The Nearly-Disastrous Start to the David Tennant Era

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by TJ Sinclair, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Coming in at the Christmas Special was a tough way to introduce a new Doctor. To be honest I felt the way RTD introduced Doctors wasn't as special as Mofs. RTD was kinda 'on with the show' and I have always felt those earlier seasons were more through the companion's eyes, not the Doctors. When 11 showed up there was a slight shift in the series and it was more about the Doctor and how he needed and saw his companions.
     
  2. The Stig

    The Stig Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's hardly surprising that 'The Christmas Invasion' was light on The Doctor, since Rose was the star of the two series that she appeared in. Those two series were totally about her: being stuck in life, finding confidence and purpose, etc. It was only when The Doctor was on his own during The Christmas Bride that he emerged as the star of the show.

    The same is true, though in a less heavily slanted way, about Eleven and Amy Pond. He spends their entire run together reacting to the circumstances of her life, rather any impulses or desires of his own.
     
  3. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    While I think you're correct about how it started, I felt like the change occurred before that point. To me, it started with the end of Martha's tenure. The Doctor on the Titanic and the Doctor meeting up with Donna for the second time were definitely through the Doctor's perspective. This trend continued through the loss of Donna, the specials, and the End of Time.
     
  4. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    I think I agree with that assessment. With Donna on as a full-time companion, RTD finally seemed to realize that there didn't need to be a romance angle for the show to work or resonate with an audience. And that while having a "contemporary, relatable character" is a good thing, it's not necessary for that character to be the center of attention.

    Having just finished watching "Doomsday" and thus coming to the end of Series Two, I can say with utter conviction it's my least favorite season of the show. "Tooth and Claw," "School Reunion" and "The Girl In the Fireplace" are the only episodes where it actually seems as if the Doctor is more important than Rose. We could argue "The Idiot's Lantern," but honestly, it's Rose that follows the right clues and figures out what's going on, and the Doctor wasn't all that worried about things until Rose got her face eaten off.

    The first two series of NuWho are really the story of Rose Tyler, and the Doctor is just the vehicle for her misadventures as much as the TARDIS is for his. It's more of an even split in the first series, and that vibe worked fine, but starting with The Christmas Invasion and carrying through right on up until Doomsday, Billie Piper is the lead and David Tennant is along for the ride. Maybe it took that turn because Billie Piper had a bankable fanbase and David Tennant was hardly a household name at that point.

    But ultimately, it's Davies falling into the trap that most writers of modern sci-fi film and television do: thinking that the audience can't understand something otherworldly or relate to it unless we see it through a surrogate's eyes. That notion is complete and total bullshit, but it's become the rule, the formula, in so much of the genre.

    As much as I love Martha Jones as a character, and Freema Agyeman as an actress, the trend very much continues in Series Three. I understand why a lot of people don't like Martha, and can't see her strength; Davies made the horrible mistake of essentially building the character to act as if she was just a "replacement Rose" who failed to win the Doctor's heart. The unrequited crush is an albatross around the character's neck. I can get past it and see the good there, but I understand why many others can't.

    Anyhow, tomorrow I'll start with The Runaway Bride and probably get one or two episodes into Series Three. 13 episodes where I don't have to put up with Blondie the Chav, at least. And Moffat and Cornell's finest hours to look forward to. That'll see me through.
     
  5. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, he was just updating the Doctor Who formula, in which the fantastic and the mundane cohabit in pretty much every story.
     
  6. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    The trouble with RTD is that (to quote Twist in Spaced) I can really see what he tries to do. I just don't think he always succeeds.

    He pushed the Rose/10 togeather/forever notion to ramp up the tradegy when they would be split. The trouble is that by ramping it up he turned Rose and the Doctor into a pair of annying giggling schoolgirls and actually made me start to dislike a character I'd really liked in series 1.

    Then with Martha he pushed her as lovestruck puppy, a woman who'd never be as great as Rose, a woman the Doctor could never love, a woman destined to amount to little. Now he did this so that, eventually, Martha's quest would be even more heroic...trouble is by the time she came good, I'd been so put off the character that I didn't care.
     
  7. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ That's a great way to put it! Although I did like Martha, your points are valid.
     
  8. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I definitely prefer Rose in Series 1 than 2. In fact I S1, she's one of my favourite companions ever, but by series 2 I found her annoying.

    Really, Rose was meant to be the love interest, Martha was meant to be basically the love-struck puppy as Starkers puts it, and Donna is just the Doctors buddy. Which I like. But I think it went to far into just buddy territory with Amy and Rory. With Clara, she's a bit more like a younger relative, something which I fell will increase in series 8.
     
