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Everything You Wanted To Know About Dr. Who
July 5, 2007 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Dr Who - a guide to the totality of the Dr. Who universe online. Like the TARDIS itself, this post contains much [more inside]. via
posted by jonson (117 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dr. Who Linkdump here.
posted by jonson at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2007 [22 favorites]


flagged as awesome.
posted by darkripper at 8:43 AM on July 5, 2007


God, that's a lot of links.

No IHASATARDIS, though.

And, oh God, Time and Chips is so not the Doctor Who Livejournal community, unless you're an insane Doctor/Rose fan. You want plain old DoctorWho.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, and just in time for me to start watching the new series.
posted by malaprohibita at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2007


malaprohibita - it's awesome. The first few episodes were great, I kinda flagged for a couple in the middle (it seemed like we got into an action-heavy/story-light rut for a couple of episodes), but the second half of the season is (IMHO) great TV. Not 'important, serious' TV, but something you watch and then can't wait for the next.

I'm ready for the next Torchwood season already.

And Sarah Jane. And even the cheesy K9 cartoon they keep bouncing around...
posted by pupdog at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2007


Wow. As a Doctor Who n00b (I jumped on board with the Eccelston series) this should keep me busy until the Christmas special.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


My daughter thinks that David Tennant is the best doctor of all time, and after this last series, I'm inclined to agree. The Family of Blood eps and Blink were amazingly good. It's too bad RTD had to let us all down so badly with the end... he really should be banned from writing episodes himself.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:03 AM on July 5, 2007


Wow jonson, you're nuts. But in a really good way!

unless you're an insane Doctor/Rose fan

I thought I was an insane Rose fan, and was really worried I'd hate the new companion Martha, but shortly into her first episode I was totally sold on her.
posted by zarah at 9:05 AM on July 5, 2007


Yes, the third new season was terrific. I haven't been able to get into Torchwood though. Annoying cast, annoying scripts, repetitive plots. I mean really, how many fucking times can we see "teammember-fundamentally-betrays-rest-of-team-because-of-human-weakness" in one season? It's boring. I also find it interesting that despite Torchwood being marketed as a sort of "Doctor Who: After Dark", it's a significantly less mature show when it comes to themes and dilemmas. The only mature things about it are the adolescent sexual elements in most of the episodes and the swearing. Also, John Barrowman sucks as a straight up serious actor, but he's terrific when he does Captain Jack as a semi-comedic character on Doctor Who.

...

Hmmm, apparently I had some things to get off my chest about Torchwood. Never mind. Great post!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:10 AM on July 5, 2007


Don't forget Shada, the Flash-based episode reconstruction from the unfinished Douglas Adams episode.
posted by honest knave at 9:19 AM on July 5, 2007


TMI YMMV.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:20 AM on July 5, 2007


So why the ever-lovin' did you paste all that here instead of just giving your via link?
posted by Wolfdog at 9:26 AM on July 5, 2007


..by which I mean to say MetaFilter, not MetaLinkDiarrhea.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:27 AM on July 5, 2007


Fuck you, jonson. I've got to go to work, goddamnit.

Really, though, I won't have time to read any of the rest of mefi for a while now. This is awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 AM on July 5, 2007


Shocked at a lack of "That's it, I'm through with this show" comments about the recent companion announcement.
posted by Remy at 9:29 AM on July 5, 2007


Shocked at a lack of "That's it, I'm through with this show" comments about the recent companion announcement.

I kind of liked 'The Runaway Bride', I think she's got some potential. Besides, it's always been about change. People come, people go, it's what they do with it all that matters. Why should we give up because of one announcement?

I'm interested in seeing how Kylie turns out at Christmas, myself...
posted by pupdog at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2007


This Doctor Who, it vibrates?

Flagged as PepsiWho.
posted by Mister_A at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2007


Shocked at a lack of "That's it, I'm through with this show" comments about the recent companion announcement.

Well, there goes breakfast.

The first two seasons of the "reboot" are near the top of my favorite all-time seasons, and the common denominator is Billie Piper. This whole third season was just painful to watch (hello character development? hello, annoying romantic angle?). I can't imagine she'll be any worse than Freeman was (not that it was her fault, mind you, the writers completely dropped the ball this season).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:47 AM on July 5, 2007


Shocked at a lack of "That's it, I'm through with this show" comments about the recent companion announcement.

Huh? What's wrong with Catherine Tate as a companion?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2007


Jonson, man, I can't tell you how many times I started to make a Who post and stopped, thanks for doing it.

Here are a few of my opinions, I'm sure they'll interest nobody. I can't give my indepth, fifteen page analysis since its at home in a folder marked 'drafts.'

I don't think Tennant is the best nor was I ever a huge fan of Rose. The writing on the new series, when it's good, is brilliant, ditto the acting, but where this series really stands out compared to classic Who (all of which I've seen, except for the lost episodes, obviously, since I'm only in my twenties) is budget. The lighting and effects budget is amazing, the lighting and cinematography in some of the classic episodes, especially Troughton era (watch The Invasion, for example) and Tom Baker (Genesis of the Daleks comes to mind) was amazing. But the raw, mind blowing quality of the effects in the new series pushes all those niceties to the back.

As for the writing. Getting rid of the time lords was a bold decision and I like it but now it limits the character and I'd like to see them brought back. Besides, how do you wipe something out of time if it transcends time? Even if you ignore most of the problems time travel causes in these stories its hard to accept that time travelers could be removed from time.

Martha was far sexier than Rose, in my opinion, and by the end far more mature, so both the writing and casting there were great but Doctor Who is an alien, he can't keep getting emotionally involved with every companion. I'm glad the series is more adult now, but I watch it for space opera, not for soap opera. The Doctor is supposed to be 800 years old, how slow was his emotional development, anyway? His motivations are human and understandable but his passions, ideally, shouldn't be so predictably, typically, mundanely bourgeois, drab, so pedestrian so, so terrestrial.

The less said about the writing on the last two episodes the better, but Utopia was good if only for the Master's return. And I like the Scissor Sister's song even if it did make the Master seem like some pathetic emo kid.

Rather than being a total fan (read bore) I'll stop this post with generalities. However, too all aspiring authors: time travel is tricky. If you want to use it you must resist the temptation to destroy the world and then wind back time. The "eye of the storm" we're the only ones who remember technique is as bad as the "And then I woke up" ending for a fantastic tale. I'd put it up next to "And with a mightly leap Jack was free" as what not to do, but of course RTD did that, too.
posted by Grod at 9:57 AM on July 5, 2007


tennant and tate
posted by cazoo at 10:00 AM on July 5, 2007


What's wrong with Catherine Tate as a companion?

