NuWho Season 5 vs. Season 6

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Joe Washington, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Saul

    Saul Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Season 5. It was a tighter season. Less confusing. Not so many plot threads. One big arc that didn't interfer much with weekly episodes. No episodes stuck inside all the time. Fun, mysterious.

    Season 6 rehashed some of the arc of season 5. The River song mystery is dragged on for too long. Death of the Doctor, meh, it was a big surprise for the opening episode but no big surprises as to how they got out of it.
     
  2. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    So you don't think the ratings and AI matter, and you're making an assumption that there's a lot of disillusionment out there, one presumes based on comments here. I wouldn't debate that a lot of people aren't happy, but I don't feel the % not happy is much different to when RTD was in charge. And in fact if we look at how happy people on this forum were with The Wedding of River Song we get...

    [​IMG]

    Basically 78% of people on here gave it 4 or 5 out of 5 (confession I voted Jimmy the Fish!). If there was as much disillusionment as you way wouldn't the more negative ratings be higher? What we're seeing here is what the silent majority think.

    But that isn't remotely what the Daleks were doing in Parting of the Ways. The Doctor has the choice between destroying them and hummanity or not destroying them and humanity. And in fact he chooses not to (a lovely callback to the Timewar) and only Rose's new super powers ensure he doesn't fail. In Victory their decision to light up London is merely a distraction to give them time to get away. And frankly you could say any Dalek episode where they threaten Earth is similar.

    Most writers reuse their ideas, see RTD for further details.

    Er he used the DVDs because that's what Sally's letter to him refered to. He was simply doing what he was supposed to do. A closed loop as it were. As timey wimey goes Blink is one of Moffat's more coherent stories. And yes it is convinient isn't it, about as convinient as the Daleks never exterminating the Doctor on sight. It's called storytelling!

    I wouldn't actually disagree with this!:lol:

    Frankly I was saying this before S5, Moffat and RTD are more similar than people think, the difference is that RTD is a PT Barnum style showman who hopes you won't see the stitchmarks on his cobbled together Mermaid because you're distracted by the bright lights and loud music. Moffat is the stage magician distracting you with sleight of hand so you don't see the mirror or the trapdoor. Both are perveyors of bullshit, they just do it in different ways.

    So magic is ok when RTD does it but not Moffat, presumably because of the bright lights and loud music ;)

    People have mentioned Cornell before, but the only evidence we have is three episodes he's written (no idea if he has any production experience that a showrunner would need) two of which were outstanding, one of which was, to be fair, pap, and features an ending which is as timey wimey nonsense as anything Moff's done.

    Ok, maybe not quite that bad. I thought the timey wimey bits of a Christmas Carol were terrible! :mallory:

    Honestly I understand the problems people have with Moffat, and in fact have some of the problems myself, but I still enjoy the show and the weight of evidence would seem to suggest the majority of people still enjoy the show.

    Be interesting to see what the ratings are like next year...
     
  3. Ubik

    Ubik Commodore Commodore

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    Moffatt and Davies are not the same. Davies understood character. He introduced real character to the show, real emotions, something the show, in all its decades, had never really seen. Rose and Donna are among the best companions in the show's history. Donna's end was genuinely tragic. Amy and Rory don't even crack the top 15.

    I'd much rather deux ex machinas in episodes where the plot isn't really the point (the Davies years.) It's like deux ex machinas in Star Trek: TNG - they mostly didn't matter, because it was the characters that mattered.

    The magic timey-whimy nonsense of Moffatt IS irritating, because plot is all he has. He's putting all his eggs in the "plot" basket, and so when the plot is incoherent, there's nothing else for the viewer to latch on to.

    It's strange - I never thought Doctor Who needed character and genuine emotion before, never thought that before the Davies years. The classic series never needed it. But now, I find that the show can't work without it. Which is why Moffatt's style doesn't work for me.
     
  4. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    I've never understood this notion that Moffat can't write emotion/doesn't do emotion?

    The conversation between Amy and the Doctor before he scoots off in the Pandorica to his 'supposed' end I find heart rending. The Girl in the Fireplace is chock full of emotion, as is Blink, the Empty Child/ Doctor Dances, A Christmas Carol...hell veer away from who and the last few minutes of the final ep of Coupling series 3 gets me every time.

