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Poll: Which Who? (30 member(s) have cast votes)

Which Who?

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#141 Anna J

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:49 PM

I settled into a kind of emotional numbness after 2 years of Tennant, so only Very Important Things like the return of the Master could affect me.

But when Eleven & the Ponds came round, it just started all over again. Posted Image

#142 Tyler

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:31 PM

Which is odd, since emotion is supposed to be Davies' strength.


Bat-s**t crazy grandiosity is Davies's strength.

#143 SDG

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:15 PM

Finished catching up with the series last night. The idea that the entire structure of the universe can be set right with a simple bait-and-switch is really unsatisfying for me.

Fair point, although I have difficulty seeing how else the season could have been resolved without killing the Doctor for real, and so ending the series. I'm just proud they didn't use the Flesh--although, of course, that episode set up the theme of replacement etc.

Yeah, once they painted themselves into that corner--in the first episode of the season--I was bracing for a resolution I didn't expect to like.

My bigger issue, though, is not how it happened, but that it worked. The issue of the Doctor dying at Lake Silencio wasn't just that the Silence wanted it to happen, but that it was a fixed point in the Totality of Everything. If it were just fooling the Silence, I could accept it. But it was really fooling the universe itself, which seems like it would know if the Doctor really died or not.

But wasn't the idea all along not that the Doctor had to die, but that he had to seem dead? That is, the finale reveals that it was the Doctor's tesselecta that died all along--not the Doctor himself--and what mattered was that everyone thought he was dead?
Yeah, that's a stretch. I admit it. I liked other stuff in the finale (as elaborated above) enough to give it a kind of pass on this score.

FWIW, I talked this over with a longtime Who buff who got me and Suz watching the series, and he argued that the correct interpretation is that since whatever happens in a fixed point always happens, what is ultimately revealed about that moment is, in fact, what always happens. So, in fact, the Doctor never dies on the beach in any continuity. It's not a matter of fooling the universe. It's just that how that moment was interpreted by eyewitnesses and remembered by history is one thing, and what really happened -- what always happens -- is something else.

In fact, this was precisely the point of this whole arc: to give the Doctor a fictitious death and force him to go into a more lowkey mode, like in earlier seasons. The Doctor had developed a bad habit of relying on his sheer notoriety in the historical record to win confrontations: He's the Doctor; he always wins. For dramatic purposes, it was necessary to take him down an order of magnitude, and within the narrative logic of the world he had become an unacceptable loose canon to which various powers and principalities would reasonably develop a resistance and upon which they would declare war. All lines converged on the ending that we actually got, which satisfies the dramatic inconveniences of a too-powerful protagonist and satisfies the narrative problems of a cosmic loose canon in one stroke.

So, once again, the Doctor always wins -- but neither the writers nor the powers and principalities are inconvenienced by the legacy of this fact.

Edited by SDG, 06 December 2011 - 10:18 PM.


#144 NBooth

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:27 PM

Yeah, that's kind of what I was getting at. I thought it was a pretty neat way to drive the Doctor back into the shadows--which was Moffat's plan all along (and not only for this series--Matt Smith's first year was based on the idea that the Doctor was getting too notorious). As I say, it's hard to imagine a better way to effectively kill the Doctor while not actually killing him.

Edited by NBooth, 06 December 2011 - 10:28 PM.


#145 Tyler

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:10 PM

Two missing episodes have been recovered.

#146 M. Leary

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:43 AM

In light of the recent story arc, I think it may be the case that these only appeared to be missing.

#147 Tyler

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:42 PM

Happy Tears.

#148 SDG

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

Happy Tears.

This was the first episode of "Dr. Who" that Suz and I actually watched on BBC America. A friend has been buying us the Matt Smith seasons (series) on DVD in an effort to hook us on the Doctor, and we're now caught up (though of pre-Matt Smith stuff we've seen only a couple of isolated episodes). A few days ago we watched last year's Christmas special on DVD, "A Christmas Carol." That set a high level of expectation that was disappointed by "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe."

