Doctor Who

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Bal
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:39 pm

Pretty great episode. Enjoyed basically all of it.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:12 pm

Hey, it's the Big Finish sale I've been waiting for: Dark Eyes. I bought the second set on sale awhile ago but haven't listened to it yet because I didn't have the first one and was waiting for it to go on sale.

Fan impressions I've seen indicate that the first two Dark Eyes seasons are good and the last two are not. So I'll just get the first one today.

The next BF thing I'll get is probably the upcoming War Doctor series. Which is still available for the $20 preorder price -- hm.

(I also haven't finished listening to all the stuff from that Humble Bundle. Still working my way through Dalek Empire, which is interesting and fairly ambitious in how it plays with the sort of serious moral gray areas that Doctor Who tends to avoid and how game it is to kill off major characters, but while it's got some exciting and unexpected twists, it's also got a whole lot of really predictable and occasionally downright stupid developments. The first season ends exactly how you think it will. The Daleks do not see it coming, because they are dumb.)

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:38 pm

Blood of the Daleks and The Great War both have the same problem: they build up to the appearance of the Daleks as if it's a shock, but they're right there on the cover (and, in one case, in the title).

It's a pretty clear example of marketing trumping the narrative; the stories were written with a surprise reveal in mind, but ultimately Big Finish is in the business of getting people to spend money on things, and advertising that there are Daleks in a story means people are likelier to buy it. (Per the accompanying interviews, Blood of the Daleks was not the original title of the episode and it really was intended for their appearance to be a surprise.)

It seems especially strange in the case of The Great War, since, as far as I can tell, it's not available a la carte; you have to buy the entire Dark Eyes I set to get it. So they could easily have had their cake and eaten it too: put the Daleks on the packaging for the set, but not on the packaging for that first episode, so that the audience knows they're bound to show up eventually but isn't sure when. (If I had to hazard a guess as to why they went this route, it's that even though they're not currently selling the episodes a la carte, they want to leave the option open.)

Of course, that's without even getting into how BF has really overused the Daleks, and, what with the upcoming Let's Do the Time War Again sets, that's only going to get worse in the next couple of years.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:36 am

Okay, that was overwrought enough that it might be permanent.

Not that we won't see her again, because timey-wimey (and also Coal Hill spinoff).


Well-acted climax. Good stuff, despite being the latest in a long line of contrived I-can-never-ever-come-back companion departure episodes, for a companion who actually really didn't need it and would have been totally believable saying "Yeah, that's okay, I'm done now."

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:48 pm

Okay, that was just plain fucking great. Maybe I'll be less thrilled once I give it a rewatch and the new car smell wears off, but Jesus wept, that was legitimately one of the best episodes of the new series. If for some reason your interest trailed off (and honestly, that thing with the sleep booger monster very nearly lost me,) this is pretty much the must-see episode of the season. Which is weird, given that it's ostensibly the middle of a three-part finale, it stands up pretty damn well on its own.

That said, the very end gets just a little bit cheesy. The Gallifrey reveal, while expected, was still an attention grabber. I'm just not as on board with more speeching about the "Hybrid," which still just sounds really corny and stupid to me, made even cornier and stupider by the vagueness of "The Hybrid is Me" when we've already been introduced to a character named, improbably enough, "Me." (Also, the closed captioning capitalizes "Me." So that's nice.) And even that wouldn't be that much of a groaner if it wasn't at the end of such an otherwise brilliant fucking episode.

Bluh bluh, Myst, bluh bluh Dark Tower. Even if next week is complete and utter dogshit, at least this one was pretty fucking metal.

But seriously, though. How often has the show pulled that "The Doctor is a Legendary Amazing Goblin Trickster Blah Blah" thing and fallen flat on its face? Here we actually get a demonstration of just how fucking bloody minded this crazy old weirdo is, and it's actually kind of understated. Whoever set it up, that was a private little hell. I actually like that this is probably just another one of those horrendously awful things he's lived through and doesn't particularly like to talk about.

Meanwhile, I'm actually curious how this confession dial thing is supposed to work. I mean, it's a Gallifreyan artifact, so it does stupid weird Myst shit with space, time, and scale. I get that. And with him all supposed to be looking for Gallifrey I suppose that might almost half-fansplain why he just happened to introduce the death confession macguffin at the beginning of the season. I mean, what else does he have from back home? Other than a lot of weird shit that shows up out of nowhere, I mean. Maybe for most Time Lords that thing is a relatively benign link to the Matrix or whatever. I don't actually expect that to be addressed.

