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The Doctor Who Thread.....


Greg1138
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Also, if the cat guy is trying to rescue all the humans, why does he imprison the Doctor and Yaz at the start? Is he that hell bent against them trying to interefere or it that it dramatically works for the plot before we find out he's a good guy? (more likely in my opinion given Chibnall's writing)

 

I mean, they address the reason Bishop was imprisoned at the start, but did they forget about every bit of antagonism leading up to that?

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13 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

Also, if the cat guy is trying to rescue all the humans, why does he imprison the Doctor and Yaz at the start? Is he that hell bent against them trying to interefere or it that it dramatically works for the plot before we find out he's a good guy? (more likely in my opinion given Chibnall's writing)

 

Dog guy! How did you miss he was a dog? I mean yeah the costume looks ridiculous. But the line "man's best friend" did get a giggle out of me. The rest of your question is fair though, and who knows if it'll be answered.

 

That wasn't bad! I didn't love it, so much of it was the usual "Doctor explaining what's happening in front of her even though the audience can see it" and the distracting angled close-ups of every character's face will always annoy me. But at least it had some pace about it, which I can't say for most of this era. By far the best moment was the Weeping Angel scene, looking forward to that episode the most I think.

 

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5 minutes ago, Docteur Qui said:

By far the best moment was the Weeping Angel scene, looking forward to that episode the most I think.

 

 

Really? I was just waiting for that scene to be over... flipping obvious what was going to happen.

 

I did really enjoy the episode, but that doesn't stop it having a ton of massive writing and story flaws, although at least they didn't occur to me until after I'd finished watching, and that's worth some credit.

 

Yeah, I confused a dog and a cat... meh.

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Just now, Richard Penna said:

 

Really? I was just waiting for that scene to be over... flipping obvious what was going to happen.

 

 

There wasn't anything in it that Blink hadn't done better, but it was still the most... anything I've actually felt watching one of these episodes. If that sounds like damning with faint praise it's because it is.

 

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I don't disagree. What I'm getting at is I haven't felt even a smidge of tension or fear watching an episode of Doctor Who since this era began. It was nice to feel that again, even a pale imitation of it.

 

Really that just says more about how genuinely good the Weeping Angels are creatively.

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Really? I thought Villa Diodati was pretty creepy, and had the likes of the Lone Cyberman snarling about slitting the throats of his children 'because they were weak' into the bargain. Quite strong stuff for a family show.  

And although it had its flaws, Arachnids In The UK gave me the heebie-jeebies for exactly the reasons you'd think. 

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4 hours ago, Sweeping Strings said:

And although it had its flaws, Arachnids In The UK gave me the heebie-jeebies for exactly the reasons you'd think. 

 

Not me as far as I remember, and I'm a Major Arachnophobe.

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On 04/11/2021 at 1:21 AM, Sweeping Strings said:

Really? I thought Villa Diodati was pretty creepy, and had the likes of the Lone Cyberman snarling about slitting the throats of his children 'because they were weak' into the bargain. Quite strong stuff for a family show.  

And although it had its flaws, Arachnids In The UK gave me the heebie-jeebies for exactly the reasons you'd think. 

 

Villa Diodati was effective (and a solid episode to boot), but I'm not very spooked by supernatural things so its ghostly tone didn't get at me the way the Weeping Angels do. I know they're pretty much supernatural too, but they get under my skin the way so much magical horror doesn't. The Lone Cyberman was a great villain, and you're right, he was quite disturbing. I think I just forgot about him after he was disposed of so unceremoniously in the final episodes.

 

On 04/11/2021 at 9:51 PM, Sweeping Strings said:

Although maybe the most disconcerting thing in it was the Doctor deciding that shutting them in an airtight panic room to suffocate/starve to death was kinder than bullets. 

 

Great observation, and my thoughts exactly.

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There's much in Talons that isn't 'woke' or whatever, but I'm grown-up enough to know that that's to be expected of something made in the Seventies and set in the Victorian era. And then I sit back and enjoy one of the very best of Tom Baker's stories.  

