Doctor Who

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Mothra
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:56 pm

Thad wrote:And we're back.

I was a little surprised they recast the Master so soon. I guess it's a little disappointing that Missy's entire character arc is out the window, but it was bound to happen; no matter how many times Magneto reforms, he always becomes a villain again eventually.

And I think Sacha Dhawan is great in the role; he's got the alternating rage and glee working. And we haven't seen the Master straight up casually murdering dudes since, what, Missy's first arc?

And the tissue compressor is back! I love that shit. I've been hoping we'd see it again since Simm first showed up, and...well, it took another twelve and a half years, but at last the Master's most ridiculous calling card is back.


After a season of setting up new stuff, Chibnall seems comfortable delving back into the lore -- and placing his own stamp on it. We'll see where the latest revelations go. Seems interesting so far, anyway.

Nice to have the main cast back. And the "Doctor teams up with badass women from history" hook is good and I hope to see more of it. And Chibnall's kept up the entirely unsubtle commentary on contemporary politics, which is something we need right now. We need somebody to tell us that fascists never win, even when it seems like they're going to. It's hard for me to believe that message sometimes -- especially right now, and especially coming out of the UK right now -- but we need to hear it.

Just watched Spyfall, I definitely agree with all Thad's points.

This show is like... it whiplashes wildly between truly god-awful and great, within every episode. I don't know if I legit like it, even after having watched a half-dozen seasons. The actor who played The Master was extremely good and I love watching this cast. The storylines in every episode are incredibly dumb, on the other hand, and it's like, christ almighty, what is this? I keep trying to re-contextualize it in my head (oh it's just a light sci-fi adventure, it's british sci-fi, it's meant to be funny) to enjoy it properly, but that context changes season to season.

I think whenever they try to do something dramatic, it's a huge whiff, just because like... how many times has the Earth been in peril of annihilation by aliens? How many times as the Doctor stopped this common alien foe or that foe? How many times has Gallifrey been destroyed or lost now? Hard to get invested.

Anyways, in true Doctor Who fashion, the first two eps were great, then this week's one absolutely sucked ass, so I'm gonna go back to keeping an eye on reviews and just dipping back in whenever I hear one of them is good.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:40 pm

Mothra wrote:then this week's one absolutely sucked ass

Yes. Yes it did. It was worse than the giant moon spider abortion one. Legit the worst episode in years, I thought, even before all that "this is only one possible future" fuckery that completely violated the established Doctor Who rules of time travel. (Wouldn't everywhere she goes be "only one possible future", then?)

And for some reason it became Metro 2033 halfway through? I mean, I started the game and it seems pretty cool, but kinda outta left field?

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Brentai » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:29 pm

I thought the "timey-wimey stuff" comment was to call out the fact that time works however the current writer feels like.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:29 pm

The rules are certainly flexible, but the rules have always been "there's just one timeline; anything else is a parallel universe." The future can (sometimes) be changed, but that doesn't switch between multiple branching timelines; it changes the one single timeline. The Dalek Invasion of Earth in the 22nd century isn't "one possible future"; it's *the future*.

"Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey...stuff" was first used in Blink; the Doctor was explaining causality loops, events in the past being influenced by things that will happen in the future. Causality loops explicitly require the existence of a fixed future; Blink doesn't work if there are a number of branching possible futures; it only works if there's The Future.

But ultimately, the shoddy time travel rules in the Doctor's closing sermon aren't the thing that made Orphan 55 a bad episode. The whole closing speech was pretty awful (I guess we've found my threshold for where I stop saying "it's OK to be preachy and obvious"), but it would have still been a shoddy hour of television without it.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:40 pm

Yeah, I generally don't mind if the time travel doesn't make sense at this point (unless the time travel is the focus of the episode). It's more just the baffling or nonsensical stories.

In Spyfall, for example, they spend one half of the episode going back throughout time and showing how Ada Lovelace was inspirational in laying the foundation for modern computers. Then, they go into the future, and do this eye-rolling villain monologue about how computers have become this addicting menace that has caused us to lose our privacy and individuality. Kinda goes directly against the theme you were setting up the entire episode! It ends with them defeating the one guy and stopping his plan.