Good grief! I spent the whole of that Christmas special praying "Please don't make her the new companion, please don't make her the new companion." Tate is easily the most annoying creation not intoning "exterminate, exterminate" ever to appear on "Dr. Who." The only good part is that they can actually kill her off, and no one will mind.

Billie Piper forever!
posted by Faze at 10:02 AM on July 5, 2007


There's something wrong with the formatting of jonson's MI comment. At least for me, running Firefox 2.0.0.4 on Vista.

unless you're an insane Doctor/Rose fan

I'm almost as enamoured of Rose as Davies is. Which is scary.

Seriously, I thought Rose was a far more likable companion that Martha ever was. Other people disagree.

Shocked at a lack of ‘That's it, I'm through with this show’ comments about the recent companion announcement.

I'm not shocked because Donna was quite well-received, at least on TWOP. I'm quite excited to see her as the Doctor's new companion and wish that it was more permanent than just a portion of the next season. She and the Doctor had a nice dynamic in The Runaway Bride, not to mention that there's no romantic interest between them which will be, shall we say, a nice change of pace.

I'm surprised that no one has commented yet how much the season finale sucked ass. I know that many people liked it. But while I liked the antepenultimate and penultimate episodes quite a bit, from the first minute of Last of the Time Lords I started becoming annoyed and I quickly found myself just wishing the pain would end. I hated that episode.

Flagged as PepsiWho.

Oh, please. Doctor Who fits the MeFi demographic quite well and no one has ever said that fandom posts were the same as product-hawking posts. You can object to fandom posts on their own terms, of course, but they're not Pepsi Blue.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2007


Tate is easily the most annoying creation not intoning "exterminate, exterminate" ever to appear on "Dr. Who."

You've blotted Nicola Bryant out of your mind, haven't you?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:05 AM on July 5, 2007


I love you, Jonson
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:07 AM on July 5, 2007


Just kidding EB. Take a deep breath.
posted by Mister_A at 10:07 AM on July 5, 2007


I'm surprised that no one has commented yet how much the season finale sucked ass. I know that many people liked it. But while I liked the antepenultimate and penultimate episodes quite a bit, from the first minute of Last of the Time Lords I started becoming annoyed and I quickly found myself just wishing the pain would end. I hated that episode.

I was doing okay with it until the Tinkerbell/Jesus denouement. Most cringeworthy moment of the new series since Eccleston's "Everybody lives!" monologue.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:08 AM on July 5, 2007


Tate is easily the most annoying creation not intoning "exterminate, exterminate" ever to appear on "Dr. Who."

And what about Adric? He was the Wesley Crusher of Doctor Who—before there was ever a Wesley Crusher!
posted by adamrice at 10:13 AM on July 5, 2007


The writing on the new series, when it's good, is brilliant, ditto the acting, but where this series really stands out compared to classic Who (all of which I've seen, except for the lost episodes, obviously, since I'm only in my twenties) is budget.

It's tough to compare the two, as they didn't have the CGI at their disposal during Dr. Who's classic era in the 70's.

That said, I don't really think the newer episodes are as good as some of the classics (though I do enjoy watching the new show), There is too much relationship anticipation in the new series, and dear God what have they done with the Master.

Some of my favorites from the original are City of Death (Doctor and Romana Meet Cthulhu in Paris), Logopolis/Castrovalva, and Deadly Assassin. I could probably think of many more if I clicked these links, which I won't because it will end productivity for the next week.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:13 AM on July 5, 2007


Yeah, I wasn't too happy with Season 29/3's first half, then it started picking up pretty solidly.... but the finale? Not good.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:14 AM on July 5, 2007


Mister_A don't you ever kid about the Doctor again. Now someone help me find my keys of time, I'm late for work again.
posted by nola at 10:15 AM on July 5, 2007


Lentrohamsanin - I share your angst at those two moments, I had the same feeling. However, looking back upon the finale, I have grown to accept it for the glaring plot holes, excessive deus ex machina and fairy-tale caliber solutions.

One thing everyone needs to keep in mind about Russell Davies' Doctor Who is that it is far more about characterization than plot. In essence, it seems that every story is there to better expand upon a character and its history/story/etc. People become emotionally attached to characters (see: Rose), not so much to plots.

Having said that, I really do wish the series would do a better job of blending the two like they did in "Human Nature/Family of Blood" and in "Blink", three of the best stories of Doctor Who...period. Those stories seem to best blend character development, strong emotional ties, believability and great plots.
posted by tgrundke at 10:17 AM on July 5, 2007


Pastabagel - you don't like what they've done to the Master? I thought that John Simm was fantastic and the re-worked character was brilliant: manic, excessive, vengeful, and always a bit over the top.

...if you are referring to the lack of a goatee, however, well, you may have a point....haha
posted by tgrundke at 10:24 AM on July 5, 2007


I agree, "Blink" was absolutely brilliant (and written by the guy who did Coupling of all things).

I don't really mind fairy tales and melodrama: they allow big themes to be explored. The main problem for me was the rushed set up of the Doctor's transformation (as opposed to the brilliant Bad Wolf build in the first series), and the saccharine message attached. There's better ways to do a science fantasy story about the strength of human belief than five minutes of backstory from Martha and some handwaving about telepathy matrices.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:25 AM on July 5, 2007


I can't get too worked up about the Reset Button - after all, it's not as if it wasn't blatantly signposted. And the Series Finale is essentially functional (tie up the foreshadowing, blow shit up, see you next Christmas).

I don't think it was any worse than last years' blowing-shit up, but the first season's probably had the dramatic edge.

RTD has done some extraordinary stuff, I think, which is sort of invisible (we'd only notice it if it wasn't there), by tying a lot of things together, in particular balancing the general audience (for whom the show is a part of their childhood, or a part of their parents' childhood), the fan audience (who do get a lot of shoutouts), and keeping the promotional machine running (which is dirty work, no doubt, but has kept the show's profile high).

I've never really liked his writing, but I have tremendous respect for him as the ringmaster of this extraordinary circus.

My fantasy writers would be the comic book writers who grew up with the show (imagine an Alan Moore episode, or a Neil Gaiman one), and my fantasy next-ringmaster would be Stephen Moffatt (like everybody else) - I missed his Press Gang series, but from what I've heard about it he's quite capable of handling long story arcs and taking them in interesting directions. As well as contributing some of the best episodes to the series so far.

I've just realised we'll have to reorganise our Saturday evenings. Bum!
posted by Grangousier at 10:36 AM on July 5, 2007


Steven Moffatt, rather. With a "v".
posted by Grangousier at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2007


Blink was probably my hands-down single favourite episode of the new iteration of the series. It was creepy, it was funny, and it didn't descend into tongue-in-cheek cheese.

I have already made an The angels have the phone box! T-shirt for my siblings as gifts.