Also, despite all evidence to the contrary, I half expected him to trigger magic regenerator blasto powers the first time he punched the Diamondillium. If I expected that at all it's solely the writers to blame for using it so much in the first place. It was so gross the last time that it was actually a huge fucking relief when it didn't happen.

Phrasing.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:05 am

Sharkey wrote:Okay, that was just plain fucking great. Maybe I'll be less thrilled once I give it a rewatch and the new car smell wears off, but Jesus wept, that was legitimately one of the best episodes of the new series. If for some reason your interest trailed off (and honestly, that thing with the sleep booger monster very nearly lost me,) this is pretty much the must-see episode of the season. Which is weird, given that it's ostensibly the middle of a three-part finale, it stands up pretty damn well on its own.


It really was a return to form for Moffat.

And a risky goddamn hour of television besides. The Doctor monologues for most of 54 solid minutes, with only a couple of lines from another character 37 minutes in. The closest comparison I can think of is Moon. Which I was thinking even before the reveal about the skulls. Though once it played the tipoff that the Doctor was being cloned thousands of times and all those skulls were his, I started to wonder if Moon was a deliberate influence.

Tangentially, my wife had a nitpick: shouldn't those skulls fill up the lake?


I guess the other movie it kinda reminded me of, sort of, was Edge of Tomorrow/Live, Die, Repeat, in that it had that kind of video game premise of repeating the same sequence over and over again and getting a little farther each time. Except where EoT had Tom Cruise trying wildly different approaches from one day to the next, this had the Doctor doing everything exactly the same and just punching a tiny bit more out of that wall each time.

Capaldi nailed it too, of course. While I think every actor who's ever played the Doctor has been good, I'm now wondering if he's legitimately the best out of all of them, or if there are others who could show this level of acting chops if they'd ever been given the opportunity. Either way, it's a performance like the show's never seen before, and that's not even the first time I've said that this year.

If I had to put money on it right now, I'd say we just watched next year's Hugo recipient. I mean, I don't watch every single SF/F show on TV and it's possible there's been something better/more crowd-pleasing out there this year, but there sure hasn't been in anything I've seen.

(Unless they decide Fargo qualifies because of the aliens. Given that Community got a (well-deserved) nomination for Remedial Chaos Theory, it's not out of the question.)

Sharkey wrote:That said, the very end gets just a little bit cheesy. The Gallifrey reveal, while expected, was still an attention grabber. I'm just not as on board with more speeching about the "Hybrid," which still just sounds really corny and stupid to me, made even cornier and stupider by the vagueness of "The Hybrid is Me" when we've already been introduced to a character named, improbably enough, "Me." (Also, the closed captioning capitalizes "Me." So that's nice.) And even that wouldn't be that much of a groaner if it wasn't at the end of such an otherwise brilliant fucking episode.


Yeah, the mythology stuff was a distraction. And frankly a bit of an anticlimax. I mean, he punches a wall for two billion years so he can avoid revealing a secret that he then proceeds to immediately reveal as soon as he's out? And a "secret" that was pretty fucking obvious from the moment he said the Hybrid was half-Time Lord and half-Dalek?

But those are really just the usual quibbles: season arcs tend to get in the way of good self-contained stories, and every time the show teases some big revelation/catchphrase it ends in anticlimax. Those aren't new complaints. But they're window-dressing in an otherwise perfect episode.

Sharkey wrote:But seriously, though. How often has the show pulled that "The Doctor is a Legendary Amazing Goblin Trickster Blah Blah" thing and fallen flat on its face? Here we actually get a demonstration of just how fucking bloody minded this crazy old weirdo is, and it's actually kind of understated.


It's interesting to look at it as a sort of inversion of Blink: instead of the Doctor barely being in it, he's the only person in it, for pretty much the entire episode, and it uses a causality loop with the Doctor sending messages from the past, but technically avoids any time travel.