The other recent one that comes to mind is the Amazon warehouse one, where the solution to a developing sentient AI is to destroy the AI and revert to running without without automation. Like, the leaders of the soulless megacorporation are gonna decide to pick the one that makes less money? And puts them at a disadvantage against competitors? Weird message to send, that the only problem with companies like Amazon is the use of automation, and not the heinous labor practices.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:58 pm

I don't hate everything about the last few episodes but at this point I'm honestly hoping that the season ending is just "rocks fall everybody dies." Next season can be Doctor Ruth and Graham and a robot cat or some shit.

Not gonna lie though, I'm tickled stupid every time the master yeets himself into the plot like "It's britney bitch."
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:17 pm

I enjoyed this latest one, enough that I'm kinda pissed?? Like, I'm back in it again. I liked the cybervillain and the post-apocalyptic future setting quite a bit. This is the Doctor Who experience.

As usual, it's the cast that carries it. Graham is maybe the main reason I'm watching this show. I love this dude. It's like... wild, that the best character in this latest incarnation of Doctor Who is the white older man, but, it's their fault for making him so likable!

Jodie's version of the Doctor is also great. I wish we got more lore or personal ambitions, etc, with this version of the Doctor, but her quirks and general mannerisms are delightful.

Ryan and Yasmin exist. As far as I can remember, Yasmin just disappears for half of every episode and pops in at a later point. I still don't know what she wants or what she likes or anything like that, she and Ryan could literally just merge into one beige nutrient sludge and I wouldn't be any the wiser.

I think this is my favorite version of the Master so far. This actor rules. Definitely agree that it's never unwelcome to have this motherfucker explode into an episode for no clear reason.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:56 pm

I'm reminded of Missy's bit where she introduces the companions:
"These are my disposables, exposition and comic relief."
"We're not functions!"
"Darling, those are genders."

Yaz is there to either listen to exposition or stop everything to point out the obvious. This week she had to describe what was outside a window, after both the audience and the other characters have seen what was outside the window. A lot of these feel like they were written for radio.

Ryan... I don't know what the fuck Ryan does. I guess he pointlessly, awkwardly flirts with someone once in a while. He has a disability, but it's come up fewer times than I can count on one hand, and it's never really relevant.

"We have to do the thing!"
"I can't do the thing. I have a disability."
"But you really have to do the thing."
"Okay I did the thing."

It's stupid that we have a cast more diverse than it's been in probably forever, yet the old cis white dude is the more likeable character. Mostly because he's the only one that gets to be a character at all, while serving as both comic relief and exposition sponge and rendering the others kind of superfluous. Once in a blue moon Yaz remembers that she's a cop, I guess.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:39 pm

I'm so very tired.

There was a leak way back that laid out basically all the details about this season. It was such a lot of bizarre, nonsensical, just plain shitty fanwank that it was pretty easy to disregard, until piece by bizarrely unnecessary piece it all started turning up in the show.

So that all happened. I saw someone describe it as being like book written in a language only a few people can read, and the only words in it are "Eat Shit." Honestly, the mounting realization that every ridiculous thing was true, right down to the "Death Particle," and that every part of it was going to be even dumber than I imagined... That has been far and away the most suspenseful part of the last two seasons.

7/10 - IGN
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:14 am

srsly tho I preferred the character as a sort of emergently exceptional underachiever to inherently exceptional and predestined. Ah, well.

The fun part now is trying to reconcile this shit with old stories. Is there just straight up no regeneration limit now? Can they still use regeneration energy to heal people? Or blow whole fleets of spaceships up? Ooo, maybe they never needed another regeneration cycle and that's why when the time lords refilled Matt Smith it flooded the tank and got explodium everywhere. Sure. The fuck ever.

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Holy shit this is so dumb it wraps around to rad. I'd love it if they did anything but stand around and wear silly hats but that's time lords for you.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:08 pm

Mmmmmmmmmmannnnnnn that was some Doctor Who huh!!!

So I kinda enjoyed this one, overall. It has an extremely shitty, anticlimactic ending, and it's full of shlock, and the main villain is nothing, but, it was fun enough.

I agree 100% that the Time Lord Cybermen were so ridiculous that they ruled. They did absolutely jack shit and THAT sucked, but, it was a gleefully stupid idea, and it felt like a great Master scheme. The Master's acting in this is probably the best part of the whole shebang.