Yes, I'm that much of a dork.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 10:45 AM on July 5, 2007


Best thing about new Doctor Who promotion:

Each Episode is given a "Fear Forecast" taken from a Play-by-Play viewing by actual children.
posted by uri at 10:57 AM on July 5, 2007


Second the Blink nomination for most favourate of the new series.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2007


The two great moments in this series were Blink and the last ten minutes or so of The Family of Blood.

In both cases, the Doctor was the stuff of fable and legend.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:00 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Faze: Billie Piper forever!

Damn right. My wife was honestly upset when they took her off the show. Even more so than when they switched Eccleston for Tennant.

Sci-fi is just about to air the newest season here in the U.S. , and I'm a little worried about how the show will fair in Rose's absence. The Christmas episode with the Donna Nobel character left me underwhelmed.

Still, I didn't think I'd like any Doctor after Eccleston, and Tennant surprised me. So perhaps she won't be too bad.
posted by quin at 11:08 AM on July 5, 2007


Catherine Tate?!?! what are they thinking?

This last season wasn't good at all, compared to the past 2, and Tennant is still mugging and overacting. Blink was the best one both for the script and because there wasn't any Tennant in it. ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on July 5, 2007


Wow, you copied the more inside entirely from someone else's thoroughly researched blog including the span tags? That's ballsy and sort of lame.
posted by jessamyn at 11:12 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The lighting and effects budget is amazing, the lighting and cinematography in some of the classic episodes, especially Troughton era (watch The Invasion, for example) and Tom Baker (Genesis of the Daleks comes to mind) was amazing.

Watch "The Sensorites", from the First Doctor. This image scared the hell out of me when I first saw it because it was totally unexpected. The alien just creeps into the frame. It's eeire.

And I agree, "Blink" was awesome, probably the best of the new series.

tgrundke - The new Master is a bit of a brat. He seems a bit cartoonish, and not at all evil. If you didn't know the Master from the old series, he wouldn't come across as any more evil than the other creatures the Doctor has encountered.

Echoing what Lentrohamsanin said, the episodes this season seem particularly rushed. I often wonder if I'm tuning in late (i.e. if my illegal pirate download includes the whole show).

Continuity question: is the Doctor technically the last Time Lord? What about the Rani? Omega? Romana? I guess I should be more forgiving of continuity in a show that ran for 29 years across a span of 44 years, but still...
posted by Pastabagel at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2007


Weird, I've just started re-watching all the Tom Baker episodes available on DVD. Forget Rose, give me Leela or the first Romana any day.

Oh, and awesome post.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:15 AM on July 5, 2007


"Blink was probably my hands-down single favourite episode of the new iteration of the series. It was creepy, it was funny, and it didn't descend into tongue-in-cheek cheese.

I have already made an The angels have the phone box! T-shirt for my siblings as gifts.

Yes, I'm that much of a dork."
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 1:45 PM on July 5 [+] [!]


Yeah, I am *wearing* my "The Angels Have the Phonebox" t-shirt right at this very moment.
Now I know what I am doing for the rest of the day, I had checked out a few of those links before, but with them being so readily compiled... thanks jonson.
posted by Jazz Hands at 11:25 AM on July 5, 2007


Good Lord, I haven't watched Doctor Who since I was a kid and it was in Tom Baker reruns! I have to catch up! Thanks for the plethora of links, jonson.
posted by misha at 11:26 AM on July 5, 2007


Tom Baker rules.

Awesome post, Jonson. Unfortunately, like Koeselitz, I'm almost out the door to go to work too, so fuck you too. =) Looking forward to checking the links out tonight though.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2007


It's too bad RTD had to let us all down so badly with the end... he really should be banned from writing episodes himself.

Agreed. Worse than fan fiction, much, much worse. It was awful, horrible, utterly grotesque. My mother could write a better story off the top of her head. This season's finale, the Cyberman episodes from the previous season, and the Human Dalek episodes are an embarrassment.

The world has to be about to end! - Check
The main characters have to be zany and cooky! - Check
There have to be tons and tons of enemies on the ground and hurtling/flying through the air! - Check
Contrived little incidents a child couldn't be fooled by abound! - Check
Song and dance a must! - Check
Bigger, bigger, bigger is better, better, better! - Check
Some sort of feral villains or monsters growling and hissing! - Check
Love is really the only answer! - Check

The other episodes were much better, particularly Blink.

I cringe at Russel T. Davies' reintroduction of the Sontarans, the Movellans (or were they defeated?), the Sea Devils, and, of course, the Dominators, and his continuing insistence on linearity.

As for Tate, I didn't mind her, but the Christmas episode was garbage. However this statement from RTD:

"Viewers can expect more ambitious storylines and a whole host of guest stars in 2008."

Is ominous. RTD is really the new Master.
posted by juiceCake at 11:39 AM on July 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nice post jonson, and timely. I just watched "The Sound of Drums" last night and was telling my fiancé all about how they're ruining this staple of his childhood by stripping the show of all its dignity. I got hooked on the ninth Doctor, and even in the two seasons since then the drop in quality has been tremendous. If only they could have kept Eccleston (who is, IMHO, a better Doctor than Tom Baker) and maybe started out with Martha instead of wasting a season on Rose, I might be inclined to keep watching.
posted by Saellys at 12:15 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Make that wasting two seasons on Rose, actually.
posted by Saellys at 12:16 PM on July 5, 2007


and that Dobby the House Elf thing! what is wrong with them? (also, way way too religious--do children or adults really need a retelling of the Jesus/Apostles thing? Especially because Tennant plays the Dr as much less moral than Eccleston did.)

Eccleston was just wonderful--i think only the 2nd doctor has been as good.

Martha grew on me, but they didn't know how to write for her at all, and her pining for him all the time was asinine and actually reduced her to just rebound girl.
posted by amberglow at 12:25 PM on July 5, 2007


(in their favor, the Face of Boe thing was brilliant)
posted by amberglow at 12:26 PM on July 5, 2007


"Viewers can expect more ambitious storylines and a whole host of guest stars in 2008."

Stunt casting--that's all it is. Are ratings declining in the UK?
posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on July 5, 2007


I just want to second the comment that is was lame to do a copy and past job of more or less the entire post.
posted by Staggering Jack at 12:45 PM on July 5, 2007


the Face of Boe thing was brilliant

Gah! I hated that, too.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2007


I don't know if this is among the many, many links above, but I really love the tie-in websites that have been popping up around the web. I don't even understand all of them (why ice cream?), but they are lots of fun.
posted by jb at 2:45 PM on July 5, 2007


Stunt casting--that's all it is. Are ratings declining in the UK?

It's the 45th anniversary, cut 'em some slack in the guest star department! And as far as I know, ratings are still quite good in the UK.
posted by davros42 at 2:48 PM on July 5, 2007


...ratings are still quite good in the UK.

