, bits got very grating) in a different show. Suddenly I was watching the character of the Doctor, with his TARDIS and screwdriver and such, only he was in a big, loud, stupid American show with little of the feel of why I watch Doctor Who to begin with. It was a bit like the TV movie in that respect. I wrote about it here.
posted by Legomancer at 6:44 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


You're not encouraging me to continue watching Matt Smith's tenure.
posted by arcticseal at 7:17 AM on January 4


You're not encouraging me to continue watching Matt Smith's tenure.

You have months, go through it. There are points high and low (what they are depends on your preferences), but I reckon you can find the time.

Spoiler: River returns, Wilf does not. Strax comes in. They don't kill Hitler. Plus, Badger from Firefly turns up.
posted by Mezentian at 7:25 AM on January 4


I leave it as an exercise to each individual to decide whether Moffat is Lennon or McCartney

McCartney, obvs.

Give My Regards to Broad Street.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:27 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


One thing I find interesting in the realm of Whoquibble is how neatly it sums up a variant of the Douglas Adams dictum on the acceptability of technological change:

I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.


― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

There's a really common principle in play with how people respond to, say, music, in that, what they're listening to when they first fall in love with an artist is usually the best thing ever ever ever and the next album isn't quite as good, or it's not quite as adventurous, or it's not like it was when said artist was at his/her/their peak.

In Kate Bush terms, The Dreaming was my Doctor, so everything after...well, hmm. Yeah, Hounds of Love was okay. I guess I got used to The Sensual World. The last couple? Er.

Except, of course, I'm wrong. Tom Baker is, by that regard, my Doctor, but that feeling of comfort is largely based on a larger experience of the moment, of watching with my best friend, in a time when I was young and wild and open to weird and wonderful new ideas, when that band of psychedelic color would sweep across the screen to schwoooosing duh-duh-duh-dum in stark contrast to the silly sixties sing-song of Trek and stand my hair right on end. I was rapt, at ten, eleven, twelve, onward, watching the stories play out, and they were SO GREAT.

Thing is, they weren't, not really. I think just as many complaints can be made of supposedly golden age Who as of new Who. There was so much time-filling running, so many gravel pit planets, so much bad costumery, bad dialogue, and loose concepts, to say nothing of the endless awful CSO and other effects issues. Old Who didn't bother with continuity, the companions were "why" machines that existed to (a) provide hooks for techno-explication and (b) to be rescued. Just one look at the bizarre way the Cybermen are something completely different in every appearance until their reboot, or how the Daleks got rewritten to suit every new fad or fashion, ought to be a clue that old Who was as sloppy and careless as the new.

There are big problems with the enemies throughout. The motives of the Daleks, for example—okay, so they're evil and hateful. What's their motivation for universal domination? When they're everywhere and in charge, what's the plan? Once they've killed off all the other species, do the disco balls suddenly descend, so they can get their Dalek groove on, or do they just roll about in a bad mood, but with a sense of accomplishment? Why are they doing what they're doing?

Same goes for the inexplicably beloved Blofeld Master. In the old series, what does he want? World domination? Then what? Stacks of cold, hard, germ-carrying American currency? Wafer thin after-dinner chocolates? Crazy sex with sparkly androids?

We get the Sontarans, but wait, how do they work again? They're clones, they like fighting, and fighting, and fighting, and—what would they do if they took over the whole entire universe? Would they fight with each other? Would the disco balls suddenly descend so they could get their Sontaran HA groove on? Have they really thought out this universe domination thing?

It's easy to dissect new Who for its flaws, and easy to retcon old Who to explain, with intricate rationalization, stuff that was just bullshit that the writers were pulling out of their asses, but in the end, aren't we just giving priority to the things we loved about our Doctor and forgiving ridiculous things that we will be histrionically critical of in new Who?

I loved Leela in my day, and still do, but it's pretty clear she was positioned to be a tool for mansplaining and a bit of T&A for the dads in BBCland. Put a character like Liz Shaw in, who's bristly and cynical and not at all inclined to put up with the Doctor's bullshit, and she's out in one season—too cold, too "unlikeable," not enough "chemistry" with Pertwee. God forbid someone interrupt his cape flourishes and Venusian Aikido with a little skepticism.