I kinda liked the Gallifrey backstory, particularly the bit about them being incredibly low-tech until they were able to grant immortality to their ruling class. They did not dig into any of the implications of that whatsoever, of course, but, in concept, it's an interesting Altered Carbon sorta deal.

The retcon on the Doctor's history suuuuuuuuuuuuuckssssssssssssssss and while it's not the end of the world, I fucking hate when shows suddenly make the protagonist this special-destiny one-of-a-kind thing, rather than just some relatable gal in a box.

The weird old guy that blew himself up at the end ruled. I expected to find out more about him, but welp.

I cannot stress enough how fucking bad DW's pacing is, where they spend an entire season dicking around, then try to cram an entire season arc into a two-parter, run out of time, then just fail to resolve anything. What was the point of the police guy's b-plot in the first part? I get what it was showing, now, but what was the point? Why spend two entire episodes following the Cyber General, then kill him off without explaining who he was, why he was the way he was, and what he wanted? Why introduce the Doctor's past self, but then not explain if she is actually a past self? Also for what narrative reason was she here? Hey how come the humans were getting absolutely decimated by Cybermen, but you can just get onto their ship and plan 7 charges to destroy the entire battleship? Why introduce the Cyber Lords if they were going to get instantly blown up seconds later?

They did that thing, that I cannot stand, that Doctor Who has done for at least five other season finales, where the Doctor will invent this device that will instantly kill every single evil alien on the planet. Then, they will refuse to use it, because it involves killing. Then, some b-lister shows up and uses the device to kill all the evil aliens, allowing the Doctor to have their cake and eat it too. It is soooo wildly lazy, and they keep doing it.

Anyways, pretty standard Doctor Who stuff.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:27 am

She spent most of the season finale literally paralyzed and getting fed exposition about how they were victimized as a child and I am so impressed with how they're writing doctor who as a lady fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you

Sorry. I think I hate this.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:28 pm

I'm not caught up on the show or the thread, but FYI there's a Humble Bundle on with comics and Big Finish audios. Not the best selection of titles, but there's a lot there, anyway. I like the look of the Fourth Doctor Lost Stories set. And there are some UNIT stories with Nicholas Courtney (as well as one of the newer sets with Jemma Redgrave).

Haven't read many of the comics since the move from IDW to Dynamite Titan. The ones I've read have been decent but didn't really grab me enough to be a regular reader.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:47 pm

Hey how come the time lords had corpses at all, and didn't just regenerate when they died? How come it took them being turned into cybermen, then killed, for their regenerations to trigger?

Does this mean the Doctor could just go around the ruins of Gallifrey, shooting any remaining corpses, and they'd regenerate back to life?

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:52 pm

I kinda like "Death Particle", but that's pretty much entirely because it sounds like it was named by Jack Kirby.

Sharkey wrote:srsly tho I preferred the character as a sort of emergently exceptional underachiever to inherently exceptional and predestined. Ah, well.


Yeah, it's kinda interesting how there's been speculation all the way back to 2005 that we'd be seeing some variation on the Cartmel Masterplan but Davies and Moffat never actually did it. I think it's because, whatever their faults, they had a better grip on the Doctor as a character.

The older I get, the more I find myself bored by the Monomyth. I vastly prefer characters who are important because of who they've chosen to be to Chosen Ones. I'm definitely in the camp that prefers Rian Johnson's version of Rey's origin story to JJ Abrams's.

The fun part now is trying to reconcile this shit with old stories. Is there just straight up no regeneration limit now? Can they still use regeneration energy to heal people? Or blow whole fleets of spaceships up? Ooo, maybe they never needed another regeneration cycle and that's why when the time lords refilled Matt Smith it flooded the tank and got explodium everywhere. Sure. The fuck ever.


There is some precedent to look at; The Brain of Morbius implied that the Doctor had other incarnations prior to Hartnell.

But one of those incarnations flying around in a blue police box doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. The TARDIS is a blue police box because it turned itself into one when the First Doctor took it to 1963 London and then its chameleon circuit broke; it wasn't a police box prior to that. If the other Doctor is a prior, pre-Hartnell incarnation, what's she doing riding around in a police box?


