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Hmmm... I'm not really liking this.

In fact, to be frank I felt like "Time of the Doctor" was very nearly as bad as Russell T. Davies' "End of Time" travesty. So even before starting the first episode of Series Eight of NuWho I already felt like Doctor Who was somewhat in the doghouse. (Which is a pity, because I really really enjoyed the 50th Anniversary Special.)

So a few things everybody else has probably noted already:
- Capaldi doesn't need a load of lines going on about how he's Scottish now. We get it. You're Scottish. When Eccleston was Northern he just said "lots of planets have a north" and that was the end of it. It's a waste of time.
- Why is so much of this episode wasted on pointless speeches? When we finally got 'the restaurant' it was great! Both Clara and the Doctor accuse each other of the same character flaw at the same time - which was more like the sort of fun bickering we expect between them. Nobody in the restaurant is actually eating - ZOMG! Why couldn't we get to this twenty minutes earlier? Creepy robots looking for spare parts. Now this is more like it.
- Did the Doctor kill the villain or did he persuade the villain to commit suicide? - Seriously, does that matter? Either way, the Doctor saved his friends, just like he always does.
- Do we really need a phone call from Matt Smith? Isn't Clara supposed to have seen every single Doctor already? Why would she be particularly freaked out by Capaldi? How is Matt Smith's Doctor even supposed to know he has another regeneration still coming when he makes that call?

But the weirdest bit for me was this: What was Jenny clapping about???

Clara essentially seems to be saying to Vastra "oh you totally fancy me" and then Jenny starts clapping. It makes no sense to me.

The best explanation I can come up with right now is that Jenny was finding the whole argument as tiresome and awkward as I was and was just desperate to get to a point where it was over and done with.

Can anyone else help me out with this? Why was Jenny clapping?

Other LJ friends have had the following to say about the new Doctor Who episode (and please let me know if I missed you out or if you'd like your link removed from here):
Sabotabby - Liked it
Shadowkat67 - Liked it
Xerinmichellex - Didn't like it

Oh my goodness, suddenly it all makes sense. Ben frikkin' Wheatley was directing!
Doctor Who generally thrives on its comedy, so who could possibly worse for the job of directing the episode than a guy who made a whole comedy movie which wasn't funny?



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2014 03:39 pm (UTC)
Shockingly, I think I might've liked this episode more than you did. What alternate universe have I stepped into? :P

[Spoiler (click to open)]
I agree that everything picked up once Clara and Twelve were TOGETHER and bickering and trying to make this new partnership work. Everything before that was so fucking tedious and boring.

How is Matt Smith's Doctor even supposed to know he has another regeneration still coming when he makes that call?

I imagine he could feel himself regenerating, instead of just. . .dying. And the whole point of that crack opening up and the beam of light?, is that the Time Lords "gifted" him with a whole set of regenerations. I haven't seen the episode since it aired, so I could be remembering wrong. I, too, was very disappointed in the episode, and it's not like I even care for Eleven all that much anyway. But, man, Matt Smith deserved a better final episode.

For the timing of the call: This is one of those plot holes that I thought I'd have a problem with when I first heard about The Phone Call. But, Moffat crow-barred it in that after Eleven exploded and before Clara re-entered the TARDIS, Eleven had time to make that call. Why or how he'd suspect Clara would freak out over the new Doctor, I don't know and there's really no explanation. But, in "The Time of the Doctor", Clara hangs up the phone before she enters the TARDIS and watches Eleven regenerate. Eleven made the phone call right before that, I guess.

As much as I liked Clara standing up to Vastra, I agree that Jenny clapping at the end just didn't make sense. In fact, looking back on the whole conversation, Clara's response doesn't really address whatever nonsense Vastra was blathering about. Apart from the context of the scene, the editing of it was really weird. . . .
Aug. 25th, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
the editing of it was really weird. . . .

Perhaps Ben Wheatley brought his own editor on board? God I hate his movies. After "Kill List" I thought he might have better movies in the future. Two movies later I'm like "er... nope!" And now he's directing my flipping Doctor Who episodes.

(Although if the rest of the series is like this, you know I'm going to have to take all this back of course...)

You didn't sound like you enjoyed this episode. I don't know. I mean, we both thought it perked up with the restaurant. But I was expecting something kind of spectacular from Capaldi. I absolutely LOVE him in "The Thick Of It" and I thought his performance in the Torchwood "Children Of Earth" series was very impressive indeed. And yet, so far I just can't get into his character here. In fact, a lot of things in this episode just didn't seem to gel for me here at all.

I've found that I have to pretty damn forgiving with NuWho ever since the first series with Christopher Eccleston. But there are certain episodes that really bug me and this and "Time of the Doctor" before it are definitely amongst them.

I think I remember you saying before Christmas that you hadn't seen any of the old ClassicWho. Have you tried any of that out now?
Aug. 25th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
You didn't sound like you enjoyed this episode.