First, far from being "special," I thought it was run-of-the-mill, kind of slack and uninspired actually. Nothing much happens, and there aren't many surprises or creative leaps, or any very interesting ones.

Second, by the standard set by last year's special (the only Christmas special I've seen), the new one isn't very Christmasy. Christmas is a significant theme in "A Christmas Carol." It starts with the line "Christmas is canceled" on the spaceship in jeopardy. We get a secularized explanation of Christmas as a universal phenomenon, and there are religious Christmas carols sung (including "Ding Dong Merrily on High," which I sang with my choir on Christmas Eve).

The girl's family appeals to Michael Gambon (the Scrooge figure) in the spirit of Christmas to let the girl come home for the holiday. There's a montage of wonderful Christmas Eves in Michael Gambon's revised history, with the girl waking up again and again saying "Merry Christmas, Doctor!" each time (until the Christmas Eve that she greets the young Gambon character instead). There's a parody of Santa's reindeer-drawn sleigh (with a flying shark!), and in the end the girl says to Gambon that after all her Christmas Eves, it's time she finally had a Christmas day.

In the new special, the widow is trying to keep Christmas happy for her children by not telling them that their father is dead, and there's the idea that "no one should be alone at Christmas." The Doctor hides a dimensional portal in a Christmas present (strangely; why wouldn't he just use the TARDIS like he always does?). And the trees in the forest grow natural ornaments. That's about it, I think.

Thirdly and most disappointingly, "A Christmas Carol" was very much an homage to Dickens and was very "Christmas Carol"-y. The name of "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" of course suggests another homage to another beloved British writer who wrote a story permeated by Christmas themes, but the episode doesn't deliver this at all.

There's the WWII setting and the fact that the kids are coming to the big old house to escape the bombings. And there's a portal into a snowy forest with trees that are alive. And that's about it, I think. Obviously I didn't expect to get Narnia itself, but I was hoping for something more Narnian than this. If we got a Scrooge figure last year, why not a White Witch figure this year? Why not "always winter and never Christmas"? And of course instead of a "Father Christmas" figure, the Doctor declares the mother to be "Mother Christmas."

Why not some clever time-bending like in the last special, when Lewis himself has the theme of "time working backwards" in connection with Aslan's sacrifice? Finally, the Doctor actually calls the TARDIS a "wardrobe"; why not use it the way the wardrobe was used in the book?

What we get instead—some Avatar-esque eco-fable about militarized humans coming to harvest the forest and acid rain and the trees' souls traveling into space—is boring, and very un-Lewisian and un-Narnian.

I understand that the perspective in "Doctor Who" is thoroughly secular, and the writers probably aren't nearly as comfortable with Lewis as with Dickens. And, to be fair, Dickens' "A Christmas Carol lends" itself to adaptation and riffing in a way that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe doesn't — which is why the Dickens story has been so much adapted and riffed on.

Still, I was hoping that the writers would be willing to approach Lewis in purely literary terms, and try to honor the fairy tale achievement of his book on its own terms. And they didn't even try, really. Disappointing.

Do you know what would have been beyond awesome? Bringing in Tom Baker to play a Puddleglum-esque character.

Edited by SDG, 27 December 2011 - 09:06 AM.


#149 Tyler

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:16 AM



#150 Tyler

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:32 PM

50+ years of Dr. Who in ten minutes.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN5jPQdJXYE&feature=channel_video_title"]http://www.youtube.c...nel_video_title[/url]

#151 Tyler

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 09:58 AM

Karen Gillan talks to IGN about leaving the series.

#152 NBooth

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:24 PM

Karen Gillan talks to IGN about leaving the series.


I really, really want to have a final exit and then be able to look back on that as a final exit. I don't know... I just don't want to take away from that exit by making cameos in the future. I'd quite like it to be final and for people just to remember it fondly.


