Spoilers don't bother me but they might bother others
June 26, 2010 9:53 PM   Subscribe

For the original 1963 airing of Doctor Who, composer Ron Grainer worked up an early electronica experiment for the main title sequence which remains entrancing to this day. With the 2005 reincarnation, composer Murray Gold remained thankfully faithful to Grainer's composition, but the rest of his score has been highly character specific. See: Rose, Martha, Donna, The Ninth/Tenth Doctors, Amy, and finally the sweeping, epic theme for the Eleventh Doctor.
posted by Navelgazer (261 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
Though I prefer the classic electronica versions, the Grainer version is truly epic. And I don't mean that in the new leetspeak, but actually evocative of an epic. Very cool.
posted by darkstar at 10:04 PM on June 26, 2010


The Rose theme was really well used. I ended up not liking her after she kept coming back, but that theme still brings out sad emotions in me.

Can I just throw it in here -- no spoilers -- this season's finale was the most delightful thing I've seen in a very long time. It is what Doctor Who should always be.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:07 PM on June 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


*the orchestral version
posted by darkstar at 10:13 PM on June 26, 2010


Solon, I just saw it tonight, and yes. It was perfect.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just watched the finale. Agreed that it was perfect. The whole season was one great episode after another.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:33 PM on June 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The finale was pitch-perfect and very tightly plotted. Also helps me appreciate some other episodes in the series more.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:34 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


They've been using sound very subtly this season. There's the crack/silence vibe music, and they used a new creepy sound during the end of the finale (the sound can be heard when the Doctor is flashing back to Amy putting the card in the window and just before the phone call at the end).
posted by oonh at 10:37 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was actually thinking of making an FPP out of this history of the Doctor Who title theme, but this looks like the right place for it.
posted by weston at 10:38 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


(OT: Also, where on the internets can Americans like me watch the finale? Soon? Before reality collapses and I've never seen Episode 12?)
posted by weston at 10:43 PM on June 26, 2010


No love for Delia Derbyshire?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:43 PM on June 26, 2010 [17 favorites]


Very right, infinitewindow - how did I miss that? Thanks for adding it!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:05 PM on June 26, 2010


Honestly, I thought the score was the weakest part of the current series (particularly the opening title, which is only just starting to grow on me). The "excitement/climactic" bit of score was particularly overused.

(On the other hand, everything else about the most recent series was absolutely incredible, finale included. Kudos to Moffat for managing to out-climax Davies without seeming contrived. I can't wait to see what he does, moving forward, and am also obviously looking forward to Neil Gaiman's episode. My only criticism? No John Barrowman.)
posted by schmod at 11:20 PM on June 26, 2010


(OT: Also, where on the internets can Americans like me watch the finale? Soon? Before reality collapses and I've never seen Episode 12?)

The only other people I know who watch Doctor Who are my sister and her boyfriend. Since that second Silurian episode, we've both been pretending we have no idea who this Rory guy she's talking about is. She seems quite annoyed by it.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:23 PM on June 26, 2010 [36 favorites]


I always loved the Doctor Who soundtracks, but somehow I didn't pay any attention to it in the new incarnation of the show. So I am glad to have my attention drawn to it with this post.

Thanks weston, that history of the theme music was great, although it seems a bit pointless without being able to hear the actual versions being discussed. So I am off to the usual places to find that, and listen along with that essay.

And yeah, no spoilers but I just finished watching the finale. Yeah, it was perfect in its way, but somehow, I wish it had been more. I will only obliquely say that the universe didn't seem big enough for a Who finale.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:31 PM on June 26, 2010


No love for Delia Derbyshire?

There's definitely love for her here.

I particularly love the part where it talks about how Ron Grainer was so delighted and surprised at her rendering of the score he'd written that he asks "Did I write that?"
posted by weston at 11:32 PM on June 26, 2010


We really need a tardis.metafilter.com because ohmygodthatseasonfinale.
posted by Phire at 11:40 PM on June 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's hard for me to admit this in public, but the middle eight of the Doctor Who theme is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 11:41 PM on June 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Delia rocks. The other's rock too, but I'm wondering why Murray Gold stayed on when RTD left.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:55 PM on June 26, 2010


Fezzes are cool.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 11:59 PM on June 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


Personally I've never been mad about the titles that include a TARDIS physically tumbling through a time-space tunnel, something I think they started in the Colin Baker era, but I'm probably wrong. I prefer the mysterious effect as a mysterious effect, a metaphor for transdimensional travel, not a literal depiction of it. And if the TARDIS is physically flying through spacetime, why does it fade in and out on departure and arrival? Why doesn't it fly away?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:07 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't stand the new themes.

They're just too artificially epic sounding, as if someone analyzed songs that are considered intense and programmed the instrumentation to sound like an idealized version of "the epic song" version of the theme. Plus the crashing sound effects when the Tardis hits the wall of the time tunnel thing are just distracting and cheesy.

This version theme just reminds us that we're in an incredibly shallow time where the synthpop 80's seem like a valid source of musical material and autotuning and tabbing to transients is a production norm, rather than an isolated monstrosity.

This stuff will feel so dated in a couple of years, but the early versions of the theme song still feel relevant. The difference between target group and creative genius is obvious in the theme song as well as the plot and writing of the TV show (though to a MUCH lesser extent this season than that awful plotless post Chris Eccleston RTD stuff-that stuff was pathetic).
posted by reklus at 1:36 AM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


PYEEEEEEEEEEYeeeoowww

dodomdodom dodomdodom dodomdodom dodododom dodo domdodom dodomdodom dodomdodom do

ooEEEEOOOOOOO! EEEEEEyyoooooOOOOOOO!

OOOOoooooooooOOOOOoooooooodo

(domdodom dodomdodom dodomdodom dodomdodom....)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:06 AM on June 27, 2010 [22 favorites]


I think the theme for Nine was well done. But I felt like Ten had about twelve different themes (maybe not officially, but in terms of what was used for dramatic purposes) and one of those motifs was a tweaked version of the Ninth Doctor's. And then with Eleven, there's a single clear theme again, but if I'm hearing it right, it's a revision of one of the motifs they used with Ten--although a different one than the original Nine motif--

I still can't quite decide if I think it's lazy or brilliant to have leitmotifs for the Doctor regenerate like the Doctor does--the same yet different--
posted by colfax at 2:08 AM on June 27, 2010


I really, really like the 11th doctor action theme. I find myself humming it all week after the latest episode.

You may be asking yourself, how could they possibly resolve last week's cliffhanger in a satisfying way? Well, they did. It was completely, totally, wholly epic.

Goodbye!
posted by heathkit at 2:19 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


And if the TARDIS is physically flying through spacetime, why does it fade in and out on departure and arrival? Why doesn't it fly away?

George_Spiggott, it depends on who you ask...

The Tenth Doctor: "Oh, it can fly. For a space ship, however, the TARDIS does remarkably little flying. Usually, it just enters and exits the time vortex."

BBC Producer: "Simply fading in and out allows for greater versatility in setting/storytelling without a large expense in special effects."

Dalek: "Why? I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!"

Cyberman: "The humanoid mind. You are inquisitive. You will be upgraded."

Amy Pond: *pouts lips*

Captain Jack Harkness: *smothers you in hot man-kisses*

The Master: "You are indeed a worthy opponent, George_Spiggott. It's what gives your destruction its... piquancy."

The Fourth Doctor: "Hello-o-o-o... Would you like a jelly baby?"
posted by stringbean at 2:21 AM on June 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


River Song: You're not flying it properly! You're leaving the handbrake on!

Eleventh Doctor: I like it fading in and out. The fading in and out is cool.
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:37 AM on June 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


You know what is cooler than 10 youtube clips of Doctor Who theme music? 346 covers and remixes of the Doctor Who theme music.

What's even cool than 346 covers and remixes of the Doctor Who theme music? This interactive graph that lays them all out ranked by "production" vs "traditionalism"!
posted by AndrewStephens at 3:26 AM on June 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


What I love about the visuals of this year's theme is that spoilers for the finale on mouseover.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:37 AM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


The "Grainer's composition" link ("Every Doctor Who Theme 1963 - 2010") is one of the greatest lessons I've ever seen in how a series of small additions to a simple but effective idea can end up ruining it. Starting from about the second Tom Baker theme (2:07 in the video) each of them gets a little bit more pointlessly complicated, mostly by taking effects that in the original seemed (deceptively) like effortless artefacts of the synthesis and folding them back in as obvious and laborious variations. By the end the whole thing is a decaying mess of elaboration.

It's kind of disappointing that nobody since 1980 has managed to look back at those early versions and create something new from them without giving up all of their simplicity and driving eeriness.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:40 AM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's hard for me to admit this in public, but the middle eight of the Doctor Who theme is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time.

Me too; I get a Proustian rush every time.
posted by chill at 3:57 AM on June 27, 2010


The Dr Who theme is straight up the best TV theme tune ever.

PS - thanks for no spoilers guys, still haven't seen the final two episodes yet.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:03 AM on June 27, 2010


While I was crate digging in Plano, TX many many years ago, I found a Dr. Who record. It was a 12" single with a Dalek hologram cover. The a-side is a couple of variations on the Dr. Who theme (the original, and whichever was current at the time - I think it's from the late 70's, but it's buried too deep in my disorganized pile of singles to find). The B-side is an astounding but essentially intolerable 7-minute disco/funk version of the Dr. Who theme song with slap bass, that's slowed down to about 105 BPM. It's pretty bonkers.

Oh yeah, and tucked away in the sleeve? An autographed glossy of Jon pertwee.
posted by orville sash at 4:17 AM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Surely not as bonkers as the Shatner-esque "I Am The Doctor" (sung by Pertwee.)
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:23 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I particularly love the part where it talks about how Ron Grainer was so delighted and surprised at her rendering of the score he'd written that he asks "Did I write that?"

"To which she replied, 'Most of it!'. Recognising Delia's immense contribution, he apparently also suggested splitting his performance royalty income with her, but for various reasons this was not possible."

Incidentally, I predict Murray Gold's orchestral bombastardization of the theme will sound just as dated as the horrid synth-pop versions from the 80s. Derbyshire was a genius who deserves better than to be unsung. Previously and previously.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:39 AM on June 27, 2010


Donna's theme is one of my favourite pieces. I'll often be wandering around the kitchen, humming a tune, and not able to place it. Then 2 hours later I get a random desire to watch some Doctor Who, put it on, and immediately shout "Oh yeah..."
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:03 AM on June 27, 2010


I love the original theme. I think that with the current titles we've gone about as far as possible into maximalist territory, and we're due a return to minimalism. The original, with just the solitary, strange melodic line over the inexorable march of the menacing bass, is still astounding after all these years and a perfect fit for the show.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:16 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That title theme montage was very interesting, and I have to agree with others that the very earliest versions still hold up well, compared to the newer, more "epic" versions. To me, the music of the more recent series seem to mimic the overall tenor of the shows...louder, more frenetic and devoid of much in the way of mystery.

That's not to say I dislike the new series. As a yank who had a very limited exposure to the Doctor (other than extremely sporadic showings of the Tom Baker era via my local PBS station) I've mostly enjoyed the newest series (starting with Eccleston). But, whenever I see clips of the earlier series, I'm struck with the quiet tone and...silence...that was allowed to creep in at times. And it reminds me what's missing in the newer series...a real sense of mystery or discovery. And it's always loud. Tennant was the worst, cackling and rampaging all over the set like a manic chicken. I'd love the next regeneration to result in a more thoughtful, deep-voiced Timelord. Then, back that up with a "return to basics" approach to the theme.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:01 AM on June 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Every week after my husband and I watch a new episode, I break out into our own version of the theme:

"DOOCT-OR WHOOOOO

DOCT-OR WHOOO

DOCTOR DOCTOR DOCTOR WHoooooo!"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:57 AM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


I love the music in the new Who. Love love love. This whole season (well, except for that Dalek episode, but I'll just pretend that didn't happen, and anyway it had a couple of decent bits in) has just been incredible, and I'm so very happy that Moffat has taken over. Still haven't seen the finale... oh, how I hope it is as awesome as my imagination is building it up to be...
posted by lriG rorriM at 7:02 AM on June 27, 2010


I think the very first single I bought, certainty the first* I remember buying, was the Doctor Who theme... still gives me chills.

Always loved the Orbital version... and of course The Timelords.

Whilst looking for other variants I stumbled over this horror... I'm surprised the whole show wasn't erased from time after this.

*Think I bought this one at the same time...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:04 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen any of the recent (by which I mean post Sylvester McCoy) DrW's, so this is the first time I've heard the new theme music. The contrast is interesting.

The Hartnell era theme seems to evoke a sense of space that is mostly timeless and empty and mysterious, a universe that might if you search hard enough offer threat or promise but mostly offers billions of cubic light-years of nothing. This is a universe where you pretty much have to go looking for a threat unless you're really unlucky, and then you have plenty of time to observe, measure, and contemplate before taking a carefully considered action that through some Rube Goldberg worthy sequence of events will neutralize the problem.