We can tut-tut about the pacing of new Who, the fanboy excesses of it, the plot holes and weird fairytale logic, but the thing I find miraculous about it all is that it's still a pretty even balance in how steps backward in some regards are canceled out by steps forward in others. I love the more nuanced way companions are characterized and how the continuity of their existence isn't just shrugged off in the way most old Who handled previous characters. I love the returns, even of characters that don't float my boat, because the sort of serial monogamy of old Who just made the Doctor out to be a sort of sociopath, who took people on and let them go without much emotional investment or reflection. #5 was sad about Adric...for what, a season?

So it's possible to be irritated by details and still celebrate what's good about the overall story, isn't it? It'll be interesting to see where the show goes under the new guy, but I'm an unabashed apologist for just carrying on and seeing how it all goes.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by sonascope at 8:58 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


sonascope, I knew there was a Whovian on this site besides my husband that I wanted to watch this show with. The show has its ups and downs, but it always has. The things you don't like (and the things you like) shall pass.

Minor quibble: The Master had a plotline with Three that was broken off before the end by the death of Roger Delgado, who played him in those days, in a car wreck. His death apparently sort of broke Jon Pertwee's heart and was a major factor in his decision to quit the role. So there's some missing explanation that would have made some sense out of some of the aspects of the Master's role in the series that was overcome by behind-the-scenes events.
posted by immlass at 9:13 AM on January 4


sonascope, for someone who dislikes television beanplating, you're sure beanplating quite a bit about why beanplating is bad.

I honestly don't think the visceral loses out. I can go on at length about why the execution of River Song's plotlines are problematic but I'm still reduced to a giggly, hand-clapping girl when she's on screen. It's possible to do both.

I also find the special effects on NuWho to be pretty consistently terrible--just as bad as the old show, just bad in a different kind of way (personally, I prefer cardboard and bubble wrap to bad CGI). Anyway, it's fine, again, if bloviating about plots and continuity and feminism isn't your thing but the essays on how we're watching it wrong get a little yawn worthy after awhile.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I don't dislike beanplating. I just find it peculiar when it's so overwhelming negative and just aimless speculative about things for which there are actual references. I guess it's the loathing that bothers me—god knows I can beanplate like a motherfucker when it comes to things like French cars, synthesizers, or bees—and the sort of foamy insistence that a producer is ruining the show forever or that a certain companion is ruining the show forever or a certain plotline is ruining the show forever just sort of…I dunno. If someone hates a companion or a Doctor with the sort of loathing you see vented in various forums, I'm not sure why they don't just stop watching. I watched a season of Lost, increasingly hated it, and stopped watching.

I'm not beanplating over the flaws of the enemies to actually debate their worthiness—they are there because they are there, they're a fixed point in time, as they say, and you can either watch or not watch. I'm just pointing out that there are huge flaws with every Doctor and every era and that we all watch around these things, either with a shrug or a persnickety retconning to make it work for us. If you think I'm saying there's a right way to watch, I think you're misreading me. Everyone's way to watch is the way that they watch (including Davies and Moffat, the difference being that they were or are in charge).

I'm thinking more about the discussion afterward, not the watching. It's the "OMG I HAAAAAAATE Donna Noble" or the "I HAAAAAAAAATE Moffat" or all the other varieties of that that I find odd. If one hates something that much, why watch? Are people angry because they believe that Who should only go the way they want it to go, or that the producers somehow owe them something? That's the sort of thing I find peculiar in the beanplating, not the reasonable quibbles over whether the UNIT stories took place in the seventies or eighties or how Romana's body montage counts in regeneration. The notion that it's possible to see River Song plotlines as problematic and still love her is pretty much the essence of what I think is cool about the series, old or new.

I'm not commenting on the love, or the watching. It's the intensity of disdain that confuses me.
posted by sonascope at 10:19 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


If one hates something that much, why watch?

1. It's enjoyable to nitpick or snark on things for some people.
2. Despite everything, they have lingering affection for the story/actors/characters/whatever and are curious enough about what happens next.
3. They enjoy the community.
4. Exaggeration. Not necessarily the hate, but the intensity of the hate.
5. They think that it's possible that the thing they hate will change (in Who, it's guaranteed that it will happen sooner or later -- the companions will leave, or the Doctor will regenerate, or the showrunner will change, but the show will continue) and want to watch it through to then.

But really, most of the beanplating isn't just people repeating how much they hate X, in increasingly loud fonts, it's interesting and thoughtful discussions about what parts they like, what they don't like, and in what ways they think things fail. And what parts they think succeed, too. People like to what-if and imagine how things could be different and how it would have affected things. And honestly, dissecting pop culture is dissecting the culture we live in, and that's important to do no matter how you do it.

