Doctor Who

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Smiler » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:43 pm

Much like most Doctor Who episodes.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:52 pm

I think the best thing about Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was that it hinted at a bunch of other adventures the Doctor's had with companions besides the Ponds. I remember there being some neat albeit half-baked ideas in there.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:24 am



That's rather a lot of time spent belaboring a not-particularly-original observation, but she seems fun anyway.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:03 pm

Recent summary:

Doctor finally goes home for bittersweet reunion after many years absence. Breaks off unhealthy co-dependent relationship, then kicks around the Nevada desert to get his head together. Returns two years later with smartass 80s black girl with outrageous hair.

Motherfucker has been reading my diary again.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:58 am

Wait, are we getting a not contemporary companion? Suddenly on board with this.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:17 pm

I'm holding out hope for it. I guess she could just be into dressing completely retro from head to toe, and that Back to the Future crack might just be in regards to 2017 still being the future as of right now. Still, signs point to yes? Definitely getting an Ace vibe from that outfit, and the My Fair Lady sort of thing with Ace (and Leela) was one of my favorite arcs in the old show. I mean, to the extent that characters had arcs back then. I guess it's not straying too far from formula either way. Instead of a 20-something 21st century London girl we might get a 20-something 20th century London girl? Then again, her accent sounds more like Bristol... I expect that to be about as relevant as Clara being from Blackpool or whatever. They all end up in Cardiff London anyway.

Funny coincidence with the Purple Rain shirt, unless they filmed and released that within hours of Prince's passing. Between that and the BttF comment that'd put it around 1984/85 at the earliest. That perspective could make for a lot of fun boggling at the ridiculous sci-fi stuff of the actual present, to say nothing of uncomprehending blank looks in response to Doc's inevitable contemporary pop culture references. It'd be fun for kids, but also adults who still retain a little bit of that outlook and can't help thinking of the present as a foreign country. Hell, I had a split second of "2017? What a weird random year to... oh. Right."

Hey, maybe they could have an excuse to get in some more digs at Thatcher! Though I guess they already did that well enough when Maggie Harriet blew up the Belgrano Sycorax.

And yeah, every possible joke about Daleks was already made fifty years ago. They're still handy to have around if you need eggs beaten and a toilet unblocked at the same time. It also adds some weight to the theory that one of the conditions of the deal between the BBC and the Terry Nation estate must be that screamy dildos need to be used in at least one bit of new televised content per year. There isn't even a show this year and there were fucking daleks. It goes a long way toward explaining why they won't just back burner the things for at least a season.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:34 pm

It's Sylvester McCoy's birthday and Big Finish has a sale on, including A Death in the Family for $5. It's one of those that consistently gets praised as one of the all-time best Big Finish serials.

I've only listened to the first episode so far, but if the other three are half as good as it was then I'm inclined to agree.

It's a little deep into the weeds of continuity, but if you know Seven then it's all pretty familiar: he's got a companion named Hex, an orphan with a tragic and mysterious past that, as it turns out, the Doctor knows more about than he's letting on; Hex has just found out that the Doctor has been hiding things from him and manipulating him and he's pretty unhappy about that. On the one hand, it all feels awfully familiar; on the other, that familiarity actually puts Ace in a really interesting place as a character, making her into sort of the older sister who's gone through all that stuff before.

As for the villain, Nobody No-One the Word Lord, it's his second appearance but they explain what his deal is in a couple of sentences; you don't need to listen to his first appearance first. (In fact it might actually be better to listen to his first appearance after you know who he is and what his powers are, because then it's a fair mystery instead of relying on information the audience isn't aware of.) He alludes to several other run-ins he's had with the Doctor, but those are all as-yet-untold stories.

The story's got a good time travel hook, and I love the Word Lord both in terms of how his powers work and his characterization. He's a bit like Mr. Mxyzptlk in that he's a higher-dimensional being with seemingly limitless powers who plays word games, but his casual/gleeful attitude toward murdering minor characters puts me more in mind of the Simm and Gomez versions of the Master.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:01 am

Remember how I said you can follow episode 1 pretty well without knowing the backstory? The same is not true for episode 2. It dives hard into continuity, and it's like, clearly I'm supposed to know who this person is and what this planet is but I don't.

Episode 3, on the other hand, is fucking exquisite. The structure is a standout; it's the "series of short scenes with time-jumps in-between" model (time-jumps as in passage of time, not time travel), and it's a fantastic character piece. Which makes it a real gut punch when you realize where it's going.

A whole lot of episode 4 is spent on characters explaining the intricacies of the plot, because it is intricate as fuck. But it all fits. This is one of those Doctor Who stories that gets really, really complex, but when it's resolved it's the satisfying feeling of puzzle pieces falling into place. It's not messy; it's neat and it's clean and it's damned impressive.

And it raises some very Seventh Doctor questions about morality, because there's some downright cruel manipulation at work here. This is one of those "the Doctor is a bastard" stories. And -- perhaps more in the tradition of the Tenth Doctor -- it's also one of those stories about how he's making his companions into bastards, too.

All in all, its reputation is well-deserved; it's one of the best Big Finish audios I've ever listened to.

But you might want to familiarize yourself with Evelyn Smythe before you listen to it.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:04 pm

I've never really gotten into the audios, but I have a soft spot for Sylvester in general and stories that explore the doc as a pragmatically manipulative shitbird in particular. I'll probably give it a listen when I have a long drive.

Unrelated, but I'm resoundingly disappointed that the new girl is, surprise, yet another 21st century companion who just happens to dress like she dropped in from 1984 (which is basically contemporary fashion again?) Bluh.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:18 pm

Yeah, I generally pick them up when they're recommended and on sale. Mostly I've gotten the McGann ones because he's the almost-entirely-audio one, but I got some Colin Baker in a Humble Bundle a couple years ago and some of them were pretty good. This is my first McCoy, aside from the second half of Forty-Five, which introduced the Word Lord and was given away for free awhile back.