Dude, it could be "Bonnie Langford's triumph return with a double dose of Catherine Tate and special guest star Graham Norton in an all-singing, all-dancing, all-panto family event!" and it'd still slaughter anything else on the television on a Saturday night.

Because the children love it. Something about it just hits kids in a way that only sugar and jumping on the bed can do.

For a rather nerdy example: I went to the Doctor Who: Up Close exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. In the café, they had a TARDIS.

While I was taking a photo, these two boys run over and start shouting "It's my TARDIS! It's mine!" and they actually come over and hug it.

I've only seen anything like it in Disneyland, and Mickey could actually hug back.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


The time for a Dr. Who themepark has come.
posted by Muddler at 3:31 PM on July 5, 2007


While I was taking a photo, these two boys run over and start shouting "It's my TARDIS! It's mine!" and they actually come over and hug it.

Do kids really like these new episodes tho? They're so talky and romantic, and there's really very little action--not even that much of the classic and endless running down corridors. I'd think they were over the head of most kids.
posted by amberglow at 3:32 PM on July 5, 2007


It seems to me like it's just a massive franchise for kids now. I mean, i know it's primarily a kid's show but it's on ALL the damn time, with a cartoon voiced by the actors and a behind-the-scenes thingy on children's television. I watched the Eccleston series but Tennant, not so much. I think Eccleston got out at the right time, he didn't have to become a children's icon like Tennant is.

And Billy Piper did rule as a chav-companion. A northerner and a chav. Awesome. What's that term...jumping the shark?? I kind of think so.
posted by cardamine at 3:42 PM on July 5, 2007


That's what's most weird to me--Tennant acts like he's in a kid's show (and most of the other actors don't, except for this Master stuff just now), but the scripts are very adult.
posted by amberglow at 3:50 PM on July 5, 2007


amberglow, I cried for the Face of Boe. With the exception of the two-parter with Jessica Hynes, that was the only good part of this season.

Martha's bizarre infatuation with the Doctor is indeed asinine. I pine for the years when the Doctor was old and crotchety and his competent assistants showed no sign of being attracted to him. Just one more reason the next Doctor should be Bill Nighy, or at least Thom Yorke.
posted by Saellys at 5:51 PM on July 5, 2007


I don't object to the love interest with the Doctor thing, I just think we had enough of it with Rose to last us, oh, about eight years. Unless we get a true hoyay love interest in a companion. That would be cool.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:55 PM on July 5, 2007


I quite liked this Doctor Who fancomic previously featured on Metafilter.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:07 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jessica Hynes was wonderful--and the woman in Blink too. If they could just stick to fab guest actors they wouldn't need celebs--Kylie? come on...

The Face of Boe needs entire episodes to himself--there's something so wonderful about him--i couldn't even begin to explain it--it's just "right".
posted by amberglow at 6:50 PM on July 5, 2007


Well, count me among the not disappointed. I've loved all three seasons under RTD, both Doctors, and most of the companions.

Eccleston was a great one-off. He was terrific, something like the Doctor on the edge of madness. Dalek is one of my favorite episodes of all time. Tennant has been absolutely top-notch, though, a much more rounded Doctor and hovers around my second or third favorite actor (vying with Baker and Pertwee). He's a fan and scholar of the series in the professional sense -- he takes the thirty-year history very seriously -- and is also a very engaged actor. At times a ham, that's all part of this Doctor, the rough edges of the Ninth smoothed out but not erased. Still coming to terms with being the Last of the Time Lords, the "lonely god" as RTD put it and clearly central to his conception of the series.

Piper was a wonderful companion and worked well with both Eccleston and Tennant. Agyeman has been good in her own right, with her second-fiddle feelings an expression of her real situation as an actress, and I find that neat. In a way there was too much going on this year for the two actors to really have a quiet moment where they came to terms with each other, and they maybe overplayed the love angle, but it was clearly trying to be different from the Rose-Doctor relationship if only by being one way, and in its own way is again a stand-in for many fans' relationship to the series.

This was a really good year overall. Both the last two seasons had a couple of "clunkers", but this one went from strength to strength with solid, even cinematic entries like Blink and Human Nature/Family of Blood.

I didn't wholeheartedly love the final trilogy, but Utopia was my least favorite of the three, Derek Jacobi notwithstanding, just because John Simm was so damned good as the Master. As one website put it, at least this time he actually got to rule a planet! And scenes like the door opening and shutting were classic. I think they erred in not making him more of a part of the whole season, rather than just a seeming background arc. It was difficult to feel the jackboot when he was up on Valiant (though perhaps the Jones family was supposed to be the expression of all that). The reset button didn't bother me because it didn't affect the main characters. Martha obviously learned something from her "year abroad" and was stunningly confident in leaving the Doctor.

Now, Tate. I thought Donna was terrific, it was really my introduction to the actress, and so I haven't had a chance to be sick of her yet. What a fun story that was: of course, the TARDIS can be flown with a length of twine! It's in all the technical manuals! I wasn't so keen on the Racnoss end of things, but hey. As for being an ongoing companion, I think she and Tennant will work really well together. It might be time for some more (non-sexual) tension in the console room. I think RTD might have made some more effort to try a male companion for a bit, but she'll be OK.

Face of Boe. RTD's co-producer said that he had ruined the mystery of Jack's character for Torchwood purposes by putting that in. I'm not wowed by it, either, as Boe surely had none of Jack in him as played.

Stunt casting--that's all it is.

Hardly. The (revived) show is a phenomenon and they can get anyone they want. It was never a cult thing as it is in the US, it's mainstream, so almost anyone working is at some level a fan.

Some of the actors report disbelief at their agents telling them that they've been asked to be on the show (and this is workaday talent).

Continuity question: is the Doctor technically the last Time Lord?

By attestation, yes. Whatever continuity of future time lines existed before was obliterated by the Time War. It's a fairly simple dodge, and clearly the show is taking its time reintroducing backstory elements. Everybody thinks they'll be back in some fashion (e.g. the toclafane were rumored), eventually. Basically, it's their way of having a reboot and eating it too.

Anyway, I'm glad that Agyeman isn't gone completely, and I hope Tennant stays on past next year but if he doesn't it will be completely within the average tenure. RTD seems to be ready to quit, from reports, and I wonder how that will affect things.

As for companions people hate, I'm watching the Hartnell episodes for the first time and Susan really makes me want to reach through the screen at least once an episode (Ian and Barbara have all taken turns, though as has Billy himself.) In those days they did really well with limited budgets at time, but others just have people making one stupid decision after another to the point that you're rooting for them to have it catch up with them.

And Adric never got on my nerves the way Wesley Crusher did. Well, maybe once or twice. Haven't seen any of those in 20 years, though.
posted by dhartung at 8:27 PM on July 5, 2007


jonson - very nice. As much as I like Dr Who, I'd never have got it together to make a post as comprehensive as this. Unless jessamyn's right, then, well... what she said.

