Classic Who on BBC America

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by OmahaStar, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    So will they doing a single episode pull for Nine and Ten and Eleven as well? I guess they'd do a two parter... Empty Child and Impossible Planet and Time of Angels?
     
  2. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the commentary part. A lot of stuff has probably come out in conventions and so on but i don't think there's been a lot of (semi-?)official stuff with the TV movie.
     
  3. RTOlson

    RTOlson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Eighth Doctor special was just OK. They were limited to the sole on-screen appearance of the Paul McGann Doctor, which is understandable but it's a bit of a bummer when Moffat says McGann had only the one stint. I felt even a one-liner about McGann's ongoing involvement could spark viewers to see out his other non-canon performances (I felt the same way about Six and his rehabilitation via audio plays).

    That brings us to the biggest bummer of the special — McGann does not appear in it. I don't know why he's not there, but his absence is deeply felt. I wonder if next month's special about Eccelston will be similar.

    Despite the understandable constraint of only one official adventure and McGann's absence, the producers did a decent job of bringing in other actors from the film, including Sylvester McCoy, Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso. Eric Roberts wasn't there, but they did a decent job of talking up his performance as the Master.

    The perspectives from our normal panel of experts (Steven Moffat and Nicholas Briggs) were relatively interesting, but the actors offered the most insight. Moffat's reactions as a Who fan still seem welcome to me — I liked his assessment of McCoy's Doctor, especially in the prior special and here.

    They noted the telemovie helped set some of the foundation for the new series (and even discussed the relatively notorious kiss). While I felt the movie got a little bogged down in the show's mythology, they noted that McGann's Doctor re-established the core elements of the character and liked the regeneration as handing the show from old to new.

    On to Nine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, it is interesting to realize how many aspects of the McGann movie ended up adopted by the new series. The more romantic Doctor, the more retro/spacious console room, the style of the opening titles with the stars' names swooping out of the vortex, the more cinematic and action-oriented style, etc. Even some of the action music, particularly in the freeway sequence and the climax, reminded me of Murray Gold's "I Am the Doctor."

    While there are some silly and awkward bits about the movie, it's really very good in a lot of ways. The direction is terrific and very stylish, and McGann made a superb Doctor. And sure, a lot of it was bizarre and arbitrary and random (why exactly is the deadline for Earth's destruction midnight Pacific Time?), but the same is true of RTD's and particularly Moffat's Who. The key is to enjoy the really smart and clever and well-made and well-acted parts amidst the random silliness.

    What I've always found impressive about the movie is how faithful it was to the original. It did reinterpret a few things, but it strove very hard to be a real continuation of the lore rather than a reboot, and that was rather amazing from an American revival. They were true to who the Doctor was and how he does things, and they acknowledged so much of the history and lore right down to the Gallifreyan seals in the TARDIS, although they remixed it in some odd ways.

    Still, I think the movie made a mistake by steeping itself too heavily in Who lore from the start, and thus confusing new viewers. I've often thought the movie should've started in San Francisco with Chang, and then just had this strange blue box appear and this weird guy step out, maybe have him go through a little more business with Chang before he gets shot just to establish his character, and have Chang and Grace discover gradually, along with the audience, who the Doctor is and what the TARDIS and the Master are. Start with the familiar and ease the audience into the weird, rather than giving this big infodump about the Master and Skaro and regeneration cycles and this big room that has some connection to that weird box spinning through space. It worked for "An Unearthly Child," it worked for "Rose," so it would've worked here. (Although I did like the way the opening sequence used sound design to tie the police-box exterior to the TARDIS interior, having the sound of the music get louder as the TARDIS approached the camera and then cut to the interior with the music continuing. That would've helped get the idea across that the room was inside the police box. But it was still a bit much to dump on the audience right off the bat.)
     
  5. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It certainly is a gem in the rough. It is definitely filled with a lot of network TV movie qualities, but it manages to shine through all that.

    The regeneration scene is just wonderful. The juxtaposition of the Doctor's regeneration with the Frankenstein movie was brilliant. I also love how when McGann stumbles into the room with all of the mirrors (seriously, what was that room, with the mirrors and the weird plastic dolls), he stares into 8 mirrors, representing his 8 lives. Then, of course, his "Jesus" moment with his arms outstretched shouting, "Who am I?"

    As far as the deadline, the Doctor does have a throwaway line to Grace that it's lacking in context. It becomes just of many things (the biggest being the whole half-human business) that you just shrug off and ignore. The movie does have a ton of those moments, such as the whole "molecular structure" thing that is used to set that danger of the impending crisis, but is not referenced again.

    McGann is simply wonderful. He does so much with so little screen time to make you love the Doctor and he does straddle the line between being tied to the old series and being accessible.

    I was 17 when this first aired on Fox and I remember thinking that I would be on-board with a series. It certainly didn't grab me in the way that other shows had, but it was enough to cause me to watch "Rose" 9 years later and continues to fan my love for all things Who to this day.
     
  6. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    My memories of the movie were not warm, but it wasn't as bad as I remembered. I also remembered McGann being rather uninteresting, but he was alright.
     
  7. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Just getting around to watching this after the holiday weekend. No McGann?!? WTF! He doesn't strike me as the Eccleston type, I wonder why he wasn't in this, disappointing. At least we got the lovely Daphne Ashbrook but still...

    And Eric Roberts, he has like 50 credits for the past two years alone on IMDB. Ridiculous, I guess these quick-and-dirty retrospectives aren't as "special" as I'd like.