If you don't enjoy the negative discussions about a show or a book series or a whatever, then sure, carry on and see how it goes. But clearly a lot of people enjoy it, and neither group is doing things wrong.
posted by jeather at 10:39 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


If someone hates a companion or a Doctor with the sort of loathing you see vented in various forums, I'm not sure why they don't just stop watchingI honestly don't think I'm misreading you at all; you've been very firm about the fact that you feel that if people have complaints about an era of Who they should quit watching. I disagree with you, and your characterization of those who have these conversations. For one, I don't think the good old days that you experienced ("I don't remember any conversations about what the producer was doing, what his motives were, or his grasp of gender portrayal in a story arc, or how he'd done this, that, or the other—but then none of the sort of intensive deconstruction that you get now") were universal--there were always nerds who beanplated, way back into the early days of Star Trek fandom, and maybe it's new to your experience, but it's not really a new thing across the board. There are entire academic departments where people pick apart television shows; people have built their lives on reviewing, online and elsewhere, and without mailing a single script anywhere. I might disagree with those who "HAAAAATE" Donna Noble, but I find the conversations about that hatred to be interesting, and productive, and stimulating; I find the proposals for alternate plotlines to be likewise thought-provoking and valuable. Again, you might not. That's fine. But the embedded suggestion in your posts about this is that we need to get out of your fandom then and quit talking about it--maybe you don't mean it to come across that way, but it does--and it's really, really tiresome, after a point. Because you're paying lipservice to the idea that there are many ways to engage with a television show, but the substance of your actual argument is pretty much GTFO newbs, and that's frustrating.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:39 AM on January 4


But really, most of the beanplating isn't just people repeating how much they hate X, in increasingly loud fonts

Hee, I initially read this as "increasingly loud farts."

But yeah, tumblr-style hyperbole is a thing in fandom right now. Sometimes it's genuine; sometimes it's something people do because they're really invested emotionally in something and are genuinely dismayed about the way it's going (a lot of the people who really hate Moffat had their hopes for Moffat and the show under his tenure really, really high--for good reason, maybe. His RTD-era eps were sort of amazingly written). It can be hard to tell what's what. Tone. Internet. *shrug*
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:44 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


But the embedded suggestion in your posts about this is that we need to get out of your fandom then and quit talking about it--maybe you don't mean it to come across that way, but it does--and it's really, really tiresome, after a point.

So essentially the debate over hating Donna Noble is valid, but my genuine curiosity over the appeal of such things isn't?

Apparently I'm not the only one who appears to have an orthodox view on what's acceptable.

Where do I say "get out of my fandom?"

More precisely, how could you be in my fandom? Isn't it mine, just like yours is yours?
posted by sonascope at 10:47 AM on January 4


And, just for the record, saying "the substance of your actual argument is pretty much GTFO newbs" is pretty personally hostile, since I'm neither overtly or implicitly saying that, not by a long shot, and I don't care for the characterization. Can we not have a conversation without that kind of cheap shot? I'm trying to engage points, not personalities, here.
posted by sonascope at 10:59 AM on January 4


But clearly a lot of people enjoy it, and neither group is doing things wrong.

Absolutely. I'm much more familiar with discussions in Trek fandom than Who (and from around the late 90s to the turn of the century, so I'm not up to date with fandom's state of the art discussions), and I've gotten hours of enjoyment reading fan discussions, especially among viewpoints that find some sort of fault. Those viewpoints express criticism, more often than not, in the context of wanting to celebrate the better aspects of the property and envision better stories, even if their negativity is expressed vehemently. I've also encountered incredibly frustrating arguments, but for me they are frustrating because they were bad arguments (too personalized, neglecting to respond to counterarguments, etc), not because they were too negative.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:22 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


You keep bringing up that you don't understand why people with vocal complaints (though you first simply mentioned "the rise of the fan-as-monday-morning-quarterback thing" in reference to this thread and previous ones, which is quite different from the haterade you talk about later) don't simply stop watching--unless, of course, they write their own episodes: "If it's stopped working for you, you can stop watching…or write to Moffat…or write a kick-ass script and send it in." You specifically cite the fact that you didn't enjoy Lost and stopped watching it as an example, it would seem, of something that you feel that many of these (presumably newer, though I don't think that's particularly the case) fans should do. It really suggests that you feel these conversations are a drag on the way you interact with the fandom. Again, I don't think you intend it that way, necessarily, but to those of us who really, really value these conversations, it feels really dismissive.