Just to throw my hat into the ring - As much as I've liked Dr Who since the Jon Pertwee years, I'm liking Torchwood perhaps more due to it's lack of yelling. And John Barrowman's character. Actually, all of the characters.
Blink kicked butt, though.
posted by Zack_Replica at 8:47 PM on July 5, 2007


Just so's everyone's clear, jessamyn is right - my post is taken verbatim (HTML and all) from the "via" link at the end of the FPP. Apologies for the etiquette breach, I figured the "via" was attribution enough, and making everyone click through to have to click through a second time was just redundant. Again, full & formal apologies to the community for this, the work was entirely done by the guy who runs the "seehere" blog linked in my via.
posted by jonson at 9:09 PM on July 5, 2007


I've just watched the Series 3 finale, and it mildly pissed me off. Three things really pissed me off.

1. The Doctor as Tinkerbell. Because the whole world flooded the streets and said his name, he shed 900 years of advanced aging and started to fly? Worst. Deus ex machina. EVER.

2. The line "Everyone get down! Time is reversing!"

3. The Doctor lighting a pyre with the Master's body on it as, somewhere behind him, Ewoks danced. Honestly.

Good things:

1. The return of Captain Jack. Except for the unkillability thing.

2. Martha. She's brilliant. 'Nuff said.

3. A Titanic holiday special? Yes please.

Really though, I think from now on whenever I have an itch I'll just watch "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," and imagine it's Freema instead of Billie.
posted by Saellys at 9:20 PM on July 5, 2007


It's so awesome that some many of the people I consider Mefi "regulars" are popping up here as fans of the show. When I was growing up, only one other kid in my school had even heard of Doctor Who. Awesome.

jonson - you're forgiven, by virtue of bringing up the topic.

For people wanting to catch up on the classic series or wanting to recapture the show of their youth, a lot of classic episodes are here in their entirety. Get the divx player and watch them in fairly high quality.

I actually don't like the way RTD has written many of the episodes and crafted the season arcs. He seems obsessed with having the Doctor in a relationship. Better that he leave and they get someone with a vision for the show that recaptures its dignity, as Saellys mentioned. Whether it's a gothic vision, a historical one, scifi, or action, the show needs some direction beyond an endless sequence of hissing monsters taking over London for the umpteenth time.

Give him a quest and some capable assistants (or tragic ones), and adventures that challenge the minds of viewers as well as his character. Viewers, even kids, are more sophisticated now than they were in the 70's. We followed the labyrinthian arc of the X-files for 9 years, we can handle a season long quest that involves more plot development than the words Bad Wolf or Saxon appearing on walls in the background.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:46 PM on July 5, 2007


Hmm, I must have mis-read. Did someone say they actually liked Torchwood? Those idiots?! Gah. I'm sure the first episode back they'll either shag someone they shouldn't, kill Jack, or betray someone. Idiots. (And what the hell happens to the Captain Jack character when he's on Torchwood? Captain Jack in The Doctor Dances is not the same Jack who would assist a depressed person to commit suicide on Torchwood.)

Last of the Time Lords was really painful. I kept waiting for something wonderful and I got Tinkerbell and a Messiah and magic. This is the same stupid shit that happened in the Shakespeare Code. Magic! If I wanted magic, Russell, I would be watching The Dresden Files. I'm not asking for hard science (it's time travel) but at least try or leave the writing to someone else.

I actually scoffed at The Sun when they broke the news about Freema and then--bam--I was betrayed by RTD. I invested effort into liking Freema and to dump the character actually pisses me off. I like her. I don't like Tate as the new companion. A one-off for Christmas, sure. But an entire season?! Of her annoying, screeching voice?! Blech.

This isn't the way Doctor Who is supposed to be. For shame, Russell. For shame.
posted by who squared at 9:51 PM on July 5, 2007


Bad press for metafilter, jonson.
posted by hypersloth at 4:02 AM on July 6, 2007


wow. How embarassing for me. I went there and apologized again, but so that it's here on the record, this was a complete error in judgement and one that I wouldn't do again if I had the chance to do it over. I'm a big fan of that site (seehere), and I swear it was not my intention to pretend I had put together the links in this post any more than it was stavros's intention to claim he gathered the links in this post, for example.
posted by jonson at 7:20 AM on July 6, 2007


[I changed the linkdump to a link to the linkdump since the guy who posted it there wasn't super happy with this. It's one more click away now.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:09 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


(And what the hell happens to the Captain Jack character when he's on Torchwood? Captain Jack in The Doctor Dances is not the same Jack who would assist a depressed person to commit suicide on Torchwood.)

That and the scripts are the biggest problems with Torchwood--Jack lost his sparkle on that show entirely. Maybe Martha being on it will make it better? (altho isn't she related to the cybergirl--a cousin or something?)
posted by amberglow at 8:20 AM on July 6, 2007


Well, just for the record, I thought right here on MeFi that David Tennant would be terrible as the Doctor but he’s won me over from my initial irritation to a quite pathetic level of teenage-style hero worship. It’s the enthusiasm, and sense of fun, and I think he’s stopped sneering so much. Just watching him and John Simm careering round in the last couple of episodes, quite obviously having the time of their lives, was awesome.


Oh and I fancy him.
posted by penguin pie at 8:23 AM on July 6, 2007


Uh oh. Completely screwed the link up I think but nemind, who cares what I said before? I was wrong.
posted by penguin pie at 8:27 AM on July 6, 2007


And i have to throw in all the ignored dead in every episode since Tennant came in this season and last--Eccleston really cared when people died--Tennant really doesn't. I started noticing it when Rose and the Doctor's glee about the werewolves overwhelmed the body count, and it's kept happening (altho Martha notices at least, sometimes).

The Doctor's lost a moral bearing, i think, since Tennant came on. And think back to Boom Town with that woman and their dinner conversation about it, and the Empty Child with "everyone lives!".
posted by amberglow at 8:29 AM on July 6, 2007


It was here. I will now go and try and regenerate into someone halfway competent.
posted by penguin pie at 8:31 AM on July 6, 2007


i just turned the tv on--working at home today--what's on but Dr. Who on SciFi--that Devil ep
posted by amberglow at 8:43 AM on July 6, 2007


I only got to start watching Doctor Who when they produced the reboot. I thought Eccleston was great (my favorite line is still from the first episode "Hello Rose, run for your life!". I was sad to see him go, but Tennant really made the role his own in a way i've never seen done. I'm really into sci-fi and the show has more character development and better plots then most Star Trek episodes.

Blink was fan-fucking-tastic. Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow) would have been a great companion, and I wouldn't have minded seeing Larry Nightingale come with. It was just a really well done episode.

