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The End Of Time
December 27, 2009 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Over the Christmas holidays the BBC is showing a double episode of the television series Doctor Who...

... which will see the end of actor David Tennant as the tenth incarnation of the lead role plus the bowing out of Russell T. Davis, as the show's producer and show runner - and a major force in getting the show regenerated. Tennant also appeared in a well-received version of Hamlet on the BBC on Boxing Day.

Ratings for the first part of The End Of Time in the UK were down on previous Christmas specials (better in the US) and reviews have not been good...

David Tennant: It just feels scary… all the time
Russel T. Davies interview
Doctor Who: an interactive guide to his regenerations
Davies worries the Tories will exterminate the BBC

Some of those links will have spoilers and a couple have auto-play of music/video
posted by fearfulsymmetry (256 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first part just felt hasty, I guess the word is. Way too much happening for the time that it had to do it in. Almost like a dream sequence, where right when you think of something that should be happening it does.

And the narration of it felt really cheesy, like an infodump of backstory.

But wow, plot twist at the end!
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:55 AM on December 27, 2009


The "not" review is by metafilter's own™ cstross. As I wrote in the askme about not getting Doctor Who, I have to say that I agree -- the sharks were clearly airborne early in the episode.
posted by autopilot at 6:13 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


To me, the RTD era Christmas specials have been single-shots that wrap up one story about overcoming some adversity, and leave you feeling good for humanity in the end. It's Christmas, after all.

This time around, leaving such an action-packed story hanging left me less than satisfied. I think that's what some of the less-than-stellar press is due to. Yes, it happened at Christmas and there were bits with the Queen and presents and all, but I think people like finishing the show and going 'ah, that's what it's all about' and then having their pudding, not 'so what next?'.

I didn't hate it (although there was a lot going on, and seriously, how much John Simm mugging can we take), but i really hope the second part wraps things up satisfactorily.
posted by pupdog at 6:16 AM on December 27, 2009


I can't wait for Moffat. The first part of The End of Time felt like someone had filmed the first draft of the script, and all the bits that said "insert linking section here" were just ignored. It was terrible.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:17 AM on December 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thanks fs. The reaction I had to the episode was not related to the pacing, but to what I felt was a weak premise used to move it forward -- the heretofore unknown Rich Guy With Limitless Resources. I liked the narration because They Never Do That, so the reveal was, like Lemurrhea said, wow.

Anyone who has seen the episode might be interested in the audio commentary track available as a podcast from the BBC -- RTD this week. I'll go away now as I feel uncomfortably close to a big pile of spoilers.
posted by cgk at 6:21 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about RTD, he managed to resurrect a dead series and bring it back to the front of popular culture.

I wasn't exactly thrilled with it either - I wish they'd just shown both parts on the 26th. The first bit feels like all exposition and build up.
posted by heathkit at 6:31 AM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm glad Davies brought back Who. But really, he's gotten more over-the-top every year. Moffat, who I've loved since Coupling, is eagerly awaited.
posted by Muttoneer at 6:39 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


The narration sounded like Zoidberg's voiceover at the end of the Futurama Valentine's Day episode.

As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporized into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg. And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray.

posted by dng at 6:48 AM on December 27, 2009 [18 favorites]


Kudos to Davies for helping getting the thing off the ground... but his scripts seem to be the worst of new Who and the Christmas specials (esp the aspect where he seems to think he has to out-do himself every year) the worse of this writing.

But wow, plot twist at the end!

I've got a feeling RTD thought of that first and just wrote the rest to get there in a 'will that do' fashion... strident music and lots of running does not really make up for a 'plot' that seemed to be mainly random scenes thrown together.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:20 AM on December 27, 2009


It was a bit messy, yeah. Too much like an unconnected series of set-pieces with little in the way to link them together. The biggest WTF for me was the stuff in the prison and the Master's resurrection.

The Governor: "Aha, we're a secret cabal which has been working to bring back our Master!"

Lucy Saxon: "Aha, but we're another secret cabal which has been working against you even though we didn't know you existed until 10 seconds ago!"

*PRISON EXPLODES AND EVERYONE DIES EXCEPT FOR THE MASTER. DON'T ASK WHY. OR HOW*

Why not just have that Naismith character bring him back? It would have been a lot tighter. And those two cactus aliens... why?

The only redeeming aspect of the episode was the scene between Wilf and the Doctor in the café, when the Doctor is struggling to hold it together. That stuff was good.
posted by afx237vi at 7:20 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, count me in the "didn't really like it" camp, too. Reincarnating a villain even after he's been buried with a stake through the heart at a crossroads underneath a 100-ton slab of reinforced concrete was a bit much to take (seriously, we had it all wrapped up! Why not introduce a *gasp* new villain? Especially since the old Doctor is going to regenerate; this would have been an ideal way to give the new villain a bit of credibility from the start ("He already killed me once!")).

Plot holes galore:
What did the cactus aliens intend to do with a planetary healing device in the first place?
Why was that thing on earth (if it belonged to the cactus heads, why did they take it here and why couldn't they repair their own machinery? If it wasn't theirs, why would yet another race bring something like that to earth?)?
And, as has been mentioned, why could a medicinal healing tool be reprogrammed to turn every human being into a copy of a template*?
Was there just a toggle switch with the settings "heal the world" and "kill all humans and replace them with my clones" that the Master flicked when nobody was looking?
Why would something like that not be declared a planetary-scale superweapon - it's the dream of every megalomaniac dictator, after all? It would be like calling a nuclear bomb a "paperweight with minor secondary abilities".
Does every clone now have giant leaping superpowers, the ability to shoot lightning, and an appetite for other human beings?
And how did the cactus aliens know to pick up the Master in the first place ("Hey, that human shoots lightning bolts and eats people! That's a sure sign of being able to repair an advanced alien medical device!")?
And what was their plan, exactly? Go to earth, hope that a cult following an evil mastermind has survived a planet-wide brainwashing, wait for them to resurrect their leader using a magic ring, and then kidnap him and use him as a glorified repairman?
And why would they trust such a guy to repair it unsupervised if they knew who he was?
Why did the (alien!) machine only affect humans, and why were there no other aliens in disguise anywhere?

I mean, it's Doctor Who, but a little internal logic would not have gone amiss...

*I'm really curious about how they will revert this damage. It would be like scraping all the paint of all the paintings in a museum, drawing a stick figure on the canvases and then claiming that it would be easy to get them back to their prior condition: here's a bucket of paint chips.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:29 AM on December 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: “I can't wait for Moffat. The first part of The End of Time felt like someone had filmed the first draft of the script, and all the bits that said "insert linking section here" were just ignored. It was terrible.”

I know what you mean about the script. Actually, given the vast amount of time he had on this, it felt almost like Davies did that thing where he agonized for a whole year about what he was going to do for a script, rewriting everything dozens of times until it all the dialogue was refined into facial gestures, and then decided he'd looked at it enough and said "screw it" without worrying too much about actually structuring the thing.

I didn't hate it, I guess, but I made the mistake of trying to introduce my sister to Doctor Who through this episode when she hadn't seen any other episodes. The fact that it was a parade of characters from last series didn't bother me, but the way it was all done was a bit alarming. Like: loud, garish, insane. My sister's sitting there at the end saying: "whoa... uh... this show is intense..." and of course I'm all "oh, seriously - it's not usually like that - watch the regular-season episodes, you'll see!"

The two things I hated most about this episode, and these aren't serious spoilers, but just to be safe I'll enclose them in

***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER

- The Barack Obama "cameo." What the hell is that? Supposed to be funny? Or, uh... a tribute? Huh? Not that they're not allowed to stick him in, I guess, it just seemed like he was trying to do something that just wasn't clear.

- John Simm laughing. Seriously, how long does John Simm laugh in this episode? Someone will have to clock it. It has to be at least about a quarter of the episode - in fact, it felt like a lot more than fifteen minutes straight. I just remember sitting there, first properly creeped out, then sort of confused, then mildly annoyed - and then just stunned. What the hell is going on, Davies? Did you seriously write "then, laugh for ten minutes" in the script? WHEN WILL JOHN SIMM STOP LAUGHING? I honestly had to get up and get a drink; when I came back, guy was still f&*%ing laughing, but at least I had a drink then. And the kicker is that this keeps happening - you think the first three or four montages of John Simm laughing are going to be it, that maybe it was just a motif that Davies didn't realize was annoying, or maybe that his editor screwed up and looped the laughing footage three dozen times rather than the three times he was supposed to. Whatever the reason, you're all happy because you're getting plot again, and then all of a sudden - John Simm is laughing again! And then again! He will not stop laughing! I honestly wonder what he must have done to prepare for filming this episode; it seems like he must have had to confront the problem "how will I laugh like that for pretty much a full hour without going absolutely nuts?" Good f'ing god, what's so incredibly funny, dude?

***END OF SPOILER***END OF SPOILER***END OF SPOILER***END OF SPOILER***END OF SPOILER***END OF SPOILER***

Anyhow, there were things I did like, and while people may want to talk about this in dangerous detail, I'll only say that I liked the last sixty seconds and where the whole thing seems to be heading. But it seems like Russel Davies didn't know what to write into that frame. I've really respected his work on the series, but I think you may be right, ArmyOfKittens; he may really be on his way out.

And in fact, to be honest, those two spoilers up there weren't my least favorite thing about the episode. My least favorite thing, something which I'd like to see rectified in the next one (though I'm not holding my breath) is this: I loved David Tennant's doctor; I really think he has been the best doctor since Tom Baker, and longstanding fans will know that that's really saying something. But this episode didn't really do anything with him! Hardly any humour, hardly any of that brilliant, sparkling Tennant-Doctor dialogue - that really pissed me off, honestly. I guess I can't hope that he'd get a send-off that perfectly encapsulates his work on the show, but this was sort of the opposite of that. It's more of an episode that prominently features that other guy I mentioned in my second complaint under the spoiler warning above.
posted by koeselitz at 7:47 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I liked the last sixty seconds and where the whole thing seems to be heading

I really, really hope that he doesn't wrap all that up in the second part. I'm sort of hoping that Moffat gave RTD his start point and that all of this is setting up the reboot/reset (they've apparently said that the next season will be another "season one"); if what RTD pulled out from under the rug is just shoved back under there after an hour of screen time, I'll be rather annoyed, given the story potential of said, uh, under-rug-ness.

I'm not good at this whole [SPOILER] thing :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:09 AM on December 27, 2009


Seems like this thread will pretty much be a discussion of SPOILERS from here on out anyway, so viewers beware.

PontifexPrimus: “Plot holes galore...”

Honestly, all of those plot holes don't bug me so very much, and some of them aren't holes; I can accept, I guess, that the aliens really were sent to salvage the device, that it was in one of their ships that crashed on Earth, etc. In fact, near the end, I started to feel as though I wanted the episode to talk more about the green aliens, the gate, etc. The only one that really, really pissed me off, and that was part and parcel with what was bad about the episode, was THE MASTER'S RIDICULOUS TRANSFORMATION INTO A BEING OF PURE ANNOYINGNESS. His infernal unending laughter is one thing; the ridiculously silly leaping-faster-than-Tinkerbell bit, combined with Emperor Palpatine lightning powers, was another. Really, did Davies review the special effects on that leaping thing? It looks inane! He just ZIPS so rapidly that you can't actually see him move, and it's not only utterly unconvincing but also just silly in its extreme speed. Wow, apparently now Timelords are superbeings straight out of the pages of comic books who live on life-force, can be reincarnated through nothing but a random unexplained ring, and eat whole turkeys in one sitting.

There was one moment that really sealed it for me as far as being shocked at the badness - when the Doctor and the Master meet each other for the first time in this episode, and there's this silly, stupid sci-fi cliche as old as time itself: the Master *zaps* the Doctor with his lightning, and the Doctor in turn zaps back and struggles forward. No talking. No confrontation. No witty repartee. No Doctor quickly composing a brilliant stratagem to force the Master to confront him on his own terms. Is this still Doctor Who, when pretty much all of the elements that make it fantastic and superlative are gone, and the 'hero' is literally locked in battle with the 'villain' in exactly the same way that hundreds and hundreds of 'heroes' have done it since Star Wars?

Argh, the more I think about it, the more this episode really pissed me off. The only thing that redeemed it was the interesting plot motion at the very, very end; but thinking about the way the thing went, I worry that Davies will even screw that up, as much as I know he reveres the series and cares about the direction it takes.

Tom Baker would never have put up with this shit. This is why BBC never used to let the script-editor write episodes himself, and why even Robert Holmes had to fight to run his own scripts when he was editing; because, when one person's doing too much, it all goes to shit.
posted by koeselitz at 8:09 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought Waters of Mars was pretty bad. I haven't seen the new episode yet, but since I thought the last multi-parter with the Master was crummy, I don't have my hopes up. The early episodes by Russell T Davies weren't bad, but I think they've gotten a lot worse as time went on.
posted by demiurge at 8:19 AM on December 27, 2009


[Yeah, like I said, I don't think this thread is safe for those who don't want SPOILERS, so those who haven't seen it yet are advised not to read this thread at all.]

ArmyOfKittens: “I really, really hope that he doesn't wrap all that up in the second part. I'm sort of hoping that Moffat gave RTD his start point and that all of this is setting up the reboot/reset (they've apparently said that the next season will be another "season one"); if what RTD pulled out from under the rug is just shoved back under there after an hour of screen time, I'll be rather annoyed, given the story potential of said, uh, under-rug-ness.”

Huh, hadn't heard that about "another season one," but that actually gives me hope with regard to Moffat, and now I understand what you're getting at with him. And I agree; it would be really, really, REALLY bad if Davies screwed up this plot point or blundered through it. At the end of the episode, I turned to my sister (who, like I said, had never watched Doctor Who before now) after having spent the whole episode saying things like "what the fuck?" and "holy crap, he's still laughing?" - at the very end, I turned to her and said: "okay, whoa. You have to know this: this is a huge, huge deal, this changes an aspect of the Doctor Who universe that hasn't been changed since the early '80s." And really, that's absolutely true. Frankly, this is a change that's bigger than any other single change to the Doctor Who universe since Davies revived the show; of course we'd see Daleks again, of course we'd see Sontarans and Davros and the Master and all those - but to change this? Big, very big, and not easy to do well.

In fact, I don't know how I'll feel about it. I'm really so used to the Doctor as a lone-wolf character, as a tragic figure, that I don't know how I'll feel about changing that part of who he is. I already feel some sympathy for those who worry that he's become a bit too camp, a bit too bright and cheery and always-successful; I just... I don't know.

The best way to put it is: I can't picture Davies doing it well. Even at his best, when he was writing some really great episodes during the early Tennant era. So maybe this would be a thing best left to Moffat, as you're saying - a legacy of the new era, and a new problem for a fresh mind to tackle.
posted by koeselitz at 8:20 AM on December 27, 2009


[sorry, demiurge - I didn't see your comment before I posted that - I hope it didn't seem like I was trying to chase you out of the thread with my spoiler warning, I wasn't!]
posted by koeselitz at 8:22 AM on December 27, 2009


Wow, apparently now Timelords are superbeings straight out of the pages of comic books

I'm still waiting for the bit where the Doctor challenges the Flash and Superman to a race around the world, and wins because he gets everyone to clap and listen to the Scissor Sisters.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:28 AM on December 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was disappointed by this ep - it's not just Tennant's last, but RTD's last, and I expected more. Not a lot, but certainly more than he's usually given.

As others have said, the ep lacks all sorts of internal logic and is full of tedious exposition, laughing, and running around. It also rips off far too many other movies, which is not terrible in itself except for the poor execution.

Here's what would've been fun - The Doctor and the Master teaming up to fight a Big Bad. Maybe the returning Time Lords. Now that would've been awesome. Why, RTD, why!?
posted by adrianhon at 8:30 AM on December 27, 2009


Boy are Tennant and Davies doing a lot of press at the moment. I hope it isn't in some way salting the ground for the next series.
posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on December 27, 2009


Here's what would've been fun - The Doctor and the Master teaming up to fight a Big Bad. Maybe the returning Time Lords. Now that would've been awesome. Why, RTD, why!?

Well, to be fair, that could still happen in part 2. It's been made fairly clear that the return of the Time Lords is not exactly a good thing.
posted by afx237vi at 8:34 AM on December 27, 2009


The Barack Obama "cameo." What the hell is that? Supposed to be funny? Or, uh... a tribute? Huh? Not that they're not allowed to stick him in, I guess, it just seemed like he was trying to do something that just wasn't clear.