I thought it was "meh"--neither good or terrible. Like, if it was on, I would probably keep it on and only pay attention once Clara and Twelve are in the restaurant. "Let's Kill Hitler" on the other hand, I'll throw my remote across the room if I ever have to watch it again. But I wasn't as riveted by it like "Doomsday", which made me cry the first time I saw it, and this was before I knew a thing about Doctor Who.

The things I found terrible made up a huge chunk of the episode; so maybe that's where you got the impression. However, where I different from you, and what I meant by enjoying the episode more than you, is by the end I was like, "Okay, I may like watching Twelve and Clara." Whereas I was pretty much done with Eleven by the end of his run. I'm little more excited about this season than I have been for DW in a while.

Have you tried any of that out now?

No, not yet. I don't even think the episodes are on our On-Demand anymore. Someday, maybe, I'll see the older serials. Someday.
Aug. 25th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
Can anyone else help me out with this? Why was Jenny clapping?

I blame the patriarchy.
Aug. 25th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
How is Matt Smith's Doctor even supposed to know he has another regeneration still coming when he makes that call?

I believe the call is made after he receives the regeneration energy in "Time of the Doctor."

In essence:
-Clara urges everyone inside as the Doctor uses some of his energy to take out the invading Daleks.
-[Unseen: The Doctor makes his way back to the TARDIS, calls Deep-Breath-Clara from the outer phone, then goes into the TARDIS.]
-Clara emerges in the aftermath of the Dalek battle, approaches the TARDIS, notices the phone outside hanging out of its little box, and puts it back in its place before going into the TARDIS.
-Clara finds the Doctor inside, having "rebooted" to the younger-looking version of Eleven, waiting for the full regeneration to start.
Aug. 25th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks for clearing that up. That makes a lot of sense.

Xerinmichellex has also pointed out that Clara finds the phone unhooked, so I guess that was setting this up. I didn't recognise the significance at the time. (Though by that point I'd just sat through nearly the whole of "Time of the Doctor" so you'll understand I was a little weary.)
Aug. 25th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Why was Jenny clapping? By that point I couldn't care less.

My goodness, we have come close to agreement on something. Can either of us cope with this totally unexpected event?
Aug. 25th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
I don't think we disagree on everything. We mostly seem to disagree on Marvel and even then it's mainly on "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Iron Man III". (And I think the main issue there is that my only real superhero comicbook background is in 90s Spider-Man and I've got no idea whatsoever about any of the Iron Man comicbook lore, never mind Civil War stuff or all that. So we tend to be coming at both of those from different angles.)

I haven't posted about Doctor Who much because while I often enjoy it, I do recognise that it's not Shakespeare. My big Doctor Who era was the latter part of Sylvester McCoy's run and even then I was coming into it at the age of 5. So I guess I feel invested in the series but not enough to generally defend it.

I guess it's due to being such a grumpyguts that I've only really posted about NuWho in regards to "End of Time" and this. (Though I did have a brief upbeat post when I checked out some old ClassicWho eps.)
Aug. 26th, 2014 05:06 am (UTC)
Whereas I was 14 when 'An Unearthly Child' was broadcast, and reared on the brilliant BBC adult SF dramas. If you've been terrified by the first broadcast of 'Quatermass and the Pit' (which I did watch from behind the sofa)then 'Who' seemed to put it bluntly, too young for me. My brother, four years younger, was and is a fan. Because of that fact, I saw most of 'Dr Who' until I went to college and, while I retain a fondness for Hartnell and his first companions, and for Troughton's version in parts, and for certain arcs, I tend to think of it as a children's programme even now.

Nothing can save IM3 from its misogyny, idiotic plot, Christmas and the cute kid.
Aug. 26th, 2014 10:08 am (UTC)
I'm not going to get into the IM3 thing again.

I don't think I've ever seen Doctor Who as anything other than a children's programme, but I think it gained a reputation for being scary and so in some ways the show did seem more willing to push the envelope when it came to atmosphere. One of the Sylvester McCoy storylines I rewatched was "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy" and the atmosphere there is pretty intense (and robot clowns are always a good choice for intense creepiness).

The main reason why I was so pleased when Moffat took over as showrunner is that he seemed to understand that Doctor Who needed that edge. In the first series of NuWho he introduced the plague of people in gas masks who can say nothing but "Are you my mummy?" It was a really creepy image and seemed a far cry from the first episode of the series where the plasticness of the Autons seemed to have been more emphasised than their cold inhumanity. And of course there's Moffat's brand new creepy concepts like the Weeping Angels and the Silence and even the robots who need spare parts (though I'll admit that Moffat's new villains generally don't have the staying power he hopes for them to have, often feeling much more effective on first appearance than in later iterations).

But like I said before, I've often been very forgiving of NuWho and I think part of that is because it offers that opportunity to feel like a child again. It's just a nostalgia thing really.

"Quatermass and the Pit" felt pretty dated to me (though no more than even Sylvester McCoy's Doctor Who episodes admittedly), but I loved it all the same. That absolutely has the creepy atmosphere that I look for in Doctor Who. I fully intend to check out more of the movie-length Quatermass stuff.