I love Rose, but more to the point, I love Billie Piper. I can take or leave Martha Jones, i'll have to see how she plays on Torchwood for the first 4 episodes before heading back to Who.

Tate is a hard choice for me. All the Red Nose day skits she did were pretty annoying (I know, that's the point), but she did have good chemistry with the doctor and it would be nice for someone NOT to be in love with him for once. I even think Micky had a thing for him...

Doctor Who get's a solid A+ from me. And jonson... bad form sir... but at least you owned up to it.
posted by Derek at 8:52 AM on July 6, 2007


ah, it's a marathon--the Elton one is on now--i love that one. I wish they would do a spinoff only about all the people they encounter and what happens afterwards.

Derek, i thought Micky would have been a great companion--his resentment and jealousy made for great conflict, and look how he grew up during the seasons--even more than Rose did.
posted by amberglow at 9:03 AM on July 6, 2007


Yea, but if Rose had left and he had stayed, they'd be sad and lonely together. Not great television. He was fun though, the "tin dog". That Weakest Link episode was great.
posted by Derek at 11:14 AM on July 6, 2007


I'm still plowing through downloads of Season 3/29, with the Daleks in Manhattan coming up soon. Given Tennant's penchant for pop-culture references (which, IMO, is one of the annoying aspects about his portrayal), I would not be shocked if he makes a Muppets reference at some point in the two-parter.

While I still have the remainder of the season to watch, I know enough from commentaries here and there about how the show ends, and I'm not too sure how it sits with me. Both Doctors 9 and 10 have shown their disdain for humanity, though Tennant's Doctor is nowhere near as misanthropic as Eccleston's approach. In particular, "Father's Day" pissed me off, given that Rose's alteration of history is nowhere near as bad as the Doctor dumping his companions back to Earth, etc., and expecting them to somehow get on with their lives as if nothing had happened. Some of this post-dumping angst was addressed by Sarah Jane in "School Reunion," and if any one of the old companions would have enough strength to bring up this uncomfortable topic, it is Ms. Smith.

Still, I am going to guess that after his service in the Time War, the Doctor's view of life in general has become embittered, and as the "last" of his kind, he may be wont to abuse his powers and knowledge around a less-aware humanity. It would not surprise me to know that the Reapers in "Father's Day" were either a creation of the Doctor, or were working with him (like the movie The Frighteners) in order to teach Rose the human a lesson. This would tie in, though more as a retcon, as to why the Doctor and the Master associate themselves so much with Earth; after all, it is easier to pull the wool over humanity's eyes than, say, the stalk of a Dalek or a more aware race.

I'm hoping that next season, there will be more light shed upon the Doctor's role in the Time War, as I predict it is not good. He never disputed the claims that he helped to lead to the Time Lord's demise in "The Impossible Planet," after all. Also, given that Martha is coming back mid-season, both she and Donna can put a much-needed kibosh on the Doctor's moping over Rose. Both Martha and Donna have a more pragmatic view on life than Rose, being more mature and all, and can cut through the showy BS that the Doctor will pump out.
posted by stannate at 11:43 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Both Doctors 9 and 10 have shown their disdain for humanity, though Tennant's Doctor is nowhere near as misanthropic as Eccleston's approach. In particular, "Father's Day" pissed me off, given that Rose's alteration of history is nowhere near as bad as the Doctor dumping his companions back to Earth, etc., and expecting them to somehow get on with their lives as if nothing had happened.

But changing history is always wrong, no? Even the Doctor was crushed when he realized what he did when he did it with that satellite. It's the Butterfly effect on a grander scale always--and even the Doctor messes things up when he does it even inadvertently.


(Daleks in Manhattan was entirely lame, stannate...the worst episodes of the season i thought, along with the spaceship/sun/Cindy from Eastenders one.)
posted by amberglow at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2007


It may be wrong to change history, but as far as consequences, sending the Reapers after Rose et al. in 1987 made the payback more personal than the faceless people on Earth's failure to create the Fourth Great Earth Empire because of the Daleks. The Reapers came across as a dickish move--and as the writers go, not too original, as I kept on getting flashbacks to The Langoliers mini-series.

(Perhaps as another retcon move, next season could try to explain the whereabouts of the mysterious Eighth Doctor and his role in the Time War. I can see an explanation about how his actions hastened a regeneration into the Eccleston Doctor, which may explain his hostile reactions towards the Daleks and edgy approach towards the "stupid apes." I'm not sure how Eccleston would take this rewrite of his portrayal, though.

Oh, and in the realm of annoying companions, Bonnie Langford takes the cake. She's a better actress than Nicola Bryant, who was hired for two and only two reasons, but her character made me want to break my TV. I honestly liked Colin Baker's portrayal of the Doctor, but his companions and the writing really fell flat during his time, with Mel Bush being the nadir of companions for me.)
posted by stannate at 12:54 PM on July 6, 2007


stannate, take a look at the old ones with Victoria during the 2nd doctor--horrendously annoying--even worse than Mel, i think.

It's not that the Doctor made the Reapers come, but that they came when Rose changed history. She was a spoiled brat for almost her entire time, and there were consequences.
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on July 6, 2007


Act III: Jesus ex Machina! (great review of the finale with many spoilers so beware) : >
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2007


...

You sure you're talking Doctor Who? Y'all might as well be talkin' greek to me. I think the last Dr. Who I saw in its entirety was one with that young blonde guy with the sprig of broccoli on his lapel. I love broccoli, but didn't like that guy. When I think Dr. Who I still think Tom Baker, so this just makes me feel old.

The whole 'regeneration' thing is just a way for the producers and writers to remind whoever's playing the part that he has zero job security and better do whatever they say.

Eccleston was great on the TV series Heroes. He brought some necessary class to the proceedings.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:04 PM on July 6, 2007


The whole 'regeneration' thing is just a way for the producers and writers to remind whoever's playing the part that he has zero job security and better do whatever they say.

Soooo true. Of course, the assistants have it just as bad since they get left on random planets at the drop of a hat. I used to hate David Tennant for the way he portrayed the Doctor, but I'm beginning to think it's less his fault and more Russel T's. What a shame.

Eccleston was great on the TV series Heroes. He brought some necessary class to the proceedings.

He was on that show?! I guess I'd better start watching.
posted by Saellys at 6:28 PM on July 6, 2007


So they just showed the Xmas special with Tate--and she makes it clear she couldn't deal with it all the time. I wonder how they'll explain it?
posted by amberglow at 6:31 PM on July 6, 2007


Eccleston was "Claude Raines" the invisible man. Allegedly not the character's real name, but he never told anyone his real name.

Not sure if he's returning next season. He had a featured appearance for a few episodes in the plot line that in my opinion made the season worth watching. He turned out to kinda be Peter's reluctant Yoda. Very rough storytelling actually, but Eccleston managed to make his moments on screen believable. It's a definite sign of true genius as an actor when you can take a questionable script and breathe life into it with such presence and certainty. When Eccleston's character faded out of the storyline, they brought Malcolm McDowell into the picture.