I think that was to prevent people from thinking the powerful black guy that brought on the doom from being thought of as stand-in for him.
posted by floam at 8:34 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


And blah, sentence screwed up, should have been "prevent the powerful black guy that brought on the doom from being thought of as stand-in for him."
posted by floam at 8:36 AM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


afx237vi: Absolutely, and I hope that happens. It would've been nice if that happened in part 1 though, and then in the latter half of part 2, the Master inevitably backstabs the Doctor. But for part 1, you could've had some great banter between the two, the Master's TARDIS, explosions galore, them being each others' companions, etc. Good tension, too.
posted by adrianhon at 8:41 AM on December 27, 2009


Liked this interesting bit from the "David Tennant: It just feels scary... all the time" link above:

“It's likely [David Tennant's] currently seeing Georgia Moffett, who played the Doctor's daughter in one episode and is ex-Doctor Peter Davison's daughter in real life (at which point you may think he's taken his enthusiasm for Doctor Who as far as it can go – "It can be odd when David comes round for Sunday lunch and we all sit at the table; me, an ex-Doctor, with my wife, and David, another Doctor, and my daughter," Peter Davison revealed).”

Heh heh. Hear that, Moffat? Your Christmas Special for next year just pretty much wrote itself. "THE THREE DOCTORS: Sunday Brunch."
posted by koeselitz at 8:42 AM on December 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


"THE THREE DOCTORS: Sunday Brunch."

Tom Baker can spend the entire special stuck in the toilet with the runs, and the episode can close with some stock footage of him running down the street with loo roll sticking out of the back of his trousers.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:49 AM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


The modern Doctor Who often looks like somebody filmed bad fanfiction.

By which, I mean: everyone talks about the Doctor being wonderful and amazing and vital and important and blah blah blah all the time. It's as if everyone in the Doctor Who universe is a fan and so regards the Doctor as the most important person around. I've lost count of the number of times that an episode of the revived series has had a character draw back and say "Wow, the Doctor is amazing, isn't he?". It gets a bit sickening and hagiographical after a while.

Combine that with the tendency to reuse old monsters over and over again - the Daleks have returned, what, four times? the master returns, now, again? - and the general impression is one of decadence and a lack of creativity.

Moffat has tried to introduce new monsters and most of his episodes have a real energy to them - they generally aim to scare you or to show you an interesting idea or both. I have high hopes for his era in charge.
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:56 AM on December 27, 2009


I like it.

Sample dialogue:

"People think it's easy being the Doctor. They just don't understand - every time I redefecate, I feel like I'm losing a part of myself."
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


floam: you're probably right about the Obama character, but the Obama cameo was poor taste for other reasons.

In the past, shows involving Tennant's Doctor Who have reflected on British Politics-- issues such as immigration, surveillance, treatment of the homeless. This show chose instead to point its political commentary to the United States. It's understandable. There's a General Election coming up, and Davis is pointing out that politicians' claims are likely to be no less magical than the absurd expectation that "Obama is going to end the recession tomorrow." The BBC is supposed to be politically neutral, so Obama is probably a thinly-veiled stand-in for Brown or Cameron. The inclusion of Obama may also be a skeptical commentary on the "special relationship" or on the global reputation Obama enjoys, since it shows UK citizens looking to Obama instead of the UK government for economic salvation.

In any case, it was a risky move in such a rushed episode to try to develop domestic political commentary by proxy. It was simply too rushed to get clarity on what was being attempted.

And after year of tough battles to crowbar Congress into taking substantial first steps on healthcare, and putting climate change at the forefront of US political discussion-- during a global recession where the plausible worst outcomes have been averted-- criticism of Obamamania feels like January 2009, not 2010.

Oh also:

... the sharks were clearly airborne early in the episode...

(my apologies)

In Great Britain, Sharks Jump the Fonz!
posted by honest knave at 9:01 AM on December 27, 2009


If Davies had been less rushed, we might have gotten wonderful Dickensian scenes he's so great at writing-- scenes showing the effects of hardship & the recession on ordinary people's lives in the UK, and implicitly urging for a more humane society. That's where his political writing is at its best.
posted by honest knave at 9:03 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Obama stuff was just perplexing. I was expecting RTD to go somewhere with it -- somewhere eye-wateringly awful, but somewhere, nevertheless. Instead, he just turned into the Master like everyone else. If there was a point he was trying to make, I missed it; if it was a plot thread, he cacked it. In the end I assumed he'd put it in trying to make it more accessible to Americans.

The modern Doctor Who often looks like somebody filmed bad fanfiction.

Yes. Holy god, yes. The Doctor -- and Time Lords in general -- keeps manifesting new powers from nowhere, and almost never solves problems through planning, cunning, or wit; just luck and/or wank ex machina.

Also, whoever is doing their special effects needs firing, or more money, or more time. Walking With Dinosaurs was more convincing.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:17 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


lucien_reeve: “The modern Doctor Who often looks like somebody filmed bad fanfiction. By which, I mean: everyone talks about the Doctor being wonderful and amazing and vital and important and blah blah blah all the time. It's as if everyone in the Doctor Who universe is a fan and so regards the Doctor as the most important person around. I've lost count of the number of times that an episode of the revived series has had a character draw back and say "Wow, the Doctor is amazing, isn't he?". It gets a bit sickening and hagiographical after a while.”

Yeah, that's sort of true. And weirdly I think that's sort of been a trend, in a way, since the very beginning, although there's obviously a lot of nuance to it. The caveat I have to add is that last series' companion Donna was a fantastic companion, my favorite since the reboot, precisely because she was one of those companions who was willing to call bullshit on the Doctor's shenanigans. I have to confess that I really didn't like Billie Piper's doting companion, and probably my first real disappointment in the new series was the belabored romance plots between her and the Doctor. Donna was really a breath of fresh air after that. The thing is, you're absolutely right about the show, though, because in the end even Donna is reduced to a kind of "gee-the-Doctor's-wonderful" worship.

Tom Baker's Doctor stood on his own a lot more, and none of the scriptwriters wrote such cloying stuff back then. Even so, I have to say that I appreciate the position of the William Hartnell boosters, because that era had some really worthwhile and unsettling aspects to it that haven't been returned to since, and I really think that if Moffat wants to build from where Davies (who has said that he worships at the altar of Robert Holmes and Tom Baker) left the show, maybe he should return to some of the early 60s aspects of the Doctor.

I mean, the cool thing about Hartnell's Doctor was that he just wasn't safe. He was dangerous. When someone he didn't particularly like was in danger, for example, he had this unsettling habit of saying things like: "oh well, she'll die and the world will be rid of her." And often in such cases the Doctor had to be really persuaded to want to help anybody - he had this alien sort of aloofness to humankindness and a contempt for sentiment that I think actually would be natural to a Timelord, who's got a perspective large enough to allow him to notice when a person is actually not significant.

I've liked Tennant's Doctor, but Davies has written and scripted him largely as a humanitarian superhero, and I think that could use some changing. Even Eccleston often seemed a good deal more strange and distant. If there was something I really hated about The Waters Of Mars, it was the apparent theme: that the Doctor can't take too big a gamble or make too bold a move, because - uh oh! - he might screw something up! It'd be really neat if Moffat revived the dangerous Doctor, the scary, alien Doctor that humans can't really trust.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 AM on December 27, 2009 [13 favorites]


often in such cases the Doctor had to be really persuaded to want to help anybody - he had this alien sort of aloofness to humankindness and a contempt for sentiment that I think actually would be natural to a Timelord

That's interesting...

I haven't seen much of the early Doctor Who, but my impression was always that the earlier Doctors were often rather "donnish" - they reflected the stereotype of the astonishingly clever, whimsical, aloof, somewhat callous, British eccentric Oxbridge professor.

Of course, Doctor Who is one of those parts that each new actor can reinvent. The new series seems to be trying to make him a younger figure.

Personally, I don't mind what they do with him, as long as they move away from treating him as a kind of "space Jesus". Heroes are generally more engaging when they are somewhat on the back foot.
posted by lucien_reeve at 9:43 AM on December 27, 2009


Yeah, Davies seems to have phoned in the script. It's worse than the worst of the Colin Baker episodes.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:43 AM on December 27, 2009


Here's what would've been fun - The Doctor and the Master teaming up to fight a Big Bad.

Perhaps to save the universe, successfully, but the Master can't resist double-crossing him at the end, killing the Doctor and forcing his regeneration? Good plan, except it's the plot of LOGOPOLIS as every WHO fan over thirtyish will know.

We all knew the Master was coming back because they did that FLASH GORDON ending at the end of series 3* with the ring, no?

My theory, before the episode, was this:
* Why doesn't the Doctor bring back the Time Lords? He could. Because it's "against the rules!"
* In WATERS OF MARS we see him thinking "well, heck with the rules!"
* The other Time Lord who says "heck with the rules!" is the Master, which is why the Master keeps almost destroying the universe.
* RTD is finishing his run, so he should give the new guy, Moffat, a blank slate. Part of this is having to bring the Daleks back again, having completely destroyed them for all time in the Time War with the Time Lords.
* Bringing the Time Lords back means reversing the Time War, which brings back the Daleks too, reverting the continuity.

So my assumption was: Master/Doctor reverses the Time War, restoring the Time Lords, but also the Daleks. In the mess that results someone has to take responsibility, so the Tennant Doctor does, killing him, giving us the new Doctor. Ties in the plot and character development we've seen within the programme with the politics outside the programme.

So my predictions for next Friday:
* The Time War will be reversed, bringing back Time Lords and Daleks.
* The Master will escape, probably with a regeneration.
* Tennant will take the rap and regenerate (yeah, we know that'll happen anyway)

The question I've got, and I was drunk while watching - who's the random woman who kept showing up? Romana? That would kind of make sense - coming in from E Space to restore her species. Or did that get explained and I don't remember?

* Or series 22 or whatever.
posted by alasdair at 9:44 AM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never hearing about Rose ever, ever again will be refreshing. And I say that as someone who was a Billie Piper skeptic and then ended up really liking her turn as companion. She was genuinely good and helped the reboot be the success it was, but really once her story was done the doctor needed to have a bit of a mope about it and that that should have been it.

I feel a bit sorry for Freema Agyeman, as her entire run as companion basically ended up being about how she wasn't Rose.... Rose... how he misses her... Rose.

And then the endless returns...

Mickey was great though. He should have got his own series.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would be very happy not to see the Daleks for a very long time also.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of my closest childhood friends was such a huge Dr. Who fan that he actually dressed in such a way that he could easily be mistaken for Tom Baker's Doctor at a medium distance, and he dressed that way ALL THE TIME. As a result I was privileged to see a lot more Dr. Who than most Americans ever did in the early 1980's, many early episodes lovingly recorded by NTSC cameras from PAL broadcasts and shipped across the Atlantic for his collection. P found the transition to Peter Davison a bit traumatizing but he kept dressing as Baker and we continued to watch episodes together until Colin Baker stepped in.

Dr. Who was already groaning under the weight of its huge and self-contradictory canon by that time, and with Doctor #6 they botched a character arc that seemed to have been going with some consistency through the first five Doctors, as he matured a bit with each regeneration. Now suddenly he was a brash immature clown, almost worse than the irascible and largely self-interested First Doctor.

THAT is where Dr. Who jumped the shark. And it has gone nowhere but downhill from there. Dr. Who is now into Star Wars Prequels of its Star Wars Prequels. If they keep making more episodes I'm afraid it's going to be Prequels all the way down.
posted by localroger at 9:52 AM on December 27, 2009


Actually caring about continuity in Who will bring nothing but pain and madness.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Somehow I think we all need to keep off of localroger's lawn.
posted by hippybear at 10:18 AM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never hearing about Rose ever, ever again will be refreshing. And I say that as someone who was a Billie Piper skeptic and then ended up really liking her turn as companion. She was genuinely good and helped the reboot be the success it was, but really once her story was done the doctor needed to have a bit of a mope about it and that that should have been it.


New Doctor Who chief Steven Moffatt says Billie Piper will NOT return to the hit show — because her character Rose is “too needy”.

Rose was last seen heading off into the sunset with a clone of the timelord at the end of the fourth series.

TV beauty Billie, 25, is 6½ months pregnant and does not plan to act next year. But Steven — who is taking over from Russell T Davies as writer and executive producer of the show — ruled out a Rose comeback.

He admitted he admired the Doc ditching Rose, saying: “You have to hand it to the Doctor for dumping a slightly needy girlfriend by palming her off on a copy of himself."

posted by you're a kitty! at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh Moffat, maybe we will like you even if your doctor is 12 and dresses like a music studies undergrad at a particularly stuffy university.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


The modern Doctor Who often looks like somebody filmed bad fanfiction.

It's sad because it's true. (Fanfiction written by someone who thought that Doctor Who would have been better if it was written by Joss Whedon, no less)
posted by rodgerd at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


The standard term for RTD's end of season stuff is apparently TOTAL BOLLOCKS OVERDRIVE. Roll on Moffat.
posted by pw201 at 11:14 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dunno, the Whedonesque fan-ficcy elements may actually be a part of why the reboot actually worked. Certainly it helped immensely that it was light and it was fun and it wasn't the horrid ponderous thing that late 80s Who had become.

Of course, where others might think that that sort of thing needs moderating with some cleverness and some making-sense RTD just seemed to think it was the only thing needed, and so just started hitting the panto * button harder and harder.

*I think that's Panto, it might actually just be a clip from Torchwood.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on December 27, 2009


The entire episode was a set-up for the worst pun ever.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:31 AM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, my theory on the "he will knock four times" thing, because even when I hate it this show's crazy mythology pulls me in. The master's drums (which are apparently a real thing now) follow a du-du-du-du beat - I think that's the knock-four-times. The "he" might be the Doctor, who will be infected by the drums and need to be shot by Wilf.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:37 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think if I was in charge of Doctor Who I think I'd set down the same rules for the scriptwriters that they had at the swimming pool when I was a kid: No running, no shouting and no heavy petting
posted by dng at 11:40 AM on December 27, 2009 [12 favorites]


I really don't think the "specials" are all that great. Especially that one where they decided to throw five different companions into the mix. Which wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't include double servings of Rose's Mom and Mickey.

Then, they will jump right back into a nicely-written and tight two-part story arc.

The revival Doctor works best when the writers are not piling sugar coating on top of the uncomfortable presentation that The Doctor is basically an asshole of a tourist and game warden. He's a more benevolent god in that, for him, a thriving humanity that doesn't become something like the Daleks is more fun, and he's willing to shower goodies and gifts on his pet monkeys. But IMO, he works best when his gee-whiz I'm-so-clever meddling isn't entirely successful. But ultimately, he is a god that walks among men, and when he appears, you better dance to his tune, or you might end up ripping the head of your son off.

For that matter, one of the things I hated about Burton's Charlie was that he gave Wonka daddy issues. Because at least to me, it was blatantly obvious that Dahl's Wonka was a fairy, of the kind that gives away cursed dancing shoes and locks maidens away to spin gold.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:43 AM on December 27, 2009


Also, my theory on the "he will knock four times" thing, because even when I hate it this show's crazy mythology pulls me in. The master's drums (which are apparently a real thing now) follow a du-du-du-du beat - I think that's the knock-four-times.

Far too obvious! The knocking will be something we haven't even heard yet, and it'll be from someone totally unexpected. Like from Wilf or Spitting James Bond or, hell, some past or future incarnation of the Doctor come back through time to set things right. But it's waaaaay too easy for the knocking to just be the drumbeats.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:44 AM on December 27, 2009


The knocking will be something we haven't even heard yet, and it'll be from someone totally unexpected. Like from Wilf or Spitting James Bond or, hell, some past or future incarnation of the Doctor come back through time to set things right. But it's waaaaay too easy for the knocking to just be the drumbeats.

Didn't they mention that the four beats ringing in the Master's head is the sound of the Time Lord's dual-heart-system beating? Surely I didn't just make that up...
posted by hippybear at 11:51 AM on December 27, 2009


I also read / saw / heard the four beats of the Time Lord's heart bit. I think Timothy Dalton's character said it in the preview of the next episode, but can't play it on this machine to be sure.
posted by autopilot at 11:56 AM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


They did mention that.

I also considered the "far too obvious thing", but I don't know if I can give RDF enough credit to say he wouldn't go with the super obvious thing. It'd be awesome if it were something really random.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:02 PM on December 27, 2009


Christ, I'm going to miss Tennant though.
posted by you're a kitty! at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2009


I totally forgot about the specials! Thanks for the reminder! Man, it's hard to avoid reading this thread before watching them....
posted by painquale at 12:29 PM on December 27, 2009


One of the problems is that the 'specials' have been anything but special and just feel like a bit bloated normal episodes not a whole series boiled down into a few parts... Bus In The Desert was particularly bad...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:51 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first few minutes of part 2 are on Youtube here, with some interesting Gallifrey shenanigans, set during the Time War ....
posted by memebake at 12:52 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah my hopes are that there is a little deus ex machina/retcon that restores the TimeLords and returns the Masters sanity so we can get back to some proper Roger Delgado style Master, and have less of the Doctor pining for his lost home. More with the being a renegade and encountering monsters of the week.
More alien planets and more interesting companions. As for Daleks and Cybermen, every regeneration should have a minimum of at least 2 Dalek stories and 1 Cyberman story. This is yet another reason Paul McGann is not a real incarnation of the Doctor.
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:12 PM on December 27, 2009


I got to see Part 1 last night and yeah, I was left a bit disappointed.