  9. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    ^I thought the Ponds and Clara were the other way around.
    I've never understood how being eternally rejected makes someone less likeable?
    Updating into bs? Why?

    Also, what is wrong with giggling schoolgirls?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  10. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    "The fantastic and the mundane cohabit" is one definition of science fiction in general, not just Doctor Who. That's a given, and that's not my point. It's RTD's focus in his storytelling that's the problem. What he thought was important about certain characters, what he thought the audience would like and get into, wasn't necessarily true. And it took him a long time to realize it.

    Superman stories don't need to be told through the eyes of Jimmy Olson in order for them to work.
     
  11. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Actual giggling schoolgirls? Nothing. A 900 year old alien acting like a giggling schoolgirl? Plenty...

    As for Martha, it was the insipid lost puppy dog expression to maintained most of the time., Frankly I just wanted to shake her. It's hard to respect a character that doesn't seem to respect herself, although maybe a better actress could have done something more with the role, sadly Freema just tended to blend into the background around chew the scenery Tennant...
     
  12. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem with RTD is his media-sucking, celebrity-obsessed viewpoint that everything he writes is filtered through. Everything is always about fame and it's all very shallow and tiresome. When it got to the point where he just thought casting Kylie Minogue would be enough to make a good story, it was time for him to definitely go. Reading about his idea for a JK Rowling episode was pretty appalling. He reminds me of Van Statten in Dalek. He was all about taking something potentially spectacular and watering it down to frivolous showbiz wank concerning celebrity gossip and irritating BBC agendas. It's hard to watch now as most of it is just so plastic, lifeless and sterile. I caught a bit of Planet of the Dead last year and found it absolutely unwatchable. Look kids, it's Lee Evans sucking up to David Tennant while that one off of Eastenders pouts. Oh, and did we mention this is funding human rights hell-hole Dubai? Oh, JUST. FUCK. OFF.

    Sadly, that is what a great deal of the British public want. It was a good move for ratings, but absolutely the wrong move for the quality of the show.

    My favourite character he ever wrote was Lance from The Runaway Bride, chastising Donna Noble for her shallow, show-biz obsessed, The X Factor-watching, typically RTD lifestyle. Of course, he was the villain. But on rewatch I could relate to him more than the majority of RTD's protagonists.

    Best companion he wrote was Smith and Jones Martha as she wasn't worshipped by the show and The Doctor for being thick as pigshit and worthless. She was smart, capable and not a complete drone. Shame she soon became Rose again, except this time she's black and The Doctor doesn't fancy her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  13. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I have to admit even I hated all the special guest celebrity's in RTDs run, mainly in specials. But remember Moffat still crams in celebrities with pointless and annoying characters for ratings. Catharine Jenkins in "A Christmas Carol", probably officially the worst episode of Doctor Who of all time with a shit title, Bill Bailey in the following Christmas special "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe" or something which is either the second worst episode in Doctor Who history or joint worst with another shitty title. (actually, it's funny how probably my five if not ten least favourite episodes of doctor who have all been while Stephen Moffat was at the helm. Not surprising. :P)
     
  14. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Moffat still stunt casts, but I'd take John Hurt over Kylie Minogue or Michelle Ryan. He's actually a great actor.
     
  15. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh yeah, I admit Moffat (for once) has done something better than RTD by casting better guest stars. Yeah, John hurt is good, I liked him in V for Vendetta.

    is Kylie Minogue even an actress???
     
  16. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Is she even a singer? ;)
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Kylie Minogue campaigned to be on the show as did a number of other actors, some of whom made it and others did not. But then Moffat has given us a parade of big names as well including David Warner among other this season.
     
  18. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    Now that they're casting actors, casting has worked pretty well. They only cast a singer as someone who sings well, and looks very happy.
    Ten seemed always immature, at least he was happy then. He always went with the flow, and when things went wrong, he put up a terrible appearance. It's not as wise as 900 years would suggest, yet it happened.
    That's the tragedy, the blackness makes it happen, when she was so close to being a wise healer person. Society.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  19. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Can't help you there, I thought it was terrific and I was thoroughly entertained by it.


    With all due respect, I think you're making a wrong assumption here. Under RTD, Doctor Who the series, Rose the character and that particular storyline were very popular. Some very vocal fans have expressed a different opinion, but they are not "the audience" and therefore there was nothing for RTD to realize. I think he made the right choice and that it worked very well.

    I would also argue that the blend of the fantastic and the mundane in Doctor Who is something that is very distinctive, and not just an iteration of a generic science-fiction trope.
     
  20. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    Classic Who was rarely mundane in any way, but there was the very casual mood of the main character. Completely differently distinctive.
     

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