I'll put it this way. I adore McDowell's work and have for decades, but his performance in Heroes, while good, just didn't knock it out of the park for me. Whereas I had no expectations with Eccleston, didn't know him from anyone, and now I'd rank his acting chops comparable to McDowell on a good day.

Granted, Takei trumped them both, but I'm an old Trekkie, and a little biased.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:36 PM on July 6, 2007


but Eccleston managed to make his moments on screen believable. It's a definite sign of true genius as an actor when you can take a questionable script and breathe life into it with such presence and certainty.

What amazed me was when I discovered that he was the villain from Gone in Sixty Seconds. He was truly creepy and believable as the somewhat psychotic, wood obsessed bad-guy.

I actually think that his ability to play someone with a bit of darkness in their soul is what made him such a great Doctor.
posted by quin at 6:51 PM on July 6, 2007


...of course now that I understand Eccleston actually played Dr Who (I'd learned before he was in Dr Who but I don't recall gleaning he was actually THE doctor) I'll have to give his turn at the role a chance. It's just that I miss Tom. He made the role fun.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:54 PM on July 6, 2007


Very rough storytelling actually, but Eccleston managed to make his moments on screen believable. It's a definite sign of true genius as an actor when you can take a questionable script and breathe life into it with such presence and certainty.

Yeah, he has a way of doing that... nobody else could have made Major Henry West in 28 Days Later such a believable and, dare I say it, sympathetic little bastard. Eccleston is pure class. I even liked him in Elizabeth.

If only the Doctor could regenerate backwards. Since the Master can choose not to regenerate at all, I'm sure it's possible.
posted by Saellys at 6:54 PM on July 6, 2007


I really liked Ecc as well but I like Tennant just as much if not better (though I'm not really into rating the Doctors, each have their strengths and weaknesses.)

I was very pleased that they brought it back but it will take me considerable power of will to continue to watch it after the RTD stories this season and last.

I watched the Pertwee episodes a few months ago, which are dominated by the Master (Delgado of course.) I was very much looking forward to John Simm playing the Master but unfortunately he stated he followed RTD's script to the letter in his portrayal, so we just got a buffoon instead. Having come off Life on Mars, we know Simm is very capable. His talent has been wasted on one of the best characters (potentially) in the Whoniverse.
posted by juiceCake at 7:58 PM on July 6, 2007


Life on Mars was wonderful (i shudder to think of the sequel tho, and the us version they're doing)
posted by amberglow at 8:22 PM on July 6, 2007


I watched the new one on SciFi tonight. Dr. Who vs. Lolth? Meh.
posted by homunculus at 9:31 PM on July 6, 2007


I prefer Eccleston over Tennant, but I like them both. I wasn't happy with Tennant at first, but he's grown on me. Various versions of the Doctor have been more and less callous, it's part of who he is.

Personally, I really am looking forward to Donna. She'll be such a change of pace from Rose and Martha. I haven't really seen that many of the old Who episodes, but I have to say that I really liked the regenerated Romana, played by the lovely Lalla Ward, who later married Richard Dawkins and was introduced to him by Douglas Adams.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:18 PM on July 6, 2007


amberglow, thanks for linking that review. I hadn't seen it. It's like JoAnne Thrax was in my head!

This is still my favorite review at behindthesofa: succint.

Tennant has grown on me. I thought he was much too goofy at first--and he still does it a lot--but when he's serious, he's quite good. For instance, his work in Human Nature and Family of Blood.
posted by who squared at 6:45 AM on July 7, 2007


the lovely Lalla Ward, who later married Richard Dawkins and was introduced to him by Douglas Adams

And who had a brief marriage with Tom Baker as well of course.
posted by juiceCake at 7:15 AM on July 7, 2007


Hmm, I must have mis-read. Did someone say they actually liked Torchwood? Those idiots?! Gah.

Yes, and your favorite band sucks.

Seriously, you don't like it, that's nice. You know that there are other channels, right? (Even in Britain.) But there is no need to be insulting. I'm the first to say that Torchwood is shaky, still finding its feet, but it's still a darned sight better than 90% of television on both sides of the Atlantic.
posted by jb at 10:43 AM on July 7, 2007


see, Torchwood could be wonderful, but they changed Jack too much and made it too copshow-ish, i think. The characters are all actually really interesting people--except for Jack. Hopefully Martha joining in will help.
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on July 7, 2007


I think “those idiots” referred to the Torchwood crew, not those who like the show.

Different people are sensitive to different things, as well as having different expectations. I'm very unhappy with Torchwood—the show greatly disappointed me. In my opinion, the writing isn't very good. Jack doesn't have almost any of the personal charm that he has on Who. Because of that, I don't think he's strong enough a protagonist to carry a show. Owen is despicable, and not in a fun or interesting way. Toshiko doesn't have much of a personality and is boring. Gwen is kind of cute, but her involvement with Owen makes her character less attractive. When she's not mostly incompetent, which is most of the time, she's a Mary Sue. The only interesting and charming character is Ianto, except that given the example of his girlfriend episode, there's indications that if we learned more about him, he'd eventually be as boring and annoying as the rest of them.

They're all amazingly incompetent. The plots are often meh, and the scope is laughably small given the history of the organization of Torchwood and in contrast to Doctor Who.

And did I mention that somehow a character that almost everyone loves on Doctor Who is for some stupid reason almost a different person, and in a bad and boring way, than he is on Who?

Now, all of this is my opinion. Some of the things which I assert as objective fact may not be fact. Other things may be facts but matter much more to me than those who are happy with the show. I can understand that some people like the show and I don't think that tells me anything about either their intelligence or taste or whatnot.

That said, I really do think the consensus among Who fans is that Torchwood is of much lower quality than Doctor Who. People are disappointed, and they're also puzzled by it. I think everyone really wanted to like it. Expectations were high because of how charming Jack is on Who.

The characters are all actually really interesting people

See? There are many different opinions. :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2007


I like Jack on Torchwood. Sure, he's not the same man as he was in "the Doctor Dances", but if he'd had no character development after living through the whole of the twentieth century, well, he'd be a very shallow man. If was different in series three of Doctor Who, again, he has reason to be - he's finally (after over 100 years for him) been reunited with the Doctor. He's happy enough to be glib.
posted by jb at 2:20 PM on July 7, 2007


I think it's down to the writing - Chris Chibnall isn't really RTD. Still, one thing, if Martha is going to Torchwood, she's about to get an introduction to red-hot same-sex bedroom action, which is going to make some people very happy at least.
posted by Grangousier at 2:28 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


...Owen is despicable, and not in a fun or interesting way. Toshiko doesn't have much of a personality and is boring. Gwen is kind of cute, but her involvement with Owen makes her character less attractive. When she's not mostly incompetent, which is most of the time, she's a Mary Sue. The only interesting and charming character is Ianto, except that given the example of his girlfriend episode, there's indications that if we learned more about him, he'd eventually be as boring and annoying as the rest of them.