The Christmas specials have always been a bit lame, I feel, but given the significance of this one I was hoping for more. In a way, it delivered. It gave us a bigger, less camp story this time round, with some significant goings on, but there were some significant shortcomings.

First, The Master. As any true, long time fan of Doctor Who will tell you, The Master is the Doctor's greatest and most dangerous enemy. The Daleks rate up there, certainly, and the Cybermen follow close behind them, but in The Master the Doctor has an enemy who is as cunning and clever as he is. He's almost the anti-Doctor, a vision of what The Doctor could be if he was evil. He is Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes, and he is never to be underestimated.

John Simms did a good job with the Master the first time round. Not as good as Delgado, but a very good job nonetheless. In this appearance, however, we had him pretty much stand around laughing all the time and wearing drag occasionally. Not something befitting The Doctors Greatest And Most Cunning Enemy, really. And what was The Master's great plan this time round? It seemed like he didn't even have one, really. It was more like he was standing around getting pushed into situation he had no control over. Then when he does do something evil, it's to make every human a clone of himself. Uh... why, exactly? Sure, it's evil, but why did he decide to do this, specifically? It seems at this point that the answer is "because he could and because it would piss off The Doctor." Maybe Part 2 will explain more but again, it all seems to be not exactly a plan befitting the most evil genius the Doctor has ever faced.

Then you had the bit where Lucy Saxon starts going on about "The Secret Book of Saxon" which speaks of "The Potion of Life." What the fuck am I watching here, Doctor Who or Charmed, I thought to myself at this point. I mean, Doctor Who has always been a show that never took itself too seriously but this line of dialogue felt really out of place. Whats more, it suggests that Lucy was always more aware of who The Master was, even back when she married him and he was destroying the world, which raises the question of why she didn't just kill him back then, straight away, before he ever married her, before he ever became PM, before... well, all of it really. It appeared to be a bit of a plot hole, or at the very least a macguffin used by RTD to get the Master into his "woohoo I'm crazy" state of mind.

The last issue I had with this episode was something it failed to deliver on; an evil Doctor. At the end of The Waters of Mars, the Doctor had become very self-important, almost evil. It was a great idea. The idea that this version of the Doctor, who had said right back at the start of his adventures that he might be unpredictable, could actually become almost evil in his quest to do good was a tantalising story idea. The notion that this version of The Doctor would go up against The Master was almost too exciting a prospect to bear. Imagine the story that could have been. Semi-evil Doctor, all arrogant and assured of his own brilliance fights The Master, who at some part of the story points out how much The Doctor has become like him. And all of this tied in with the implicit understanding that it is because the Doctor has become this way that he must die. That's the story I was waiting for. It did not deliver. Perhaps that's because RTD wrote the story. Let's face it, he's not really that good a writer, despite his successes at bringing Doctor Who back to us. But at any rate, I was left... underwhelmed by a Doctor that tried to stop the Master but failed in an almost inept kind of way.

Those were my three biggest gripes with the story. But there was a lot to like, also. First there was the payoff to the question raised by the episode The Shakespeare Code, in which Queen Elizabeth I declared the Doctor her sworn enemy. For two or three years now we've all wondered, just like the Doctor did, about how he was going to offend her. Now we know, thanks to a single bit of throwaway dialogue. You had the [SPOILER], an interesting story thread that will be fun to see paid off in Part 2, and more Wilf, who I've always liked. And Dalton in this role? Yeah, that could be great too.

So in closing, Part 1 was OK but it could have been so much better and given that this is Tennant's final story, it deserved to be so much better. Hopefully Part 2 gives us something better before we lose Tennant forever to Matt Smith, an actor I feel uneasy about in the role of The Doctor. That said, with RTD gone and Moffat in charge, I feel somewhat reassured about the story prospects for Doctor Number Eleven. So bring it on!
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:18 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


The question I've got, and I was drunk while watching - who's the random woman who kept showing up? Romana? That would kind of make sense - coming in from E Space to restore her species. Or did that get explained and I don't remember?

I've read speculation elsewhere that she might be the White Guardian. Now I'm not clued in about pre-2005 Doctor Who, but I gather she's some kind of benevolent Time Lord who is supposed to bring balance and harmony to the universe. Of course, that leads to the question: why is she talking to Wilf and no-one else? That then ties in with the café scene with the Doctor trying to figure out why their paths keep crossing?

I wonder if Wilf has a fob watch?
posted by afx237vi at 1:20 PM on December 27, 2009


why is she talking to Wilf and no-one else?

It has been pointed out (SPOILERS or possibly RUBBISHNESS ahead) that "Wilfred Mott" is an anagram of "Time Lord WTF".
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:26 PM on December 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


As much as I disliked this episode, I will say this: The Master in a pink dress is a wonderous sight to behold.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:34 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


hippybear: Somehow I think we all need to keep off of localroger's lawn.

You really do. It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, you know.
posted by localroger at 1:51 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Being John Saxonish? (Being John Masterish?)

I am so glad RTD is off the show, just wish we could have Tennant and Moffat together!
posted by Catblack at 2:01 PM on December 27, 2009


I'm really curious about how they will revert this damage. It would be like scraping all the paint of all the paintings in a museum, drawing a stick figure on the canvases and then claiming that it would be easy to get them back to their prior condition: here's a bucket of paint chips.

You just shoot the paradox machine with a machinegun and the whole last couple of episodes never happened. Duh.

Alternatively, "And then I woke up."
posted by Wataki at 2:29 PM on December 27, 2009


I've read speculation elsewhere that she might be the White Guardian. Now I'm not clued in about pre-2005 Doctor Who, but I gather she's some kind of benevolent Time Lord who is supposed to bring balance and harmony to the universe. Of course, that leads to the question: why is she talking to Wilf and no-one else? That then ties in with the café scene with the Doctor trying to figure out why their paths keep crossing?

The White Guardian is not a Time Lord, but a personification of balance and order. Kind of like Death or Dream in the Sandman universe. The White Guardian sands in opposition to The Black Guardian. They are both very willing to use whatever pawn suits them best. In the past the Black Guardian used Turlough a school boy as an agent against the Doctor. So if she is the White Guardian using Wilf does not seem out of line. If he is the pebble that needs to shift to adjust the balance...
posted by MrBobaFett at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2009


Reseting Who continuity is about as hard or as easy as you want to make it. Though TBH i'd prefer a vague and amorphous gigantic handwave to an overly specific and diddly gigantic handwave.
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on December 27, 2009


I'm really curious about how they will revert this damage.

SCENE: Early morning. The Doctor exits the TARDIS, which is parked inside a modern living room. He yawns and stretches, he has obviously been asleep. He scratches a bit, and walks /stumbles toward the bathroom. As he opens the door, we hear water running.

BOBBY EWING: (in shower) Good morning!
posted by hippybear at 2:41 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also why do I keep reading about how terrible this episode is, esp in comparison to the brilliant "Children of Earth"? That whole season of Torchwood should be completely ignored, it was total crap. So far this one story hasn't gotten quite as bad, but we're not to the end yet...
posted by MrBobaFett at 2:54 PM on December 27, 2009


I <3 Eccleston. He still had that Dr. Who alian edginess and was Totally Nerd Hot! Along with previous posters, I find Tennant very gimmicky and fanfic.

I'm afraid I'll not take well to this Tiger Beat kid that's coming up as the next Doctor. How can the Doctor be YOUNGER than me? It's just not right.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bernard Cribbins saves Doctor Who, again, from being truly dreadful. Why is he the only real actor on the show? Even David Tennant can't stop from OVER-acting with his CHIN and unusual CAdences.
posted by John Shaft at 3:14 PM on December 27, 2009


I'd just like to thank BBC America for apparently showing this once, at 9 PM the Saturday after fucking Christmas, when reasonably most people would be busy, and subsequently failing to post it anywhere online or add it to basic cable on-demand services, all after relentlessly promoting the hell out of it since like November.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:32 PM on December 27, 2009


End Of Time Part 1 showed up for me on my OnDemand service today (maybe it's a local thing?), and it will probably show up in iTunes at some point, maybe within a week.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:35 PM on December 27, 2009


On Demand usually lags by a day.

I'm suspecting that they'll be showing it more that a few times in the lead up to New Years.

Also: DVR - how does anyone watch American television without it?
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on December 27, 2009


Christ, I'm going to miss Tennant though.

TESTIFY.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:22 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Suprisinglu I am too - which is weird because I thought him a bit of a nob at first.
posted by Artw at 5:32 PM on December 27, 2009


Ah, I might have found another to watch it anyhow, but seriously, after that level of endless promotion? Sad, sad helpings of fail. I'm very surprised anyone didn't like it, though -- the Master plot I kinda would just like to see the end of, as I thought the goofy/crazy version of the Master was fine once but really needs to regenerate into something more traditional and less just obnoxious, but the Time Lords? Oh come on, that's awesome.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:37 PM on December 27, 2009


It has been pointed out (SPOILERS or possibly RUBBISHNESS ahead) that "Wilfred Mott" is an anagram of "Time Lord WTF".

I hope I'm not saying anything too terribly obvious here (I don't think this qualifies as any kind of a SPOILER as it seemed pretty telegraphed), but Wilf's obviously not human, as he hasn't become (thank Christ) yet another grating Master clone, and it seemed to me that the discussion about his being a soldier was meant to be interpreted on multiple levels. Also -- I'd have to watch this again to be sure -- it looked like there were others in crowd scenes who weren't affected by the Master's clone ray (God, I can't believe I just wrote "clone ray"). The implication that came through to me was that Wilf and these others were Time Lords who became sleepers after the time war.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:55 PM on December 27, 2009


I'd just like to thank BBC America for apparently showing this once, at 9 PM the Saturday after fucking Christmas, when reasonably most people would be busy, and subsequently failing to post it anywhere online or add it to basic cable on-demand services, all after relentlessly promoting the hell out of it since like November.

Well, for starters, they aired it three times on the night between 12/26 and 12/27... so it didn't show just once.

As a follow-up, if you haven't already heard, BBC America will be showing the ENTIRE David Tennant tenure as the Doctor starting on New Year's Day and culminating with the US Premiere of the second half of "The End Of Time" on the evening of Jan 2. That will, of course, be preceded that evening by part 1.

Seriously, do a little research before you start chewing out the channel. They've shown it lots of times already and will be showing it at least THREE more times before it disappears into non-broadcast.

At which point it will be available for purchase as part of the "Doctor Who Specials" set, available at the beginning of February 2010.
posted by hippybear at 6:13 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I will totally chew out the channel if I wanna, defender of giant corporations, you. It's cool that they ran it so close to the UK broadcast, but unlike the UK, people in America have a tendency to travel long distances over major holiday weekends. It's flatly stupid to take a huge episode of one of your biggest shows and rebroadcast it at dead o'clock in the morning, failing to make it more available when you know it's a draw judging from the way you've otherwise promoted it. Now, it's not Syphy stupid, which would include all of the above plus running the episode months late plus hacking it to pieces to fit into an hour slot but showing it with terrible sound. But it is stupid, and in an age where cable networks tend to replay new episodes of a series so many times throughout the week you can't possibly miss it, it makes no sense. I've pretty much said all I really have to say about this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:19 PM on December 27, 2009


kittens for breakfast -- I'm not ruling out Wilf being a Time Lord (although I will note for the anagram happy that Astrid Peth [Kylie Minogue] from Voyage of the Damned not only was not a TARDIS but could not have been a more ordinary sort of hero), but it was specifically stated that the those glass operating cabinets that he was sheltering in were shielded from the clone ray radiation, so he was protected even as a human. Donna, now that's another story.

As for what I thought: yeah, it was quite bad except for the stand-out scenes that everyone's already pointed out. Of particular "argh" were the creepy rich incesty black characters and yet another iteration of "Companions cannot be happy without the Doctor once they've traveled with him, ever." Hey, maybe even if you could give Donna her memories back she'd still be happy with Shaun (?) -- thought of that?

While wistful for the end of Ten, I think his actual last scenes filmed (in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" two-parter from The Sarah Jane Adventures; delightful and poignant) were a great sendoff and since I am not in the "Ten is the bestest evar Doctor since Four!" camp, I'm okay with his departure. My favorite is Eight, which means, yay! Shiny new Big Finish audioplay canon every few months that doesn't suck! (Actually, I would not be surprised if David Tennant came back to do audioplays for Big Finish a few years in the future. He's done work with them before.)

My biggest, ridiculously nerdish worry about EoT 2 is that it's going to horribly Joss Eight!canon and Eight-related theories about the Time War. Sigh, poor Romana.
posted by bettafish at 6:33 PM on December 27, 2009


defender of giant corporations, you.

I'm always happy to defend BBC Americas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC.
posted by hippybear at 6:34 PM on December 27, 2009


.... but Wilf's obviously not human, as he hasn't become (thank Christ) yet another grating Master clone
He was in the super special containment chamber that protected him from the clone ray of Malkovich.
posted by autopilot at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2009


(Bolded, italicized and blinking for emphasis of how insanely bad of a plot device the the clone ray was)
posted by autopilot at 6:48 PM on December 27, 2009


Wilf's obviously not human, as he hasn't become (thank Christ) yet another grating Master clone...
Wilf did not transform because he was in a shielded chamber; that's what the plexiglass box he was standing inside of was for,

Also.
What did the cactus aliens intend to do with a planetary healing device in the first place?
They were a salvage team. They planned to steal it once it was repaired and resell it elsewhere,
Why was that thing on earth (if it belonged to the cactus heads, why did they take it here and why couldn't they repair their own machinery? If it wasn't theirs, why would yet another race bring something like that to earth?)?
It was cargo in a ship that crashlanded on Earth. It originally belonged to a cousin race to the cactus heads,
And, as has been mentioned, why could a medicinal healing tool be reprogrammed to turn every human being into a copy of a template*?
Probably the same way the nanites in the Empty Child malfunctioned.
Was there just a toggle switch with the settings "heal the world" and "kill all humans and replace them with my clones" that the Master flicked when nobody was looking?
The Master hacked it to make it do that. Though, yeah, it is kind of dodgy,
And how did the cactus aliens know to pick up the Master in the first place ("Hey, that human shoots lightning bolts and eats people! That's a sure sign of being able to repair an advanced alien medical device!")?
They didn't. The father-daughter team had caught on to the conspiracy to resurrect the Master and knew he was a very advanced alien, who would presumably know a lot about alien tech. The cactus heads were upset the Master was brought in, because they thought he'd bust them.
And why would they trust such a guy to repair it unsupervised if they knew who he was?
They were going to double-check his work, but overestimated their ability to contain him.
Why did the (alien!) machine only affect humans, and why were there no other aliens in disguise anywhere?
The Master programmed in a filter to only affect humans. I don't know about part two - if there are any, they must be really baffled.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:50 PM on December 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


the sharks were clearly airborne early in the episode

As someone who has not seen a single minute of Doctor Who arguments of this ilk either make me want to start watching now or stay the hell away from it forever.
posted by sourwookie at 7:08 PM on December 27, 2009


I have to say, while I think that Tennant is a good actor and a fine doctor when he first came in, I could not be more happy that he's leaving. The deteriorating quality of the scripts, the obvious blind adoration that RTD has for him, and his moment of divinity in the previous Master episode, have just damaged his character for me to the point that I don't believe any amount of ret-con could make me like him again.

The depth and complexity that Eccleston brought to the role when the series was first revived is completely gone in the current episodes, and while I absolutely adored Donna (who is in my opinion evidence that the problem isn't that the writers aren't capable of making their characters as good as they did in series one) my favorite thing about her is that she didn't treat the tenth Doctor like he walked on water.

I spent an awful lot of the latest episode laughing, and weirdly enough, I kind of have hope for the new doctor! Poor wee sprog is actually kind of weird looking, and it's hard to explain why, but that's sort of important to me, I think.
posted by emperor.seamus at 8:11 PM on December 27, 2009


As someone who has not seen a single minute of Doctor Who arguments of this ilk either make me want to start watching now or stay the hell away from it forever.

Start with the new series which will begin around April 2010. I suspect there will be a little groundwork laid for anyone who wants to jump on board with a new Doctor and new showrunner.
posted by crossoverman at 8:17 PM on December 27, 2009


Sure, it's evil, but why did he decide to do this, specifically? It seems at this point that the answer is "because he could and because it would piss off The Doctor."

Well, yes. Because he came back broken, and is thus not working on an evil plan he has masterminded, but is rather doing evil things as they come to him for the hellishly unpredictable amusement of it.

How can the Doctor be YOUNGER than me? It's just not right.

William Hartnell - 56
Patrick Troughton - 46
Jon Pertwee - 51
Tom Baker - 40
Peter Davidson - 29
Colin Baker - 40
Sylvester McCoy - 44
Paul McGann - 37
Christopher Eccleston - 41
David Tennant - 34
Matt Smith - 27 (at start of filming IIRC - not when he was cast)

So Mr Smith is the 4th doctor younger than me (and, according to _paegan_'s profile, her too). Though, obviously, not at the time they first appeared. Or WAS it? Very tricky, this time stuff.