Sharkey wrote:Meanwhile, I'm actually curious how this confession dial thing is supposed to work. I mean, it's a Gallifreyan artifact, so it does stupid weird Myst shit with space, time, and scale. I get that. And with him all supposed to be looking for Gallifrey I suppose that might almost half-fansplain why he just happened to introduce the death confession macguffin at the beginning of the season. I mean, what else does he have from back home? Other than a lot of weird shit that shows up out of nowhere, I mean. Maybe for most Time Lords that thing is a relatively benign link to the Matrix or whatever. I don't actually expect that to be addressed.


The Matrix is an interesting thing to bring up, since this episode clearly had some similarities to Deadly Assassin (what with it being an episode with the Doctor and no companion).

The puzzle tower reminded me a lot of The Five Doctors, too.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Sharkey » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:18 pm

I've heard that Five Doctors gets a little shout out in the next one, too.

I think the bottom line here is that the Time Lords like to act all stuffy and serious, but their technology, architecture, and death traps are all just as ridiculous as their hats. These are a people who have apparently been around for billions of years and they've spent them building some really just inexplicably bizarre things and then completely or partially forgetting about them as time goes on. They pretty much just leave death zones, black hole generators, genisis arks, universe ending superweapons that manifest as raggedy looking chavs, confession dials, fob watches, and every other damn thing lying around all over the place like apples with razor blades inside. Inevitably some luckless idiot stumbles across the back scratcher of Rassilon and ends up trapped as a fully conscious statue for eternity or whatever.

Hell, with half of this stuff whatever it does may or may not even be the primary intended effect. Like if you bumble across a piece of abandoned machinery and when you go fucking with it the thing turns on and slices your thumb off. It wasn't built to be a thumb slicer. That's just what you get for screwing with it.
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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:49 am

That part 1 ep was awesome. I love it when they use time in their time traveler show.

This entire season's been "Okay! That's it! Fuck this stupid show" wet farts banging cheeks with "I LOVE THIS STUPID SHOW" wonderful delights. This and the viking ep prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Capaldi has the potential to be one of the best actors to play the Doctor. Let's hope he keeps hitting the occasional great script.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:02 pm

I concur that that was a kickass episode and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise. Regarding the BIG SPOILER at the end, I think he only said it because he was out and able to level threats. God damn though, that montage toward the end. I don't think I breathed throughout, even though I kind of saw the answer coming from word go, it didn't matter in the least.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:51 am

I don't know how you follow up an episode like Heaven Sent. Hell Bent is good, and fun, and sometimes very interesting, but it's not as good.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:27 am

Yeah, ultimately it was another Long Goodbye episode, but I liked the Reverse Donna twist at the end, and they did a good job bringing Gallifrey back into play.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:45 pm

Really loved this finale.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Bal » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:57 pm

I enjoyed the entire episode, don't get me wrong, but the problem was I watched Heaven Sent like two days before it aired, and the quality of that episode overshadowed this one for me to some extent. I do really love quite a few scenes though, like that soldier talking about the first thing you notice about The Doctor of War. That was a really good touch. The overall loyalty of the Galafrey military was actually kind of touching, in context.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:12 pm

Well, that wasn't perfect by any means but it was fun. Hasn't been long since the last time they did a caper episode, but it's been awhile since they did a straight-up screwball comedy.

Didn't care much for the last stretch with the angst and the continuity, but the rest was mostly pretty good.

Would have been funnier if River had recognized him all along and just been fucking with him, but ultimately I think the way it played out was a much better treatment of her character (even if it requires some Idiot Ball action, what with her failing to notice his repeated and completely unsubtle references to his identity, up to and including saying "I'm the Doctor" multiple times). After the Smith era defined River (and everybody else, really) solely in terms of her relationship to the Doctor, from conception to death, this episode finally gave the sense that she's got a life outside of him -- it's even right there in the title.

Ultimately, I think it's better that all that stuff she does isn't to goad or toy with him; she's just being herself and doesn't even know he's there.

Indeed, the Doctor's sole role in her plan is to show up and leave his TARDIS where she can steal it, and indeed her plan would have played out exactly the same if their paths had never crossed. Generally, stories where the Doctor doesn't do anything important can be vexing, but in this case that's actually very satisfying. (So is the "Damsel" bit and the role reversal that she sees him as the one who's constantly getting into trouble and needing to be saved.)

