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Sunday 27 September 2015

A Note On Doctor Who

I haven't been writing much about Doctor Who, either this season or the previous one, mainly for one reason:  I watch it every week at a good friend's house (who has a full-sized projector and amazing sound system, as well as being a gourmet cook), but only on Tuesday.  Meaning I'm always catching it later than everyone else, in what is frankly an impressively gargantuan act of self-control for a lifelong whovian.

Now, that means I haven't seen yesterday's episode (so don't spoiler me you fuckers!), but I did see the series premiere, and I was quite impressed. I didn't want people to get the idea that I wasn't digging the new series anymore.  Quite the contrary, I was deeply impressed by the first episode, to the point that I'm fairly nervous about whether the follow up could possibly live up to it.

In any case, though, I have trouble getting people who are displeased with the new series as a whole.  Of course, there are episodes that are better than others, there are some episodes that have massively sucked.  But there are some episodes of the old Doctor Who that massively sucked too.  Nor do I get the idea that the quality of the series has declined somehow; it's certainly changed, and there were some great details about the Davies era that were worthwhile (though the overall "chavvy" atmosphere and the obsession with Rose were definitely not among them), and likewise there was stuff in the early Moffat seasons which were quite good too (though River Song absolutely wasn't among them).  Yet, with Capaldi, what we've got is in many ways closer to classic Dr.Who than ever. It's finally a grownup as the doctor, an end to the interminable boyfriend-girlfriend dynamics with the companions (note: I'm not one of these nerds who was horrified at the very idea of this, but the real problem with the idea is that we pretty much got years and years of it until it no longer seemed interesting in the least). And Capaldi... man, he's like Jon Pertwee crossed with John Constantine or something.  He's the doctor I've waited half my fucking life for.

And the first episode of this season, the risk of failing to deliver in the second part aside, it was fantastic.

A totally new dynamic with the Master (Mistress, whatever) and in the plot with Davros we have a brilliant re-envisioning (by a much older, much more life-hardened Doctor) of the dilemma first posed in Genesis of the Daleks.

So yeah; there are a few old Whovians who were determined to hate the new series no matter what (Brett, I'm looking at you here), and a few others who have not taken the new style of the show well, and a few others who were more new-series fans that may have had trouble adapting to the new style of the Capaldi era.
But I'm not any of those.

Maybe it's because I agonized through a fucking decade and a half of no new Doctor Who.  I'm not going to easily forget what that was like.  The show would have to be at least two orders of magnitude worse than it is before I could possibly feel like it's something worth complaining about, especially given the alternative.


Currently Smoking:  Dunhill Classic Series Rhodesian & C&D's Crowley's Best


  1. I agree entirely about Capaldi. I'm so glad they decided to skew older with the character, as well as being more irascible. Now if they can only give him a male companion, or an alien, or someone from another time than 21st century Earth, just to shake things up a bit.

    As with many two-parters, the payoff wasn't as good as the setup, but it certainly wasn't bad, or even disappointing. Be interested to hear your thoughts once you get to see it.

  2. Replies
    1. I had to google that name to find out who it even is. In what way is she related to Doctor Who?

  3. I still don't get the appeal of this show.

    Or Cara Delvigne, whoever that is.

  4. On the contrary -- as a long-time fan, I wanted to like it. But the writing is silly, childish, repetitive. For instance, how many times are we going to hear that the Doctor is dying. How many times are we going to be tricked with a death scene involving a main character? Several seasons back, the word of the season was possession. The show needs to get back to storytelling with no gimmicks or big revelations. Just good old-fashioned storytelling.

    1. In the old series, every 25 minutes ended in a cliffhanger where it looked like the doctor and/or companion was doomed.
      Some stories were amazing of course, but there were also a ton of stories where the whole situation was resolved in the last 15 minutes of a 6-episode story by a macguffin the doctor just invents.
      There were fascinating characters, even in very early episodes, but there were also tons of really one-dimensional characters.

    2. What I'm saying is, Doctor Who has always been a mixed bag. The "storytelling" was not really ever the great strength of the show; the larger themes were.

    3. Maybe so, but way too silly these days. It's like they're trying to be cool and just failing miserably. I actually want to go back to Russell Davies stories. I thought that he had a better grasp of the ethos.

    4. I think this season-opening two parter may have been one of the best doctor who stories of the new series.

  5. I'm actually liking the third episode.

    1. Holy shit! First time I can recall hearing you say anything nice about the new series. Of course, maybe you're just really counting on being disappointed by the second part.
      (I did think the third episode was great, which to me makes 3 out of 3 so far)