/raises single eyebrow
posted by Sparx at 8:37 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


clone ray of Malkovich

....Can we somehow go back in time ourselves to get into RTD's study while he was working on these scripts, just to get him to crack that joke somehow?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 PM on December 27, 2009


William Hartnell was only 56? Black and white (and his Quirky Doctor Outfit (TM)) did not flatter him at all.
posted by bettafish at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2009


I just hope that, no matter how the Doctor regenerates, Obama fixes the economy like he promised he would.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:51 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


William Hartnell was only 56? Black and white (and his Quirky Doctor Outfit (TM)) did not flatter him at all.

More likely, if you have a look at his life history, being a "bastard child" at a time when that carried serious stigma and there was no welfare for abandoned mothers, serving in a tank corps in WW II until he suffered a nervous breakdown, and arteriosclerosis didn't flatter him.
posted by rodgerd at 9:03 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think a major flaw of RTD's is an inability to let go of characters who have run their course. The storylines of Rose, Donna and the Master all had satisfying if tragic endings and to see them pop up again is like having someone dig up the corpse of your dead dog and expecting you to be happy to see him.

In fact, I think the Tenth Doctor belongs on that list too- I still haven't forgiven him for the regeneration fake-out in Season Four.

I think the specials have been disappointing because (among other reasons) they are rare. During an ordinary season, you can shrug off a weak episode because there will be another one next week. But with the specials, you spend months building up expectations, and when they aren't met you have months to wait for the next one.

I also think the lack of a consistent companion is a weakness, as Tennant works best when playing off someone else. Because he is constantly introducing himself to new people, the jokes are repetitive.

The Christmas special itself... Simms' Master is a polarising character, since so many fans hated the Season Three finale. But in the special, he was stripped of everything people did like about him- his snarky humour, his ability to insinuate himself so completely, his spiffy suit. Instead we got Eminem with superpowers.

In conclusion, I hate everything. I guess I'm finally a real Doctor Who fan.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 9:12 PM on December 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


The depth and complexity that Eccleston brought to the role when the series was first revived is completely gone in the current episodes,

Yeah. Eccleston was my favorite - while I'm fond of Tennant, it's only because I think he's very funny. While 9 was always a little scary and dark, "serious" 10 didn't really work for me. It was almost always shouty, cheesy, scenery chewing, instead of the quiet, somber moments Tennant could actually pull off (like the tea scene with Wilf.) The tinkerbell jesus stuff was really awful, as well.

The last issue I had with this episode was something it failed to deliver on; an evil Doctor. At the end of The Waters of Mars, the Doctor had become very self-important, almost evil. It was a great idea.

I'm really disappointed they didn't go this way. Throughout 10's whole tenure he was always kind of manically teetering on the edge between benevolent and evil. The moment in the Waters of Mars where he realizes that he can do whatever the hell he wants because there's no one to stop him was excellent, and I would have liked to see more payoff. I thought for sure we'd see them bring the Valeyard (basically the evil version of the Doctor) back.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:29 PM on December 27, 2009


lucien_reeve: “I haven't seen much of the early Doctor Who, but my impression was always that the earlier Doctors were often rather "donnish" - they reflected the stereotype of the astonishingly clever, whimsical, aloof, somewhat callous, British eccentric Oxbridge professor. Of course, Doctor Who is one of those parts that each new actor can reinvent. The new series seems to be trying to make him a younger figure.”

And actually I think William Hartnell is a shining example of that tradition, and proof positive that things like the actor's own firm ideas about the character which often conflict with the producers' notions have been around since day one. I think that the BBC's original notion of the doctor, at least as far as the reasons they approved the show go, was really as a sort of delightful and affable (though sometimes a tiny bit stern) professor, an aged, distinguished, and agreeable gentleman, like most people imagine he must have been. But William Hartnell was not precisely that - he had a distance, a sometimes shocking coldness and alien-ness that at the beginning wasn't even in the script. This was something he brought to the show, and I believe it was intentional; yes, it's true that he had had a hard life to that time, and I think it's even true that that's why he sometimes seems a little cracked, a little not at all present - but Hartnell wasn't a bad actor, and the way he always talked about the part afterward indicates strongly that he knew exactly what he was doing when he injected that bit of himself into it. And it's an unsettling gravitas precisely because it's inconsistent; there are times when Hartnell's Doctor seems so very old, so very ancient and decrepit and powerless that he's about to crumble into dust - and then there are times, often a moment later, when he gets a sharp gleam in his eye and snaps at one of his companions with all coldness.

Also, one of the great virtues of the early writers (especially David Whitaker, the first script-editor) was that I think they picked up on this and connected with it. In fact, there was more room for that distance in the early episodes because the mythology of the Doctor hadn't built up yet; we naturally think of the Doctor as an adventurer and humanitarian, and his companion as a starry-eyed human who grounds him - the two an unseparable pair. But it's easy to forget that during the bulk of the first season, the three companions (two teachers and Susan) are actually there against their will, waiting for the Doctor to return them home after their errands, and that they spend most of the time wondering if this weird alien is to be trusted at all, whether they'll ever see home again.

One of my absolute favorite series of all time, one which I watch again and again because I think it's quintessential to what Doctor Who means, is the very third series, one of just two episodes: "The Edge Of Disaster" and "The Brink Of Destruction." These two take place only within the TARDIS, and prevent an interesting power struggle between untrusting characters who can't decide who is on their side. I think if you're looking to get into any early Doctor, those two eps are the best place to start, although of course you've got to check out "The Unearthly Child." They're brilliantly written, and they show that Whitaker caught on fast to the way he could best write Hartnell's character. I think Hartnell was unfortunately nuanced enough that his subtleties were easy to miss, and later he was replaced because people didn't see in him what I guess they wanted to see; all the same, he was a great Doctor.
posted by koeselitz at 12:04 AM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I wish I had my own time machine so I could jump forward in time to next Saturday already.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:06 AM on December 28, 2009


And, as has been mentioned, why could a medicinal healing tool be reprogrammed to turn every human being into a copy of a template?

You just set very narrow definitions for what's considered healthy.
posted by martinrebas at 3:58 AM on December 28, 2009


I think RTD has had a gigantic bag of crack that he's been dipping into since he brought the series back in '05, and for this finale, he ate all the crack that was left, and then ran his fingers around in the bottom of the bag for residue and masturbated with it.

I don't understand how John Simm can be so hungry after he CHEWED UP ALL THE SCENERY. (I adore the guy, but *jeez Louise!*)

If you haven't seen the Confidential for this one, I highly recommend it. Yeah, there's a lot of "blah blah how we faked the helicopter scene" tech talk, but just watching John Simm talk give his thoughts on the character and the work he did in this episode is freaking hilarious. He's so deadpan.

It's like RTD went into a crack hallucinatory state, and thought, "Heroes + Being John Malkovich + Silence of the Lambs + The Phantom Menace = MAAAAAHVELOUS!"

But. The café scene. Instant classic. Gorgeous acting. Easily makes the top five list of my favorite New Who scenes. If you put two terrific actors in a room and let them go, there's nothing better. Bernard Cribbins and David Tennant in those few minutes were the only things about the episode that I liked. Mostly, I sat there with my jaw hanging open, thinking, "I can't believe this is happening in front of me."

As for Moffat, I think his scripts have been some of the best: The Empty Child ("are you my mummy?") "The Doctor Dances", and "Blink" (now *that's* scary). But I loathe his absolute, glaringly obvious, and *public* hatred of the character of Rose--and I mean from before her Season Two exit. Don't put your personal problems on the screen, dude. And his comments about Rose in interviews, even while the character was still on the show, have been just shy of heinous.

In conclusion: I will be waiting for Part 2 with... wide eyes.

SPOILER PHOTOS IN THE LINKS

I'm done with the New Who after this, though--everything I've seen of Eleven (who looks like someone combined Keanu Reeves and David Boreanaz into one man, plucked out his eyebrows, and then smashed his face into a wall. Plus his nine-year-old, mini-skirted companion (is that really how police in Britain dress??) just reeks of "only teenage boys watch Doctor Who, so let's focus on them!"

END OF SPOILER PHOTO LINKS

(Watched David Tennant in Hamlet on BBC2 over the weekend. Good God, the man is talented.)
posted by tzikeh at 4:20 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


[Spoilers]





OK, I've now re-watched the episode, sober. The woman who pops up speaking to Wilf is, I now believe, the same woman who is standing with her head in her hands behind the Galifreyan President on his platform at the very end of the episode. So a Time Lord*, so still might be Romana!

* Like Prime Minister, not Prime Ministress.
posted by alasdair at 4:23 AM on December 28, 2009


Plus his nine-year-old, mini-skirted companion (is that really how police in Britain dress??) just reeks of "only teenage boys watch Doctor Who, so let's focus on them!"

To be fair, I've seen pictures of her from that ep with regular pants on, too. I'm betting there's an actual reason for the skirt.

Plus, have you seen Smith act? I mean, I haven't, so I'm not saying for sure he'll be good, but still. In the first Tennant episode, where he's unconscious for most of it, I was pretty much filled with dread the whole time. Who IS this new shmuck anyway? I want MY doctor back! And then (despite some of RTD's bullshit) he turned out to be pretty great. So there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:44 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I loved Eccleston's run. He was charming and scary at the same time. I always got the feeling when he would study someone expressionlessly before breaking out into that jawcracking grin that he was looking at them as if they were a hamster on a wheel. As if the human in question was completely irrelevant and amusing, but not worth serious consideration or true empathy.

Which, to a Time Lord, is pretty much how they would have to view it. The Companion is mostly a pet for someone who is all alone for unimaginable stretches of time. Do you seriously care about your dog as a person, even if you love them and take care of them and worry about them? I stand second to none in my love for my dog, and even I don't think of her as a person whose opinions are worth considering, even if she could talk. And that's what a Companion is. A talking dog.

I stopped watching Tennant, because he overacted so frequently and he was so dang inappropriately cuddly with people. The only time I was scared (other than Blink and The Empty Child) was when the erratic camera angles intended to indicate the Doctor was strange! and alien! made me a little seasick.
posted by winna at 4:58 AM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


showbiz_liz: Plus, have you seen Smith act?

Yes, in both Ruby in the Smoke and Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I fucking hate him. He's awful. And I can't stand looking at his face.
posted by tzikeh at 5:26 AM on December 28, 2009


bettafish: "Of particular "argh" were the creepy rich incesty black characters"

Oh, thank god I'm not the only one who picked up on the bizarre sexual chemistry between those two characters. Freakin' weird.
posted by afx237vi at 5:40 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


kittens for breakfast -- I'm not ruling out Wilf being a Time Lord (although I will note for the anagram happy that Astrid Peth [Kylie Minogue] from Voyage of the Damned not only was not a TARDIS but could not have been a more ordinary sort of hero), but it was specifically stated that the those glass operating cabinets that he was sheltering in were shielded from the clone ray radiation, so he was protected even as a human. Donna, now that's another story.

Yeah, having seen it again (this time not immediately after a long and tiring day of travel), I see that Wilf was actually protected by some shield constructed of, um, handwavium. And to be really honest, my overall opinion of the episode has dropped accordingly: Without a strong sense that this is all going somewhere much cooler, what I'm left is RTD basically turning his show's evil Jar-Jar Binks into an evil Neo from The Matrix after a not-terribly-coherent deleted scene from an episode of "Charmed," and then -- horrifically -- this perhaps most obnoxious character ever produced by the show duplicated ad infinitum at the cliffhanger. Hrm.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:31 AM on December 28, 2009


If the new season's writing is as dull as The End of Time (please, no!), the thought of having to watch not-David-Tennant-or-Eccleston acting it out is just too much for me. I'll watch bad plot if it's got Tennant in it, but doofy-looking Doctor and bad plot? No.

Although, I did like Captain Janeway or whatever she was called in The Waters of Mars. She had sufficient badassery to save that episode.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:18 AM on December 28, 2009


If the new season's writing is as dull as The End of Time (please, no!), the thought of having to watch not-David-Tennant-or-Eccleston acting it out is just too much for me. I'll watch bad plot if it's got Tennant in it, but doofy-looking Doctor and bad plot? No.

The guy who wrote The End of Time will be gone for good, replaced as showrunner by the guy who wrote The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. So I'm not so much worried.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:34 AM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


True, showbiz_liz, but the rest of the staff makes a difference, too -- how many of them are coming over or leaving?

I'm playing into kittens for breakfast's dislike of Marti Noxon here for the sake of a similar example, but even having a brilliant writer like Jane Espenson didn't necessarily fix some of the problems that occurred once Joss Whedon was concentrating more on Angel and leaving Noxon to run the day to day on Buffy, you know?

(And this from me, who actually doesn't hate the later-season Buffy eps as much as many other fans do!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:42 AM on December 28, 2009


huh. so i've been waiting a year for that, huh? glad to hear it. anyway, let me know when... you know... YOU FUCKS GET BACK TO WORK ON THE 5TH SERIES.
posted by shmegegge at 8:56 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm playing into kittens for breakfast's dislike of Marti Noxon here for the sake of a similar example, but even having a brilliant writer like Jane Espenson didn't necessarily fix some of the problems that occurred once Joss Whedon was concentrating more on Angel and leaving Noxon to run the day to day on Buffy, you know?

In fairness, though, if Jane Espenson had become the showrunner of Buffy after Joss Whedon shifted his focus elsewhere, Buffy might still be on right now. (Tangential: The last season and a half of Mad Men is interesting to watch with Noxon in mind, as it's shockingly obvious every time one of her contributions hits the screen -- hamfisted dialogue about gender relations, out-of-nowhere rape scenes, the evil of the penis -- stuff that not only is off-tone for the show, but seems to belong to a different and probably inferior show altogether, like a symphony that includes occasional off-key warblings from a drunken David Lee Roth. It's less that her work there is really bad than it is her work totally lacks subtlety and sometimes seems to have been written based on a wikipedia article about a show she's never watched.*) Moffat is, to my mind, a Jane Espenson-level writer, and I'm pretty confident about Doctor Who with him in charge. It remains to be seen whether Smith was the best choice, but the writing should be excellent.

*Mind you, I'm talking about scenes that aren't necessarily credited to Noxon, but if you've watched the Buffy episodes she produced, you Just Know.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:07 AM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to believe him, Davies said in the episode commentary podcast that Wilf isn't a secret Time Lord and that the war he missed wasn't the Time War.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:08 AM on December 28, 2009


It's funny how with that one appearance in Hot Fuzz Dalton went from being the crap James bond to being awesome in his own right. Checking IMDB he's only done a handful of stuff in between, I'm almost tempted to check it out to see whether there were any clues to this strange transition.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Based on Sparx's list of doctors' ages, I have analyzed the data set and computed the next doctor's age as the cubic function 70.8333 -16.1377*x + 2.6469*x^2 -0.1397 * x^3. The is the only way to account for the Peter Davidson dip; linear regression models would not account for such a drop without enormous residual error.

This functions predicts that the 12th doctor will be 17 years old, the 13th will be 18 months and the 14th will be cast nearly twenty years before being born like some sort of Dali Lama predicted by omens.
posted by autopilot at 2:30 PM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm almost tempted to check it out to see whether there were any clues to this strange transition.

Obviously, he opened that silly old fob watch he'd carried for as long as he could remember and regained his Time Lord DNA coolness.
posted by Servo5678 at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2009


It's funny how with that one appearance in Hot Fuzz Dalton went from being the crap James bond to being awesome in his own right.

I always kinda rated Dalton as an OK Bond... better than walking suit Brosnan and big fry Lazenby though of course not up to the original swagger of Connery or the safari-suited glories of Moore. (Craigs in the balance with one good, one duff)

... and of course the Daltonator was in Flash Gordon. So can never be all bad.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:42 PM on December 28, 2009


Oh and if Dalton is basically just gonna reprise his Fuzz turn in Who... I'll be very happy
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:43 PM on December 28, 2009


Oh lordy... Prince Barin... I'd forgotten. Clearly Bond is just a dip in his record of Awesome.

Obviously, he opened that silly old fob watch he'd carried for as long as he could remember and regained his coolness.

Really it should be a (very dusty) box of Cadburies Milk Tray.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on December 28, 2009


Craigs in the balance with one good, one duff

On reflection and another viewing I've decided that Casino Royale is basically a very good, very close to Fleming film which is bookended by some irredeemable shite. Not bothered with Quantum of Boris.
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on December 28, 2009


... and of course the Daltonator was in Flash Gordon. So can never be all bad.

Let's not forget his turn as not Errol Flynn, Hollywood Nazi superspy in the Rocketeer.
posted by rodgerd at 4:40 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess he's the go-to guy for neutral evil Robin Hood.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This functions predicts that the 12th doctor will be 17 years old, the 13th will be 18 months and the 14th will be cast nearly twenty years before being born like some sort of Dali Lama predicted by omens.