You might still just be missing the "fun part." You've made it clear you believe in the death of the author and don't find these conversations enriching, but the way you're slowly moving the goal posts from episode post-mortems to vocal hate makes it feel like you're not really curious to find out why we like to engage with the show in this way but rather that you simply don't like that we engage with the show in this way.

For what it's worth, I do think the producers owe the fans plenty. I think that storytellers owe their audiences good stories. This is a relatively new notion in television--not specifically Doctor Who, even--and of course, what's "good" is entirely subjective, which is what makes conversations about quality so interesting and worth having.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:24 AM on January 4


it would seem, of something that you feel that many of these (presumably newer, though I don't think that's particularly the case) fans should do

It seems like you have a real vested interest in making this a grumpy-old-sonascope-vs-young-people thing, but frankly, I was an Explorer Scout at Goddard Space Flight Center in 1983 in a crowd that could and did do exactly the same thing with Star Trek, Doctor Who, or Star Wars thirty years ago and I found it curious then and find it curious now. Do you really think this sort of thing was just invented? I'm just curious about why it's become so entrenched, not whether it's necessarily valid.

I'm also not moving "goal posts" because I'm not interested in a touchdown, thank you very much—I was just trying to engage in the conversation here and you've made it clear that you think I'm just a big dismissive beanplater. I'm sorry you feel that way, and I'm even more sorry that the sort of colorful back and forth you claim to be something you really, really value doesn't extend to a conversation about the actual nature of how such discussions take place, but as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Why is your way of having the conversation sincere and mine dismissive, other than that we disagree? Read what I've written and it's pretty much all couched in "I feel" statements, not "I think you should" statements. Where's the dismissiveness in that?

The thing I come back to, I suppose, is that we used to daydream about being the Doctor or being a companion, and now we play fantasy football about being the show's producer. It seems weirdly meta, I wonder if what it says about us culturally, and I'm interested in what people think about that, but instead, I'm sitting here having to defend myself against words put in my mouth instead of talking about something actually interesting, like whether Colin Baker was mistreated throughout his run (I contend he was). That's what I find strange—the sort of personalized, ad hominem, patronizing critique that's just not about what we were talking about at all. More power to you if you find that fun, but I, and I alone, apparently, don't.
posted by sonascope at 12:14 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Another story from the Who convention...

Peter Davison mentioned that his sons are slavishly devoted to NuWho, to the point where, when promos indicated Rose might die at the end of season two, they were absolutely besides themselves. Davison figured, well, I was the Doctor myself and I know Russell, let me drop him a line and see if that's really going to happen so I can prepare my sons accordingly.

So he sent an email to RTD asking if Rose was really going to die because he would appreciate some warning if his boys were going to be traumatized. Davies replied within minutes:

"WHAT DO YOU CARE? YOU KILLED ADRIC."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:21 PM on January 4 [11 favorites]


Do you really think this sort of thing was just invented? I'm just curious about why it's become so entrenched, not whether it's necessarily valid.

No, of course not, and I said in my first comment that I didn't think this was anything new. If you're genuinely curious about the rise of this sort of fan criticism within fandom, you can read about the interactivity between the X-files producers and fans (author Malinda Lo researched this extensively) or about Sepinwall's NYPD Blue recaps on usenet. People have written dissertations on fan communities. The information is out there, and there are better places than metafilter threads to explore it!

Where's the dismissiveness in that?

The dismissiveness is in the repeated suggestions that fans who are unhappy with the show should just stop watching, particularly when paired with the suggestion that they shouldn't be making these complaints unless they're also creating materials for the show in some professional capacity (IE, sending scripts). It's a really old, tired suggestion often made toward those lodging critical complaints, either in a fannish or professional capacity--that you can't criticize unless you're a pro, that you need to just write your own book/TV series/movie, if you think you're so great. And yeah, it's pretty dismissive. We don't want to stop watching. We might not always love the show, but we love talking about it and picking it apart and putting it back together and whether or not we intend to do so in a pro way doesn't make that interaction with the show any more or any less valid.