    Maybe it isn't as front and centre as it was with RTD, and certainly not as in your face, but the notion that it's just not there doesn't make any sense at all to me.:shrug:
     
  5. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    I agree with you, Stalkers/Starkers. Moffat seems to take a somewhat more subtle approach as far as the emotional effect goes, but I find it every bit as effective if not more so that way. Matt Smith demonstrates this towards the end of "The Big Bang" as he is talking to a sleeping young Amelia, about a "sad man in a box".

    But as is nearly always the case, this comes down to personal preference. I found emotional power in both RTD and Moffat's material... it's just displayed in different ways.
     
  6. Ubik

    Ubik Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, but you're talking about Moffatt writing under Davies' tenure. You're right - Moffatt's episodes were brilliant, literally the best ones during those years. This is why I was as excited as anyone that Moffatt was taking over the show. Based on his previous episodes, he was, by far, the best choice.

    Which is why I am so, so, so very disappointed with the show. The expectations he set were extremely high. But nothing, nothing at all, in season 5 or 6 comes anywhere close to as good as Doctor Dances/Empty Child, Blink, or Girl in the Fireplace (except The Doctor's Wife, which he didn't write.)

    The show under his watch seems, to me, to be soulless, confusing, and smug. It's off-putting, emotionally, in a way that I have rarely experienced in a tv show, let alone one of my favorites. When Davies did character, I found myself crying. On the rare occasion where the show does it now, I find it unearned, insincere, and artificial.
     
  7. Rowan Sjet

    Rowan Sjet Commodore Commodore

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    That's how I often felt about RTD Who, when everyone was blasting out their emotions for all the world to see all the damn time. The characters ended up feeling like caricatures and I grew numb to them. :shrug:

    Now, with the characters holding their feelings a bit more close to their chests, when we do get the strong emotion it feels more real, and earned.
     
  8. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, you can only express emotions during the RTD era at maximum volume (both your emotions and the Murray Gold soundtrack to your emotions.)

    Don't get me wrong that wasn't always a bad thing, and Moffat has clearly had some missteps (the whole Amy/Rory baby, what baby? debacle, but he did redeem that a bit in TWORS) but on the whole I prefer Moffat's way of doing things. What I will say is that I don't prefer it as much as I thought I might, and I'd also happily concede that the best episodes of his tenure probably haven't been written by him (the exception being The Eleventh Hour)--but then he is having to write 5 or so eps a series plus a crimbo special (plus Sherlock!)

    I'd say Vincent and the Doctor, The God Complex, The Girl Who Waited, The Eleventh Hour and The Doctor's wife are as good as anything in RTD's era.
     
  9. Sadistro

    Sadistro Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, I couldn't disagree more with those statements about the emotion in RTD episodes. Episodes like 'Turn Left', 'Utopia' "Parting of the Ways', 'Love and Monsters' etc all have heartbreaking emotion at pefectly normal volume levels.

    By contrast, Moffat's characters rarely ever feel like they are anything more than gears in the great plot device. His characters all fall into the same basic templates, and he frequently just ignores even key characters, as he gets bored with them and moves on to something else.

    I'm sure the lady who played Madame Kovarian was as perplexed as the rest of us, when she was continually asked back to be in episodes, yet never seemed to actually 'do' anything. She has one very brief moment of activity in 'A Good Man Goes to War' and then the final episode... she's been captured off screen.

    One of the main recurring characters, and we never learn anything of any substance about her. There is the suggestion of personality at the end of 'A Good Man...' but yet again, no payoff. Because Moffat doesn't really care about character. If you're lucky, he'll keep you around long enough to have a 'Sad, emotional moment' then quickly forget about you. Most don't even get that.

    (And by 'Sad, emotional moment', I of course mean another drawn out death sequence).

    And quieter?! You must have a different Amy Pond to the one in my DVDs...

    As for the ratings, I'm not surprised that on a Sci-Fi forum, the reaction to a more obviously Sci-Fi fans friendly version of Doctor Who is well received. But that doesn't (and cannot) take into account how the wider audience feel about the show. They as a rule, do not post in forums, and don't really think too deeply about what they feel about the show. They still watch it, but do they still love it, or really care about it that much? I would suggest that the mainstream don't ask these sorts of questions to themselves - they continue watching until... they don't.