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At first I was going to praise Episode 2 War of the Sontarans for being pretty good but then I made the mistake of watching Sontaran Strategem from Season 4 as a comparison point and it's night and day. I have some serious issues with how the Sontarans are portrayed in this

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Looks like my cautious optimism was warranted after all. Another enjoyable episode, despite it containing two of my least favourite Who conventions; Sontarans and historicals. Thankfully both elements were inverted somewhat, with the companions all being sent to different time periods (and a mercifully more interesting one in the case of Yaz). This also allowed the Doctor to have some time on her own, and I think this is the closest have ever gotten seeing what Jodie is capable of by herself and without a million other characters holding her hand. I loved her easy rapport with Mary Seacole, who was portrayed very entertainingly by Sarah Powell (in contrast to the usually very solemn and rigid historical characters in this run), and the Doctor actually had some humour, some agency and was able to solve some problems herself - even if the whole Sontaran rest cycle doesn't make a lick of sense.

 

The depiction of the Sontarans hit a nice sweet spot between overly camp and boring, which I think NuWho has always struggled with. Dan Starkey (who I really did enjoy as Strax, previous comment notwithstanding), does a great job here as another Sontaran. I'm glad they kept him on, plus it makes sense because they're clones.

 

I like that there's more mysteries afoot! What's with the creepy upside-down black and white house? Who are Swarm, his sister and the very creepy, very Bane-like Passenger? I really, really like their crystalline visual design, particularly in the well-lit temple scenes. The temple is nothing like Chibnall's usual setting, it felt very Moffat to me - more adventurous, shades of Indiana Jones or Star Wars. Plus a properly thrilling cliffhanger!

 

Plenty of the usual inexplicable Chibnallisms: Dan's parents' weird entrance and exit, the aforementioned Sontaran rest cycle and terrible strategic weakness that they all sleep at the same time, the General somehow blowing up several sophisticated star ships with a bit of 19th-Century gunpowder (and managing to do so in less than 7 minutes?!) etc. Still, this is an improvement, and if this is Chibs' last ever stint writing for the show it'll end on a relative high if things keep up.

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Yes, I did too. And pleasingly, the Third Doctor story that first introduced the Sontarans was referenced ... 'When our Commander Linx attempted to claim this planet for the glory of the Sontaran empire!' 

We have a big ol' mystery to chew on, a lot of the effects/visuals are terrific (shot under Covid restrictions it may have been, but you'd never know it) and the finger-wagging lectures are pretty much gone. Gotta say, I'm happy.   

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9 hours ago, Sweeping Strings said:

We have a big ol' mystery to chew on, a lot of the effects/visuals are terrific (shot under Covid restrictions it may have been, but you'd never know it) and the finger-wagging lectures are pretty much gone. Gotta say, I'm happy.   


Speaking of obvious Covid shooting techniques, I remember watching Loki and being so distracted at how strangely everything was blocked and shot to work around social distancing requirements. While I imagine this series has done the same it’s not nearly as obvious. And I agree that the effects look fantastic this time round, especially the gnarly disintegration effect that Swarm keeps using.

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Now, just a damn minute!

"WAR OF THE SONTARANS"?

Isn't that the most ironic title? Their entire existence is a war. There's even a DVD box-set called "Bred For War".

"TEA PARTY OF THE SONTARANS". Now, that would be interesting.

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Heh ... last night I watched Episode 6 of the restored-via-animation Second Doctor story Evil Of The Daleks which had some Daleks acting playfully, being friendly etc after the Doctor adds 'the human factor' to them as an experiment. 

I had previously thought the 'Daleks developing emotions' thing was first seen in that Eccleston ep when one does after Rose touches it, but clearly not.   

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Well... that felt likeTurn Left remade with a script written the night before filming began. Soooo much Pitch Meeting material there :lol:

 

Had some exciting moments and most of the large scale bits were done pretty well (except the flyover battle shot near the start, which was laughably bad CG). I also liked Akinola's motif for the Sontarans.

 

I really like Bishop's chemistry, but what they did with his character was stupid - yeah, sneak onto a heavily guarded ship without being spotted at all. Super easy.....

 

Also, the Sontarans have problems with earth's air, yet at whim they remove their helmets to give a completely unneeded battle speech? I get that Who is fun and OTT, but Chibnall clearly can't write an intelligent, interesting story to save his life. RTD's return can't come soon enough.

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Just watched it.

Not bad, with some nifty-to-very-good effects (the money shot of Bishop climbing up the crane, and the pan around the docks was outstanding). Mary Seacole was funny, and I can see Yaz and Vinter getting together.

Bishop can't act his way out of a wet paper bag, and lines which would have gotten a belly-laugh in Tennant's day ("tempura"/"temporal"), fell flat as a pancake. There were times when I thought "Enough of this meshugas; let's see The Daleks", but I'm sure they'll get here, eventually.