I don't find it odd at all that people dream about running these shows, or how they would go better if they did. These are characters that live pretty much in the collective unconsciousness, now--thanks to fan-fiction and conversation--and if you love storytelling it makes sense that you would think about how you'd play in a sandbox like this one, which is mutable and changeable and has been influenced, already, by many different writers. If fans like Moffat can go from microanalyzing the show on the internets to actually running it, it stands to reason that some kid who is out there right now writing fanfic or their own theories up on tumblr might someday, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:41 PM on January 4


sonascope and PhoBWan - I can see where you're both coming from.

1. Sonascope isn't responding to the existence of snark - he is responding to the degree of snark. I can sort of see where he's coming from - that the snark has gotten pretty damn loud, vocal, and violent as of late. Although, so has the snark in the rest of the world - sonascope, that's actually what I was chalking it up to.

2. And phobwan has a point that it isn't quite fair to just suggest someone "stop watching if they don't like it". If it's something that you really, really liked at one time, but just don't like now, there could be a bit of sunk-cost going on, or holding out hope that the show you loved will come back someday. Hell, since X-FILES came up, I was hanging on to that show for YEARS past the point I thought it went south, in the hopes that someday it would get better. I grumbled like crazy, but I kept watching because I was hoping it would come back, reform, and get better. It wasn't until season 9 that I finally gave up, even though I was starting to sour on the show as early as season 5 or 6. But boy did I grumble in the meantime, because I was just so frustrated because I knew the show could do better because I'd seen it happen, dammit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


If someone hates a companion or a Doctor with the sort of loathing you see vented in various forums, I'm not sure why they don't just stop watching. I watched a season of Lost, increasingly hated it, and stopped watching.

It's a lot harder to let go of something you once loved than something you never really got into in the first place. Though I admit I haven't picked up 50 Words for Snow yet.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 1:19 PM on January 4


Yeah, and I think that's especially true for a show like Who, where actors and showrunners change and where the quality seems more variable across the board. If you don't like the show now, just wait--you might soon, or there might be an episode that does it for you (Day of the Doctor thrilled me even if nothing in the half-season before did, nor did the episode after). Moffat has it in him to be a really, really good writer. We still see glimmers--he writes grandiose dialogue really well, for example, and Matt Smith acted the hell out of it, and Moffat is pretty solid at creating intriguing set-ups even if his follow-through is poor enough that I think viewers are starting to catch on. It's not, like, a pile of unbearable suck or anything. More like sucky lumps mixed in with stuff that's okay.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:19 PM on January 4


I'm okay with being dismissive toward Tumblr-style allcaps snark. You don't have to be a pro to bring good ideas to the table, but allcaps "I HATE X", particularly when combined with personal judgement on people who like media you don't, is not a contribution to fandom nor a valid form of fannish or cultural criticism. Life is too short to drink that beer, and there is a lot of it in Who fandom right now.
posted by immlass at 1:21 PM on January 4


Can I just say?

I first got into Who because an internet buddy had me watch the 90's TV movie, and then I had to hunt down as much classic Who that I could, which meant a smattering of Tom Baker-era stuff. I didn't get back onboard withNuWho until Eleven's episodes. And while I have a sort of weary distain for Moffat, and thought the Christmas episode was disjointed and confused--

Eleven regenerating? Broke me harder than any television show ever has, and maybe any piece of media period. I've been in fandom since the fourth freakin' grade, with the first season of X-Files, and I've never had that kind of reaction.

I'm finding it weird, and a little disturbing, and I really don't entirely understand why it happened. Am I alone in this? Is it a common phenomenon?
posted by dogheart at 3:23 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


It's a lot harder to let go of something you once loved than something you never really got into in the first place

I've watched Dr Who since the 1970s.
I have previously described it as akin to a religion. It is a love/hate for me, but in the end I always come back.

But, anyway, Ace was Ace. And since I mentioned it above, apparently RTD had plans for Ace (ACE!) and McCoy to pop into SJA S6. That would have been Ace. (I am less a fan of the idea of the Katy Manning return, as Jo she's just too ... Jo to be that old, and her plastic surgery annoys me). That said, I would watch them all.
posted by Mezentian at 2:27 AM on January 5


According to an interview with Moffat in the latest Doctor Who Magazine, Capaldi's Doctor will be "a much older, fiercer, madder, less reliable Doctor [than the 11th]] ... mad and dangerous and difficult ... [not a] quirky young man". That seems to fit with an unnamed source who told the tabloid Daily Mirror "Peter’s Doctor has to get past a spiky opening and try to make Clara a sidekick who will help him save the world from the usual mix of aliens and monsters from the galaxy."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:32 AM on January 9


Oh god, not another Colin Baker
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:45 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


"Peter’s Doctor has to get past a spiky opening and try to make Clara a sidekick who will help him save the world from the usual mix of aliens and monsters from the galaxy."