This makes more sense than you may realize. Because Time Lords only regenerate 12 times. So the 13th Doctor would be the last Doctor. Weird...
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:13 PM on December 28, 2009


unless you're The Master, at which point you can regenerate a 14th time as a hideously defomred monster, then a 15th time as a cat person, and finally as both Derek Jacoby and a young upstart simultaneously for some reason.

anyway, the power of love etc... the doctor gets all glowy, hoocha hoocha hoocha... the end.

spoiler alert.
posted by shmegegge at 7:20 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Say what you will about RTD, he managed to resurrect a dead series and bring it back to the front of popular culture.

True. He has then done his best to kill it. The episodes he writes and the influence over Tennant's Doctor from great and engaging to unbearable, truly rival the awfulness of George Lucas who did wonders to bring Star Wars and all of it's potential to us and then proceeded to bugger it as well and bugger it rather viscously.

Once again we have the very universe and everything and everyone in it ever in grave jeopardy. Once again we have grandiose in grotesque with millions upon millions of Masters. Not just one! We have an obvious "twist" at the end. It was clear that we had some overly dramatic Valyard type Timelord narrating and that we'd of course see the Time Lords again since they were supposed to be gone.

It's not that RTD has to go out in style and with a bang, it's that he has to go out so predictably awfully.

Equalling Lucas in mediocrity is an achievement of sorts I suppose. RTD is firmly in the why bother writing for adults camp. Most episodes of the Outer Limits are better written.

Moffat, we needed you way way earlier.
posted by juiceCake at 8:26 PM on December 28, 2009


ChangeYourAvatarToTheMaster
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:02 AM on December 29, 2009


juiceCake: “... truly rival the awfulness of George Lucas...”

I realize you're disappointed, man, but... no. Just no. Russel T. Davies cares about the series at least; he's written some of its greatest episodes. And to be frank, I think it's sort of silly to say that his writing has gone downhill; the last strictly regular-season episode (that is, aside from the run-up to the big finale) was Midnight, one of my own absolute favorites of the new series - an interesting, thoughtful character drama based primarily around the Doctor. It was really good.

I think The End Of Time probably just demonstrates Russel T. Davies' absolute nadir, his weakest point: action. He's always said that the biggest thing he felt he owed Doctor Who was the ability to fill out its stories with the visuals he thought it deserved. But in the end that project of updating gets to be a bit much - the crazy camera angles, the endless effects. One begins to yearn for the years when the Fourth Doctor had 'action scenes' where he had to fool the villains by distracting them with his floppy hat and then opening the door when they weren't looking - that was about as high-tech as it got then, and the rest had to be supplied by the actors and the brilliant characterizations of the writers.

But Russel Davies clearly can still write these characters, even if I think he didn't think much at all about what he was intending with this last episode, and he's still a Doctor Who fan rabid and devoted enough to want it to live well. That's why I think he's stepping down.

And, for what it's worth, this was originally supposed to be a regular-season plot, but it got pushed back and he was forced to throw it into the framework of a Christmas special and of his and Tennant's last days. So I can feel the tension he felt doing it; he has a few scenes that he feels obligated to put in for David (like the restaurant "when I regenerate, it's like I'm losing myself" scene) and a lot of very emotional stuff, some weird Christmas trimming (John Simm eating a whole turkey Seriously?) and, well, a bunch of junk.

I still want to trust R. Davies. After all this, after the work he did to get the series back in good shape, and to get the Beeb to respect it and do it well - well, I understand what it's like when you're trying to write that last paper for your last class during college, and you figure it could be your best paper ever except you're saying goodbye, and you're trying to deal with leaving and everything... I think this was a conspiracy of events more than anything.

Seriously, though - when was the last time you tried watching five minutes of those Star Wars pieces of trash? RTD is still better than that, no matter how far he's sunk.
posted by koeselitz at 5:38 AM on December 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


I just watched it and thought that for better or worse, it was a pretty typical modern Dr. Who episode. The plot was all over the place and had lots of holes but if you really care about continuity and logic, Dr. Who is probably not your show in the first place.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 AM on December 29, 2009


It has been pointed out (SPOILERS or possibly RUBBISHNESS ahead) that "Wilfred Mott" is an anagram of "Time Lord WTF"

In which case, it should also be pointed out that "Wilfred Mott" is also an anagram of "Time Lord FTW".
posted by bicyclefish at 9:46 AM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I realize you're disappointed, man, but... no. Just no. Russel T. Davies cares about the series at least; he's written some of its greatest episodes. And to be frank, I think it's sort of silly to say that his writing has gone downhill...

That's fine. I disagree. But... no. Just no, is absolutely yes, just yes for me. That Russel T. Davies cares about the series (at least) makes it even worse. I don't doubt that he does. The best thing he could do for it is to not write such awful episodes and thankfully he won't any longer.

You may think it's silly to say his writing has gone down hill. You're welcome to your opinion, i won't say it's silly because that would be silly. I believe and feel it has gotten worse. In fact the last group of episodes he's written are worse than fan fiction. They're bloody awful simply put.
posted by juiceCake at 10:12 AM on December 29, 2009


shmegegge: "unless you're The Master, at which point you can regenerate a 14th time as a hideously defomred monster, then a 15th time as a cat person, and finally as both Derek Jacoby and a young upstart simultaneously for some reason.

anyway, the power of love etc... the doctor gets all glowy, hoocha hoocha hoocha... the end.

spoiler alert.
"

Well the master did run out of regenerations yes, that's why he started stealing bodies and the like. He can't naturally regenerate anymore, he's extending his life via mad scientist means, similar to Morbius. So yes the Master has been blatantly cheating death.
AS for the "cat person" thing, that never happened. There was Sylvester McCoy and at some point he regenerated into Christopher Eccleston. Paul McGann as the Doctor and Eric Roberts as the Master are a terrible terrible dream we all had at one point, that is all. It is best forgotten and ignored.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:25 AM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even David Tennant can't stop from OVER-acting with his CHIN and unusual CAdences.



...But he's so pretty!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


bicyclefish: “it should also be pointed out that "Wilfred Mott" is also an anagram of "Time Lord FTW".”

Probably more fittingly, Wilfred Mott is also an anagram of "D(avies) & T(ennant) FILM ROT - EW!"
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 PM on December 29, 2009


Also Deft Trim Owl.

Think about it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:11 PM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The entire episode was a set-up for the worst pun ever.

Ah -- so it wasn't just me who thought that he came up with the gag first and then back-filled an hour from there to get to it?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:17 PM on December 29, 2009


I'm always happy to defend BBC America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC.

I find their endless hours of "How Clean Is Your House" etc repeats fairly indefensible. Yeah yeah, they have to pay their way -- but goddamn, they could try a little harder at bringing the best of the BBC over.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:19 PM on December 29, 2009


How can you say that about BBC America? Surely Footballers' Wives is the pinnacle of dramatic investigations into the human spirit!
posted by koeselitz at 5:03 PM on December 29, 2009


MrBobaFett: "Paul McGann as the Doctor and Eric Roberts as the Master are a terrible terrible dream we all had at one point, that is all. It is best forgotten and ignored."

That would be a serious mistake. The movie was indeed awful, almost too awful to be funny, but Paul McGann is a brilliant Eighth Doctor who's still producing new work under the form of audio dramas -- actually, between those, the books, and the comic line, there are at least as many Eight stories as there are from Seven and Ten, possibly more.

Eight's a bit like Ten in that they share that sense of outright glee at the wonders of the universe, but where Ten is more than a little goofy, Eight is breezily unflappable and prone to introspective sarcasm. He's one of the happiest Doctors if not THE happiest Doctor, but he's also the one who (probably) destroyed Gallifrey twice, and the Eight --> Nine transition has "giant case of PTSD" written all over it. It's really a damned shame that the movie was such a mess because McGann deserves more screentime, or at the very least wider acknowledgment of his talent.
posted by bettafish at 5:07 PM on December 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: “...But he's so pretty!”

Indeed. And without a doubt the very best moment in The End Of Time 1 was the old lady flirting shamelessly and copping a feel off of the rear end of a confused and stunned David Tennant. That's one of those things that I'm sure has been on Davies' "things I've got to do before I stop working on the show" list. (A list which I might add seems to have been shorter than I thought it was.)
posted by koeselitz at 5:07 PM on December 29, 2009


We had a deal, Kyle - Atleats they're not showing Benny Hill anymore - WTF was that all about?
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on December 29, 2009


without a doubt the very best moment in The End Of Time 1 was the old lady flirting shamelessly and copping a feel off of the rear end of a confused and stunned David Tennant.

Somewhere I have bookmarked a YouTube clip of David Tennant on some British talk show from 2007 where the hosts read him excerpts from Doctor Who slash fanfic. His reaction is the best visual demonstration of the term "gobsmacked" I've ever seen.

(Although, it is a little surprising that a self-professed geek made it all the way to 2007 without being aware that Doctor Who slash existed....)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2009


I would bet money that was Graham Norton.
posted by Artw at 6:29 PM on December 29, 2009


bettafish,

No I'm sorry he's crap. Paul McGann, the books and all the Big Finish radio plays are rubbish. Because they all rely on the faulty premise that the piece of shit movie is canon. Doctor Who ceased to exist after McCoy went off the air and only re-appeared with the new series.

Also Paul McGann is a git, he is the most uninterested participant in the creation of anything Doctor Who ever. He really could give two shits about Doctor Who except they give him a pay check. He is not clued in about the universe and generally just considers the whole thing a paying gig and has no interest in it beyond that.

I have not read any of the comics or listened to any of the radio plays, and never will for the sole fact that they follow that damned movie.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:37 PM on December 29, 2009


Uh, I haven't listened to any of the audio stuff, but as much as I agree that the TV movie was terrible, your take on the whole thing seems slightly unfair and kind of deranged, MBF. Without actually reading/listening to any of the work, it's impossible to say whether it's any good; and McGann's personal investment or lack thereof seems pretty irrelevant to whether his work is worthwhile.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:07 PM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


We had a deal, Kyle: "...I find their endless hours of "How Clean Is Your House" etc repeats fairly indefensible. Yeah yeah, they have to pay their way -- but goddamn, they could try a little harder at bringing the best of the BBC over...

koeselitz: "How can you say that about BBC America? Surely Footballers' Wives is the pinnacle of dramatic investigations into the human spirit!"

Huh, so apart from Doctor Who, does BBC America show any shows that were made by the BBC? The shows mentioned above were made by Channel 4 and ITV.
posted by afx237vi at 6:16 AM on December 30, 2009


Apparently Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and The Graham Norton Show are both BBC productions, and they are both aired on BBC America. Top Gear is, too. I was surprised to see that Kitchen Nightmares, which is on ALL THE TIME isn't a BBC show.

Fascinating.

I do miss the early days of BBC America, when they were showing all manner of (to American eyes) peculiar sitcoms. Now it's reality television of one ilk or another pretty much non-stop reality television of some sort or other (Cash In The Attic, How Clean Is Your House, You Are What You Eat, Top Gear, Kitchen Nightmares, even Antiques Roadshow [which I adore]). Aside from that, it runs BBC World News America twice a night (best network news on TV, IMO), "shocker" one-offs on topics like "1000 men own my breasts" and such ilk...

I do love the channel -- I watch it more than nearly anything else on our zillion-stream sat service. But it is likely a pale reflection of the true wealth of offerings the BBC has available.
posted by hippybear at 7:30 AM on December 30, 2009


Grrr. posted without preview. Can you tell?
posted by hippybear at 7:31 AM on December 30, 2009


Huh, so apart from Doctor Who, does BBC America show any shows that were made by the BBC? The shows mentioned above were made by Channel 4 and ITV.

Here's the schedule for BBC America, pretty much all reality shows other than Dr. Who and World News. At least when they don't edit the Dr. Who episodes as much as SciFi did.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 AM on December 30, 2009


Their documentary coverage is particularly disapointing - I'm constantly hearing about interesting stuff that I know won't make it over, and instead we get this.
posted by Artw at 8:26 AM on December 30, 2009


Also Paul McGann is a git, he is the most uninterested participant in the creation of anything Doctor Who ever. He really could give two shits about Doctor Who except they give him a pay check. He is not clued in about the universe and generally just considers the whole thing a paying gig and has no interest in it beyond that.

I'm fortunate in that I don't give a fuck what the actor thinks of the franchise. I imagine there are plenty of actors who are there just for the paycheck and have no interest in the film or television series. It matters not if the performance is outstanding and McGann is an outstanding actor.

I know nothing of the man however and don't care to. Irrelevant to the performance.
posted by juiceCake at 8:36 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before Tennant, McCoy was the Doctor who had been most reverential of the Who franchise...
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on December 30, 2009


(Pertwee, on the other hand, gives every sign of finding the whole thing very silly. Draw your own conclusions.)
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on December 30, 2009




Because they all rely on the faulty premise that the piece of shit movie is canon. Doctor Who ceased to exist after McCoy went off the air and only re-appeared with the new series.

Nope, he's canon all right. This clip from The Next Doctor 100% confirms that as fact.

I'm a new fan and I haven't even seen a serial from every Doctor yet, so I have no opinion about McGann at all. For all I know you're right and the movie was the shittiest shit to ever shit, but it's canon for sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:59 AM on December 30, 2009


I still say Rowan Atkinson was canon.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


For all I know you're right and the movie was the shittiest shit to ever shit, but it's canon for sure.

As for the movie: imagine if Lifetime Network did a take on Doctor Who.

But I blame the writers, who I could tell were operating under the principle that "oh, this is going to be on AMERICAN TV, and they won't get it unless there's a love story shoehorned in there and we explain everything to within an inch of its life", which is why it sucked. Paul McCann just got stuck trying to make bad writing palatable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:07 PM on December 30, 2009


For all I know you're right and the movie was the shittiest shit to ever shit, but it's canon for sure.

So, I;m hazy on this, but the Doctor is half human and has some kind of never mentioned before-or-since fortune telling power?
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on December 30, 2009


Well, god forbid an actor treat his job like, er ... his job. David Tennant is clearly very happy as a Promoted Fanboy, but that's not for everyone, nor should it be.
posted by bettafish at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2009


There's a lot to be said for the attitude of Alec Guinness, who famously told a fan who had seen Star Wars 100 times and would do anything for an autograph not to watch it again.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've no real idea if Dimensions In Time is cannon or not, but I do know that Big Ron was robbed. I'm still bitter about it... who remembers Mandy now, eh? No one! No one, I tell you!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:20 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


McGann being mentioned in an episode of Doctor Who makes him just as canon as Jango Fett, which is to say not. Not at all. Also an actor can't bring much to a role he will not invest in.

I get that some people are for some reason fan-boys of McGann, and I think that's sad. It doesn't make him one of the Doctors. And nothing short of Sydney Newman telling me different will change that.
posted by MrBobaFett at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2009


I don't think anybody's a McGann fanboy, necessarily. But if McGann wasn't a Doctor, then Tennant isn't the tenth Doctor, he's the ninth Doctor. And, while that distinction hasn't been really pivotal in the plots so far, it might become important later. But just because Davies made that decision doesn't mean we all have to.

Frankly, I feel like McGann wasn't exactly my favorite or anything, but good god almighty, at least he was better than Colin Baker. And just because Colin Baker was all gung-ho and loved the series didn't make him any good at it. Furthermore, you want continuity problems and canonicity conflict? Colin Baker was a walking continuity problem. He was, after all, the only actor ever to play the Doctor after already having appeared in the series before - as a character who shot the previous doctor. Yeesh.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on December 30, 2009


Oh come on, actor re-use is practically a Who tradition!
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on December 30, 2009


I'm afraid I don't have quite the right set of parts to be a McGann fanboy. Sorry to disappoint.




Seriously, though, there is no official, overarching, absolute Doctor Who canon, just a lot of common and not-so-common consensus. It's fine to pick and choose for your own self, but there's no need to condescend to someone who dares to pick differently.

koeselitz: I haven't heard any of the Six audioplays, but I've heard a lot of comments here and there that Colin Baker's performance in them is far superior to his onscreen run. Take that as you will -- it's not something I can attest to personally.
posted by bettafish at 3:23 PM on December 30, 2009


Oh come on, actor re-use is practically totally a Who BBC tradition!
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on December 30, 2009


Others like an actor I don't and have a different point-of-view than I do. This means they are fanboys. Holy fuck.
posted by juiceCake at 4:35 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also an actor can't bring much to a role he will not invest in.

Fortunately in this case, he invests what he needs to which doesn't mean he has to be a fan of the series. There's this guy, Russel T. Davies, whose a big fan of the series and yet he's made the series nonsense.
posted by juiceCake at 4:37 PM on December 30, 2009


Collin Baker is totally the weakest of all the Doctors, but he was a Doctor and he was better than Paul McGann could ever hope to be. Also yes Tennant is the 9th Doctor, I'm aware of that. I can count.