The new version is much more martial and lends itself much more readily to images of a universe stuffed full of cybermen, daleks, radioactive spiders, planets crashing into one another, exploding stars, and other existential threats that are best faced with lots of running, shouting, and firing of weapons.

I suppose considering how badly the franchise has gotten tangled up in its own canon the new theme is appropriate.
posted by localroger at 7:10 AM on June 27, 2010


Just watched the finale. Agreed that it was perfect. The whole season was one great episode after another.

I shouted STFU in gleeful excitement no less then 7 times that episode. God damn. But I was not in the whole season was not one great episode after another camp, having said that the finale more than made up for it.
posted by edbles at 7:37 AM on June 27, 2010


Considering the subject matter (no spoilers!), what struck me most about the season finale was how...modest it seemed compared to the RTD finales. In general, that's what's struck me about Moffat's first season as a whole when stacked up against what's gone before. Smith has had his share of pretty bombastic turns, but this is a much more restrained and controlled show than it has been since its reboot. The scripts are tighter, and the beats come from a plottier place than the kind of "who cares if it makes sense it feels right" place Davies drew from so often. (Which is not to say that Moffat doesn't have his own "clap if you believe!" moments, some of which work, and others...well, YMMV, I figure.) I think it's a much smarter show than it used to be, but -- Karen Gillan aside, who I could happily watch read the phone book (silently, even -- to herself!) for fifty minutes each week -- it's a less lively show, too. In most ways it's a better show, but I can see how it might be less captivating.

That said, the dire low points of RTD (The Weakest Link in space, "Daleks in Manhattan"...oh my GOD, that thing...and other stuff I'm not in any hurry to remember) have their nearest echo in "Victory of the Daleks," which was less bad than just disappointing (never has such a good premise been squandered so totally). Moffat is a huge improvement, but just a little more punch next season would be nice.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:06 AM on June 27, 2010


Continuing on the spoiler free derail- I thought the second to last episode was the huge one, the close to RTD type of finale idea, large budget, monsters, etc. The last episode was very much Moffat and just simply wonderful, providing a fantastic counterpoint to the grandeur of the previous one.
posted by Hactar at 8:14 AM on June 27, 2010


It's interesting how Moffat uses time travel in a much more complex way than any of the other writers on the show I can think of. Blink, Girl in the Fireplace, River Song's personal timeline, mouseover spoilers all really exploit the, ahem, timey wimey nature of the Whovian universe more than any other of the series' writers.
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:34 AM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steven Moffat's son Joshua (using the alias "armytedd") posted a video of him interviewing his dad after the transmission of the finale yesterday. He asked a few really good questions.

I really enjoyed the finale, too, and the whole of the Eleventh Doctor's first series. Matt Smith is so much better than anyone could have hoped for. I look forward to seeing the Doctor again at Christmas.
posted by inturnaround at 8:39 AM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Spoiler free thoughts on the finale: good times, good times. Pun fully intended!

Thoughts on the music: I like the Murray Gold themes a lot -- yes, even the fifth series one! -- but at the same time I agree with those wishing for a return to the original. Ron Grainer's orchestral version is great, though.

"All the Strange, Strange Creatures" (the "Ninth/Tenth Doctor's theme" link) was used mostly or exclusively for the Tenth Doctor, I think. It's not his standard leitmotif -- the Ninth and Tenth Doctors had "The Doctor's Theme" and Ten later had "The Doctor's Theme Series 4". The Eleven theme which is going around YouTube is clearly an AtSSC follow-up, but I'm not sure if that means he's got a non-action leitmotif as well. The action theme is so goddamn awesome I'm not sure I'd mind if he didn't, though.

A few other themes worth shouting out:
- Cassandra's Waltz
- Boe (series 3 reprise)
- UNIT Rocks (series 3 reprise)
Madame de Pompadour
- The Master Vainglorious
- Doomsday
- This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home (and the currently unreleased martial reprise for The End of Time)
- Vale Decem, Ten's death lament
- Eleven's theme variations: Victory of the Daleks and Vincent and the Doctor

Jack doesn't really have a theme of his own in Doctor Who, but in Torchwood he has Captain Jack's Theme and Jack's Love Theme, composed by Ben Foster.

And now I need to stop before I link all three soundtracks.
posted by bettafish at 9:03 AM on June 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


George_Spiggott said: And if the TARDIS is physically flying through spacetime, why does it fade in and out on departure and arrival? Why doesn't it fly away?

I think the best answer is that Earth (or any planet) is already hurtling through space at an incredible speed. The TARDIS is already moving, you see, relative to any other time or location. Once it fades out of one time+place and is in-between, you can see the motion relative to the special effects.

Or something like that.
posted by komara at 9:10 AM on June 27, 2010


It's amusing to think back to when the current doctor was annoyed I thought it was going to be terrible... and he's ended up being (YMMV) about the best Who since Tom Baker and the Moff has managed to chisel off some of the more annoying RTDisms of Nu Who whilst retaining what keeps it popular, the finale being a case in point. Really looking forward to the next series.... been a LONG time since I thought that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:14 AM on June 27, 2010


A few other themes worth shouting out:

Dude, you totally forgot the best one. Like, evar.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:43 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that this season's episodes are resulting in an overall increase in crying on my end, which is quite a feat. I think part of the credit goes to the superb music.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:53 AM on June 27, 2010


How does one do the mouseover-text, by the way?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:12 AM on June 27, 2010


Navelgazer, like this.
posted by Phire at 10:22 AM on June 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm on the bandwagon with the folks who prefer less music and the older themes. I've been watching a lot of the classic serials, mostly from the Three and Four eras, and it's really struck me how much quieter some of the episodes are. I don't care for the orchestral theme, and there's just too much incidental music. When I see how much of a deal the BBC is making of the Who music during Proms, I feel like Gold is on the bandwagon for that more than for the actual music in the show, to the show's detriment.

As for the finale, I was well pleased with it and with the season generally, although Victory of the Daleks was somewhere between weak and downright bad and there were certainly problematic things going on in other episodes. Given how we were left on the cliff at the end of part one, I thought Moffat resolved it brilliantly and without the overwhelming, continuity-breaking, over-the-top melodramatic sort of Tinkerbell Jesus-y stuff of prior finales. I'm really looking forward to Christmas now.

And much love for the Orbital theme, also for "Doctor! Look out!" and You Lot from the Blue album which turns out not to be Eccleston as the Doctor but something else very Doctorish sampled into the middle. Orbital regularly makes my little Whovian heart go pitter-patter with glee.
posted by immlass at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2010


You Lot from the Blue album which turns out not to be Eccleston as the Doctor but something else very Doctorish sampled into the middle.

Written by Russell T. Davies, naturally.
posted by grouse at 11:11 AM on June 27, 2010


Found the finale! Worth the effort of spending an hour perusing a few less reputable corners of the internet, turning off anti-Mac javascript, and waiting a while for the download.

I never thought I'd say this, but this season matches my enjoyment of episodes from the Tom Baker era, who has always been the quintessential Doctor for me. And in some ways still is, but I've been utterly charmed by Matt Smith's portrayal and the writing. There's a good note of pathos to go along with the whimsy, wonder, spooky, and smart, and I think as a result I find the stories work on a more personal level and I care about the characters and their story more.
posted by weston at 11:13 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


AndrewStephens:What's even cooler than 346 covers and remixes of the Doctor Who theme music? This interactive graph that lays them all out ranked by "production" vs "traditionalism"!"

Other rankings also available: derbyness, howellity, gynness, debnicity, arnoldity and goldsomeness!
posted by pharm at 11:28 AM on June 27, 2010


Derbyness is my favorite new word. Truly, Delia Derbyshire should be so honored.
posted by grouse at 11:31 AM on June 27, 2010


Good finale! But...

Doctor Who has always played really fast and loose with the rules of time travel; time is always at the whim of the storyline. This has mostly been fine. I always liked Doctor Who's slapdash approach to the way that time works (which also applies in a neat way to its slapdash approach to canon). It hasn't been problematic because time travel is not often hugely integral to the resolution of adventures: in the classic era it was mostly used as a way to jump from setting to setting and adventure to adventure, not as a tool to be used to solve problems. However, Moffat's been much more willing to play with the idea of the Doctor as a time traveler, and I'm not sure it's a great move. It makes the inconsistencies and paradoxes and plotholes much more difficult to swallow. I'm not confident that you couldn't gerrymander some kind of narrative consistency from this last season, but it seems like more effort than it's worth. It's pretty clear that Moffat wasn't even trying, other than plastering over really glaring inconsistencies with some lines about memory or Amy being special or whatever. Despite reduced use of the sonic screwdriver, Terry Pratchett's criticism of the Doctor Who is actually more applicable to Moffat's season than it was to any of RTD's, I think.

I loved the finale like everyone else of course... the mouseover spoiler was very clever, and it had what is now probably my favorite 5-second clip from a Doctor Who episode. It's easily one of the best episodes of NuWho. But I also find it hard to deny that what I just watched was kind of a mess. I don't think I could even coherently summarize the plot.
posted by painquale at 11:53 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, regarding the Eleventh Doctor's theme: it seems like Murray Gold has really gotten the hang of writing songs that will be used as incidental music in TV episodes. Unlike the earlier songs, the Eleventh Doctor's sounds like it's made of a bunch of 30-second clips, all revolving around the same theme, but all fit to different Doctorish purposes. Play this bit when the Doctor is enacting a clever plan, play this bit when he's making a bombastic speech, play this bit when he's being chased... etc. His earlier songs don't have quite that much versatility.
posted by painquale at 12:06 PM on June 27, 2010


Ah yes. Murray Gold did an outstanding job with the music, especially in seasons 2, 3, and 4 when he was given a full orchestra to work with, and assumably a larger budget. The themes he wrote were beautiful and melodic. I'm also a big fan of his versions of the theme, especially once he worked the middle eight back in.

Unfortunately, the music in season 5 has been, IMHO, the only downside to the current series. The music has lacked the same panache and the themes aren't quite as discernible nor enjoyable, excepting the one for The Doctor. And this latest version of the theme tune...ehhhh, not one of my favorites.

That all said, the new logo is probably the best they've done, and gripes aside, Murray Gold kicks ass along with The Moff.
posted by tgrundke at 12:08 PM on June 27, 2010


I'm not confident that you couldn't gerrymander some kind of narrative consistency from this last season, but it seems like more effort than it's worth. It's pretty clear that Moffat wasn't even trying, other than plastering over really glaring inconsistencies with some lines about memory or Amy being special or whatever.

I thought he'd very cleverly set up certain things like this spoiler as he progressed through the season. That was the really obvious one, but there were lots of little clues like that through the season and more explicitly in the finale. Not everyone likes to watch for that level of detail, but there's a coherent season plotline that was clearly woven in from the Eleventh Hour forward if you do.

The place where I could get tired of the timeline play is River Song, but she's getting less annoying as time goes on. Also, she earns some serious BAMF credit with me when she does a spoilerish thing in the finale.
posted by immlass at 12:12 PM on June 27, 2010


I agree that River's gotten a tad less annoying as time goes on, but I'm actually a bit exasperated with the whole spoiler that immlass talked about.
posted by Phire at 12:28 PM on June 27, 2010


I don't think that response to spoiler so much as that comment on storytelling, a problem I think was finally solved in the finale.

Since no one else has mentioned it, I'm just gonna say here that fairly shallow remark about the Doctor. Another thing I liked about that scene was the thing I liked. Also, comment on the companions.
posted by bettafish at 12:40 PM on June 27, 2010


Not everyone likes to watch for that level of detail, but there's a coherent season plotline that was clearly woven in from the Eleventh Hour forward if you do.

Oh, I'm definitely fanboy enough that I'm obsessively detail-oriented about that kind of stuff. Thing is, while those details makes the season more complicated and interconnected in a neat way, they actually make the whole nature-of-time thing even less coherent.

Maybe at some point I'll sit down and try to seriously figure out how the spacetime presented in Doctor Who this season can be made coherent. The problem is that you can change the past in certain ways but not others, and you have temporal loops, and you have some kind of time passing even while people are time traveling, and you can have memories of people who have never existed. You're going to need genuine returns to the past and parallel worlds in parallel spacetimes that can interact with one another and time passing through hypertime and spoiler. Doctor Who has never demanded this much finagling to make sense of the characters' motivations in a single storyline. The actual loops and whorls have never been integral to the plot before... they usually just place restrictions on what the characters can do. Rassilon throwing the white point star out of the Time War bugged me because he was manipulating time in a way that needed to be explained but that defied explanation, and this season had that to the nth.

Also, she earns some serious BAMF credit with me when she does a spoilerish thing in the finale.

I was reminded of that too! That was a great allusion.
posted by painquale at 12:41 PM on June 27, 2010


Rassilon throwing the white point star out of the Time War bugged me because he was manipulating time in a way that needed to be explained but that defied explanation, and this season had that to the nth.