But like I said, I didn't care much for the ending. We didn't really need to see the sequence she described back in Forest of the Dead -- and hell, this straight-up contradicts it; her whole "You knew" speech is kinda undercut by her realizing at the time that the Doctor is preparing her for their last meeting, and indeed this implies that she knew when she summoned him to the Library that meant she was going to die by the end of this adventure, which...really doesn't match her behavior or demeanor in that story at all.

(Also, a year ago I wouldn't have bought that Capaldi was the incarnation who decided to upload her to the library, but after this past season, yeah, that's actually perfectly in-character now.)

And the script implies pretty strongly that this is the last time we'll be seeing River (it's logically impossible that she sees Capaldi or any of his later incarnations at any other time in her life), but Moffat's implied that before and here we are anyway, so there's always a chance she could come back again. Wibbly-wobbly, handily-wavily.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:52 pm

Humble Bundle: Worlds of Doctor Who

These are (for the most part) the earliest Big Finish plays, with Five, Six, and Seven, plus a Cyberman miniseries, an audiobook each about Ten and Eleven, a Torchwood story, and something called The Worlds of Big Finish that appears to be a crossover. I'm not familiar with any of them and don't know if they're any good. (Somebody once recommended The Fearmonger to me; don't know about the rest.)

The previews are downright inept; in most cases somebody just grabbed the first minute of audio -- oh hey, it's that episode with the theme song and some sound effects in it! I LOVE that one!

Most of them seem to have middling-to-high scores on review sites, with Fearmonger, Marian Conspiracy, and (regular?) Conspiracy generally ranking higher than the rest.

I think I'll probably give this one a miss. I haven't finished the Big Finish series I've already got.

(Though going in chronological order is interesting and makes me wonder if they'll be doing something like this again, grouping episodes from a certain time period together like a season set. Something from a few more years in would probably spotlight a more mature and polished operation.)

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:55 pm

Caught "Flatline" the other day on a rerun, and wow, I absolutely adored that episode. I think I skipped it when it first aired because someone compared it to Fear Her (an incredibly bad RTD ep), which makes me feel like an idiot, since the central concept of 2D monsters was half of what I loved about this one.

First off, one of the best opening stingers in memory. That was straight out of X-Files. I love that slow pan to the wall, fading in the scream.

Secondly, some the best use of Capaldi in the show, putting him as a grumpy weird alien in a tiny box. The way he deals with the ridiculous situation he's in is just fantastic, and only would've worked with this Doctor. I loved his slapped-together little 2dis, and the whole thing on the train tracks.

Third, I cannot say enough great things about the visuals in this ep. There are so many ways this concept could've fell flat ( ;) ;) ;) ) on its face, but the glitchy psedu-3D CG was amazingly creepy. The scene where the policewoman is reduced to 2D is fucking nightmarish.

Finally, it goes without saying, but Clara is excellent as the temporary Doctor. There is no doubt in my head that she is the best companion to date.

Good stuff.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:15 am

The next season will be Moffat's last; Chris Chibnall will be the next showrunner.

Looking at Chibnall's credits, well, there sure is a lot of mediocrity in there.

Capaldi also hinted that he might be leaving after the next season, though he hasn't stated it for certain yet. I think making a clean break of it from Davies/Tennant to Moffat/Smith worked out really nicely, so I could definitely see that happening again -- but on the other hand, I sure wouldn't mind having Capaldi stick around for awhile.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:52 pm

Ugh, Broadchurch is so fucking bland.

This is gonna be hard-E shitE.

- The Magician's Apprentice (2015) ... (characters: "Blowfish")
- The Power of Three (2012) ... (written by)
- Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012) ... (written by)
- Cold Blood (2010) ... (written by)
- The Hungry Earth (2010) ... (written by)
- 42 (2007) ... (written by)

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkk

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Grath » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:11 pm

Mothra wrote:Ugh, Broadchurch is so motherfucking bland.

This is gonna be hard-E shitE.

- The Magician's Apprentice (2015) ... (characters: "Blowfish")
- The Power of Three (2012) ... (written by)
- Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012) ... (written by)
- Cold Blood (2010) ... (written by)
- The Hungry Earth (2010) ... (written by)
- 42 (2007) ... (written by)

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkk

What are you talking about? Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was the best episode of Doctor Who.

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Re: Doctor Who

Postby Mothra » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:48 pm

It was pretty fun! Thinking back on it, though, nothing particularly memorable happened?

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