All in all, though, a better episode than last week's. Still shite, though. Sorry, Chibs: must try harder.

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For both RTD and Moffat, there was a certain glee to their world-building/stories.  It was a palpable sense of "look what silly stuff we've dreamt up this time!"  that I felt was really missing from the Chibnall episodes I watched.  Admittedly though I haven't watched these newest ones.

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I like the first two episodes of the new series. WHO will always have, and have always had, overt story devices and things that don't make sense.

 

What I do miss, however, is seeing more of the TARDIS. Now that it's all wonky, it would be great to see some other parts. There were a couple of instances in the original show where the Doctor would go into a bedroom or some such thing; and a few other instances as well. Gives you a greater scope of the ship. But I can't remember a single instance in the 2005 reboot where they've gone outside the control room.

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16 minutes ago, Thor said:

...I can't remember a single instance in the 2005 reboot where they've gone outside the control room.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE TARDIS.

 

 

1 hour ago, Richard Penna said:

The bit with the general (or whatever he was) blowing up the ships after the Doctor had negotiated their exit was a step in the right direction, but it was just shoved in quickly at the end - they could've oriented the entire episode around that quandry.

The Brigadier did it, at the end of DOCTOR WHO AND THE SILURIANS, and The Doctor reacted in the same way. It's, also, what Harriet Jones did, in THE CHRISTMAS INVASION, and look what happened to her.

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4 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE TARDIS.

 

 

The Brigadier did it, at the end of DOCTOR WHO AND THE SILURIANS, and The Doctor reacted in the same way. It's, also, what Harriet Jones did, in THE CHRISTMAS INVASION, and look what happened to her.

Richard wasn’t saying that the reaction was out of character, he was saying that its inclusion here felt rushed because there wasn’t much build-up.

 

In THE CHRISTMAS INVASION we get to spend a decent amount of time from the government’s perspective, and since they’re not one-dimensionally dick-ish like the general in WAR OF THE SONTARANS, there’s a lot more weight to their decision to take no chances. There’s also the added tension of this being a freshly regenerated Doctor and so you don’t really know how far he’s going to go, and he ends up going pretty far.

 

Didn’t know Classic Who had a similar scene though! Would be great to see that clip to compare and contrast.

 

4 hours ago, Thor said:

I like the first two episodes of the new series. WHO will always have, and have always had, overt story devices and things that don't make sense.

 

What I do miss, however, is seeing more of the TARDIS. Now that it's all wonky, it would be great to see some other parts. There were a couple of instances in the original show where the Doctor would go into a bedroom or some such thing; and a few other instances as well. Gives you a greater scope of the ship. But I can't remember a single instance in the 2005 reboot where they've gone outside the control room.

I don’t really like the line of thinking of ‘well other episodes of Doctor Who didn’t make much sense so it’s okay that this one didn’t’, because there are plenty that are much more internally consistent than WAR OF THE SONTARANS and they tend to be lauded as the best. There’s being scientifically accurate or plausible, which Doctor Who has never seriously attempted to be, and then there’s the basic writing goal of making sure the structure of your story doesn’t collapse in on itself. That what you introduce remains consistent so that the audience doesn’t end up feeling cheated or confused.

 

Even comparing it to the SONTARAN STRATAGEM (part 1 only because that’s the one I’ve seen recently), there is nothing as silly as the notion of a warrior race putting themselves in the vulnerable and strategically poor position of refuelling at the exact same time. It stands to reason that this would be something commonly encountered for a race that wages war on foreign planets, and it breaks my suspension of disbelief that they would have stuck with that solution. I would be more forgiving if it was in service to something interesting, but it is literally just so they can be cleanly dealt with as a threat which made me feel cheated as an audience member.

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I think The Doctor's Wife was the first one ever since 2005, I remember being surprised. Rooms were alluded to never seen. Then NG wrote rooms but seemingly scaled back to a single corridor for budget reasons or so they say.

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4 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Just watched the two Peter Capaldi Christmas specials, The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Doctor Mysterio. OK, so they are a bit lightweight (especially the latter) but man they are so much fun, but also quite a lot of pathos, especially the finale of The Husbands of River Song. Say what you like, but the way they used the central time travel conceit to have River and the Doctor interact all out of order in a way that only adds to the pathos of their relationship is impressive. Although for fans of Murray Gold, the most depressing thing is that The Husbands of River Song is the last DW music he released... someone needs to give that man a rocket up the arse to get an album of his (to date) final DW season out.


The Return Of Dr Mysterio was a blast. Helped that it was the only bit of Who we got that year. 