This squares with previous comments that Gillan's made, suggesting that she wants Amy to die, rather than just leave the TARDIS. But in a good way (I'm partial to the idea I saw suggested on a Doctor Who fan forum--that her last appearance is as an old woman, full of years. That way, she goes out satisfied but with finality).

Edited by NBooth, 17 February 2012 - 05:25 PM.


#153 Tyler

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:56 PM

Cumberbatch to play The Master.

#154 M. Leary

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

Somehow I missed the Vincent and the Doctor episode and caught up with it last night. It was a good episode, but I found the ending immensely rewarding as it captured the sense of narrative that has always made me an gallery nerd.

#155 SDG

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

Somehow I missed the Vincent and the Doctor episode and caught up with it last night. It was a good episode, but I found the ending immensely rewarding as it captured the sense of narrative that has always made me an gallery nerd.

It was also, of course, just very poignant to see the verdict of history rendered in van Gogh's hearing. That's the kind of thing that most timey-wimey narratives exclude for reasons of temporal integrity ("No one should know too much about their own destiny," etc.), and it's gratifying to see Doctor Who just blow past that and give us the fantasy reward of letting van Gogh know his future celebrated status -- even if temporal integrity is still ultimately respected and the suicide occurs on schedule.

(It occurs to me that, as per discussion in the thread for The Game, the appeal of this scenario could also be connected to the longing for Heaven, where all books are opened, all verdicts rendered, all secrets revealed, etc.)

#156 M. Leary

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:44 PM

(It occurs to me that, as per discussion in the thread for The Game, the appeal of this scenario could also be connected to the longing for Heaven, where all books are opened, all verdicts rendered, all secrets revealed, etc.)


I went there in my head last night, but was a bit hesitant to connect it to the Game thread here. Apparently, the undoing of suckiness reaches both forward and backward... Eschatological relief.

#157 NBooth

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:33 AM

Another year, another companion: Jenna-Louise Coleman.

[Edited to link directly to the BBC story]

Edited by NBooth, 21 March 2012 - 07:37 AM.


#158 Doug C

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:31 PM

Personally, I thought the Van Gogh episode veered way too much into historic wish fulfillment and sentimentality. I know Who often verges on camp (when it doesn't fully dive into it), but I just felt it was pushing too hard at the end.

I'm losing interest in the series. Despite having high expectations from Steven Moffat, who can still write a tight plot in a pinch, the Matt Smith seasons don't have any interesting arcs or dramatic tension; I'm utterly bored with the static characters of Amy/Rory (who are thankfully leaving), the River Song intrigue way overstayed its welcome, and although I like Smith as a performer, he doesn't have much to work with. The Russell Davies era began well and then had its high points (often scripted by Moffat) and low points, but Moffat's era seems to take fewer risks and is more middle-of-the-road in terms of ambition. I'll still probably watch the next couple of episodes, but if there isn't a significant upturn, I'll check out.

Update: More Daleks, ugh. More "is (s)he really dead" scenes, ugh. We need fresh material!


Edited by Doug C, 03 August 2012 - 10:11 AM.


#159 NBooth

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:37 AM

The new season starts today with "Asylum of the Daleks." I've not really loved a Dalek episode since "Dalek"--a really good episode that played with the Dalek-Doctor mythology in interesting ways. Since then, they've been kind of meh. "Victory of the Daleks" was fun but incoherent. I'm hoping tonight works better.

#160 NBooth

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 09:14 PM

Ok, I missed the first five minutes...but I think we've finally had a good Dalek episode. Of course, everything here was familiar from other Moffat episodes, but it was different enough--and so much fun--that I didn't mind much. The Amy-Rory stuff was a tad bland, though...the reasons behind it, I mean; the acting was appropriately moving and made up for the fact that it was a pretty forced situation.

And, yet again:

Spoiler

Edited by NBooth, 01 September 2012 - 09:39 PM.