Yeah, I guess I can see that, but with 31 (or 5 1/2 depending on your POV) seasons of discontinuity to explain, I expect there to have to be a lot of discontinuity problems. Who is science fantasy, not hard SF; sometimes things handwave with "the Doctor says [tech]". I understood the solution this time to be that spoiler. Also there's a long canon of not doing that because it's a bad idea, but you can break the rules like this bad-idea spoiler if it involves saving the universe. I suspect eventually we have to get a more detailed explanation of the Time War, but we're only now in a position to do something like that, with enough NuWho dirt under our feet to buy in to whatever we're shown. I kind of hope that's Moffat's S3 since S2 is supposed to be spoiler.

Also on River, I'm in bettafish's camp that spoiler. I was getting tired of that. I hope that spoiler next season.
posted by immlass at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2010


I've had the Eleventh Doctor's theme stuck in my head pretty continuously ever since the series started. Let me tell you, it makes even eating a bowl of oatmeal seem more epic.
posted by mayhap at 1:17 PM on June 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


There was definitely some talk on other forums about spoilers and lots of fanwank about River.
posted by Phire at 1:21 PM on June 27, 2010


Okay, I'll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible (thanks Phire!)

I read a review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind forever ago where the reviewer said something like, "With Being John Malkovich, Charlie Kaufman proved that he could play with our minds. Now he proves that he can play with our hearts as well." That's basically what I think Moffat has done all season long as compared to his work during the RTD days. He's also managed to make the greatest and most triumphant moments be, not bombastic destruction or action-packed scenes, but character moments.

We saw a bit of this back at the end of Season 1, with Rose, Jacky and Mickey using a damn truck against the TARDIS so that Rose could damn-near kill herself in order to override the emergency protocol and save the Doctor/World. That was cool. But nearly all of this season has topped that. Take the end of "The Eleventh Hour," where Matt Smith, having just seemed sort of goofy and geeky for forty minutes, calls back an alien fleet to deal with them face to face, minus his screwdriver and TARDIS, and steps through the hologram as a full-fledged badass (and testing out new outfits the whole time as well.) Then take the spoiler. Given all that description of the finale.

Most of all, this season felt more of a single piece to me than any of the others, which is why it is definitely my favorite of them all. Well, that plus everything about Amy Pond and the fact that Smith's Doctor was so amazingly and complexly portrayed right out the gate. I find it interesting that in the general public of people who watch this show, Tennant is seen as the gold standard, where here there seems to be more of a dismissal of him. Now don't get me wrong, I like the Tenth Doctor and all, but compared to Eccleston and Smith his stuff just all seems light as a souffle.

Eccleston was guilt-racked and yet prone to childish giddiness, soft and steely at once, and fully aware of his capabilities while being insecure in himself as the one wielding them. Smith has that same degree of complexity and more, with his joviality covering over his self-hate, his willingness to actually engage and fan the flames of the inevitable romantic triangle. This and a thousand other things all shine through in his character, and nearly all of them at once in big spoiler. Tennant just never, in my memory, gave us something that solid. I still like him though.

And the Eleventh Doctor's theme is now one of my favorite pieces of music. Maybe the reason I made the FPP in the first place.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:36 PM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Goddammit, I need to stop reading this post. Anyway, capital job, Navelgazer.
posted by spec80 at 2:01 PM on June 27, 2010


I love a lot of Gold's music; "This is Gallifrey" is one of my favorites, and I find it really moving. I think "Donna's Theme" is perfect for her, much more bouncy and insouciant than the rather romantic themes for the other companions. However, for me, the music this season has been quite forgettable, and I'm not sure why.

But I'm also in the minority regarding this just-finished season; I found the writing pretty lazy, I want to smash Amy Pond in the head with a rock, and despite the fact that I did enjoy the finale yesterday, I'm kind of wondering why the gigantic, gaping logic holes aren't bothering anybody else... and thinking that if RTD had been responsible for the same script, people would be pointing these things out rather than squeeing over it.
posted by OolooKitty at 2:03 PM on June 27, 2010


Who is science fantasy, not hard SF; sometimes things handwave with "the Doctor says [tech]".

Well, Star Trek used [tech]speak all the time, but if you ask me for a plot synopsis of an episode, I can pretty much tell you what the story was without ever having to resort to mentioning any [tech]. The white point star was integral to the plot of the fifth finale... you can't really talk about the return of the Time Lords without mentioning it. I'd have a seriously hard time explaining the basic story of this season without painting it in such a broad brush that in the back of my mind, I'd keep thinking "wait, that makes no sense unless [tech tech tech tech....]"

I guess my problem is that this season was trying not to be handwavy. In a previous thread, PhoBWanKenobi was praising how the vampires episode respected the viewer's intelligence by explaining how the perception filter worked. It's a good move when there's actually a satisfying explanation underneath. When there's nothing there, it makes the viewer look for something and come up empty-handed. It just felt like this season had pretenses at being less handwavy, making the viewer look deeper, when it was forced by its complicated plot to be even more handwavy than ever. Anyway...

I like how mysterious River's character is. I really don't have any idea what her relation to the Doctor is, because Moffat is clearly seeding all sorts of false trails into the show. Theories I've seen include: spoilers.

Also, I really like how Amy's relationship with the Doctor has turned out. Spoiler.

It's annoying me a little that I can't read all these spoiler mouseovers on my iPad.
posted by painquale at 2:06 PM on June 27, 2010


It's really criminal that Delia Derbyshire's not mentioned in this post. I know she's mentioned in the comments, but she's really responsible for the "sound" we associate with the Doctor Who theme, not Grainer.
posted by speicus at 2:12 PM on June 27, 2010


Dean Gray's Dr Who On Holiday is a brilliant mashup of Green Day's Holiday and the Timelords' (aka KLF) Doctorin' The Tardis (which is itself a mashup of the Dr Who theme and Rock and Roll Part Two).
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:30 PM on June 27, 2010


Also, I really like how Amy's relationship with the Doctor has turned out. Spoiler.

Caveat: I've only watched through the Vincent ep. But one of the things I really enjoy about the eleventh Doctor is that the sexual tension feels highest not between he and his young companions, but between him and, well, just about every older woman he encounters. His questioning of the Vampire/fish creature, his interactions with River--even that very brief bit in The Hungry Earth where Nasreen Chaudry snaps his suspenders. Meanwhile, even when Amy is throwing herself at him, the vibe I get between them is that he's a grandpa and she's the little kid who he loves indulging--so he might not want to hurt her by rejecting her outright, but he just doesn't seem into her. I think this is a terrific switch-up from Nine/Ten's companion relationship--and one that, despite the fact that he's physically so young, really emphasizes his extreme age. I get the vibe that this Doctor goes for women who could plausibly be his equal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:31 PM on June 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


if you ask me for a plot synopsis of an episode, I can pretty much tell you what the story was without ever having to resort to mentioning any [tech].

One spoilery sentence that explains the second episode to someone who's seen the cliffhanger. It just requires a higher-level overview to do it in one sentence. If you want to write more intricate plots--and I think Moffat has proven this season that he does--you have to get a lot more into the nitty-gritty to get to the point where you get to [tech]. Or for that matter [history], which is a lot bigger problem in Doctor Who overall for all that the reboot at the start of Nine theoretically solves all that.

I don't think you, generically, or I, or any showrunner, no matter how clever, can resolve the overall time travel problems with Doctor Who, so I've stopped expecting that. There are just going to be occasional inconsistencies and complexities I don't get. (Example: the "fixed point" rules that the Doctor broke in Waters of Mars. How does that march with previous rules about what you can change and what you can't again?) A good try and stopping the blatant problems are the best we can hope for, along with shuffling some of the really bad stuff (Cybermen and Daleks over London and towing the Earth across the universe) under the bed with the dust bunnies. The first four and a half seasons of New Who lowered my expectations so badly that I've learned to settle for less, and Moffat did brilliantly with the tools he's been given.

if RTD had been responsible for the same script, people would be pointing these things out rather than squeeing over it.

Apart from the question of whether RTD could write a script that includes spoiler, the problem is that the guy who gave us Tinkerbell Jesus and the Rose That Would Not Stay in the Other Universe overdrew his trust bank a long time ago. There may be plot holes--some deliberate, others unintentional, like the ugly timing SNAFU between the Silurian resolution and the Beast Below--but Moffat has earned some slack to resolve them later as far as I'm concerned.

that the sexual tension feels highest not between he and his young companions, but between him and, well, just about every older woman he encounters

Gawd YES, especially since the sexuality of older women in the RTD days was mostly played for laughs, like the old woman in End of Time who pinches Tennant's butt. Older Doctor should like older women, thanks.
posted by immlass at 2:42 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, one thing about a companion: spoiler. I wish that had been explored a little bit more (because spoiler) and I hope it will come into play next series.
posted by bettafish at 2:56 PM on June 27, 2010


One spoilery sentence that explains the second episode to someone who's seen the cliffhanger.

I dunno, I feel like that falls into the "broad brush" category of synopses that I mentioned. That's fine for a TV Guide entry or something, but someone interested in knowing about the episode would ask something like, "OK, how did he go about doing it?" And you're not far off from having to say something like spoiler, or something similarly non-explanatory. For instance, you might ask, spoiler. Questions like that were at the forefront of the whole episode (or at least they kept intruding on my mind throughout the whole episode); I never felt like they were quite that intrusive in previous seasons. The whole threat this season, the big bad, was spoiler.

The time travel episodes Moffat played with before---Blink and the Madame de Pompadour one---were really tight. They didn't rely on nonsensical metaphysics of time like this one did, so he could explain what was going on more completely than is standard for Doctor Who. He held on to the complicated explanations this time around but didn't have a tight metaphysics.

Oh, one thing about a companion: spoiler. I wish that had been explored a little bit more (because spoiler) and I hope it will come into play next series.

I would have thought that spoiler.
posted by painquale at 4:00 PM on June 27, 2010


The last episode was wonderful, even though I didn't fully get it the first time. I watched it on my laptop, all rugged up in bed and I'm sure my neighbours were wondering what was going on in my place because I kept screaming "oh jesus!" at the screen.

The Douglas Adams fangirl in me might have been going a bit nuts noticing what I thought were hitch hikers references. There was also some rather Indiana Jones-like music in the soundtrack and a Star Wars-like scene switch, with one scene rolling off the screen to reveal the next. It was all quite lovely. Of course, I loved all the spoiler.

This series has been so good it's made me almost (but not quite) forget my Tennant-crush.
posted by prettypretty at 5:34 PM on June 27, 2010


prettypretty: during the shooting of "The Pandorica Opens," they apparently had Raiders of the Lost Ark music playing whenever they weren't recording dialog, so that everyone would be in that sort of mood.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2010


I like that story :)

I noticed that music particularly when spoiler, which is quite appropriate.
posted by prettypretty at 5:52 PM on June 27, 2010


I've watched that scene with those spoilers three times now.
posted by Phire at 5:53 PM on June 27, 2010


Phire, yes. That extended set of scenes made me a little misty and I've been rewatching it constantly, especially the very last bit.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:10 PM on June 27, 2010


I'm kind of wondering why the gigantic, gaping logic holes aren't bothering anybody else...

There are a lot of things that bug me about the current season. I was cranky about the whole computer virus thing from the first episode. They just don't work that way. There isn't a virus you can write on a mobile phone that will infect a wall clock. Or even when the antagonists can suddenly do something out of the ordinary/unexpected -- it's not enough that the only thing keeping the Weeping Angels at bay is being able to look at them, they can also be transfered by image and if you look at them, they can also get inside of you? Why isn't *everybody* who's ever looked at an Angel already dead? Are there really any rules here at all?

I think it's a general problem when you've got a character whose power comes from the fact that they're just so much smarter than everyone else and they know fathoms-deep mysteries of the universe level science. These characters rather do resemble (to use Pratchett's criticism) a cross between Tinkerbell and God because they are -- they're close to the Trickster God, in whose presence the actual rules of the system are always different than the ostensible or apparent rules of the system. So, you know, the Doctor could always reverse the polarity of the neutron flow or use the sonic screwdriver to encode a reality virus on the computational substrate of space-time itself that warps it to do, well, whatever he wants, right?

I think any writer for this show has to be careful. I think there are few of them that have been careful enough, this season included.

That said... I was immediately a fan of this season for other reasons. I found Amelia Pond immediately intriguing. It's not just the strength of character ("Of course not; you're not scared of anything! Box falls out of sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard, and look at you! Just sitting there."). She's a big puzzle, it's just like The Doctor says: why is there a young girl living apparently alone in this big house? And then, there was that fantastically spooking thing with Prisoner 0 and the perception filter. Where they invoke suspense by having him look at the door, then look away. Then having the door open. Then the line where they activate the fear of everybody who's ever not wanted to look at something in their house when they're spooked "Where you never look. Where you never want to look." Then the line about the sonic screwdriver: "it must have rolled under the door. And up onto the table. By itself." I'm a huge fan of suspense and fear that's built outside of blunt horror methods, and that was brilliant. And then, as I mentioned before, I just love Matt Smith's portrayal, largely for the reasons Navelgazer gives. So, for me, the positives outweigh my inner stickler's plot point frustrations.
posted by weston at 6:14 PM on June 27, 2010


I just watched all 5 seasons of this set of Who in the past few months, and, coming a week or so past the spoiler, the other spoiler were less than entirely affecting because spoiler. I did enjoy the episode -- most of this series, really -- very much, except for the iDaleks and how they ruined the creepiness of the weeping angels. I actually noted how much I liked the music, which is rare for me.
posted by jeather at 6:20 PM on June 27, 2010


weston, I wonder if it comes down to suspension of disbelief? That is, this series is better at asking the audience to suspend belief to a certain level and then maintains it at an (internally) consistent level, compared with the previous four series (where we as the audience were continually being required to raise that level to... er... Tinkerbell Jesus levels).
posted by prettypretty at 6:44 PM on June 27, 2010


"OK, how did he go about doing it?"