Think I'm in a minority with the opinion that The Husbands Of River Song should've kept the 'Who does rom-coms' tone all the way through, the finale rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.  

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Dr Mysterio is one reason to want a final release of Gold's music. Somone put a rip of the main theme on YT and it was rather good.

 

Edit - this link found via here. So as of 5 months ago, Gold hasn't gotten round to it yet. Clearly, Silva are still using the overly diplomatic 'not available to license' explanation for Gold not having made an album yet.

 

Once, Upon Time seems to be Chibnall's answer to 'no more preaching', and he's certainly heeded that.

 

Problem is, he's trying to make a Moffat type storyline now, but just ends up confusing everyone. I understood a few bits of that, but the rest of it just flew over my head. The next episode looks more interesting though - full on Weeping Angels.

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I had missed this New Yorker article from back in 2018 when Akinola first took over.

 

I have to admit I agree with him mostly on Gold (especially the word "relentless" to describe his approach).  I don't share his enthusiasm for Akinola, but I understand where he's coming from.

 

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-music-of-doctor-who-makes-a-glorious-return-to-form

Quote

It’s 1963 and “Doctor Who” is on television: as the show’s title appears on the screen, a voiceless warble lofts over a throbbing bassline. For decades, the composer credit was given solely to Ron Grainer, but now we know that it is mostly the work of Delia Derbyshire, who manipulated tape at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create the eerie final product.

 

At first, the show’s background music was minimal. Exotic atmosphere was frequently supplied by a generic electronic hum, as lo-fi as the rubber-suit monsters and the cardboard spaceship consoles. In 1970, the show went from black-and-white to color, and the scoring became more luxuriant as well. Most of the composers used conventional instruments in addition to gadgets from the Radiophonic Workshop—a rare exception was Malcolm Clarke’s stunning all-electronic score for “The Sea Devils” episode.

 

The music of “Doctor Who” reached its first apex during the Tom Baker era (the actor who was the fourth Doctor), from 1974 to 1981. For the first six years of the Baker run, there was essentially a house composer, Dudley Simpson, who wrote near-continuous underscoring that was performed by varied chamber ensembles. Simpson really lets his hands go in “The Pyramid of Mars,” which includes the definitive “mad scientist at the pipe organ” cue. In popular polls attempting to determine the best “Doctor Who” story, the No. 1 slot usually goes to “City of Death,” a Parisian comedy that would be unthinkable without Simpson’s tuneful accompaniment.

 

For the last year of Baker’s tenure, the incoming producer John Nathan-Turner fired Simpson and other people who had made the show so successful. The Grainer/Derbyshire theme got its first significant facelift, transforming from something timeless into something resolutely 1980. Until the end of the first run of “Doctor Who,” in 1989, the show’s underscoring would be mostly done on contemporary synthesizers. Many of the scores were excellent—Paddy Kingland’s mournful backing of “Logopolis” is indelible—but something chintzy had crept into the show’s over-all production values. Eventually, the ratings sank and the show was cancelled. The Radiophonic Workshop also finally closed doors, in 1998, after a spectacular forty-year run.

 

In 2005, “Doctor Who” was rebooted with a new paradigm and quickly became an international sensation. The show was lifted by the producer Russell T. Davies’s decision to introduce emotionally complex plots that gave the Doctor’s companions their own story arcs. “Doctor Who” was no longer simply meant to entertain kids with a bunch of scary alien monsters and a chatterbox Time Lord. The show became yet another example of elevating a twentieth-century cartoon into something more substantial.

 

This new seriousness of purpose was supported by the sentimental orchestral music of Murray Gold. Gold re-orchestrated the Grainer/Derbyshire theme as a kind of pompous symphonic dance. His relentless underscoring showed a similar debt to John Williams. While many diehard “Doctor Who” fans from the last decade adore Gold’s work, I find it airless, charmless, and far too on the nose. To be fair, Gold is a professional who can write a good melody, and it was undoubtedly a group decision with Davies (and then with the next producer, Steven Moffat) to use music that tells the audience exactly what to feel, from desolate to heroic.

 

There’s a seemingly true cliché about “Doctor Who” fans: whomever was “your” Doctor when you were nine years old will always be “your” Doctor. (This also helps explain the longevity of the show: if you were born in 1954, William Hartnell was “your” Doctor. If you were born in 2009, Jodie Whittaker is “your” Doctor.) Back when I was a young fan of Tom Baker, Dudley Simpson offered far less hand-holding than Murray Gold. Whether the aliens were good or bad, whether the emotion was sad or glad, Simpson might supply something like a meandering trombone over a dissonant organ chord. My young mind had to reach in and make conclusions on my own, unguided by the underscore. Yep. Dudley Simpson almost certainly will always be “my” “Doctor Who” composer.