I thought it was fantastic but the continuity stuff in the second episode was pretty distracting. I don't know what a good Evelyn Smythe serial is but I guess she was a Sixth Doctor companion?

Though apparently, appearances to the contrary, Pelicham is a new planet that's never been mentioned before, so it's just one of those things that the characters have some prior knowledge of but the audience doesn't.

Thinking of checking out the Hurt ones, but consensus seems to be about what you'd expect: they're good but nobody was willing to actually write a story where the Doctor does anything so beyond the pale that he's unworthy of his name and his future incarnations disown him, so mostly he's just grumpy.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:27 am

I watched the first episode of Class. It's got potential. Plus, it's not like there's anywhere else to get Capaldi Who between now and Christmas.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:10 am

Watched BBC's Power of the Daleks recreation, and it is... odd. The Archer-style animation is solid, but not great, particularly when it comes to walking or motion. It's distractingly awkward in the style of a Flash animation or something.

It reminds me a lot of a video game cutscene from like the early N64 days. The way in which there are only a finite number of facial expressions in the chamber makes every scene focus on deploying THE ONE, losing all nuance that might've been there.

Doesn't help that Troughton is, himself, a really awkward actor. I'm told he gets better, but man did he not know what to do with this character at the start. He's all over the map, seemingly intentionally, trying for comedy or quirkiness when neither seems to be his strong suit.

Story is, as you'd imagine, a Dalek story, so no surprises there. It was the second Dalek appearance, I think, so it makes sense that it's the formula on which they built the rest, but ugh.

It has made me interested in going back to some of the classic eps again, though. There are days when the absolutely glacial pacing is just what I need. Thad, do you still have that list of your favorite classic eps? Last time I tried watching classic, I struggled through a few season 1 eps before jumping to some Seventh Doctor stories, not particularly interested in either.

I did enjoy the Douglas Adams Pirate Planet one quite a bit.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:19 am

Mothra wrote:It was the second Dalek appearance, I think


Try sixth.

Eighth if you include the Cushing movies.

Haven't seen it yet, but I saw The Invasion, which was one of the earlier ones they did the animation restoration on.

Mothra wrote:It has made me interested in going back to some of the classic eps again, though. There are days when the absolutely glacial pacing is just what I need. Thad, do you still have that list of your favorite classic eps? Last time I tried watching classic, I struggled through a few season 1 eps before jumping to some Seventh Doctor stories, not particularly interested in either.


I don't think I ever organized them into a straight-up single list like X-Files (still in progress), but there's the Old Doctor Who thread on the Fossilized boards (remember, spoiler tags aren't working anymore) and the Doctor Who tag on my blog.

Off the top of my head: City of Death is my all-time favorite original-series serial (and another Adams one, with David Fisher and Graham Williams). Shada is another one (and the plot of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is largely recycled from Shada and City of Death); it's also had a(n unofficial) animated fill-in on the missing stuff; if you can't find it on a search for shada ian levine hit me up and we can see about figuring out how I can send you my copy.

I love Pertwee, and if you dig the serials that are two episodes longer than they probably should be, he's a good choice. I think my favorites of his are Inferno and Green Death, but there's a lot of good stuff in there.

For Troughton, I think Tomb of the Cybermen is overrated but it's still his best-known serial. War Games is good and introduces a whole bunch of stuff, but it's ten episodes long and padded as hell.

I'm not a big fan of Davison, but Kinda, Earthshock, Mawdryn Undead, and Caves of Androzani are good.

There's a lot of crap during the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras, but their Dalek serials are pretty good. So are Vengeance on Varos, and McCoy's last three serials (Ghost Light, Curse of Fenric, Survival).

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:43 am

Premier date set for April 15; it'll be Capaldi's last season.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:05 am

Another Big Finish bundle. Chiefly Destiny of the Doctors.

The only ones I've heard in this set are Blood of the Daleks, which is pretty good and has Hayley Atwell in it. It seems like I've heard good things about Horror of Glam Rock, too.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:05 am

So far so good. Bill is fun, and so is the doctor for the first time in awhile.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:13 pm

I really like the setup of the Doctor working as a university professor (for the past 50 years, apparently!) and hope to see more mileage out of it over the course of the season. It feels like a callback to both the UNIT Era and Professor Chronotis in Shada (and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency -- heck, Bill's questioning how the TARDIS got into the room felt like a direct reference to Richard MacDuff's sofa).

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:05 am

Interesting episode. Kind of your standard modern Who ordeal, but the premise at least was pretty interesting. I'm more intrigued by the background plot. Oath to whom, what's in the vault, etc.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:59 am

I thought Capaldi and Mackie were great once again, and there were some very interesting visuals and ideas, but the third-act everything-comes-together twist and the resolution really left me cold.

"AIs don't think like humans and will solve problems in unpredictable and potentially catastrophic ways" is an evergreen premise, and our world of deep learning and emergent behavior has made it more relevant than ever. But here it just felt like a half-baked afterthought.

I guess the lesson is that you can't trust a learning algorithm to figure everything out itself and you have to give it a set of base parameters to work within. Just as Microsoft learned that you need to preprogram an AI to ignore racist keywords, the settlers in this episode learned that maybe they should have started with "These are humans; don't kill them."

I guess if all that survived of written English was emoji, then programming would be pretty hard.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:16 am

I think Capaldi and Mackie are basically great at all times doing all things, so take that as read in any of my one line reviews for these things, but the episode itself was tepid throughout for me.

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