They're all amazingly incompetent. ...

I like it that they're incompetent and totally messed up characters--it's refreshing, since they're supposed to be saving the world and can't even get their own lives or anything together at all. Gwen is supposed to be the "normal" one in the bunch, and she does it well, but how can you deal with those things and stay normal--that's the big arc i see in Torchwood--how Gwen becomes messed-up like the rest of them. And i loved that one who died and came back--she was great. The writing does need help, but i think the characters are already rich and full--if not lovable or even likable. They all read as real to me, except for Jack.

The fetish for 'guest stars' makes for bad TV-- ...This kind of open chequebook gimmickry is better left to writing teams running out of ideas. (Two words and one ampersand: Will & Grace.) ...
posted by amberglow at 2:33 PM on July 7, 2007


(actually, except for Jack they could all be Mefites) ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on July 7, 2007


is Emma Kennedy any good? She was up for the companion role, apparently. (i'd much rather see a nobody/non-headliner get it)
posted by amberglow at 2:41 PM on July 7, 2007


I tried Torchwood, and frankly hated it, for reasons similar to EB's. As a result I only saw the first handful of the season, and now I fear I will have to catch up just to be in a position to enjoy Martha's run, because I know I can't miss it.

A curious thing (or perhaps not). The Dynamic Rankings for all Doctor Who episodes -- which I have generally found reliable for historical episodes, e.g. the Hartnell era -- is tilted heavily toward haters of Season 3. (Even Season 2 does better, and Season 1 better yet -- The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances are rated #1 and #2, and before they took the spot (only a few months ago), The Talons of Weng-Chiang -- a 30-year-old Baker episode -- had the crown. The Girl in the Fireplace is fourth. So it isn't that voters hate the revived Who at all.

But over this season they've steadily voted the Series 3 episodes down the list, to the point where the dead last spot -- and a number nearby -- are held by Evolution of the Daleks (the part two of Daleks in Manhattan). I really think this is due to the insecure voting system being hacked, actually. But why S3 is getting all this hate? I don't know. I can see not liking individual episodes, but I thought Human Nature and Blink were close to some of the best Doctor Who I've ever seen (and again, I've been a fan for thirty years). They're not near the end, but they're in the 140s area. Huh?

A similar thing is present on the IMDB ratings for Battlestar Galactica. Almost every episode has a huge number of people rating it "9" (or 8-7-6, the usual range), but nearly the same number voting it "1" (and 2-3-4). I don't think that many people are innocently confused by the order of the ranking, especially given the interface (which was fine even before it went AJAX). I think there are just people -- player-killer personality types, no doubt -- who enjoy fucking with rating systems. Or enjoy taking contrarian positions. Or something.
posted by dhartung at 1:04 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn, forgot to say that although I had wholly expected to like Torchwood I was surprised I did not. On the other hand, The Sarah Jane Adventures pilot was nearly perfect, and I can't wait for the series, even though it's much more obviously aimed at a tween audience.
posted by dhartung at 1:06 AM on July 8, 2007


But why S3 is getting all this hate?

Different people, different opinions. For me, it is easily the worst season of Dr. Who despite two good episodes and I've seen every episode ever broadcast, or close to it, as far as I know, from Hartnell onward. Rating systems just reflect the diversity of opinions. I'm not surprised that the Evolution of the Daleks is rated so lowly, I'd do the same.
posted by juiceCake at 7:28 AM on July 8, 2007


I like it that they're incompetent and totally messed up characters--it's refreshing, since they're supposed to be saving the world and can't even get their own lives or anything together at all.

I'd like it if the personal drama were handled well. But I think it's clumsy and not compelling. Some science-fiction fans complain about relationship drama, but I think that sort of stuff is important and science-fiction is better when it includes it. I do agree, though, that when it's cliched it just becomes trite. Torchwood's writing suffers from that problem, as well being less than competent. In my opinion, of course.

For me, it is easily the worst season of Dr. Who...

You mean for the whole run of the show? That's pretty strong condemnation of this season, I think.

I am not competent to make that judgment, having seen only isolated episodes of "classic" Who here and there. But I certainly agree that this season has been the weakest of the three of new Who. But the new Who, at least, is very spotty. It's like Star Trek (old and new) in this way. When it's good, it's quite good. But it's often not good, and when it's bad, it's quite bad. Buffy had the same problem.

It's really frustrating if you're a fan of a show. I was extremely excited to see the season finale—I thought the previous episode was very good. But, as I mentioned earlier, I was unhappy with the episode right from the beginning and was squirming in my chair and being bored and impatient when I wasn't rolling my eyes. I kept thinking that surely RTD knew that the episode was badly damaged and wouldn't work—why didn't he scrap his writing and start over? It just seemed like such a trainwreck. Then I got on TVWoP and was surprised to see how many people loved it. So I wondered if it also wasn't partly just me and some quirk of my mindset when I watched the episode. I haven't watched it again to test this hypothesis.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:42 AM on July 8, 2007


On the other hand, The Sarah Jane Adventures pilot was nearly perfect, and I can't wait for the series, even though it's much more obviously aimed at a tween audience.
I thought it was great too, but then everyone on earth loves Sarah Jane, no? I think our views of it may be skewed.

I've been disappointed since Tennant came on to Who--but this season was noticably much more uneven than the past 2. (it was always uneven in the past too, but we're watching these with more adult eyes as well--i've been watching as many of the old ones as i could, and strong actors with charisma playing the Dr. can carry even a weak script, and Tennant's just not that strong.)
posted by amberglow at 10:19 AM on July 8, 2007


Hmm, I must have mis-read. Did someone say they actually liked Torchwood? Those idiots?! Gah.

Yes, and your favorite band sucks.

Seriously, you don't like it, that's nice. You know that there are other channels, right? (Even in Britain.) But there is no need to be insulting. I'm the first to say that Torchwood is shaky, still finding its feet, but it's still a darned sight better than 90% of television on both sides of the Atlantic.

posted by jb at 12:43 PM on July 7 [+] [!]

I wasn't being insulting. My comment was about the show. The characters on Torchwood are idiots--not the viewers. The Torchwood people are incompetent and they screw up and screw around endlessly. I don't think that's in dispute.

Anyway, I can both watch and excoriate the program. Hating it doesn't preclude my watching it. I'm passing time until the Rapture.

I do dispute that TW is better than 90% of worldwide programming. It's not even better than 90% of English-language programming.
posted by who squared at 11:27 AM on August 4, 2007


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