Course, it's also possible that there's some unreliable narrator shit going on. This is too big to "haha, just kidding" the whole thing (at least, under Chibnall; who knows what the next showrunner will do), but there could be elements of it that get reversed. Basically everything we know is because either the Master or an alternate Doctor who wasn't actually there and was just the Doctor's subconscious talking to her told us.

There's still that bit from Whittaker's first episode where some regeneration energy shot off to parts unknown that's never been resolved. I was figuring they'd explain Alternate Doctor as a result of that, and I suppose it's still possible.

This season had some pretty fantastic imagery. I liked the nightmare episode; the disembodied finger in the ear felt specific enough that my first guess is it was somebody's actual nightmare. The Cyberman with half a face was a great visual too; tying him into Frankenstein was perhaps a little on-the-nose but I enjoyed it. And I'm with you guys on the Time Lord Cybermen.

I'm not loving "Let's blow up Gallifrey, again!" or the whole Timeless Child business. On the whole, I kinda preferred the previous season, where Chibnall focused on blazing his own trail, to this one's deep dive into the canon. But there's enough cool shit going on that I'm enjoying it, even when it's frustrating.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Upthorn » Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:29 am

Sharkey wrote:The fun part now is trying to reconcile this shit with old stories.

Doctor Who is allergic to consistency. That's the whole point of the timey-wimey ball.
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:34 am

Did I watch a different version of Blink than everybody else?

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:53 pm

Big Finish sale; the first 50 Doctor Who stories are half off ($1.49 instead of $2.99). If I were to recommend any two, it would be Storm Warning and The Chimes of Midnight, though there are a lot of these I've been meaning to check out for years (here's the list of recommendations somebody on Bleeding Cool gave me back in the day, and here's a rundown I gave that links to a bunch of other stuff I've written since, and here's one more link of recommendations on The Avocado). Of the ones I haven't checked out yet, I think Master is the one I've seen recommended most consistently.

Bears noting that you can listen to most or all of these on Spotify with ads, too.

There's also a freebie up: The Companion Chronicles: The Beginning. Companion Chronicles are generally short stories read by a single performer, rather than radio plays, though this one credits both Carole Ann Ford and Terry Molloy, so it's got two speaking parts, anyway. (And in case you were wondering, Ford is playing Susan, but Molloy isn't playing Davros.)

ETA: I went ahead and bought a bunch of stuff on the sale (because what the hell, $1.50).

Here are the ones I already had:
The Sirens of Time (Five/Six/Seven)
Storm Warning (Eight/Charley)
The Chimes of Midnight (Eight/Charley)
Neverland (Eight/Charley/Romana II)
Spare Parts (Five/Nyssa)
Jubilee (Six/Evelyn)

I haven't listened to The Sirens of Time (probably got it in a Humble Bundle at some point), but I've written about the rest; links to my previous posts about them below.

Chimes of Midnight, Spare Parts, and Jubilee are all top fucking tier, some of the best damn Who in any medium. Storm Warning and Neverland are good too, and worth checking out, but they're not as good as the other three. (The reason I say if I could recommend any two it would be Storm Warning and Chimes of Midnight is, Chimes of Midnight is the best of the lot but it kind of relies on you knowing what Charley's deal is, and Storm Warning is the story that introduces her.)

And here are the ones I bought; can't vouch for them personally but they've all been recommended to me:
The Fearmonger (Seven/Ace)
The Fires of Vulcan (Seven/Mel)
The Holy Terror (Six/Frobisher; Frobisher is a shapeshifting alien penguin from the comics and novels)
Minuet in Hell (Eight/Charley)
Loups-Garoux (Five/Turlough)
Colditz (Seven/Ace)
Seasons of Fear (Eight/Charley)
Bang-Bang-a-Boom! (Seven/Mel)
Project: Lazarus (Six/Seven/Evelyn)
Davros (Six)
Master (Seven)

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:20 pm

Oooo, much appreciated. Always hard to parse through which of the audio dramas are worth a listen.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:56 pm

Yeah, there sure are a hell of a lot of them. Mostly I grab stuff that's on sale and looks interesting, and then try to remember to write it up. (Looks like I never quite got around to writing up Human Resources. And there are three different box sets I've started but haven't finished yet, so I haven't written those up either.)

At some point I should really put all this up on my blog.

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