Simple: he spoilered all to hell. As for your second set of spoilery questions, I disagree that they can't be answered within the show's metaphysics or even that they're new questions because spoiler, only sort of not. In other words, a lot of these questions are answerable within established Who rules, even if some of them are answered with inside baseball. If that's a mess to you, we've got different standards for a mess, and will just have to agree to disagree.

Why isn't *everybody* who's ever looked at an Angel already dead?

The Weeping Angels two-parter was the second weakest story of the season, after the downright badness of Victory of the Daleks. I was sadly disappointed in the story and the rule-changing on the Angels was a large part of the problem for me, with most of the rest being the annoyingness of River Song. I really wanted it to be as good as Blink, too.

On the other hand, I'm willing to forgive the virus problem in Eleventh Hour because that's just an unrealistic SF trope that everyone uses. If I expected computers to operate the way they do in the real world, a lot of SF would break for me. The story that broke badly for me on rather trivial grounds of the world not working like that was Vampires of Venice, where my inner historian said "wtf you just had Venice isolated for how long on top of the Battle of Lepanto? Did you fail your History O-level or what?" That's equally pedantic, but it broke my suspension of disbelief for the rest of the episode pretty badly. I think I would have liked it otherwise.
posted by immlass at 7:10 PM on June 27, 2010


I grew up on old episodes of Doctor Who on PBS, and when they announced the new series in 2005 I had a very short list of things that were essential to me. The sting at the beginning of the Doctor Who theme is one of those things that I have an incredible memory attachment to, like the speech they make in Ratatouille about how you eat something and it just hits a certain part of your brain. The new series was sold for me before anyone said a single line because they very first thing was just BWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH and I bout near peed myself.

I will also refrain from extensive commentary on this current series and season, save for one: Rory is about a thousand times more interesting a companion that Amy, who appears to have a binary switch between pout and hair flip.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


[HUGE SPOILER WARNING BECAUSE THE WHOLE THING ABOUT HIDING INFORMATION IN SCROLLOVER TEXT IS BECOMING REALLY CUMBERSOME, SO DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW, AND IF YOU DON'T KNOW YET, WELL, THE EPISODES ARE AVAILABLE ON TORRENT OR YOU CAN WATCH THEM ONLINE AT, LIKE, DAILYMOTION AND OTHER SITES SO JUST CATCH UP ALREADY]

Anyway...

I think that what I love so much about this season is tied up in the Smith/Gillan interplay. Amy's life has been built around the Doctor ever since she can remember, and while the Doctor may be nine hundred or so years old, this current incarnation has basically never NOT known Amy. Amy, also, is unflappable from the first and in some ways as important as the Doctor himself, and so this whole season has seemed to be about the two of them as partners, really. It has been clear from the beginning that Amy's power of remembering things was important, which was subtly woven through the season.

And yes, while the Doctor now does show a lot of non-comic affection for older women (which, I agree, is great) his thoughts towards Amy are anything but grandfatherly. Throughout, he treats Rory as way more of a romantic rival than the previous incarnations ever treated Mickey. Hell, the central episode of the season was solely about the Doctor torturing himself by forcing Amy to choose between life with him and life with Rory. That, and a million little bits thrown through the season, my favorite being, after Amy has just dealt with being in the room with him and River, "You know, fruit flies only live for forty minutes and even they don't mate for life."

The flipside of all of that has been Rory growing into a character worthy of Amy. To be honest, I didn't much like Rory, because as a viewer I had a crush on Amy and also had the Doctor as my "entryway character." By "The Big Bang," he has more than earned my love and trust. As an auton, in those scenes, he's also twice the Doctor's age. Just sayin'.

River strikes me in a weird way this season. I deny that the showdown with the Dalek is the first time we've seen her be badass - for one thing, her escape at the beginning of "The Time of Angels" was awesome, as was her prison breakout in "The Pandorica Opens." It's more that she just seems cold, still. I want to see more of her. I think Moffat did a great job of having River and Amy play off of each other as loves from different times, who both understand that fact and aren't really jealous of one another for it. Still, there was absolutely an undercurrent of Rory being the boy who Amy had settled for, and the Doctor feeling that he'd have to settle for River, sometime soon. But both River and Rory proved themselves to be awesome and worthy.

Plus, as an added benefit, where RTD would scatter words and phrases around as clues to the deeper story, Moffat kept dropping hints to things being like a fairy tale, and thus giving us the proper tone for what to expect.

I still like the RTD episodes, but that right there is the difference between a good writer and a great one, in my opinion.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of wondering why the gigantic, gaping logic holes aren't bothering anybody else...

For me I'm giving Moffat a season and a bit to try to drag the series from the RTD pit of completely fucking Phantom Menace level awful. He's gone a long way to doing that though I have to say the music continues to remind me of the RTD days. The finale was ok, but I'm not as fond of it obviously as many are.

Been watching or glancing at the RTD episodes as they're broadcast four days a week in Toronto and I'd genuinely forgotten how great some are and how horrible others are. Definitely feel Matt Smith is the best yet of the new Doctors.

I was hoping they'd toss RTD through the crack in time and just say that his episodes never happened. I was hoping for too much.
posted by juiceCake at 8:04 PM on June 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The flipside of all of that has been Rory growing into a character worthy of Amy.

ALSO SPOILERS:

Yeah, this is actually my problem not just with Amy, but pretty much the entire theme since the reboot. I realize this might come off as misogynist but I really don't know how to address it, and it really bothers me... three of the new companions (Amy, Rose, Donna) share this element in the series of being, well to be blunt, sorta losers. They all fumbled their way through life, never aimed high for anything, were found by the Doctor when they were working shit jobs. The Doctor shows up and by about episode three, all three of them act like they deserved this instead of realizing they just won the fucking lottery. There's this annoying, Whedon-ish attempt to declare them "assertive/strong" characters in the form of suddenly copping an air of awesomeness about them the minute they start thinking they have an Awesome Magical Boyfriend. This is pretty much why I can't stand River Song at all.

This is also what endeared me to Martha and why of all the new companions she's hands down my favorite. She's the one companion who was already kind of great before she met the Doctor. Smart, med school, less of a vicious animosity toward her family, no treating a boyfriend like crap, and her arc ends with actually telling the Doctor "umm, yeah, so there's actually some awesome shit I can do in this world beyond traveling around with you not being loved back." Martha embodied Sarah Jane better than any new companion.

Meanwhile, the guys show up, and they are also losers, and spend the entire season.... being called losers. Though it's even weirder for Rory, in that why studying to become a nurse, and I was assuming at one point later on a doctor, i.e. trying to achieve something in life other than being a "kiss-o-gram", and wanting to support the woman he loves and start a family with her makes a man a loser. But he has to prove something. I suppose I understand in context when the Doctor is spending half the time explaining to each girl in the TARDIS why they are currently The Most Important Person In The Whole Of Existence.

So yeah, I cringe at the idea that "worthy of Amy" is ingrained in the theme of the show. Because I had to deal with "worthy of Rose" too and it's just as ridiculous. Rory's pretty much spent the season doing nothing but loving Amy and offering to do anything to take care of her. I guess he had it better than Mickey since the Doctor was nice enough to not actually take this new guy's girlfriend from him as a thanks for helping to save the universe.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:22 PM on June 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


there was that fantastically spooking thing with Prisoner 0 and the perception filter.

The Eleventh Hour was my favorite episode of the season and one of my favorite Who episodes of all time. It had so many tasks to do... not only did them all right, it did a whole bunch of other great things on top of it all. Stellar episode.

I disagree that they can't be answered within the show's metaphysics or even that they're new questions because spoiler, only sort of not.

Actually, I wondered about this. Is spoiler the same thing as this thing from season 2? It definitely operates differently. Spoiler. I'm totally happy with inside baseball explanations (I'd prefer them, actually!), but I guess I disagree that this season played by those rules. Moffat tried to change the standard for what kind of sci-fi tricks you could pull in Who. Maybe I'm wrong and there is some explanation of this season that I'd find satisfying. I'm sure that people are going to start coming up with theories in the upcoming months about the structure of this season, and it'll be interesting to see what happens. Anyway, the mechanics of time in this episode were definitely way more complicated and integral to the story than in any episode in the past, and Doctor Who definitely has a slapdash and handwavy approach to temporal mechanics. I don't think those two features fit together well.

The Weeping Angels two-parter was the second weakest story of the season

It's a contender, sadly. But I'm going to go with the Silurian story, which was as lackluster as all get-out. The Weeping Angels episodes were scary at least, and the first episode was pretty good.

his thoughts towards Amy are anything but grandfatherly.

Not grandfatherly, but I don't really see his intentions as romantic at all. It's like... when one person in a couple or in a marriage has a very close old friend of the opposite sex. Each person is close in a different way, so there's a kind of competition and jealousy even if it doesn't need to be romantic. I think it's a nicely realistic triangle that isn't too often portrayed in media because they so often devolve into sex and romance.

Moffat learned something from writing Coupling, I guess. Rory does remind me quite a bit of Oliver.

(Wait, no, what am I saying? Coupling was not the least bit realistic. Next season: the Doctor fights the Melty Man.)
posted by painquale at 8:23 PM on June 27, 2010


Throughout, he treats Rory as way more of a romantic rival than the previous incarnations ever treated Mickey.

Categorically disagree, on this count; at the times when Mickey ("Ricky") actually was a romantic rival (like, when he was actually dating Rose), the Doctor treated him disdainfully and had no problem actually stealing his girlfriend away. Contrast this with the Eleventh Doctor, who, when propositioned by Amy, arranges to send her and her fiance on a romantic trip about time.

More, I see the problem in Amy's Choice being that this version of the Doctor absolutely cannot abide by being bored--it's Amy's bland future life, not necessarily her husband, that terrifies him, and Rory really only makes himself a rival in those interactions by embracing the boredom. You get the feeling that the Doctor doesn't understand Rory, more than that he's competing with him. It's only that Rory when no problem making himself domestic, pony tail and all, that the Doctor seems to not hold him in high esteem.

You see a similar restlessness in the Vincent episode. Keep in mind, there, that the Doctor seems to have no problem playing the platonic guypal, either, though he may find it a little eye roll worthy.

I'm not saying that the Doctor regards Amy absolutely chastely (and again, I've only seen up through the Vincent ep at this point)--he acknowledges that she's a great kisser, and is clearly aware of her sexual attraction to him. But, unlike was the case with Ten and Rose, it seems to me that he's aware of the inappropriateness of the sexual possibilities of the relationship. I saw the Dream Lord's line about the Doctor preferring the company of the young to not only be an indictment, but also a nod towards the fact that the Doctor, in fact, knows there's something a bit unkosher about the prospect of his being actually paired with a nineteen-year-old.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:25 PM on June 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Rory has no problem, rather.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 PM on June 27, 2010


Meanwhile, the guys show up, and they are also losers, and spend the entire season.... being called losers.

The only other official major male companion was anything but a loser: Captain Jack. (The Beeb never considered Mickey a real companion for some reason... Martha was advertised as the first black companion.) There was also that guy Eccleston picked up in Dalek who got a hole drilled in his head, but he didn't make it past tryouts. The specials had strong companions, if their short tenures count. I guess Wilf was a loser, but the fake Doctor was strong, and the Mars base commander was awesome. The cat burglar was a terrible character, but she hardly played the role of the weak female companion.

RTD definitely had a thing about making the Doctor interact with "common people," which I guess is largely responsible for what you're picking up on. Someone in a past thread pointed out that the first season has an especially strong working-class theme to it. Tennant's Doctor really liked hanging out with little people (to him they look like giants!). Martha was just too successful to be the sort of person RTD was interested in writing, I guess.

I don't really get how your criticism applies to River Song. She's a kooky space badass.
posted by painquale at 8:42 PM on June 27, 2010


I loved the finale, but I had the same problem with its version of time travel that I did with the new Star Trek movie. Spoiler for both Trek and Who.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:02 PM on June 27, 2010


PhoB, I'll agree that it's (kind of) open to interpretaion. It is wonderfully ambiguous, after all. But between Amy's Choice, and the Doctor's tone at the end of Cold Blood (sorrowful, but also relieved) I'm keeping mine.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:06 PM on June 27, 2010


Thoughtcrime: Spoiler.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:10 PM on June 27, 2010


and the Doctor's tone at the end of Cold Blood (sorrowful, but also relieved)

Wow, I did not hear any relief in there at all. Interpreting his reaction that way really makes him . . . I don't want to say less human, because they keep telling us that this Doctor is supposed to be more "alien," but certainly less sympathetic, and closer to the selfish, slightly monstrous Ten. And honestly, I was enjoying a respite from all that jazz.