 

However, the current season is full of intriguing fresh beginnings. Most obviously, there’s the thirteenth iteration of the lead, played by Jodie Whittaker, who is the series’s first female Doctor. As the official tagline says, “It’s about time.” The producer, Chris Chibnall, is also new, and there’s a new composer, Segun Akinola.

 

Akinola has more or less restored the theme tune to the original Grainer/Derbyshire conception. Not much remains from Gold’s overstuffed orchestra in the bulk of the underscoring, either. There’s a bit of a heroic “Doctor’s Theme” for the heart-tugging moments, but we couldn’t expect the showrunners to get away from that entirely, could we? Those obvious themes seldom appear: the soundtrack is now usually aimless intervallic tunes, simple drones, and haunting effects. It’s a blessed return to an alien soundscape.

 

It’s not just the music. The show seems to be reinvestigating a darker, more measured past over all. The first episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” walks slowly and grimly around sleeping Sheffield while tracking a homicidal alien. It’s straight out of the seventies “Doctor Who” playbook. The second installment, “The Ghost Monument,” has the Doctor telling her companions to cheer up while wandering around an empty planet. At one point, this was essentially the plot of every other serial, but there hasn’t been an episode quite as bare-bones as this in a long time. Last week, “Rosa” dared to address the Rosa Parks story. I wouldn’t call it perfect, but thanks to Akinola’s mellow Copland-style brass, I liked it better then previous overblown historical episodes with Vincent van Gogh or Hitler.

 

Throughout, Akinola makes the right moves. He knows his stuff—in interviews he name-checks such modernist heavyweight composers as Iannis Xenakis and Georg Friedrich Haas—but, while working for “Doctor Who,” he gets out the show’s way and offers a mysterious and pleasing atmosphere. I haven’t been so excited to tune in since I was a kid.

 

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7 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

Once, Upon Time seems to be Chibnall's answer to 'no more preaching', and he's certainly heeded that.

 

Problem is, he's trying to make a Moffat type storyline now, but just ends up confusing everyone. I understood a few bits of that, but the rest of it just flew over my head. The next episode looks more interesting though - full on Weeping Angels.

 

Same here. Very "Moffat at his worst", doing complexity for complexity's sake. Combined with the fact that I had a hard time understanding the fast dialogue, and the accents (as a non-English speaker), I didn't understand much.

Spoiler

Time in a flux, some kind of order restored (but damage has been done), the devil-looking people want to reign in hell. That's it.

 

Gosh, how I miss Russell T. Davies.

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Yikes that was bad. Right as I give some credit to WAR OF THE SONTARANS for being a more focused episode compared to the clusterfuck that was THE HALLOWEEN APOCALYPSE, ONCE UPON A TIME comes around to try and cover even more things at once and ends up succeeding at none of them. Probably the worst use of the Weeping Angels I've ever seen too, thank goodness they're getting a focused episode because they were props here and with no build up of tension or atmosphere, scenes like where the angel laughably appears in the video game and out of the TV fall so incredibly flat. ANGELS IN MANHATTAN had the very silly idea of the statue of liberty being an angel yes, but Moffat still did a good job at building the tension and increasing the creep factor like with the introduction of the cherubs - and what they did to Amy and Rory was very upsetting.

I felt the ever so slight tug at my heart strings with the Vinder and Bel romance, and that might've been able to add some much-needed pathos to the series had it been at least half the focus of an episode. As it stands it's very undeveloped, and while the reveal that Bel is the one Vinder has been talking to the whole time was clever and sweet, the potential has been thoroughly missed and it ends up feeling lip service to the idea of a relationship with no sense of chemistry or rapport. Which, granted, is hard to do when they're physically separated but I don't think it's impossible.

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Yeah that episode undid all the goodwill I had for the last one. I'll sum it up with probably one of the worst lines I've ever heard uttered on television:

 

"Our as-yet unborn child"

 

Thanks Chris, if you hadn't written "as-yet" we may never have figured out that the child was unborn. Jeeeez.

 

Cliffhanger was great though. Disagree with the above post about the Angels, I really liked that Chibs built on the concept of "an image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel", and then ran with it.

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