That is yet another reason Paul is not one of the Doctors, it would be a total waste of a regeneration. We've only got thirteen incarnations, and we need to make them count. It's bad enough they only used Eccleston for one fragging season. We need to be keeping more of them on board as long as we had Tom Baker. At least a minimum of 4 seasons, full seasons.

As for being condescending to people who disagree with you on a point of fiction, that's the whole point of being a fan. Seriously if I don't get to pick on people who are Adric and Peri fans, what is the whole point of it all?
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:52 PM on December 30, 2009


I think a major flaw of RTD's is an inability to let go of characters who have run their course.

I think this is partly due to the personal ties that RTD has with the actors that play those characters. In the writer's journal that Davies published, he sometimes says things like, "ooh, we should have Donna come back," but more often than not, he'd say things like "Catherine Tate was fantastic and a delight to work with, ooh, I wonder whether we can find a way to get her back?" This is another reason to separate writing duties from head honcho duties.

I just got around to watching the last two specials. I can't say that I understand the dislike for Waters of Mars that there seems to be -- I thought it was very tight. The Doctor deliberating whether he should be passive or active in changing history, and the route he decided to take, was a great way to ramp up for a regeneration. And it had a pretty decent creature feature as the background story.

The first half of (the first half of) The End of Time was really shoddy, but the second half was fine. I don't understand the Cribbins love. He was serviceable as a background character, but he hams up the doddering, salute-anything-that-moves attitude way more than befits a character with that much screen time. I'm pretty sure this is another case of Davies liking the actor so much that he feels he needs to cram the character in, even though the character's presence is entirely inappropriate. I kinda wish that the actor who originally played Donna's grandfather didn't die so that we wouldn't be needlessly stuck with Cribbins. I also thought the Doctor breaking down in front of the old man was just embarrassing. There was no emotional lead up to the moment. I don't think we've ever seen the ninth or tenth (or any previous?) Doctor cry, so the breakdown seemed arbitrary and forced. I'm surprised to see that scene so lauded.
posted by painquale at 5:14 PM on December 30, 2009


We've only got thirteen incarnations, and we need to make them count.

I know this is going to come as an almighty blow, but writers write stories for this series and they like to make things up. If we can have JesusDoctor and SuperSimm, I suspect a Doctor reaching the end of his regenerations is going to be a minor obstacle to cover.

Also, Paul McGann being the 8th Doctor is something you're just going to have to deal with in the same way that putting yours hands over the ears while going "LALALALALA" isn't ever going to erase the aforementioned JesusDoctor and SuperSimm from the Dr Who canon.
posted by panboi at 5:25 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


hippybear: “Oh come on, actor re-use is totally a BBC tradition!”

That's ridiculous. Everyone knows that the BBC is very careful to throw actors away when it's done with them.
posted by koeselitz at 5:38 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "That's ridiculous. Everyone knows that the BBC is very careful to throw actors away when it's done with them."

Tch. How shockingly un-environmental.

See, that's one reason to like Six right there: Colin Baker, the eco-friendly Doctor!

As for "not wasting regenerations," well:
What do you think the future holds for the Doctor on TV, considering he can only regenerate 12 times?

"It's amazing how many people remember that, isn't it? [...] No way will a programme like this stop when you reach the Doctor's thirteenth incarnation. All you need is one line of dialogue that says, 'That's not true anymore.' There are a million ways around it. You've seen the Master resurrected. He was dead, but the Time Lords resurrected him. So it'll never end, Chelsey. Never."

'Russell T Davies in Conversation with Chelsey Lamb' - DWM 415 (via)
In the words of an entirely different set of fans ... 'nuff said.
posted by bettafish at 5:58 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously if I don't get to pick on people who are Adric and Peri fans, what is the whole point of it all?

Not that, to me, but hey, go nuts and put people down with groundless name calling. I can't speak for others but I've seen Paul in Withnail and I, Hornblower, and Dr. Who. I don't anything about him personally other than he's a male and British (Irish?). So if that's a fanboy then so be it. Perhaps the others no even less or more.
posted by juiceCake at 6:05 PM on December 30, 2009


No way will a programme like this stop when you reach the Doctor's thirteenth incarnation. All you need is one line of dialogue that says, 'That's not true anymore.'

I think everyone has figured as much and will just give it a pass. The writers from years back made up in the first place to accommodate an actor change? It would be pretty difficult to anticipate the series going for as long as it did, not to mention the brief stints of McGann, Colin Baker and Ecclestone.

It be hilarious if RTD brought back Turlough.
posted by juiceCake at 6:14 PM on December 30, 2009


No way will a programme like this stop when you reach the Doctor's thirteenth incarnation. All you need is one line of dialogue that says, 'That's not true anymore.'

If Chris Carter could figure out an excuse for how to make Agent Scully pregnant even though all of her ova had been harvested by alien fertility doctors in the CIA one year previously, and people actually bought it, then the PTB at Doctor Who can figure out an excuse for a time-traveling alien being to have a longer-than-average lifespan.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 PM on December 30, 2009


Not that I'm bitter about what Chris Carter did to Scully or anything, mind you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also thought the Doctor breaking down in front of the old man was just embarrassing. There was no emotional lead up to the moment. I don't think we've ever seen the ninth or tenth (or any previous?) Doctor cry, so the breakdown seemed arbitrary and forced. I'm surprised to see that scene so lauded.

The idea that Ten's death is imminent has been around for a while now in the series. As he explains, regeneration is like death - it's not the same man in a different body.

I don't care if we've never seen the Doctor cry in any incarnation before, I'm glad we saw it this time. Maybe we'll never see the Doctor ever cry again, but people like the scene because it's nice to see a figure like the Doctor be emotionally vulnerable every now and then. Even if it only happens once every 46 years.
posted by crossoverman at 6:55 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah I read RTDs comments about the regeneration limit and have heard others say the same thing. It doesn't make them right. If they go beyond thirteen incarnations without some seriously good plot driven reason, well explained and only adds one more regeneration I will personally blow up the BBC studios. Fucking eh, it's not hard to be fucking consistent in writing. It's also more than a single throw away line in the Deadly Assassin, it's the whole goddamn motivating factor in Mawdryn Undead, they will eat thru the Doctors remaining regenerations, that is why he hesitates, because of the massive sacrifice. Sure I guess the writers could just shit all over the Doctor and the episode, but it would be stupid.

Is it really asking too much for an editor? Seriously, one guy who decides yes or no on all things. Books, TV Episodes, Radio plays, etc...

As for the Doctor crying over a regeneration, that is stupid. He may fear his possible true death, but he does not fear regeneration as we do death. For reference see Logopolis.

I just hope the Moffat can undo some of the damage RTD has done.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:43 PM on December 30, 2009


If they go beyond thirteen incarnations without some seriously good plot driven reason, well explained and only adds one more regeneration I will personally blow up the BBC studios.

The Time Lords offered the Master another set of regenerations in the old series. In the new series it's indicated that they gave it to him. I'm sure the BBC studios are safe if "Time Lords did it" is presumably a good enough reason.
posted by Gary at 12:36 AM on December 31, 2009


Seriously if I don't get to pick on people who are Adric and Peri fans, what is the whole point of it all?

She may have her knockers, and for the most part was twined with the worse doctor, but ah... she was lovely.

However I cheered when Adric died.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:51 AM on December 31, 2009


She may have her knockers.

I see what you did there.
posted by panboi at 5:38 AM on December 31, 2009


However I cheered when Adric died.

Dude, that's cold. Over the silent credits and everything?
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on December 31, 2009


Dude, that's cold. Over the silent credits and everything?

Well I did have tears... of laughter.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:58 AM on December 31, 2009


You are a very bad man. He died for us!
posted by Artw at 9:00 AM on December 31, 2009


More endings than bleeding Lord Of The Rings.... hurry up and die already.

And on first impressions the new Doc is even more irritating than the last one...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:00 PM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, no, I rather liked him! "I'm a girl!" My truly Who-fan friend says Moffat wrote all of his dialogue, not Davies.

I was completely wrong on the Daleks and Time Lords returning and a general "reset" of the universe. Hurrah, good to be surprised!

And the TARDIS is ruins. I'm seeing a Jon Pertwee-style "trapped on Earth" series.
posted by alasdair at 12:08 PM on January 1, 2010


Oh, and finally - so, we never had it spelled out who the crying woman was, did we? I'm still hoping it was Romana, though probably is was his mother or something...
posted by alasdair at 12:13 PM on January 1, 2010


Even David Tennant can't stop from OVER-acting with his CHIN and unusual CAdences.

...But he's so pretty!


"I'd hit it" is not an excuse for Megan Fox's career. It should not be an excuse for bad Doctor Who episodes.

There's a lot to be said for the attitude of Alec Guinness, who famously told a fan who had seen Star Wars 100 times and would do anything for an autograph not to watch it again.

Given that said fan was a 6 year old, the thing to be said for Guinness was "what a shitbag for making a six year old cry when meeting his celluloid hero." If Guinness hated his Star Wars gig so mch, he could have sent the cheques to charity by way of atonement; I prefer Michael Caine's take on movies of his he didn't like.
posted by rodgerd at 1:01 PM on January 1, 2010


That was a really awkward first scene -- I could hardly even heard Eleven over all the explosions. Did he say "Geronimo" at the end?

Other thoughts:
- I love Wilf but enough with the Doctor love-fest already. It got a bit cringeworthy.
- How many times can the Doctor and the Master change allegiances in five minutes?
- It's kind of annoying that they never explained who the Time Lady was when the likelihood of Moffatt explaining is so small.
- WHOO RASSILON wait, I shouldn't be cheering him, should I. But it's Rassilon, you guys.
- Martha and Mickey getting married is a bit ... neat. I don't mind it exactly, but c'mon, wtf?
- Jack/Alonso, heh.
- The new logo looks quite decent in action, although we'll have to see how the text-only version appears in the credits.
- The Master is totally not dead. But dude, the guy whose guiding motivation is survival just killed himself to save another person! I really hope we get some follow-up on that when he returns.
posted by bettafish at 1:22 PM on January 1, 2010


Did he say "Geronimo" at the end?

Yeah, looks like it's the new catch-phrase... (trailer for the new series)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:09 PM on January 1, 2010


The (final) knocking four times thing was pretty neat.
posted by memebake at 2:29 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Part 2 was much better than Part 1, although some parts were still oozing hokum and cheese. The plot was virtually incomprehensible if you ask me. That stuff about the diamond: what??!

But still, the final 20 minutes were amazing. Tennant's tantrum when he thought he had cheated fate, only for Wilf to mess everything up, was outstanding.

The non-explanation of the mysterious Time Lady was slightly frustrating, but also interesting. I doubt that's the last we'll see of her. My initial thought was the Doctor's mother?

The trailer for the next series looks good too. Vampires! Weeping Angels! The foxiest assistant ever! BRING ON THE MOFF.
posted by afx237vi at 2:31 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am about to go watch Part 2 - afx237vi makes it sound good, so here's hoping.
posted by koeselitz at 2:58 PM on January 1, 2010


Don't know what to think of Eleven yet definitely, the "geronimo" was meh, but then I remember it took me awhile to warm up to Tennant as well. I trust Moffat on his casting of the damn lead at least.

I don't think it was the best. episode. ever. But the knock, knock, knock, knock from Wilf was nicely done. I think I might wish they'd moved all those "endings" to before he went into the final battle though. Then the final battle happens and he thinks he's dead, then the realization and the transformation inside the glass box would have been pretty awesome.

Mostly I just want the BBC to realize the glory of time travel shows. They can make three different Doctor Who series concurrently with Eccelston, Tennant, and the new one. With all that talent out there willing to write it (I'm sure there are some volunteers right here on MeFi) and the built in audience, we could get 39 episodes a year pumped out without breaking a sweat. No more spinoffs, just more Doctor Who's! It's the worstbest wouldnevercouldneverhappen idea ever!
posted by haveanicesummer at 4:11 PM on January 1, 2010


For any non UK-ers like me-- since the BBC is bizarro and won't even let me view the TRAILER for 2010 Who on their website outside the UK, here's the 2010 trailer on youtube.
posted by haveanicesummer at 4:19 PM on January 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ooh. I actually really like the look of that. It's very shooty/fighty.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2010


The last ep definitely had its moments, but while the "knock 4 times" thing was neat I couldn't help thinking it was also a weak solution when you consider the Doctor has his trusty screwdriver which normally can open anything.

The new trailer looks like there's some treats in store. The army up against the Angels? There was a definite Aliens vibe coming off those scenes. Roll on Spring!
posted by panboi at 4:50 PM on January 1, 2010


That trailer was great! I'm pretty excited about the new Doctor now. But, aw man, is that a weeping angel in there? That story was perfectly self-contained; I wish they could have left well enough alone.
posted by painquale at 8:41 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, against my hopes, fecking Daleks again.

But still, very excited.
posted by Artw at 8:42 PM on January 1, 2010


Man, that was one of the worst episodes of Doctor Who ever. I would almost consider allowing Paul McGann's stories into canon if we could just ignore this one. Really this was total dreck.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:11 PM on January 1, 2010


painquale: “But, aw man, is that a weeping angel in there? That story was perfectly self-contained; I wish they could have left well enough alone.”

They are in fact mentioned (very briefly) in Part 2 of "The End Of Time." I'm about to watch the trailer - haven't yet - but I guess it makes sense that they would be bringing them back.

Okay - watched it now, and I must say I'm very, very excited! The overall difference to me, at least, appears to be: less of this slick, modern flashiness; more of the look and feel of the classic 70s-era episodes. I like that. (Maybe I'm being drawn in too much by the bowtie.) I also really like Matt Smith, so far at least. Like Artw says, "very shooty-fighty," and I like that particularly because it's shooty-fighty in a hands-on, close-quarters sort of way. And because it's interesting - particularly in the context of part 2 of "The End Of Time," but in the context of the Doctor Who philosophy in general. Let's see, we have... the Doctor punching somebody... the Doctor hitting a Dalek with a sledgehammer... and the Doctor - firing a gun? Of course, the pacifism of Davies' Doctors isn't exactly all the character's capable of - I remember Peter Davison being pretty handy in a fight, and even the Fourth Doctor, who had as much bemused dislike of guns as anybody, had been known to knock somebody down if he had to.

Looking back, I think one of the biggest drawbacks of Russel Davies' approach was that it was so often so abstract as to be almost meaningless. I mean, a few of those Christmas specials (this one included) - he's moving planets around the universe, shifting stars and recharting Time and all that, and after a while, you're like, "Jesus, what the hell is even going on? Does any of this even make sense?"

I'm not asking for Shakespearean acting, but it'd be nice to see a few episodes where there's some focus on the immediate and tangible, where the Doctor can actually just be where he is and inhabit his environment, instead of having to fly around through time and space being a shiny blinking Time Lord.
posted by koeselitz at 10:18 PM on January 1, 2010


MrBobaFett: what do you think of the 2010 Doctor Who trailer? Will Smith & Moffat bring a change for the franchise's better, do you think?
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 PM on January 1, 2010


After getting into Doctor Who from the revamped series, I've currently been watching the original series from the starting point. Currently about halfway through Pertwee, he's still trapped on Earth but the Master (who is definitely more awesome as Delgado, no question about it) has been captured. Maybe it's just where I am but this new Doc reminds me of him, with the Venusian Karate and so forth.

The second part of this special was definitely better than the first. Beyond the somehow throwing a diamond from Gallifrey to Earth, and Donna's weird little masterdeath-mindbeam, and the lack of explaining Wilf's ability for coincidences, and the lack of explaining the Time Lady, and the massive amounts of fan service at the end, and the fact that somehow this Doctor's regeneration managed to take hours or days and blew up his Tardis [really? It was just a bit of radiation, shouldn't be that destructive], but other than that...I think I forgot where I was going. Continuity issues are part & parcel, but it still wasn't great.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:53 PM on January 1, 2010


Also, against my hopes, fecking Daleks again.

That means they like me better than you. Though I'd prefer a few toned down Dalek stories where they just want to roll around and blow up stuff. They don't need to be flying around by the thousands putting the whole universe in peril. They definitely don't need to be half-human and/or having the doctor trying to teach them about love.
posted by Gary at 11:50 PM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: I don't know. I'm really kind of excited about Moffat but I am not excited about Matt Smith. I wasn't excited about Eccleston either but ended up liking him. Maybe Smith will suprise me/grow on me and Moffat can provide some writing that doesn't come of as fan-fic.

Honestly when they were shopping around for a new actor I was hoping they would go with someone older than Tennant. I personally kind of wanted to see them look at Sean Pertwee. We'll see.

Artw: Of course there will be Daleks. Daleks are part and parcel for Doctor Who. Every regeneration has faced the Daleks, and they shouldn't change that. That said we don't need Daleks every season maybe. Also I expect to see another CyberMen episode at some point. Either the new or the classic would be fine with me.
posted by MrBobaFett at 12:03 AM on January 2, 2010


That means they like me better than you. Though I'd prefer a few toned down Dalek stories where they just want to roll around and blow up stuff. They don't need to be flying around by the thousands putting the whole universe in peril. They definitely don't need to be half-human and/or having the doctor trying to teach them about love.