I know my Doctor-as-grandfather metaphor for Amy and 11's relationship is an imperfect one, but I really can't help but wonder if your viewing of their interaction is seriously tainted by what you've admitted is an attraction to Amy, and an identification with the new Doc.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 PM on June 27, 2010


Thanks, Navelgazer. I guess that'll have to do. Now if I can justify the Rory issue bettafish brought up I'll be a happy man. Maybe spoiler.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:27 PM on June 27, 2010


Is spoiler the same thing as this thing from season 2? It definitely operates differently. Spoiler.

My read on it was complex inside baseball spoilers. I also don't have a problem with the idea of spoiler because it's so well established in my mind that you get benefits from being a companion in exactly that way. For instance, in Masque of Mandragora back in the classic series, the Doctor talks about how he extends the Time Lord gift of understanding to companions. There's also some of the mindreading stuff in the Madame de Pompadour episode in New S2. So we know he and/or the TARDIS can do things to companions. Maybe it made sense to me because I'd just rewatched Masque, or maybe Moffat has time and space control over the rereleases. Who knows, besides the Doctor?

the Doctor, in fact, knows there's something a bit unkosher about the prospect of his being actually paired with a nineteen-year-old

Much of the back-and-forth about the Eleven/Amy relationship in New S5 has seemed to me like repudiating the romantic and particularly sexual vibes between the Doctor and RTD's companions. I've always thought that the Doctor's relationship with his companions had a chastely romantic angle; witness Three's moment of sadface at the end of Jo Grant's turn as a companion, where she announces she's about to marry and the Doctor toddles off sadly to drive away in Bessie. It's about a minute of Tennant-level emo with a huge complexity freighted into it, for all that the Doctor never laid an inappropriate hand on Jo by the standards of BBC children's TV of the 60s. It's like the Doctor's not exactly their boyfriend, but it's sort of impossible to be the Doctor's companion and have a boyfriend too, as witnessed by Jo's departure, and later Leela's. This is why it was so gratifying that spoiler, which is a big improvement along those lines.

Also, please tell me I'm not the only person who made obscene jokes about the Doctor and the crack when Amy came on to him and tried to jump his bones. I can't be the only Who fan whose mind was that filthy.

I realize this might come off as misogynist but I really don't know how to address it, and it really bothers me... three of the new companions (Amy, Rose, Donna) share this element in the series of being, well to be blunt, sorta losers.

Enh, you're noticing a flaw in the writing/script bible, and you're not the only one. Your analysis of Martha is spot on, but where it really hits me is Donna, whose arc ended with all the character development that happened to her over the course of her time on the TARDIS completely undone. The best RTD companion arc, or at least the one that showed the most progress, was clearly Mickey, who went from lame chav boyfriend to awesome Cyber-ass-kicker, and most of his character development happened offstage!

I don't know what to make of Amy and Rory in that regard considering that spoiler but I can see lumping her in with Rose and Donna in her original incarnation.

annoying, Whedon-ish attempt to declare them "assertive/strong" characters in the form of suddenly copping an air of awesomeness

In the extras for several of the old episodes, Elisabeth Sladen talks about how she and Tom Baker and Ian Marter really guarded Sarah's awesomeness by insisting that the scripts show Sarah trying to solve things on her own and only yelling for help if and after she'd failed. Moffat, Smith, and Gillan all three could take notes on this subject.

on preview, Navelgazer, I like how you think.
posted by immlass at 9:27 PM on June 27, 2010


Gosh dang it. I meant, maybe spoiler. This is why I don't code anymore.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:29 PM on June 27, 2010


Re: Thoughtcrime: Spoiler.

Kind of in the opposite direction, I wondered if spoiler.
posted by prettypretty at 9:41 PM on June 27, 2010


PhoB, I'm not trying to ascribe anything particularly sociopathic to The Doctor, but just to explain the season-long arc in which he finally comes to accept Rory as a being as bold and enduring as he himself is.

The Doctor never liked Rory much either, until near the end.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:54 PM on June 27, 2010


i love Delia Derbyshire
posted by compound eye at 10:08 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I jam with Orbital now. Orbital is cool.

Matt Smith at Glastonbury with Orbital this weekend performing the theme from Doctor Who.
posted by inturnaround at 11:30 PM on June 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


I realize this might come off as misogynist but I really don't know how to address it, and it really bothers me... three of the new companions (Amy, Rose, Donna) share this element in the series of being, well to be blunt, sorta losers.

Well, I think you're spot on about the double-standard of calling all the men losers but the women awesome, but otherwise this is pretty much a necessary plot device: the audience needs to believe that this person would pack up, leave everything behind, and just follow this guy.

Besides, it's making a statement about what worth is. Everyone knows lowercase-d doctors are awesome, so why make yet another story about them being awesome? It's a lot more compelling to create tension by showing how a temp is the most important person in the universe. Your worth as a person is based on your bravery and compassion, not your day job. Granted, I'm not even sure if that's the part you were addressing.

That said, it does get old. Martha was a nice inversion of that NuWho trope.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:30 PM on June 27, 2010


Matt Smith at Glastonbury with Orbital this weekend performing the theme from Doctor Who.

Now that is fucking awesome.
posted by Artw at 12:49 AM on June 28, 2010


Now that is fucking awesome.

Whoa, no kidding. I'm putting it on loop.

I liked the graphic near the end that incongruously said "Next: Stevie Wonder." Good luck following that, Stevie.
posted by painquale at 1:19 AM on June 28, 2010


I stilll say The Box would have been a great theme tune for a Who like show. It's even got a vocal version as a B-Side! And a whistly bit for a scene of someone walking away down a darkened street just after the credits end!
posted by Artw at 1:55 AM on June 28, 2010


Possessing a basic understanding of relativity, I think the nonlinear time described in reboot Who is not entirely incomprehensible. It reminds me most distinctly of an anecdote where Godel presented, as a birthday present to Einstein, a model of a universe where time travel was possible. Most disturbingly, such a universe fits perfectly with our understanding of the one in which we reside; time travel, if successful, is a non-event, as the timeline "resolves" leaving us with a unremarkable series of events, indistinguishable from the "unedited" version.

Basically, the obvious concept of "linear time" is a contrivance, a collective delusion. It's a self-deception, the consequences of which keep me up at night; if you are similarly tickled, start by reading this.
posted by mek at 3:13 AM on June 28, 2010


I really enjoyed the spoiler in the last episode. Reminded me a bit of spoiler due to the whole spoiler kind of thing. Usually the Doctor/the writers are against that kind of thing but I liked that they used the excuse of spoiler - it really made sense both in-universe and on a meta-level.

I also guessed that the Pandorica was spoiler but I thought spoiler.

However I was a little disappointed with the ending: spoiler

I also never figured out exactly what the cracks were, but I may have missed an explanation at the end at some point.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:05 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]




I think the best answer is that Earth (or any planet) is already hurtling through space at an incredible speed. The TARDIS is already moving, you see, relative to any other time or location. Once it fades out of one time+place and is in-between, you can see the motion relative to the special effects.

It's all wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.
posted by eriko at 5:36 AM on June 28, 2010


Ah ok, yeah, I thought that's what the cracks were from but what I was missing was the fact that there is still some stuff left unexplained.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:47 AM on June 28, 2010


Yeah, it's a multi-season arc.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:15 AM on June 28, 2010


where it really hits me is Donna, whose arc ended with all the character development that happened to her over the course of her time on the TARDIS completely undone.

I still feel like what happened to Donna was criminal. Criminal.

I still have a dream that someday, she'll die and regenerate and become the Doctor's mommy. I realize that's a bit of ridiculous, convoluted fanwank there*, but deep down, I really just want to see Donna reach not only her potential, but some sort of fitting resolution, rather than just getting swept under the rug for all eternity.

*Of course, I'm not the only fan wanking. There are plenty of people who are all like, "Hey! Her name is now Temple-Noble! Which is kinda like Time Lord!"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:48 AM on June 28, 2010


I still feel like what happened to Donna was criminal. Criminal.

The worst part about what happened to Donna was that, as far as I can tell, it was all in the service of ginning up a second Doctor and a happy ending for Rose, speshul snowflake companion extraordinaire, at the end of S4. This kind of thing is why my husband calls RTD a "romance writer": his insistence on dragging the Doctor in the tropes of silly romance novels (emo brooding hero with a dark past, triangles that must resolve in favor of one man and one woman, exclusive emotional connections, etc.). Not that there's anything wrong with romance writing, it just isn't something that belongs on the TARDIS. People can have love and now, even romance, in the classic formula, but it's not all about the Doctor's love life. And again, this is why I'm so glad that spoiler this time around!

However I was a little disappointed with the ending: spoiler

I can totally see that, but even so, my expectations for season finales are calibrated so low that even that ending with its spoiler looks good. I have friends who think the S6 finale should be all about rescuing a kitty from a tree and I'm all for that. We need a rest from universe-breaking finales!
posted by immlass at 7:16 AM on June 28, 2010


What happened to Donna was the only thing I had been spoiled for, and as I watched her season I thought, no, I must have misunderstood or misremembered or something, there is no way she -- of all people! -- can just have a huge reset button on her life. And Tennant gave her a lottery ticket, like some money makes up for losing who you are, still knowing it's there and missing it? I understand that all three companions weren't going to get happy endings, but this was wrong, and didn't really fit in the story. At the least, her time-lordiness should have helped her change again, but it didn't.

I have decided Amy became a Kiss-o-gram because everyone in her life thought she was insane, and she sometimes thought it too, and living with constant internal doubts about your sanity doesn't leave you much energy. I also wish that had been more explored -- she was insane in the first universe, and also spoiler, and it would have been interesting to see how that affected her, despite her always being semi-unflappable. It doesn't surprise me that SM didn't bother telling us stuff, because his female characters are always more about their relationships with men, not who they are as people.
posted by jeather at 7:46 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this is actually my problem not just with Amy, but pretty much the entire theme since the reboot. I realize this might come off as misogynist but I really don't know how to address it, and it really bothers me... three of the new companions (Amy, Rose, Donna) share this element in the series of being, well to be blunt, sorta losers.

One thing I'm reading in a lot of the Moffatt episodes is a look at the RTD series and an attempt to show how it should have been done. In Amy's case, Rose.

There's this annoying, Whedon-ish attempt to declare them "assertive/strong" characters in the form of suddenly copping an air of awesomeness about them the minute they start thinking they have an Awesome Magical Boyfriend.

Two escape clauses for Amy there.

First, she was waiting for her Raggedy Doctor - which warped her whole sense of being. That suppressed the awesomeness. Or, more accurately, it suppressed her drive and desire. She knew where she wanted to go and who she wanted to be. And it was impossible, and she was simply stuck on the slow path and didn't really care about much on there.

Second, even the seven year old Amy was pretty awesome. It doesn't come out of nowhere.

Meanwhile, the guys show up, and they are also losers, and spend the entire season.... being called losers.

That's because the Doctor fundamentally doesn't (and possibly can't) get Rory - although by the end of the series he's coming close. He's not that bright (I'm not saying he's remotely stupid - but Amy is probably a genius, and The Doctor is off the scales). He's not that handsome - whereas Amy is extremely pretty, and The Doctor is ... himself. What he wants out of life, the Doctor would consider utter tedium. But what he is is quietly determined in a way that will move mountains. Whereas Amy and The Doctor are sons of Mary, Rory is a son of Martha.

So yeah, I cringe at the idea that "worthy of Amy" is ingrained in the theme of the show. Because I had to deal with "worthy of Rose" too and it's just as ridiculous.

Whereas I spent most of the series wondering why Amy was with Rory when she was very clearly out of his league. Brains, beauty, and vivacity. (A complete contrast to Rose where we were told rather than shown). And then The Big Bang showed me very comprehensively that Rory might in his own quiet way very well be the single most impressive person Amy has ever met, not excluding The Doctor himself. (I'm also prepared to bet that Amy makes 95% of decisions in that relationship but when Rory wants something he always gets his way).
posted by Francis at 8:15 AM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love Eleven, and have enjoyed the entire season up to and including the finale, except for Gold's music.

The opening theme is fine -- I like it, even though it sounds a bit like the "metal" riffs on the main theme from Whomix -- but the man's incidental music resembles nothing more than having Lennie from Of Mice and Men standing behind you while you watch the program, narrating his immediate impression of each character's inner state. There's no nuance or room to form your own conclusions about what's going on onscreen, just constant musical hammering.