(I notice you didn't mention Tom Baker. So far I'm finding Tom Baker rather overrated. Would you agree?)
Aug. 26th, 2014 10:24 am (UTC)
Did you see the BBC black and white version over six episodes (which is what I'm talking about) or the colour Hammer version which doesn't have the same creepiness or the wonderful Kneale minor characters? I grew up in a working class household in that era, and all the attitudes and voices ring true. (Also, the film does not make as good use of science and myth. I still haven't forgiven them for the crane.)

I hate Tom Baker. This is a purely personal and visceral reaction. He made a point of disarming the suspense by gurning at the camera, often through his fingers so, and I quote, to make sure the kids were "never really scared," which is an attitude I despise (see the above watching of the three Quatermass serials before I was in my teens.)

I have a fondness for McCoy's Who - and a great fondness for Ace. (Apparently shared by the writers of 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' because, like Ian and Barbara, she is one of the companions who gets name checked and placed in Sarah's list of people she has located who worked with the Doctor.) "Remembrance of the Daleks" is one of my all time favourites. Must get out the DVD and watch it again...
Aug. 26th, 2014 10:43 am (UTC)
I must admit, I've only even seen "Quatermass and the Pit" because it was in my friend's Hammer Horror box set when we were having a DVD night. While I'd be interested in seeing the full version if it's better, I'm not sure how easily available the full series would be.

"Remembrance of the Daleks" was the first Doctor Who storyline I ever saw and it's always been my favourite Dalek story.

Edited at 2014-08-26 10:44 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)



What remains of all three series, including the whole of both 'Quatermass II' and 'Quatermass and the Pit.' The quality isn't bad, considering that they were filmed from a TV screen, the series being a live studio production with film inserts, performed again for the repeat. (If it comes to the point, I have a spare copy of the BBC's original DVD of 'Quatermass and the Pit', though that is a cut-together version.
Aug. 26th, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC)
So that's not the same version I saw then? Good to know. Turns out that same disc is available to rent. :D

I initially thought that was all those three stories somehow shoved onto one disc, but it turns out that it's a set of three discs. Are they movies like the one I saw or are they each a series of episodes? Right now, I'm presuming the latter.
Aug. 26th, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
They're a series of episodes, though 'The Quatermass Experiment' is leas than 50% complete. Both of the other two consist of six half hour episodes, as upgraded as it is possible to make them, given the original material, and complete.

This has the advantage of preserving the original cliffhanger cuts, the excellent credits and what my father would have referred to as 'the screwy music.'

(Deleted comment)
Aug. 25th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
(Was more riveted by the pared-down movie we saw tonight (Locke) than by the dinosaur loose in London...)

Well I mean you just have to look back at the Daleks during RTD's era. An episode with what is (seemingly) the very last Dalek? Dramatic and engaging. A finale with several billion Daleks surrounding the Earth (and running bizarre reality television shows)? Not very dramatic at all really. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. ;)

Will probably watch at least some of this series anyway, though!

I'm hoping I can blame this awkward first episode on Ben Wheatley's direction. If the next few episodes are just as bad, it may be harder to keep that excuse going...
Aug. 25th, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
Uhm - I did like the Doctor Who episode. Where did you get the impression that I didn't? I just had a few quibbles is all.
Aug. 25th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
I guess I overestimated how much you were annoyed by the fan-drama being written into the script. I'll correct that straight away. :)
Aug. 25th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)

It was rather minor - or I was able to overlook it. Because the plot, the new doctor, and Vestra and Jenny were all entertaining.

Modern tv has become very meta - the writers feel this need to comment on their fan drama for some reason. After a while, you just grunt, whine briefly about it, then shrug it off.
Aug. 28th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
I'm digging the new Doctor. A few notably strong episodes aside, I did not get on with the Matt Smith incarnation.

I'm liking the new direction that's being proposed. It has potential and I'm quite excited to see what comes next - its been a while since Who did that for me.

My favourite moment of the show is the Doctor confronting the robot with the broom metaphor - 'if you replace the head and the handle are you still the same broom?' Perfect for a man who has just regenerated, again. I thought getting the robot to look at itself in the silver tray (whose reverse side also reflected the Doctor back at himself) was a nice touch.

Did the Doctor kill the villain or did he persuade the villain to commit suicide? - Seriously, does that matter?

Sure it does. Its not so much the difference between assisted suicide and murder - more the Doctor's readiness to go for the kill. Its not the Doctors first kill but its not often a button we see him going for this readily.

For what its worth I also liked SIGHTSEERS!
Aug. 28th, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
Sure it does. Its not so much the difference between assisted suicide and murder - more the Doctor's readiness to go for the kill. Its not the Doctors first kill but its not often a button we see him going for this readily.

Meh. He saved them all by killing the baddie. But part of why I don't care is the way the scene was directed. I just felt like the drama of the question was really poorly framed.

For what its worth I also liked SIGHTSEERS!

Well perhaps you are more receptive to Ben Wheatley's directing style. I though Sightseers was awful and it was only thanks to the brilliant central actor and actress that I didn't rate it any lower.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )



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