But....doesn't this happen every time there's a companion who straddles regenerations? Even Rose had some moments of "who the fuck are you I want the old guy back" initially after Nine regenerated into Ten.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on January 9


Oh god, not another Colin Baker

I actually really like the idea of the Doctor being an unrepentant creep or a violent creep or whatever. I feel like both 10 and 11 sometimes straddled that line between sociopath and likable sociopath, and sometimes did things that were pretty loathsome and crazy but got away with it because charming and cute and Doctor but it seems to me that making the Doctor really "mad" in some incarnations is a natural progression of the concept of regeneration and personality change.

Plus the first Doctor was all kinds of an asshole to start, wasn't he? Why not more of that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:25 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


Doctor Who’s Seasons 8 and 9 Will Not Be Split
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on January 10


YAY! I think the split season is part of why the previous seasons seemed short to me, even though they had the same number of episodes per season as the ones before them.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:36 PM on January 10


In a confirmation of Moffat's long-suspected sinister "sitcom agenda", in which the former Coupling creator hired writers and actors from the likes of Black Books, Gavin & Stacey, Men Behaving Badly, The Vicar of Dibley, etc. to rework Doctor Who from its sci-fi origins, here is the recut opening credits sequence to "Day of the Doctor" with the Friends intro.

Meanwhile, the tabloids have staked out the outdoor shooting of Capaldi's first episode, in which he (or, properly, his stunt double) rides a horse while dressed in a Victorian nightgown. (Comparisons to Wee Willie Winkie aside, it's an old tradition for the newly regenerated Doctor to run around in sleepwear, e.g. Three, Four, Eight, and Ten.) Fans of Vastra, Stax, and Jennie will be happy to learn that the Paternoster Gang makes an appearance.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:00 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, nothin', just some Doctor Who fan art... by Peter Capaldi!?
posted by homunculus at 5:19 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Oh, nothin', just some Doctor Who fan art... by Peter Capaldi!?

Earlier I talked about how David Tennant was the first Doctor we've had who grew up wanting to be The Doctor; Peter Capaldi is now going to be the second.

And I've heard an interview with David where he said he figured out who the new Doctor was going to be a couple days before the announcement, and he had Peter's email and emailed him a sly little, "So....Twelfth Doctor, eh?" And apparently Peter emailed him back only ten minutes later all "OH MY GOD PLEASE LET'S GO GET COFFEE OR SOMETHING BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN DYING NOT BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT THIS AND I NEED TO FREAK OUT PROPERLY HOW SOON CAN I TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS".

I really, REALLY hope that they actually did and I really wish I could have been a fly on that wall.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:12 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Earlier I talked about how David Tennant was the first Doctor we've had who grew up wanting to be The Doctor; Peter Capaldi is now going to be the second.

Actually, Capaldi is the first Doctor who grew up wanting to play The Doctor, he's just the second cast in the role because of "timey wimey".

pendanticy-wankery

That story about Capaldi/Tennant makes me hope we'll see a story in which Tennant turns up as as an actor, maybe in a cameo role as a caretaker somewhere.
posted by Mezentian at 3:58 AM on January 24


Oh god, I just twigged how meta that would be.

I am so thick.
posted by Mezentian at 4:00 AM on January 24


Actually, Capaldi is the first Doctor who grew up wanting to play The Doctor, he's just the second cast in the role because of "timey wimey".

....I honestly can't tell if you're trying to make a joke or not. In case you're not - uh, David Tennant has repeatedly said that the entire reason he first decided TO become an actor was back when he was about THREE, when he told his parents that he wanted to be The Doctor when he grew up and they explained that no, that's a TV show and there are people called actors, and he then decided "okay, then I'll be the actor who PLAYS The Doctor when I grow up."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:24 AM on January 24


Joke.
I am not sure if Capaldi had a similar trajectory into acting, but I was going for the joke.
posted by Mezentian at 4:40 AM on January 24


Then I both commend your deadpan skills and plead a pre-caffinated state on my own part.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


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