    It doesn't really get any more scientific than that. The show is on, there is usually nothing else of any quality on, they've watched it for years and so they continue to do so. But sites like Gallifrey Base have threads where people can post what their more mainstream friends/reletives/partners/kids thought of these episodes, and its been dire reading since Season 5. These people are finding the new show very hard going indeed. They don't understand it half the time, and just don't like it as much as they used to.

    But for now at least, they are clinging on, just because that's how it works with mainstream viewing. You watch until you suddenly find you are no longer watching it (usually because a better show is on at the same time, or you miss a couple of weeks by accident, find you don't really miss the show and stay away). And that gradual erosion is evident in the ratings now.

    The show was more inclusive under RTD. It was a Sci-Fi show yes, but it had significant crossover appeal to the mainstream. Because RTD was always careful to stress how important real human life was, and how it was just as important and valuable as adventures in time and space. Moffat doesn't have this, he has barely disguised contempt for such things, and considers adventures etc to be infinitely preferable to drab, boring, ordinary life and its sad, ordinary people.

    Its a very mocking and unpleasant attitude to take, and his retreat into more hardcore sci-fi fantasy and fanwank, makes it seem like the mainstream aren't welcome on his show. RTD appealed to both mainstream and genre fans - Moffat is only interested in genre fans. It hardens the hardcore around him, but alienates everyone else.

    And the fact is, I just don't think the show is as good when it takes this view. The show as others have said here, feels like a kiid's show now (though not one that many kids understand). It has lost that realistic feel that RTD was able to maintain, rooting the show in reality through constant contact with modern characters and locations, contemporary references etc. By keeping the sci-fi under control, he was able to make the show feel like it could actually happen, and so felt more real and more relevant to the viewer at home.

    Nobody could mistake Moffat's version of the show for anything approaching reality. Its pulpy sci-fi fantasy comicbook stuff, and is blatantly aimed at the genre audience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  10. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Admiral

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    As I said, here in the States, the ratings are growing more than ever before, so the audience is increasing.

    Live viewing is down across the board, so the number watching isn't what should be looked at as "declining" ratings, the percentage of available viewers is, and that hasn't decreased.
     
  11. Ubik

    Ubik Commodore Commodore

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    Yes. This has been my feeling as well - a lack of grounding in reality. Alice in Wonderland is only interesting if she has a drab book without any pictures in it waiting for her when she gets back. Odysseus's magical adventure is only magical because his wife has something as banal as suitors back at home to worry about. For the adventure to mean anything, emotionally, to us, we must believe they are real people, with genuine, real-life stakes, and a real home to go back to. RTD's years were based on this very understanding about drama, an understanding that goes back in human storytelling thousands of years.

    But Moffatt's characters are mists, floating in and out of the plot long enough to spout dire and incomprehensible techno-babble about the end of the universe, and then they float away again. They're fairy tale characters (deliberately, I think), without past or future, without history, without friends or family, without real-world fears or anxieties. Amy and Rory may very well live in a hobbit hole when they get back to Earth, as little as they are connected to anything we think of as the real world. And this Doctor is so manic, and so Mad Hatter, we can't cling to him either. So there's nothing, nothing to cling to, no home to go back to, and so none of the adventures carry any weight or meaning at all.
     
  12. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Overstating a little bit aren't you? ;) Again, it's all a matter of personal preference and taste. Of perception, which makes all the difference in the world. Yes, Moffat has striven to create a fairy-tale like story but to call his characters so insubstantial misses some rather obvious refutations to your argument. The Doctor himself, Amy, Rory, and River would all seem to have been well-established enough to be more solid and therefore emotionally effective. I would hardly call the stories "pulpy", which on its surface at least sounds like a criticism I personally feel is not valid and most undeserved. How would you describe "Last of the Time Lords" and "Journey's End" and "The End of Time"?

    In the end this debate is impossible to conclude. We attempt to assign absolute supremacy for one man's vision over another when in fact each has been massively popular. That tells me they - the men and their methods - are each successful. Just different.
     