    Yeah, that really stood out this time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The retrospective was frustrating this time, because every clip they showed was something we'd be seeing again within a couple of hours, so it was all pretty repetitive. It would've been nice if they'd talked more about the behind-the-scenes stuff or the subsequent audios and novels, some of the sort of things that the DVD features on the McGann movie go into. But these specials are just too superficial for that.
     
  9. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    If Phillip Segal hadd been interview I'm sure you'd heard about the struggle to get the TV movie made, he certainly goes on about it on the DVD.
     
  10. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    It's particularly annoying if you haven't seen the episode beforehand, because they proceed to spoil the entire story and anything notable in it immediately before you see the damn thing.
     
  11. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Just like the theatrical TNG specials do right before you see the presentation of the remastered episodes...
     
  12. CmdrAJD

    CmdrAJD Commodore Commodore

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    I was disappointed by this special. As others have said, it was way too much of a recap of what we were about to see. I had hoped that they would use the special as an opportunity to talk more about what kept Who going during the gap between 1989-2005 and McGann's audio work. Oh well.

    I guessing the 9th Doctor special won't have Eccleston or Piper either. Do we know yet what episode(s) they're planning to show? I'm guessing it will be The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances 2-parter.
     
  13. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah. Most BBC America specials bug me for that reason. The last couple years before this they did all those themed specials that basically consisted of various "celebrities" (although I did always appreciate the presence of Pete from 30 Rock) explaining exactly what happened in various new series episodes to people who hadn't seen them. This would have made sense back in the pre-DVD era. But now, early episodes of TV shows are pretty readily accessible for noobs. I thought those specials would have been much more useful if they'd been chock full of classic series info to help give new viewers a general grounding in Doctor Who history, especially for those that might not have the patience to wade through 26 years of admittedly leisurely paced television.
     
  14. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I watched the whole thing by myself this weekend, but I wanted to show my 9 year old the movie. When I re-watched it with him, I skipped straight to the movie. He asked me why and I explained that it would just ruin the movie.

    I wasn't expecting much from the special. Beyond not having McGann, I was annoyed that they ignored the "half-human" controversy and the radio dramas. I would really have loved to hear Moffat discuss the "half-human" bit and his take on it. Or, even better, Russell T. Davies, since he was the one who wrote the whole "Human/Time Lord metacrisis" business, which in my and many a fan's mind was his way of discrediting the possibility of a half-human/half-Time Lord. Plus, he's said the woman in "The End of Time" was supposed to be the Doctor's mother, making it seem impossible she could be the Doctor's human relative.

    There's also the "Eye of Harmony" tie-into that. The Eye was a part of both "Hide" and "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" this past season. So, what was the whole bit about "Chang can open it because he's human and it's attuned to the half-human part of the Doctor."

    Fans have discussed, debated, argued, etc. about this for close to 20 years, it would have been nice to devote a few minutes to it being answered "officially."

    It also would have been nice to mention that the 8th Doctor's adventures continued, with McGann, in the audio dramas.

    This was the special I was most looking forward to. It was nice learning about the previous Doctors, who I knew about mostly from Wikipedia and various websites, clips on sites like YouTube, but as I said previously, this was my first exposure to Doctor Who.

    I'm not expecting the upcoming specials to mention anything we haven't heard before. I'd agree that we most likely won't see Eccelston. Piper, maybe, but not likely. I'm wondering if we'll even see RTD, at this point. We'll probably get John Barrowman (especially if it is "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" because Moffat wrote it and it introduced Captain Jack), Noel Clarke, and possibly Tennant.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It always surprises me that DW fans are so concerned about the continuity issues raised by the movie, as if the prior quarter-century's worth of DW hadn't been loaded with massive inconsistencies already.

    Anyway, I noticed that just a few moments before the Doctor's "half-human on my mother's side" line, there was the following exchange:

    GRACE: And why don't you have the ability to transform yourself into another species, like the--
    DOCTOR: Well, I do, but only when I die.


    So maybe he wasn't half-human before, but became half-human when he regenerated.

    Then again, he was going to confide a secret in Grace, something he didn't want her to tell anyone -- so why would he then go and blab it to a complete stranger? That suggests that the "half-human on my mother's side" line wasn't the real secret, that it was just a joke. Granted, we know from the Eye of Harmony that the new Doctor had a human retinal structure or whatever, but perhaps this wasn't because he had a human mother.

    So if he hadn't been half-human all along, why would the Eye have responded only to a human? Well, think about it. What's the Seventh Doctor known for? Being the master manipulator, always having his stratagems plotted out ten moves ahead. Maybe he programmed the Eye to respond only to humans as a security measure, and somehow arranged to hack his own biology so that his next regeneration would incorporate human attributes. Or something like that.

    I'm not surprised the special didn't address the controversy, though. These are meant to be lightweight introductory pieces for the uninitiated, and they probably don't want to scare people off with controversy.
     
  16. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    My interpretation of the movie was that he became half-human when he regenerated in San Francisco, not beforehand.
     
  17. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That does make sense and it is a theory I've heard before. It's just one of the reasons I wish we got more Eighth Doctor!
     
  18. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Fans would totally hate it if I ever became Doctor Who's showrunner. I would totally throw in all kinds of references to emphasize the canonicity of the more controversial elements of the 1996 movie!:evil:

    Personally, I'd love to hear some of Tennant's thoughts on his predecessor.
     
  19. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Finally getting around to finishing my recording of the TV movie. I've had my TV for quite a while now and it has this mode to force the picture to be 4:3. I've never understood the purpose of that but they must have foreseen that BBC America would broadcast classic Who as-is in widescreen.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The Ninth Doctor special is tonight. Do we know which 2-parter it'll be yet? I'd assume "The Empty Child"/'The Doctor Dances."
     

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