Well, all of that is kind of why I'd like to see Daleks take a bit of a holiday, like maybe a year or ten.
posted by Artw at 12:11 AM on January 2, 2010


The last ep definitely had its moments, but while the "knock 4 times" thing was neat I couldn't help thinking it was also a weak solution when you consider the Doctor has his trusty screwdriver which normally can open anything.
posted by panboi


I'm not making excuses because I certainly wouldn't do everything the same they did, but there was a line where the Doctor mentions his screwdriver would release the radiation onto Wilf also, were he to just pop the door open. So they did cover that angle, at least.

Per the trailer I am cautiously optimistic, more optimistic because it's Moffat than because of the trailer if only because Doctor Who is notorious in my mind for having awesome trailers. They're quite excellent at editing together montages from even mediocre episodes that look like they'll be AWESOME. Sometimes they live up to the montage... other times not quite.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:17 AM on January 2, 2010


Lemurrhea: “After getting into Doctor Who from the revamped series, I've currently been watching the original series from the starting point. Currently about halfway through Pertwee, he's still trapped on Earth but the Master (who is definitely more awesome as Delgado, no question about it) has been captured. Maybe it's just where I am but this new Doc reminds me of him, with the Venusian Karate and so forth.”

That's awesome that you're going through the whole program like that. Also, holy crap - soon you'll get to watch the Fourth Doctor! People can always disagree, and everybody has a different opinion, but to me (and a lot of people) Tom Baker is the Doctor, and will be forevermore; he inhabited the role in a way nobody else has done, and had this sort of amusing delight and gangly child-like wonderment combined with witty vitality that made him an absolute joy to watch, no matter what he was doing. Best Doctor, hands down. I guess the only reason he left after seven years was because he was used to helping out with the scripts and having sort of a free hand to play with the character a bit (when he and his chief companion, Sarah Jane - remember her? - parted ways, Robert Holmes decided they should write their goodbye sequence together, and it was fantastic) and the new producer who took over in the 80s, enamored of Star Wars and cool sci-fi special effects, wanted to modernize and wouldn't let Tom mess around with the scripts and the character as much any more. I know that no other Doctor has so identified with the role. (Although, of course, all of them are special. Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor doesn't get as much attention for being awesome as he deserves.)

Venusian Jiu-Jitsu is great, but - Jelly Babies! There's just something about the Doctor who'd always be stopping a villain in mid-plot to ask: "excuse me, would you like a Jelly Baby?"
posted by koeselitz at 3:10 AM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Artw: “Well, all of that is kind of why I'd like to see Daleks take a bit of a holiday, like maybe a year or ten.”

I feel you there. In fact, I feel even more so about the Master now; every time he comes back it seems even more improbable, and I appreciate that he's an important part of the series, but - well, at least with the Daleks they made some attempt to give themselves an out, a reason they might not have all died. (Showing them disappearing briefly into the Time Vault or whatever, say.)

Just, well, a moratorium for maybe a season or two or three on characters-who-we-have-to-really-stretch-to-come-up-with-reasons-they're-still-alive would be nice.

I really like the Ood. They should keep going with them. They're like friendly little Cthulhu-heads.
posted by koeselitz at 3:14 AM on January 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


So - you can see what a ridiculous Doctor Who geek I am - I'm watching the Christmas episode of Qi (great show in its own right) on which David Tennant appeared recently. It's the funniest Qi I've seen in a long time. The highlight so far is the fact that they've all apparently come to the conclusion that Tennant's last episode of Doctor Who ought to involve the Doctor dying at the hands of Graham Osmond, the Osmond family's crazy uncle who lives in the attic and writes all their songs with a pencil clenched in his clawed and withered hand.
posted by koeselitz at 4:08 AM on January 2, 2010


The BBC opens up page for comments on the last ep. Daily Mail readers try to hijack it. Comedy ensues.
posted by panboi at 4:15 AM on January 2, 2010


*SPOILERS GALORE*
(sorry for not using this last time)

Ok, now I've watched part 2, and I'd like to go over some of my criticisms for the first part:
* The green guys were on a salvage mission, ok. Which unfortunately does not exactly explain how the master-race-device ended up on earth in the first place, nor why they had to get the thing into working condition right there.
* Good thing the ravenous appetite of the Master was not transferred in any meaningful way to his clones, because that would have been... bad.
* So, Donna just... falls asleep and drops out of the story. Errr. Yeah. I can totally buy that, especially since the Master, with 6+ billion clones at hand, could not spare three more to check up on what happened to the first group (now that that one-shot time-lord-stunner-thingie went off).
* I'll give the writers the return of the human race; even though it was done with a literal hand-wave, it was effing RASSILON! The big R, the Rass-man, Rassi the Great, forger of the Killing-Timelords-And-Also-Race-To-Individuals-Returner-Glove of Rassilon! If there's one guy who can sell that, it's him.

Other than that: well, that episode was kinda meh. I disliked how many elements from the first part were simply dropped (like the aforementioned Donna-story arc, or the whole story behind the coloured couple who started the whole mess, or the Master's need to constantly feed). And I especially hated the action sequences (come on, a single trashy spacecraft against the total arms power of the human race (*cough*England*cough*Torchwood*cough*anti-alien UNIT)? And they shoot down all missiles with asteroid mining lasers? With WILF doing half of the shooting??? And then the Doctor jumps without a parachute through a hatch in the cockpit (???), lands on a glass roof, crashes through it, lands flat on a solid marble floor and appears pretty much undamaged?).

There were some nice elements, like the Master giving serious thought to his motivations and plans and whether the Doctor was actually right, or Wilf looking at earth from orbit, or some of the "farewell" scenes; but at least as many scenes were seriously overwrought (in the showdown the Doctor cocks the hammer of his already-cocked revolver 4 times (I counted), each time with a dramatic sound effect).

Overall: an average send-off for the old Doctor, some good moments, some bad, but nothing revolutionary either way (oh, and please, writers: IF YOU PLAN TO USE PLOT HOOKS FOR LATER, PLANT THEM MORE SUBTLY! "Monuments to their shame - the weeping angels of old", indeed. Good grief, the Doctor goes down a list of all kinds of nasty things which just so happen to exist very, very close to earth for a brief moment of time - golly gee, I wonder if any of them were left behind? Oh, and Rassi and the gang, including the Master just... vanish. Oh my, I wonder if they're gone for good? I mean, Gallifrey fell, there's no way they could come back, right?).

I have to say that I'm looking forward to the next season(s), though - there could be some nice writing done about a Doctor who is acutely aware of his own mortality, his last chance to do something right. As long as there's not too much overlap with the last series this could be good; I concur fully with the "recurring actors" comment made by painquale earlier, this is something that bugged the hell out of me whenever it was done on Star Trek.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:54 AM on January 2, 2010


Dr Who and the Regeneration of the Queen Mum... loved the linked Cribbins ad. Check the prices at the end, would have been an absolute fortune back in the day.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:09 AM on January 2, 2010


Well, having finally seen the second part, I can honestly say that that was terrible. The first part had the pacing of a hyperactive six year old, and the second part was a little too Doctor being angsty for me. I really liked the overall plot, but ... ech ... it was poorly assembled. And the new guy looks a little like Colin Baker to me, which makes me nervous.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:56 AM on January 2, 2010


Even David Tennant can't stop from OVER-acting with his CHIN and unusual CAdences.

...But he's so pretty!

"I'd hit it" is not an excuse for Megan Fox's career. It should not be an excuse for bad Doctor Who episodes.


Personally, I think he looks a bit like a ferret. Some really excitable member of the mustelidae family, anyway. But as a straight man, I doubt that I'm the target audience.

That said, I thought he was much better interacting with an older man than with a younger woman. I've never especially liked either his episodes or his performance, but Tennant's Doctor suddenly seemed to acquire a real and meaningful persona in those scenes: the son whose father thinks he can accomplish anything, who is painfully and irritably aware of his own limitations.

Other thoughts:

* restoring the whole human race with a wave of Timothy Dalton's hand seems like a ridiculously easy and rather cheating solution to being backed into a plot corner - a sort of "with one bound he was free!" for the modern age? (It feels somehow like there should be an internet meme where Timothy Dalton solves other problems by waving at them).

* the many many MANY endings got a bit much. We should all be so lucky as to die in such a way that we can go and fix the life of everyone we have ever cared about before we finally snuff it. That's not death, that's a victory lap.

* "geronimo"? Wince.

At least RTD is gone. Seeing his run on Who retroactively ruins Dark Season for me - it seems to have all the same flaws...
posted by lucien_reeve at 9:42 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty awful final but the impact is lessened by expecting just that.

I truly hope that no more RTD episodes puts an end to the hideous blend of hallmark greeting card, fan fiction, and melodrama that have basically put the series in a toilet. Moffat, I suspect, will have to deal with removing it from the toilet but I hope he can overcome.

The new Doctor has to be the oldest looking young Doctor I've ever seen. It matter not how old Smith actually is, he looks entirely British and 10 years + on Tennant. Reminds me, for some reason, of Davison.

I have no real reaction to him as of yet. I remember well my first regeneration experience, Pertwee to Baker. As a young lad I was horrified but of course Baker turned out to be superb. Since then I've handled regenerations neutrally, waiting to see how the new guy pans out.
posted by juiceCake at 10:29 AM on January 2, 2010


(It feels somehow like there should be an internet meme where Timothy Dalton solves other problems by waving at them)

That would be a meme that WILL *NOT* DIE!!!

*spit*
posted by Servo5678 at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Timothy Dalton was actually the very best part of The End Of Time to me. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first appearance of Rassilon onscreen as a living character, isn't it? There was some sort of ghostly apparition in "The Five Doctors," I think, but this is the first time for Rassilon in the flesh. And I like this developed Rassilon - much more, er, evil than any Rassilon I would've imagined. I had no idea he'd been alive until the end of the Time War, either.

Of course, now he's back in the Time Lock again. Which I suppose is Russel Davies cheeky little way of daring Moffat to be as silly as he was - "oh ho, here's a plot difficulty I wouldn't have had trouble overcoming! I would've just had somebody wave a magic banana in the air, and Rassilon would've reappeared as a character in the show! Do you have balls that big, Steve-o?"

PontifexPrimus: “... oh, and please, writers: IF YOU PLAN TO USE PLOT HOOKS FOR LATER, PLANT THEM MORE SUBTLY!”

Oh, good god, yes. I second this: please, for the love of god, you guys. And not only the bit about planting plot hooks subtly - The End Of Time showed that Davies at least needs to learn it the other way around, too: IF YOU PLANT PLOT HOOKS, SUBTLY OR UNSUBTLY, FOR OBVIOUS USE LATER -- USE THEM, DAMMIT! The sheer number of wasted opportunities in this episode was astronomical: Wilfred's strange hightened abilities; the possibility of Donna's re-Doctorification; the political and social implications of an entire planet populated by six billion copies of one insane man; -- all of that stuff hit dead ends where we all expected something to come of them! Argh.

I did prefer the dialogue this time around, and that's what it's about in the end. But I that, where Davies started out sort of careful and reverent about mucking about in the Doctor Who universe that he'd loved for so long, now he's gotten so insane and drunk on the power that he has to be stopped. Weirdly enough, he's just like Rassilon in this way: he'll destroy that whole universe, just to be the one who did it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:12 PM on January 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


the political and social implications of an entire planet populated by six billion copies of one insane man

Hmm. That's another thing.

The Master is an insane cannibal megalomaniac who wants to be lord of all he surveys. Would he actually like himself? Would he get on with himself that well? Or would it be too many generals and not enough soldiers?

Did the show address this or did I just miss it?
posted by lucien_reeve at 2:04 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


His name may have been Rassilon, but that is not the same Rassilon entombed in the Dark Tower. He may even be that Rassilon's great great grandkid, but he is not the same Rassilon. RTD can sod off if he thinks I'm going to ever buy that.
Really I hope Moffat ignores large swaths of what RTD wrote and blatantly contradicts some of it to put the universe more in line with where it was at the end of season 26.

At the very least we can be sure we won't see any more of Rose!

The Master is an insane cannibal megalomaniac who wants to be lord of all he surveys. Would he actually like himself? Would he get on with himself that well? Or would it be too many generals and not enough soldiers?

Did the show address this or did I just miss it?


No you didn't miss it. Mostly I think you can chalk it up to lazy writing, because I and others I know wondered about the exact same thing. Seriously the Master doesn't take orders from anyone, even if it is another the Master. If they all had a link and were working as an overmind I would have bough it. But it was clear that wasn't how it worked since he didn't realize the green guy was the gaurd.
posted by MrBobaFett at 2:32 PM on January 2, 2010


The sheer number of wasted opportunities in this episode was astronomical: Wilfred's strange hightened abilities; the possibility of Donna's re-Doctorification;

I got the impression that Wilf's involvement was simply fate, that at some stage he had to meet the Doctor, get to know him and at the critical moment be the one that causes him to die.

Donna's arc in this story was unnecessary, but then again so was the whole seeding of the Ood as being part of the the story several eps back. Then again, I liked the fact that we're never told who the mysterious woman was. We're clearly being given a small window on the history of the Doctor and that we'll have to reach our own conclusions (Until Steven Moffat writes the story where she's actually the creator of the Weeping Angels and Matt Smith's Doctor ends up shooting her in the face with a gun. Geronimo!!).
posted by panboi at 2:41 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor doesn't get as much attention for being awesome as he deserves.

I've never understood the lack of love; perhaps people were so upset with Colin Baker by then he got written off.
posted by rodgerd at 3:00 PM on January 2, 2010


Okay, I watched it.
What happened to Billie Piper's face?
posted by typewriter at 3:09 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


lucien_reeve: “The Master is an insane cannibal megalomaniac who wants to be lord of all he surveys. Would he actually like himself? Would he get on with himself that well? Or would it be too many generals and not enough soldiers? Did the show address this or did I just miss it?”

Well, hunting for unbelievable things in the Davies script is like firing a submachine gun into a barrel full of fish and hoping to land some seafood, but this was just one of the many weirdly incongruous things about this episode. Did you notice how strange that was? The Master would say to copies: "You all! Follow my command and do this!" -- and they'd all just say "Yes, sir!" and do it. WTF? Are they copies, or just drones? I kept waiting for one of them to be like, "fuck you!" but that never happened. When the Doctor starts to evade capture, the Master even seems to get pissed off at the copies - he starts yelling at them, "find him IMMEDIATELY!" and all this - and they just take it, not minding a bit. I guess investigating that would've meant taking the plot in a completely different direction, but still - the Master lets people just yell at him like that, and doesn't do anything about it? Even if it is technically him that's yelling at him...
posted by koeselitz at 3:25 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "When the Doctor starts to evade capture, the Master even seems to get pissed off at the copies - he starts yelling at them, "find him IMMEDIATELY!" and all this - and they just take it, not minding a bit. I guess investigating that would've meant taking the plot in a completely different direction, but still - the Master lets people just yell at him like that, and doesn't do anything about it? Even if it is technically him that's yelling at him..."

Exactly! There's this one scene near the end when one of the clones try to warn the original that there's a spaceship about to crash the party, and the original just goes "Not now!".

First of all - I hate this trope. Evil rulers who are known for meting out cruel and unusual punishments to their subordinates should know that they would only interrupt their grand speech / meticulous preparations / victory ceremony / whatever if it was really, seriously important.
Secondly, in this case it is the Master himself who thinks that something is so important that he has to warn himself. If they really were clones and Master as intelligent as asserted the original should have known that that was the reaction that he himself would have had if he'd been at the window instead of five paces away - so he does not even trust himself to be able to decide what's important enough to him.

I know that this is nitpicking, but I think this could have been handled so much better; especially the fact that every clone would probably gun for the position of the original and not be content to be just a cog in a machine.

Derail: I dimly remember a SF story that dealt with someone who got accidentally duplicated (transporter / time experiment?) and who had to deal with the fact that there was now someone else exactly like him; someone who loved his wife just as he did, who had the same body, the same thoughts. The story ended with the "original" arguing to himself that the newcomer had more right to exist, since he was newly created and thus "younger", "fresher", so he as the "parent" had to make room and allow the clone to take up where he left off. So the original killed himself. Then the story went on to tell about the clone, who had thought about the situation, too, at the same time, and argued that he was a mere copy, and the original had the right to live his life without an intruder. So he killed himself.
A bit of that would have been nice, indeed.

posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:10 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


***Spoilers for Promethea***

So in Alan Moores Prmoethea there's a Joker like character called The Painted Doll, who seems to die and return Aeon Flux like rather a lot. It turns out that it's a series of Painted Dolls being activated one at a time, and a whole bunch of them get activated at once. Violence, mayhem and destruction for the city are expected to ensue, but instead the Painted Dolls all get pissed off at not being unique and kill the shit out of each other.