I suspect he directs the Doctor Who orchestra with one hand permanently clutched in a fist, keeping the other one free to hurl bricks at people that aren't playing as loud as they possibly can.
posted by Shepherd at 8:30 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is why other people are happy about the whole season and I was annoyed by it. Rory’s been my favorite character this whole season and they’ve been treating him like shit all season. Rory sold me in the Venice episode and in the digging episode, he displays the same loyalty in both of those and is obviously interested in adventure because in the middle of a fight between he and Amy she points out that they’re in Venice in olden times and they both stop fighting long enough to do a little happy dance.

Before the finale I felt like Matt Smith was playing the Doctor kind of ....stupid. And Amy's character has been flopping all over the place. How finale Amy won me over spoiler.
posted by edbles at 8:31 AM on June 28, 2010


The problem with Amy isn't that she's a natural failure. As the Doctor notes, any girl who sleeps alone in a big house and approaches a strange man who just fell out of the sky in a police box for help about a crack in the wall must be pretty special. Her problem is that unless she gets discovered by UNIT or Torchwood, or she becomes a science fiction writer, there just isn't much in the way of career advancement or support for young Forteans who want to be time travelers.

She falls right into the trope of the science fiction Cassandra, someone who knows the truth, but is doomed to live in a culture that refuses to believe her. Donna was very similar, having proved her brilliance by discovering an alien corporation and anticipating the return of The Doctor. But there again, organizations looking for people who are obsessed with alien existence on Earth don't exactly recruit through the classifieds.

Which likely comes up time and time again because it's a big old geek fantasy that one would have amazing worldly success of only one was understood.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:38 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can totally see that, but even so, my expectations for season finales are calibrated so low that even that ending with its spoiler looks good. I have friends who think the S6 finale should be all about rescuing a kitty from a tree and I'm all for that. We need a rest from universe-breaking finales!

LOL, had to look up that episode to figure out what you were talking about, yes, I guess it was better than that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:47 AM on June 28, 2010


Wait, wait, have we really come this far without posting Doctor in Distress, the We Are the World-style activism single meant to save the (then-awful) show from cancellation in 1985? Listen for the Colin Baker cameo solo!
posted by bicyclefish at 9:06 AM on June 28, 2010


I'd be happy with a season finale where the cast read from the phonebook as long as it didn't involve the Rose, Mickey, or Captain Jack. A brief cameo of Martha would be good though.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:12 AM on June 28, 2010


It doesn't surprise me that SM didn't bother telling us stuff, because his female characters are always more about their relationships with men, not who they are as people.

I've never seen anything else of Moffat's, so I can't speak to his writing, but companions are always ultimately about their relationships to the Doctor (except Rose, where it's the other way around). This is definitely true of Amy, but it's also true of every other companion, male and female, all the way back to Barbara and Ian. As long as the Doctor is a man, the series is going to be about a man and his sidekicks, mostly women, on some level.

I would tune in in a heartbeat for a Romana spin-off, which is what I think it would take to really solve the problem. SJA is frequently about her mothering the kids, so I'm a bit meh about that thematically.

On the point of Amy, I'm not entirely sorry we didn't get to see spoiler because Rose getting on the phone with her mom all the damned time was one of the many things I didn't like about her. If Who is structurally a fairy tale, a Moffat formulation and one I like, we really need to go under the hill instead of hanging around in the real world.

One thing I'm reading in a lot of the Moffatt episodes is a look at the RTD series and an attempt to show how it should have been done. In Amy's case, Rose.

I think I said something to that effect about the smooching scene upthread, but in case I didn't, I want to cosign this. It may not be so much a deliberate attempt to undermine RTD's tenure as it is an attempt to deal with similar themes, which the audience expects as a part of New Who, but with Moffat's understanding of what the classic series is about instead of RTD's.
posted by immlass at 9:31 AM on June 28, 2010


I really loved the final two parter, FWIW. I think Moffat has really pulled it off.

Oh, and the James Bond style message at the end fills me with excitement...

DOCTOR WHO WILL RETURN CHRISTMAS 2010
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on June 28, 2010


The one thing I'm still wondering about is kind of spoilery speculation.
posted by Gary at 10:59 AM on June 28, 2010


Oops, let me get the mouseover working.
posted by Gary at 11:01 AM on June 28, 2010


One thing I loved about the finale was effects shot spoiler.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:59 AM on June 28, 2010


Possessing a basic understanding of relativity, I think the nonlinear time described in reboot Who is not entirely incomprehensible

Gödel's model doesn't allow for the past to be changed in any way.

Whereas I spent most of the series wondering why Amy was with Rory when she was very clearly out of his league.

Because he's the only one who would put up with her? Amy would be a terrible girlfriend. She treats him horribly. If he weren't so nebbish, he'd be the one who who would break up with her, not vice versa. I don't understand why he liked her so much. I really don't understand why he's wait two thousand years for her. I'm not sure that he would have if it hadn't been for the events of Amy's Choice.

Arthur Darvill is a great physical comic actor. All his juddering twitches crack me up every time. I loved his response to the fish prince turning on him when he's holding the broom, his response to Amy in the finale saying that she's sad and then his reading of the line spoiler, and above all else, him smacking himself in the face with a tree branch when running into the house at the beginning of Amy's Choice. That's my favorite Rory moment.

[Rory]'s not that bright (I'm not saying he's remotely stupid - but Amy is probably a genius, and The Doctor is off the scales).

Why do you think Amy's probably a genius? I never got that sense from her. I can't think of her showing any particularly intellectual curiosity. Rory did read up on extra dimensions and surprised the Doctor by knowing why the TARDIS was bigger on the inside, which I took as a nod toward him being one of the more intelligent companions.

One thing I loved about the finale was effects shot spoiler.

That was supposed to be the spoiler, right? I don't remember if they previously used those special effects. I hope so... I appreciated the earlier fidelity on this front. I thought it was really cool that spoiler.

I liked the spoiler. I kinda hope he comes back.
posted by painquale at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2010


That was supposed to be the spoiler, right? I don't remember if they previously used those special effects.

I don't recall ever seeing it before. Spoiler. I like this effect better.
posted by maqsarian at 1:43 PM on June 28, 2010


Wait ok, I just rewatched and there's something I'm confused about.

How did saves the day spoiler? One would assume that reasonable interpretation, but then it doesn't work.

Although that fact also seems to put to the lie fanwank theory, for obvious reasons.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:26 PM on June 28, 2010


Actually, when spoiler from Cold Blood happened, so I wonder if this speculation does makes sense after all?
posted by Phire at 2:31 PM on June 28, 2010


River Song Spoiler
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:46 PM on June 28, 2010


River Song is quite clearly Spoiler. Smooch!
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on June 28, 2010


Actually, a poster over at the Television Without Pity forums pointed out that apparently the Hebrew word for "Song" is speculation.
posted by Phire at 2:56 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


so I wonder if this speculation does makes sense after all?

Were there any clues that she was spoiler?
posted by Gary at 2:59 PM on June 28, 2010


Weirdly spoiler reminded me most of spoiler, right down to the spoiler
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on June 28, 2010


It doesn't surprise me that SM didn't bother telling us stuff, because his female characters are always more about their relationships with men, not who they are as people.

I've only ever seen one non-Who project of Moffat's, but the wife character in his Jekyll series is pretty much only "about her relationships with men" literally. I won't spoil anything, but suffice it to say...yeah, I think you may be onto something here. W/r/t Amy, I was disappointed that her year without the Doctor led her to...uh...basically latch onto the nearest available person with a penis, which is kind of how I read it since Rory is given basically no charismatic qualities or even much personality until well into the season. I'd have rather seen her blossom in that time -- validated since all the crazy bullshit she's been talking most of her life has been proven real to everyone who ever told her that she was crazy -- and I was pretty sure we would learn she was now an artist, but of course, no. Future hausfrau, no apparent self-starting ambitions of her own. But on the other hand: Will Amy really be that same character next season?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:21 PM on June 28, 2010


River Song is quite clearly Spoiler. Smooch!

I just want to know whether the water name thing about Amy Pond and River Song means anything, or rather what it means. I'm not suggesting they're the same person, but it doesn't seem like a coincidence. In fact, spoilery speculation about next season. That's probably way over-beanplating, but I think we've established it's how I roll.
posted by immlass at 4:28 PM on June 28, 2010


I just want to know how Amy knew it was a duck pond!
posted by a. at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2010


The one thing that pissed me off more than anything in the RTD series is definitely that moment in the Water of Mars, at the end, where the Doctor breaks his own rules and changes the details of a "fixed event" and it results in a rather pointless and gratuitous tragedy. I just fanwank that whole incident away, in my head. La la la la la I can't hear you Davies.
posted by mek at 5:17 PM on June 28, 2010


I just want to know how Amy knew it was a duck pond!

Ah hah! Amy can remember things that fall into the crack -- including the ducks. Big shame we missed out on the obvious "Duck, Pond!" joke.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:56 PM on June 28, 2010


Madame de Pompadour's life was turned from a fairly impressive one, for her time, to "waiting around for the doctor to come and save her". Sally Sparrow was turned into "waiting around to see how the doctor knew to save her" -- and there were also issues with Martha in that episode. I mean, Rory was about his relationship with Amy, and with the Doctor, but he was also about being steadfast -- Amy is about wanting both men, Yes, there's more to her, but mostly we see her wanting both of them and getting them, because she's great -- and much of that is told. River Song is about being the Doctor's wife. There's not much about the female characters he creates except their relationship with the Doctor: their personalities are only reflections of the Doctor, and I found that was less true with Rose, Martha and Donna. They grew by being with him, they didn't just grow around him. Well, Rose did a lot of the latter, but she also did the former. And Liz 10 is, though a minor character, better than earlier minor characters, so perhaps it will continue to improve.

I didn't want to see spoiler, I wanted to see more spoilers. I didn't feel that the finale was so action-packed that it couldn't've fit in. I liked this series, I just think that Moffat does weird things with female characters, and not good weird, or even all that interesting weird. I see some possibilities with River Song, and I had hoped to see some of those possibilities with Amy, especially since her being considered crazy was nicely echoed in so many ways with the Vincent story.
posted by jeather at 6:04 PM on June 28, 2010


their personalities are only reflections of the Doctor, and I found that was less true with Rose, Martha and Donna

You're not the first person to say this, and I accept that other people have different experiences of the series, but I really don't get this particularly with respect to Martha and Rose. Martha and Rose were all about the Doctor's availability or unavailability romantically and everything else about those characters was built around that, to highlight or counter that. Donna was better, in that respect (so far, we haven't seen the totality of Amy yet), but then RTD totally fridged her to give Rose a happy ending with 10.5.

But to be fair, how long did RTD have Jack sit around and wait for the Doctor again? And here was a guy who'd had an exciting life of his own supposedly, far more exciting than Martha who was the most competent of RTD's women, and yet he hangs around waiting for the Doctor too.

I wanted to see more spoilers.

I don't want to see that stuffed in two minutes in the finale. I want to see that next season.
posted by immlass at 6:24 PM on June 28, 2010


jeather, I think you're seeing stuff that isn't really there. Sorry to say that.

Moffat defines all of his characters by their relationships to the other characters, and is definitely a romantic at heart. "Girl in the Fireplace" celebrated Reinette, who while not completely lost to history, was definitely an obscure figure by Who standards, as the most brilliant mind of her time, to the point where even the Doctor was smitten with her intellect. And she was certainly not passive, in my memory of the episode. Also, her character introduction, explaining why anyone would know her (the King's mistress) then immediately made clear that the particularities of her position weren't important; she was.

The parallels between Madame de Pompadour and Amy Pond were explicit from the beginning. Both had been shaped by visits from the Doctor growing up, and both had the force of personality to demand authority in any room (a trait shared by Donna as well, to be fair, but she had to assert it a bit more forcefully.) But the Eleventh Doctor has been largely defined by his relationship to Amy, at least as much as she has been by her relationship to him, and Rory by his relationship to both of them. This season has been about all three of them adapting to one another given their circumstances, with all of them sacrificing for the others.

Also, not to give anything too much away, but there's explicit dialog at the end of the finale that, if anything, Rory is defined by Amy, and not the other way around. Rory agrees.

But we're going to see great stuff from Rory in Season six, I'm damned sure of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:46 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't want to see that stuffed in two minutes in the finale. I want to see that next season.

Exactly. And I expect to.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:47 PM on June 28, 2010


Oh, and of course, no Who thread has been complete without linking to this amazing fanvid about the Tenth Doctor. Showing it to my who-freak roommate today (who is responsible for getting me into the series) he assumed that the song must've been written about the Doctor (it wasn't, but the vid makes it fit very well.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fundamentally the show is about the Doctor (...doctor who?) and all characters are only relevant to the extent they have a relationship with him - this seems totally obvious to me, so I don't understand these criticisms. Rory is defined by his relationship to Amy, and spends 2000 years waiting around for her... so what? Anyone who isn't piloting a TARDIS (or sporting a futuristic wristwatch) is going to have to do a lot of "waiting", AKA the conventional method of time travel.
posted by mek at 7:16 PM on June 28, 2010


A little more light reading: The Unreality Of Time.
posted by mek at 7:46 PM on June 28, 2010


Ah hah! Amy can remember things that fall into the crack -- including the ducks. Big shame we missed out on the obvious "Duck, Pond!" joke.