  13. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Sadistro, I give up, you have it in your head that the show is on a downward spiral and you aren't gonna let anything like facts get in the way. So that's your evidence, the second or third hand comments from people on GB? Seriously now, if I were you I'd stay away from conspiracy websites if I were you.

    Ratings high, AI high, popularity still high (I went to one of the Doctor Who live events last year, after S5- place was heaving, and you wouldn't believe how many little kids--ok and adults-- were dressed up as Eleven.).

    Frankly there are a lot of shows out there that'd love to be as 'in trouble' as Doctor Who is right now.

    Ubik, I don't disagree on the point of an emotional connection to the real world being a positive, but only on occasion. I actually liked what they did with Rose, it was when it became clear that RTD was a bit of a one trick pony and that every companion was going to follow the same pattern that I got bored. And I could list a whole load of TV and films where there's no real world connection, and they all seem to do all right for themsevles. I've never met James Bond's mum after all (difficult I know as she died but still...) and for decades Star Trek got by fine without Kirk or Picard having to pop home to sort out cousin Harry's mortgage repayments every third episode. And even where there was an emotional connection, with families, those characters were along for the ride like Jake or Wesley, and frankly aside from Jake the results didn't lead to gripping telly (see Alexander for further details).
     
  14. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    I'm still not sure that RTD was a "one trick pony" when it comes to the Doctor and his emotional relationships. If by that you mean new female companion becomes smitten with the dashing Time Lord only to have the relationship meet a similar fate.... I guess I can see that. Maybe for me it's simply that I didn't mind it that much. It was executed well enough, that I kept on watching, eager for the next episode.
     
  15. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    It's more 'Oh look it's the companion with a domineering mother and an ineffectual/hopeless or absent dad' that grates. And I know Donna's dad was only absent due to the unfortunate death of the actor, but if he'd stuck around I imagine he'd have just been the sitcom staple hen pecked husband.

    Even Maria's parents in SJA fit the pattern (except the mum fulfils both roles as the Dad is quite normal) and Rani's parents...well her mum is somewhat overbearing again (thankfully in a more humorous and likeable manner than either Martha or Donna's mum)

    On the contrary I'm sure Russell's mum is a lovely lady! :lol:
     
  16. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Admiral

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    The overbearing mothers are probably payback to his Father (RTD has Daddy issues, right?)

    Yea, Rose, I had absolutely no problem with. It was refreshing and different having her and the Doctor Fall in Love. Other than Grace and 8 in the McGann movie, we've never seen any romantic feelings expressed by the Doctors or the Companions (Sure, Teagan treated Davision like he was her henpecked husband, but, that's long after the Honeymoon period and Romantic Feelings being expressed would be over ;) ).

    But, then yea, Martha came along, and wanted a romantic relationship and I had to roll my eyes, because we'd just been there (Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Martha, I just didn't like the couple times they took her character to the Love me some Doctor Spot)
     
  17. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For some reason I'm having a great deal of trouble putting my problems with Moffat's Who into words, but this does a good job of summing up some of my problems with it. Nothing about the show, not the characters, the setting, or the plot feels real -- feels tangible. Too much of the show is simply ideas thrown at the audience without anything concrete to hold them together or give them substance.

    Evil space minotaur, alien 80's hotel, living skulls, living house in another dimension, alien/human kid who turns a dollhouse to life, robot temporal disease control, time traveling cops living inside a humanoid robot, etc. All cool ideas, but they're just thrown at you one after another. There's no consistency, logic, or reason for anything. I feel like someone is dangling a set of keys in front of me in some futile attempt to entertain me.

    Moffat: We need an evil space minotaur!
    Me: Okay, sounds cool. What do yo --
    Moffat: And killer dolls. Lots of killer dolls.
    Me: Hang on, let's just focus on the minot --
    Moffat: Time traveling cops trying to kill Hitler! No, scratch that, Hitler's boring.
    Me: What ar --
    Moffat: Winston Churchill dancing with Cleopatra in Rome with Pterodactyls flying overhead! It's perfect!
    Me: You know what, fuck this. I'm going to go watch Torchwood again.
     
  18. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Now, now, let's not say anything drastic... :lol: ;)