That's roughly what I'd expect to happen with the Masters.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on January 2, 2010


Man, so many haters! On balance, I dug it (though I agree with the "blown opportunities" complaint), and liked Dalton most of all, since his magic glove from Torchwood (you know it's the glove from Torchwood) makes stupid plotlines go away so we can move on to the stuff we actually care about. I too would like to see this become an internet meme, but I'd like it even better if Rassilon just randomly appeared on all sorts of television shows, handwaving dull subplots away here, disintegrating obnoxious secondary characters there, and spitting. The trailer for S5 looks great -- cool villains, cute girls, and a Doctor who gets so frustrated with the Daleks he rips off one's eye-stalk and starts beating the little bastard with it? Yep, that's the show I wanna see. I guess my lack of rancor means I'm not a true fan, but I can't help it: My issues with this episode weren't great enough to take away from the overall good feeling I got from it, and I really am looking forward to what's next.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:56 PM on January 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


*cough* S5? S5 was Patrick Troughton's second season. Methinks you mean... S31?

</pedantic geekery>


Oh, I didn't love these last two, tho' they were fun as they went. But it'd be very hard for me to hate a Doctor Who program.

(For reference, I came the closest I've ever come to hating something Doctor Who-related this weekend - not because of these episodes, but because I dug up that god-awful 1996 movie and got halfway through before I had to stop. I don't think McGann's the worst thing about it, but my god; it's not even Doctor Who. To start with - I mean, a Doctor Who story set in LA? I can see maybe doing that right, but... they didn't. They did everything you could possibly do wrong. It has the slick, sort of cheesy production of a David Lynch film, but without any of the pathos and with a kind of...

Well, I read somebody's comment on a message board somewhere that described it perfectly: picture somebody in Hollywood in 1994 seeing Doctor Who for the first time by watching two or three episodes from the mid-80s; that person says, "wow, they say this stuff is huge in England" and promptly hires a focus group to spitball some ideas about how to import the show. They bring in some great innovations that are sure to pull in the ratings - add a love interest; weird special effects; make the whole thing sort of an adventurous romantic-comedy; stick in some classic American movie elements like machine-gun-wielding Asian gangs (!), second-rate hospital drama, sappy sax-o-tastic soundtrack, and weird sci-fi stuff like worms and creepy lighting here and there. Then, they put the whole thing together, making sure to iron out any annoying 'Britishisms' that would certainly offend American sensibilities. It's astounding - it's like it's the perfect example of the awful American remake of a UK show. And then they were surprised that, when it aired, all of England watched, riveted with shock and aghast dismay, whilst Americans didn't give a rat's ass. I can see why MrBobaFett's kinda pissed off about that movie, although I understand why Davies felt that, based on plot considerations, he'd rather include it in the canon.)

Anyhow: no, I didn't hate Davies' episodes, and I'd buy the man a beer or six any day. It's just that I'd mock him ceaselessly and tell him he went completely insane whenever he tried to film a Christmas special. And I know that he, being a Doctor Who geek of the first order himself, would probably be happy to debate the finer points of the universe.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 PM on January 2, 2010


I tell you, this thread has been torturous for a New Yorker who had to wait until the 11:30 pm BBC America broadcast. But I have now finally seen it, and so...

....The writing was just...meh. It was more about..."we have to give David Tennant a proper sendoff -- oh, wait, we have to have some kind of a plot in there too. Uh...okay, after we send Ten to say goodbye to everyone he ever had lunch with, that leaves us...20 minutes? Okay, fair enough." The Time Lords buildup was dispatched in a cough and a spit.

However - I do appreciate that the farewell to Rose wasn't a tearful journey to the alternate universe. And there were a couple fun bits - I do like the fact that the way that Ten said farewell to Jack was by playing wingman for him in that bar on Tattooine. And then there was: "Worst! Rescue! Ever!"

All in all: I felt sorrier for David Tennant than I did the Tenth Doctor in that episode, from a sense of, "aw, he doesn't get to play the Doctor any more and that must feel so weird for the poor guy...".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]




Yay, now I can talk about the episode!

* The Rassilon reveal was the best part. Rassilon! RASSILON! (With the Torchwood glove!) I'm a little upset that there's probably no way to bring Dalton out of the time lock in a satisfying way. I want him spitting all over the place all of the time. Rassilon! MrBobaFett's curmudgeonliness is appropriate with regards to a lot of parts of the episode, but not the Rassilon reveal. They did him justice. He was so powerful, he got to break the fourth wall and be a narrator! Rassilon!

* I didn't mind the way the Masters interacted with one another. Actually, I thought it was appropriate. This is a pretty childlike version of the Master, and all the copies were all playing a game with one another. The audience of Masters all clapped at the "president's" speech, for instance. It was all pretense. And that's exactly the kind of thing that the Master would have to do to avoid disaster... the Master's smart enough to know that he'd lose if he didn't just kid around with his buddies, so he might as well just kid around. It's a cliche to have a bunch of megalomaniac villains lose because they can't keep from each other's throats, so I'm glad that didn't happen.

* Tennant's exit took forever. I didn't like the diner scene in the previous episode, and I didn't like any of the weepy reminiscing that occupied the last twenty minutes of this one. "I don't want to go"... that line was bullshit. You know that RTD is going to be talking about how that line was just as much for him as it was for the Doctor, buit he'll be totally wrong --- that line was not for the Doctor; it was for him alone. I'm more of a RTD fan than most people in this thread, but those final twenty minutes, culminating in that line, represented utter vanity.

* Yeah, what happened to Billie Piper's face? She looked totally different; I hardly recognized her.

* I didn't really understand the weeping angels line. Were the Time Ladies going to be turned into weeping angels? Were they forced to imitate the weeping angels forever or something? What was going on?

* The last three specials all referred to the fact that the Tardis towed the Earth. That sucks, because it needs to be blasted out of canon ASAP. Gallifrey appearing next to Earth is not nearly as awful.

* Thanks for the heads-up on the QI episode, koeselitz. I was disappointed with it though. Tennant fell into the trap that newcomers to the show always do and tried to be right instead of funny. And that other first-timer was an unfunny attention hog. (Also, let me complain about the fact that all QI episodes used to be available on Youtube, but were taken down when suits decided to release the series on British DVDs that I am unable to play.)

* I think that I am placing an unreasonable amount of trust in Moffat. His Whos are fantastic, but Coupling was a more embarrassing version of Friends. Jekyll was pretty good, but when I watched the bit with a character having a conversation with a prerecorded video, I started to wonder if Moffat wasn't one-trick. That he has decided to bring the weeping angels back is really making me worry.

* I hate Wilf.
posted by painquale at 12:31 AM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hah, I thought Tom Baker returning to the series sounded perfectly awful, but I guess I was just imagining a Time Crash-style meeting of the Doctors: the suggestions in that article about how he could return are both pretty sweet. Having him play the Master or having him play the Doctor in a Doctor-lite episode are both great ideas.
posted by painquale at 12:36 AM on January 3, 2010


I guess my lack of rancor means I'm not a true fan

FWIW, I don't think I'd describe myself as a true fan either: I'm just opinionated.

I watched a bit of Doctor Who as a kid, but not too much (it was simply too scary!) I jumped aboard the train with the first of the new series and then fell off it again mid-way through the second season, when it began to seem that Tennant's Doctor solved every problem by enthusing wildly while the chorus cheered him on -

DOCTOR: "humans! you're brilliant aren't you! amazing! fantastic! childlike enthusiasm! I'm snogging Marie Antoinette! fantastic! and building this plot device! wow! wonder at the universe! and! over! acting!"
BACKGROUND CHARACTER: "isn't he amazing! look at him children! he's just so amazingly gorgeously amazingly Doctorish, isn't he?"
CHILD 1: "One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel"
CHILD 2: "Daddy, that man looks like a ferret. He's scaring me..."

Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.

(And yes, I know that the awful self-congratulatory line about angels comes from a Moffat episode.)
posted by lucien_reeve at 4:42 AM on January 3, 2010


For those who've seen The End Of Time and want - that is to say, to those as profoundly perverse as myself - here's the one-hour behind the scenes show for the episode:

Doctor Who Confidential: "Allons-y!" [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 (last one not up yet apparently...) ]

This is youtube, of course, so FlashGot it while it's around to be gotten if you so desire it.
posted by koeselitz at 5:14 AM on January 3, 2010


BEST TRALER ANALYSIS EVAR!!!

VAMPIRE MATRIX!!!!!
posted by koeselitz at 5:23 AM on January 3, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: All in all: I felt sorrier for David Tennant than I did the Tenth Doctor in that episode, from a sense of, "aw, he doesn't get to play the Doctor any more and that must feel so weird for the poor guy...".

I was just going to recommend the Doctor Who Confidential that aired after TEOTpt2, but koeselitz beat me to it. There's lots of stuff about Tennant's final days on set, and you can really tell he's going to miss it.
posted by afx237vi at 5:52 AM on January 3, 2010


So we just got round to watching part two. What. The. Hell. Davies?

IF YOU PLANT PLOT HOOKS, SUBTLY OR UNSUBTLY, FOR OBVIOUS USE LATER -- USE THEM, DAMMIT!

Oh hell yes. Some of the stuff wasn't so much Chekhov's gun as Chekhov's nuclear missile, with saddle, strirrups and handlebars, sat next to a sign that reads, "Please do not ride the missile."

After the Doctor had apparently survived and was celebrating we were expecting Mott to smack him around the neck with a shovel out of his potting shed and steal the TARDIS. And had I not already been inoculated against the utter shitness of RTD's plotting, I would have been disappointed that the Doctor was done in by a bizarre booth that fills with radiation for no apparent reason (why didn't they make another booth next to it, out of the same materials, route all the pipes into it, and not put a door on? Who designed that machine?) except that RTD liked the end of Star Trek 2.

It sucks for Moffat both that Davies just resolved the biggest question of his entire run -- what the time war was, and where the Time Lords went -- in two hours of screen time, and that it was absolutely terrible.

Here's to hoping that Moffat and co. can deliver a Doctor who, unlike this one, actually takes us with him to see the Fantabulous Turtlopedes of Gigantibross XVII, and leaves the visits to people's mums to one-line anecdotes. why yes, Davies, the Doctor has seen stuff we wouldn't believe... because you didn't show us!

Plus, I never want to see the Ood again.

*deep breath*

On a positive note, I really like the new Doctor already. He reminds me of the guy from All Creatures Grunt and Smell, which can only be a good thing, as I loved his whimsical arrogance.

*another deep breath*

We laughed like hell at the end, where Tennant!Doctor attacked the Sontaran with a hammer, after his reluctance to use a gun was treated with such gravitas earlier in the episode. I imagined him further blugeoning the thing while it was on the ground. I *smack* DO *smack* NOT *smack* USE *smack* GUNS! *squelch*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:54 AM on January 3, 2010


Doctor Who Confidential: "Allons-y!"

Watching this it's not difficult to see why RTD stuff is awful and hilarious how, in some cases, what is supposed to be what's right about this is exactly what is wrong about it to me.

RTD: There will be kids watching this that will remember this for the rest of their lives, that's just brilliant...


I don't know what to say.

Julie Gardner: It was about giving David Tennant the biggest goodbye... Saying a huge emotional terrifying goodbye to the Doctor.

Hence the over the toppedness, melodramatic nonsense.

Euros Lyn: When I read the script ... I'm thinking what on Earth is Russel thinking.

I'm right there with you Euros.

Timothy Dalton: I don't think I'd ever read a script like it when I first read the script ... like seven or eight different scripts in one and it ranges from, you know, Coronation Street through 2001, you know, through almost every genre, it's brilliant.


Agreed, except for the brilliant.

it began to seem that Tennant's Doctor solved every problem by enthusing wildly while the chorus cheered him on

Exactly. Unfortunately this continued to be played up and up into total mediocrity. It could be charming in bits but awful in constant.
posted by juiceCake at 8:01 AM on January 3, 2010


ArmyOfKittens: "We laughed like hell at the end, where Tennant!Doctor attacked the Sontaran with a hammer, after his reluctance to use a gun was treated with such gravitas earlier in the episode. I imagined him further blugeoning the thing while it was on the ground. I *smack* DO *smack* NOT *smack* USE *smack* GUNS! *squelch*"

*ComicBookGuyVoice*
Hitting a Sontaran warrior when he is down would accomplish nothing, since their skulls are well-armored and resistant to hand-held weapons. You will notice the Doctor is holding a rubber hammer which he had used to hit the sensitive probic vent at the back of the suit, temporarily disabling the Sontaran; something he previously accomplished using a tennis ball, bounced the right way.
Gods, I'm a nerd...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 8:08 AM on January 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


I was just going to recommend the Doctor Who Confidential that aired after TEOTpt2, but koeselitz beat me to it. There's lots of stuff about Tennant's final days on set, and you can really tell he's going to miss it.

Alas, the links koeselitz posted no longer work. Which links did you have?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:24 AM on January 3, 2010


Well, I missed part 1 and was underwhelmed with part 2. Like a lot of people have said, too many missed opportunities. I'm glad Tenant is done; he was good for a while but I'd really burned out on his portrayal of the Doctor, and I hope the new one doesn't just imitate him. My favorite part was Timothy Dalton as Rassilon; there's a character I hope to see again, and I'll forgive Moffat whatever twisted scriptwriting he needs to bring Rassilon and his magic Torchwood gauntlet back in the future. And some explanation of the unidentified Time Lady (the Doctor's mother? Wife?) would be nice.
posted by homunculus at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2010


Matt Smith in the trailer with the sunglasses looks EXACTLY LIKE JAMES VAN DER BEEK.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:52 AM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: “Alas, the links koeselitz posted no longer work. Which links did you have?”

Huh? They still work just fine for me. I would say this is a country-IP thing, but we're both in the US, no?

Hrm. Hold on -
posted by koeselitz at 12:13 PM on January 3, 2010


Ah, I see - part 4's audio was removed. But it's still complete, at the moment, here: 4 5 6.

And now I feel like a crazy outlaw, so I'll quit doing this. Good luck getting that, all.

posted by koeselitz at 12:33 PM on January 3, 2010


Matt Smith in the trailer with the sunglasses looks EXACTLY LIKE JAMES VAN DER BEEK.

I was in bits trying to work out who he reminded me of until I figured out it was a Mr Potato Head-like Michael Palin

re: Tennant on QI, there was also a special Doctor Who episode of pop music quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks last month
posted by rollick at 4:21 PM on January 3, 2010


NOW HERE’S how to usher in a new era of Doctor Who. From 1984, RUSSELL HARTY greets a suave PETER DAVIDSON and his successor COLIN BAKER for some stilted sofa chat.

Worth watching to the end for the horrifically embarrassing appearance of some Who fans in the audience
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:06 AM on January 4, 2010




For anyone who despises their childhood, and wishes to utterly despoil it, there's always the classic Dalek lesbian porn 'film' Abducted By Daleks, directed by none other than 'Don Skaro,' in which it is finally revealed that the Daleks' lasers have a 'vibrate' setting.
posted by koeselitz at 9:36 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, if you want to go all "Doctor Ho-er more like" then there's always Tom Baker flogging Prime Computers: Step into the 80s!
posted by Artw at 9:49 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, Artw - never knew what Tom was doing in the '80s. Erm. Huh.

Ah well - he redeemed himself for me by doing the quite-funny narration stuff for Little Britain.

Anywho -

Here's a very, very preliminary episode guide to Season 5, if anybody's interested. It's the sort of "let's all guess what happens!" stuff that geeks tend to produce, but it comes from the always-top-shelf blog Life, Doctor Who, & Combom, whereupon the resourceful (hint hint) may find links to streamed video copies of every Doctor Who episode ever. [Like, maybe if you looked on the sidebar there.]
posted by koeselitz at 1:51 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


*cough* S5? S5 was Patrick Troughton's second season.

I was about to argue with you for a second, when I remembered that they switched doctors in the middle of the 4th season.

/nerd

posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:32 AM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish this thread could stay open so you guys could keep plying me with great Who links forever.
posted by painquale at 4:34 PM on January 6, 2010


I still say Rowan Atkinson was canon.

Curse of the Fatal Death has a high quality, official copy on YouTube.
posted by Gary at 4:57 PM on January 6, 2010


VWORP VWORP!
posted by Artw at 12:30 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]




*stares*

I really, REALLY don't want to know how drastically FOX'S standards and practices department would change the character of Captain Jack.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2010


I'm amazed that enough cocaine exists in the world to make that seem like a good idea to anyone.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2010


what's amazing is that that will be exactly what happens. Torchwood will receive no promotion whatsoever. I begin to wonder if there's some kind of broadcast television tax loophole for failed tv shows that Fox continually exploits, the way German investors used to be able to do for Uwe Boll's movies.
posted by shmegegge at 11:55 AM on January 19, 2010


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