Ohh so things might be able to be sucked into the cracks without being physically near them? Well that makes sense out of that glaring episode 1 oddity. The "Duck, Pond!" joke must appear next season, too good to waste (unless I missed it this season?).
posted by a. at 8:38 PM on June 28, 2010


all characters are only relevant to the extent they have a relationship with him - this seems totally obvious to me

They don't all have to have romantic or sexualized relationships with him, though, which is the gist of my complaint about really all of the New Who companions except Donna. Also, in the classic series, you had a number of companions who had lives and jobs of their own, and so brought interesting things to the show as fellow-travellers and adventurers: Liz Shaw was a UNIT scientist, Sarah Jane Smith was a journalist, and Turlough was an alien prince, just to mention three that come up off the top of my head. Even characters who didn't seem to have much of a life before the Doctor showed up and towed them off in the TARDIS, like, say, Leela (a barbarian from an Earth colony that had regressed from tech culture back to skins-and-knives), bring something to the TARDIS that the Doctor doesn't necessarily have. There's no fun to the relationship unless the companion brings something to it. My complaint is that most of what the New Who companions bring is about the Doctor's romantic emotional side, and to a certain extent his sex life, which is not what I as a viewer am looking for in companions. Certainly it's not the only thing I want to see emphasized about the companion role for years on end.

Amy's not a great companion IMO, although I'm willing to give her a chance to grow after the events of the finale. What she brought to the relationship with the Doctor in the season just ended, as far as I can tell, was a potential key to the mystery of the cracks, basically a living macguffin. I hope they do something else with her.
posted by immlass at 9:21 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer, I'll see your fanvid and raise you Tenth Doctor: The Musical.

And for the 2.5 people in the universe who haven't seen it: the Doctor Who/Benny Hill/Eminem mashup. One of my favourite things ever.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:39 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


immlass: Turlough was an alien prince

It's funny how I've picked up by osmosis that Turlough - DECADES OLD SPOILERS WARNING - joined Team TARDIS so he could kill the Doctor, and yet I had no idea he was a prince.

Earlier immlass: But to be fair, how long did RTD have Jack sit around and wait for the Doctor again?

Well, it's true that part of Jack's willingness to wait was due to emotional attachment to the Doctor and Rose (an attachment that's heartwarming yet kind of bizarre when you consider that he waited over a century for people he'd known, what? A few weeks to a few months?), he did have a specific reason to find the Doctor (get him to fix Jack's immortality) and, after a few decades, a specific endpoint (early 21st century). That said, he also dropped everything and ran despite everything going on at Torchwood at the time, so...

Really, Martha's the best adjusted of the new companions because she had her fun, left when she realized she wasn't in an emotionally healthy situation, and went on to put her Companion skills to use without the Doctor. But she really got put through the wringer first, and her character was really undermined by all the love triangle stuff.

Aside on River Song, which is commentary on pure speculation and I don't think needs a general spoiler warning: the "She's the Rani!" theory is cute and all, but wouldn't the Rani need a complete personality transplant to be River? That's a serious question, not rhetorical; I have yet to see any Rani eps, but my impression, which could be incorrect, is that she's a cold-hearted mad scientist type. River certainly can be very cold -- there's her ease at manipulating people, and spoiler -- but she's also very flirty and sometimes even maternal.

Speaking of the Rani, was anyone else disappointed watching when Ten met Rani Chandra in the SJA ep "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" and completely failed to doubletake or comment on her name? C'mon, RTD!
posted by bettafish at 7:14 AM on June 29, 2010


TBH outside of fan spaffing on the internet I have doubts as to the Rani's strength as a recognisable Classic Who villain. Honestly I think more people have heard of her because they've heard "such and such might be the Rani!" on internet messageboards than have actually seen her in any stories.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on June 29, 2010


It's funny how I've picked up by osmosis that Turlough - DECADES OLD SPOILERS WARNING - joined Team TARDIS so he could kill the Doctor, and yet I had no idea he was a prince.

Prince is glossing it, but Turlough is a big wheel, which is the background of his interactions with the Doctor and the Black Guardian.

Also, I'm in the Artw camp in the question of River and the Rani, even though I have good friends who are enamored of it as a possibility. The question of how she survived the Time War would have to be answered--probably a Chameleon Arch, same as Yana/the Master, which would account for the personality transplant--and that brings up all kinds of messy stuff. On the other hand, Moffat does seem to rebooting other aspects of the classic series (see: the Daleks are back in force, for reals), so it's not out of the question. If she is a Time Lord, or more likely IMO another renegade Time Agent, which makes spoiler more interesting, it would explain a lot about how spoiler, which I think probably should be explained down the road.
posted by immlass at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2010


Hmm... now how do I read all these spoilers on my mobile device, where there is no mouse with which to over?

So can we get a wrap-up of all the remaining threads?
+ What made the TARDIS explode in the first place and crack the universe?
+ Why does no one remember the events of the previous seasons? (And how can we, the viewers, do the same?)
+ Silence?
+ Who is River Song, really?

What else?
posted by Eideteker at 8:26 AM on June 29, 2010


Hate to dominate the conversation but a friend just pointed me at this chart of timey-wimey wibbly-wobbliness in the season finale. Obviously SPOILERS LIEK WOAH.
posted by immlass at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would, TBH, be perfectly happy with River Song turning out to be River Song as Moffat is doing a perfectly fine job of making her interesting without making her Romana/The Rani/The Doctors Daughter (urg!)/The TARDIS (too Whedon X-Men)/The Doctor (again, urg!)/random character from Who History.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2010


Though it's even weirder for Rory, in that why studying to become a nurse, and I was assuming at one point later on a doctor

I don't get that. A nurse isn't simply an inferior type of doctor, and making the switch would be weird. (Also, I believe that UK nurses have a lot more autonomy and responsibility than US ones as there's no worry about being sued, and because institutional culture says it's cheaper to get a nurse to do something than it would be to use a doctor if the nurse is capable).

What I actually picture for Rory in the future is a scene something like the below:
Scene: The middle of an A&E** department after a bus crash, Rory as Matron*** at the centre of it calmly and efficiently organising everyone. Seeing someone getting rapidly worse, he walks over and calmly applies pressure and dressings, ignoring the blood spurting. Cardiac doctor arrives at a run, glances at the patient, seeing that all the procedures have been met.

"You were right. Theatre now." Two porters come and start wheeling the trolley off. In the few seconds the stressed surgeon has, he asks a question that's clearly been bothering him. "Rory? How the hell do you stay so calm in this chaos?"

"What chaos?" Rory smiles very slightly. "Compared to my honeymoon, this is a walk in the park."
* There are two major causes of lawsuits - need for money (not much of an issue in the UK as most of the need in the US comes from future medical bills, paid for by the NHS anyway) and serious patient annoyance (which almost invariably lands on the doctor responsible, particularly if he's obnoxious - nurses wouldn't be noticeable most of the time).

** Accident and Emergency. (ER is the American equivalent).

*** Some hospitals in Britain still have Matrons (most use more gender-neutral language). Therefore I'm pretty sure one in the Whoniverse would.
posted by Francis at 9:22 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A nurse isn't simply an inferior type of doctor

I'm actually a little surprised more people weren't annoyed by that. Whose idea was that supposed to be in the story, anyway?
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on June 29, 2010


Hate to dominate the conversation but a friend just pointed me at this chart of timey-wimey wibbly-wobbliness in the season finale. Obviously SPOILERS LIEK WOAH.

Shit. That's it. I'm downloading the rest of the season this week so I, too, can bask in the awesomeness. Because that is some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey amazing stuff.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:36 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is Davros!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


River Song is the Kandy Man.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is the doctor's father. Kchhh-kuhhhh.
posted by edbles at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is Frobisher.
posted by maqsarian at 11:00 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


River Song is Kamelion.

She's totally a shapeshifter, is all I'm saying.
posted by maqsarian at 11:02 AM on June 29, 2010


If River Song is Cyberwoman, I'm never watching again.
posted by Gary at 11:06 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is from anti-Mondas.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is the Face of Bo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:11 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is Jenny.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:14 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


River Song is the 456. The Doctor married a child-huffer.
posted by maqsarian at 11:17 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is Jenny.

Again: Gross!
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


River Song is the fez.
posted by Gary at 11:31 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


River Song is Ol' Man River, the original river song.
posted by Eideteker at 11:39 AM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


spoiler the fez. Though I laughed when spoiler.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is the 456.

Well if spin-offs count then River Song is The Trickster.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is the 12th Doctor. You can feel the self love.
posted by stevis at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is a Slitheen using a perception filter.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:52 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is Harriet Jones.

(Yes, I know who she is.)
posted by maqsarian at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2010


River Song is a swarm of Vashta Nerada wearing her as a a suit.
posted by edbles at 12:41 PM on June 29, 2010


Why you should always back stuff up.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on June 29, 2010


Eh. In creative work, its the thinkin' that's the time consuming part. Everything else is just details. Unending, nightmarish, tedious, details.
posted by edbles at 1:56 PM on June 29, 2010




River Song is Johnny Depp.
posted by maqsarian at 2:50 PM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Russell Davies is Jay Leno?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:59 PM on June 29, 2010


Ahh, screw it. I'm River Song. And I'm sorry.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:05 PM on June 29, 2010


Guys, please let this be a joke.

I came back over to see if this had been posted. The level of DO NOT WANT based on the description is very high.
posted by immlass at 3:07 PM on June 29, 2010


The original story that tor.com uses as a source is the lone submission by bbusco on a submit your own article site. A site whose Harry Potter summary keeps referring to him as Harley.
posted by Gary at 3:42 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am sort of appalled to find that there are people who don't like River Song's character - the thought had literally never occurred to me.
posted by you're a kitty! at 3:51 PM on June 29, 2010


Show them mercy.
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on June 29, 2010


This haunting melody is some of my favorite music (incidental or otherwise) ever.
posted by Eideteker at 4:41 PM on June 29, 2010


A site whose Harry Potter summary keeps referring to him as Harley.
posted by Gary


That's actually referring to the American adaptation Harley Davidson and the Chaps of Fire, starring Johnny Depp as Harley and River Song as Voldemort.
posted by haveanicesummer at 5:07 PM on June 29, 2010


RIVER SONG KILLS DUMBLEDORE
posted by maqsarian at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


....Hang on, does River have a song?

(Yeah, it's a bad pun, but it's also a serious question -- did they come up with a theme FOR River Song?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:21 PM on June 29, 2010


I haven't noticed any leitmotif for River.
posted by maqsarian at 5:43 PM on June 29, 2010


She has one, it's just kinda dull. It's not awful or anything -- but it doesn't have the catchiness of the other companion leitmotifs, nor does it particularly reflect her character.

That timey-wimey chart is a thing of genius.
posted by bettafish at 6:24 PM on June 29, 2010


It was a one-off line with the spoiler, but has anyone mentioned that the spoiler. We have only two such people in canon.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:19 PM on June 29, 2010


She has one, it's just kinda dull.

There is another theme which I assumed was River's at the end of The Big Bang when she was talking to The Doctor involving a lot of reversed audio mixed throughout the theme. I thought it was fitting to be her theme since it reflects her random mixed up timeline.

Cant find a clip, so no linky.
posted by a. at 2:43 AM on June 30, 2010


NO JOHNNY DEPP NOOOOO

Actually.. surely he's got more sense? How successful would a not-proper-dr-who Dr Who movie be? I mean, I'd pay cash dollars to go see Matt Smith on the big screen for two hours, but a cheap rip-off? No way.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:32 AM on June 30, 2010


Fingers crossed they revive the idea of rapping, sass-talking Tardis (naturally the voice coming from a pair of giant lips on a view-screen) from a previous time a movie was being talked about. (Having the Hoff as the Doctor would be too much to hope for)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:54 AM on June 30, 2010


The Hoff can play Captain Jack.
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on June 30, 2010


Depp is already Captain Jack in the POTC film series, so he'll be forced to play both The Doctor and Captain Jack in a bit of cross promotion. The Doctor (Depp) will then bring Captain Jack (Depp) back to pirate times where they will meet Captain Jack (Depp) and be forced into a Rum blue sea battle with Captain Morgan (Depp). This timey-wimey actory-wactory flim flam will be lampshaded by Depp jinxing himself as all 4 character simultaneously utter the Captain Morgan slogan "Got a little Captain in you?" Naturally someone will be owed a Coke.

Doctor of the Carribean: Captain my Captain my Captain by Russell T Davies

Also Rose is there.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:03 AM on June 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is sounding like my Torchwood/Deadwood crossover idea, where the team have to swap Al Swearigen for his loveable antiques dealer descendant Lovejoy, for reasons that I haven't made up yet, and comedy ensues.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on June 30, 2010


I have a feeling Captain Jack won't mind so much when Swearengen inevitably calls him a cocksucker.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:42 AM on June 30, 2010


Also Rose is there.

It's like it was written by Rusty himself. Except you have to remember to entirely change the plot every ten minutes for no apparent reason and completely forget the previous one.

How successful would a not-proper-dr-who Dr Who movie be?

There were two in the 60's, starring Peter Cushing as an Earth-born "Doctor" who just happened to invent a time travelling Police box called "Tardis" (note - not all caps, no definite article) that was bigger on the inside than the outside.
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:42 AM on June 30, 2010




Fun fact about the 1960s movies: the second film stars Bernard Cribbins (best known to Whofans today as Wilf) as one of the companions.
posted by bettafish at 8:45 AM on June 30, 2010


Both films are available on YouTube for the curious, though I think they might be US only.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on June 30, 2010




AMERICA'S DR. WHO!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:21 PM on June 30, 2010


Fun fact about the 1960s movies: the second film stars Bernard Cribbins (best known to Whofans today as Wilf) as one of the companions.

Can't remember if I mentioned this in an earlier thread...Cribbins said that that lead to an interesting moment when Cribbins and Tennant were filming one of the Tenth Doctors' last episodes. It was a scene when they were supposed to be either entering or exiting the TARDIS, and at one point between takes, when Cribbins and Tennant were crammed in the box waiting for the cue, Cribbins joked, "you know, I just realized the last time I saw the inside of this thing, it was 1966."

David Tennant apparently got this slightly shocked look like he'd just realized something and said, "...I wasn't even BORN yet then."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 PM on June 30, 2010


when Cribbins and Tennant were crammed in the box waiting for the cue

Why would they be crammed inside? That thing is huge!
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:56 AM on July 1, 2010


"You're going to find out very soon now..."

"She was sealed into the seventh obelisk after the prayer meeting..."

Could this be River?

Fits with that exchange in Time of Angels... something along the lines of:

Doctor: The Pandorica is a myth

River: Aren't we all?


(Of course, to be consistent with Pyramids of Mars, she'd have to be an Osiran, but then again, why start being strict with the continuity now?)
posted by weston at 9:05 AM on July 1, 2010


The Doctor actually says the Pandorica is a fairy tale (not that it necessarily changes the meaning, but a different connotation at least).
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2010


(Psst, guys, if you can, come help me pick Doctor Who novels to read!)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:28 AM on July 1, 2010


No Who movie with Depp

Phew.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on July 1, 2010


No Who movie with Depp

This is where I run through the thread hugging everybody with happy relief.
posted by immlass at 2:12 PM on July 1, 2010


Doctor Who: The Awards
posted by painquale at 11:06 AM on July 4, 2010


Weird that in that little ranking thing at the end they don't seem to rate Amy's Choice much.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on July 4, 2010


Those rankings are all screwy. Amy's Choice and The Lodger should be switched, The Time of Angels should go down a couple of places, and The Big Bang should be number one. Victory of the Daleks, of course, is fine where it is.
posted by maqsarian at 11:43 AM on July 4, 2010


Yeah, TBH I'm not really arguing that much with the low ranking of the Silurian episodes either.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2010


My rankings:

The Big Bang
The Eleventh Hour
The Pandorica Opens
Amy's Choice
Time of the Angels
The Lodger
Vincent and the Doctor
Flesh and Stone
The Beast Below
The Vampires of Venice
The Hungry Earth
Cold Blood
Victory of the Daleks
posted by Phire at 9:36 PM on July 4, 2010


From the awards link: Why does that montage of proof that “the Earth is defended” (in “The Eleventh Hour”) include the likes of the Hath and the Ood?

Moffat will protect us from awful, overused, underdeveloped monsters!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:05 PM on July 4, 2010


I'm pressing the Metafilter self-destruct device if people don't start giving that Dalek episode better rankings.

Well, ok, it had problems. But I think Cold Blood is only edging it out because long-time Doctor Who fans love episodes that take place in caves and/or underground mining colonies.
posted by Gary at 11:55 PM on July 4, 2010


And quarries. Don't forget quarries.
posted by maqsarian at 2:11 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I think Cold Blood is only edging it out because long-time Doctor Who fans love episodes that take place in caves and/or underground mining colonies.

Back in the 1970's we used to joke that the generic Dr. Who episode title should be The Ventilation Ducts of Womb-World.
posted by localroger at 7:11 AM on July 5, 2010


Yeah, the Dalek episode was disappointing, but it had some good moments. The tea line and the actor who played Churchill were more entertaining than anything in the Silurian episodes.

My list:

The Eleventh Hour
The Big Bang
Amy's Choice
Vincent and the Doctor
Time of the Angels
The Lodger
The Vampires of Venice
The Pandorica Opens
Flesh and Stone
Victory of the Daleks
The Beast Below
Cold Blood
The Hungry Earth

Surprising to me to see that I've ranked so many Moffat-penned episodes so low. But he also made my top two.
posted by painquale at 7:58 AM on July 5, 2010


Well, let's be fair here - think back to, say, The Daleks in Manhattan and how does Victory of the Daleks compare?
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on July 5, 2010


Well, let's be fair here - think back to, say, The Daleks in Manhattan and how does Victory of the Daleks compare?

The question becomes: silly plot vs plot that only exists to show us Daleks vs Spitfires IN SPACE! To which the only reasonable answer is: Go back and watch an old Dalek serial instead! And yes, I'm an old skool Who fan who thought the Silurian eps were better than Victory of the Daleks, which is definitely my bottom episode for the season. Those drilling episodes from Three's tenure are looking mighty prescient as we watch them right now.

For me, this season was better than the sum of its parts (individual episodes), which is definitely a reversal of the Davies scheme where the seasons were less than the sum of their parts. I suspect this season will be fun to watch on DVD in one fell swoop later on. I'd probably rather have shorter serials with better action per episode, but that's just me being an old skool fan again.
posted by immlass at 8:11 AM on July 5, 2010


Go back and watch an old Dalek serial instead!

OK.... The one with Alexi Sayle as a DJ.
posted by Artw at 8:26 AM on July 5, 2010


OK.... The one with Alexi Sayle as a DJ.

That one holds up quite well IMHO... what you really want the one with Romana II in it, where it's Daleks vs Boney M
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:38 AM on July 5, 2010


And whilst there's certainly been episodes this series that haven't been as good as others but for me there's been nothing that's even got close to making me toy with stop watching as the worst ones of the past have (Daleks in Manhattan, Jesus Who, The Olympics one, The one with the monster some kid won a competition with etc )
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2010


there's been nothing that's even got close to making me toy with stop watching as the worst ones of the past have

That's been me after every season finale, with the possible exception of S1. Even the fanservice in the rest of them (Dalek/Cybermen snark! Timothy goddamned Dalton in the robes and shoulderpiece!) hasn't been enough. Daleks in Manhattan was pretty lame, but it had nothing nothing Nothing! on Tinkerbell Jesus. It was kind of sad that a significant part of my goodwill after the end of Big Bang was "thank you Moffat for not fucking this up too badly!" There were things that weren't so great, but it just not being a universe-wide clusterfuck was fantastic.
posted by immlass at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of crap Dalek episodes. Victory of the Daleks was fine; it wasn't their best outing, but it had a cool premise and the Ironsides were great. If you took out the ostentatious product rollout of the new iDaleks, the human bomb being disarmed by the power of love, and the spitfires in space (which do have their own sort of charm), it'd be a fine episode. I can overlook those things. Daleks in Manhattan really had nothing redeemable. The worst bit is that it permanently killed off three of the Cult of Skaro, and I loved those guys. They had the makings of recurring villains, like Davros.

I used to think that the whole notion of a human Dalek was too stupid to ever be a reasonable plot point and that the episode was doomed from the start. But I just listened to the Eighth Doctor radio play about human Daleks this weekend, and those little guys were great.

(I've never really gotten into the Big Finish plays before, and I'm really digging them. The old episodes are slow enough that I usually end up playing flash games or something while watching them, and I end up missing what happens on screen. The radio plays are much better suited to this kind of casual consumption. And Eight is pretty good Doctor.)
posted by painquale at 8:57 AM on July 5, 2010


The old episodes are slow enough that I usually end up playing flash games or something while watching them, and I end up missing what happens on screen.

Just popped back in to say "turn on the info text in the special features" to anyone feeling like this. The info text is what keeps me paying attention even during the less-stellar serials I've seen; there's always something interesting on screen to watch even if the show itself is in a slower moment.
posted by immlass at 9:04 AM on July 5, 2010


OK.... The one with Alexi Sayle as a DJ.

omg I just threw up in my mouth
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:09 AM on July 5, 2010


He fights Daleks with the power of Rock and roll!

(I am not even kidding here)
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I cheered when he got Dalek'd.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:07 PM on July 5, 2010


My list:

The Big Bang
The Eleventh Hour
Amy's Choice
The Lodger
Vincent and the Doctor
The Pandorica Opens
Time of the Angels
Flesh and Stone
The Beast Below
The Vampires of Venice
Cold Blood
The Hungry Earth
Victory of the Daleks

I like the episodes that develop the characters of the Doctor, Amy and Rory far more than cool-thing-of-the-week episodes.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:16 PM on July 5, 2010


You have to adjust for the fact that Revelation of the Daleks was in the slough of despond that is the Colin Baker era, and as such is actually not bad (AFAI can remember) compared to some of the other stories of that time (Attack of the Cybermen? Mark of the Rani?).
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:45 PM on July 5, 2010


Honestly, I've managed to bury my memories of the Colin Baker era like so many poorly-plotted corpses. He was supposed to be the mean one, but just came off petulant.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:58 PM on July 5, 2010


The BBC To Publish Graphic Novels
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on July 9, 2010


The BBC To Publish Graphic Novels

That cover looks terrible. The Doctor looks more like Patrick Swayze than Matt Smith, Amy looks like she's floating in mid-air and either the perspective is wrong or those Daleks are coming down a 45o ramp.

Having said that I have a couple of Tom Baker era annuals with some exceedingly bad artwork.
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:07 AM on July 9, 2010


It looks a lot like the pre-season 8 Buffy comics that I came across trying to get my hands on Fray. Stiffly drawn and not detailed and not in a good not detailed Mike Mignola horror comic with shapes and shadows way.
posted by edbles at 12:13 PM on July 9, 2010


Yeah, that cover looks a bit crappy and rushed. The colouring is kind of icky as well.

Not sure who it's by - Mike Collins is doing the interior art, but he's usually better than that. Fun fact: Mike Collins was the first person to draw Gambit in the X-Men, and I believe gave him that overcoat, which started off the whole superhero overcoat trend...
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on July 9, 2010


pringfield Punx: Doctor Who
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on July 9, 2010


Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat defies the critics - Matt Smith festive episode will be 'most Christmassy Christmas special' yet.

Katherine Jenkins to star in Doctor Who Christmas special - also Dumbledore.
posted by Artw at 6:21 AM on July 12, 2010


I recently showed The Eleventh Hour to three of my friends (and Blink to the more converted one of the three) on three separate occasions. I think we may have three new Whovians in the world...
posted by Phire at 7:02 AM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's some scans of the comic strip The Lodger was based on. Starring Mickey! Good old Mickey, I always liked him.

Art is by Mike Collins, BTW, who is doing the graphic novel mentioned above.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 13, 2010


More speculation about River Song.
posted by weston at 5:50 PM on July 13, 2010


Steven Moffat has joined twitter, but it is mostly about Sherlock so far.
posted by Gary at 5:16 PM on July 14, 2010


More speculation about River Song.

Meh. All of that strikes me as ridiculous fanwankish. "She looks kind of like her! Pyramids!"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:11 PM on July 14, 2010


Slight derail, but since it's been mentioned, I'll just say here that I'm pretty excited about Sherlock. I love Sherlock Holmes (I used to carry a big omnibus volume around with me in fifth grade, and I'd rope my friends into roleplaying different stories), and I'm fairly hopeful that Gatiss and Moffat have produced a good adaptation.
posted by maqsarian at 10:49 AM on July 15, 2010


The Guardian's DataBlog has embarked on a brave (and possibly foolhardy) effort to log every single Dr Who villain along with which Doctors they battled, which stories they were in and their motivation. Very much a work in progress, as you can see from the comments.
posted by Electric Dragon at 7:21 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]




Having never read any of the books and only finding out about her on Wikipedia, I'm now convinced that Bernice Summerfield is River Song. All this Rani/Romana talk seem a little bit too much like the RTD structure of having to bring back someone big (Daleks, Cybermen, Master, Davros, Rassilon) every year. But Moffat seems like the type who would throw a bone to hard core fan that actually bought a series of books about an Eighth Doctor companion who only appeared in the novels.

Of course, those hard core fans will immediately yell and moan that he didn't get her eye colour right or something. But deep down they'll be happy to show off their knowledge about how wrong all the details are.

She's been guessed as River Song on Metafilter before, proving that you just can't out-nerd this site.
posted by Gary at 12:11 PM on July 22, 2010


I've been reading Human Nature, which heavily features Bernice. She strikes me as a much younger, more inexperienced character than River--the personality just seems different, even if the career aspects are similar.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:11 PM on July 24, 2010


Just watched the finale on BBC America. So. Much. Crying. Loved this entire season.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:24 PM on July 24, 2010


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