Watching The Doctor

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by DigificWriter, Nov 10, 2017.

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To watch or not to watch?

  1. Yes

    92.3%
  2. No

    7.7%
  1. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm going to hold off an in-depth review until I'm able to watch The Long Game as well, but I've now finished Dalek, and have to say that, despite not knowing much of anything about Doctor Who specifically, I did know who/what both the Daleks and Cybermen were, making it neat to see the latter show up as a sort of 'Easter Egg" in the same episode as the former.
     
  2. The Four Doctor

    The Four Doctor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    in a post 9/11 world, The third Doctor and his 'upper class Tory' ness and close ties with the military come across badly to some so i would tread carefully with his era.
     
  3. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My reviews of both Dalek and The Long Game, which I wanted to review together since they're essentially a duology (even though their stories are both self-contained) connected by the character of Adam Mitchell, whom I actually liked despite his being a bit of a tool:

    For Dalek, I liked the way the episode just opens "James Bond"-style with the TARDIS getting redirected and the Doctor and Rose finding themselves in a creepy-slash-cool museum without any real clue as to why beyond the TARDIS having intercepted a distress call. The fact that said museum is located underground in Utah is just icing for me since I live in Utah.

    As I mentioned in my last post, I was sort of vaguely familiar with the Cybermen, so it was a neat little "touchpoint" for me to see the Doctor come across the head of one and refer to it as "an old friend of mine... well, enemy". I also liked the way Eccleston delivered the line "The stuff of nightmares reduced to an exhibit. I'm getting old" so nonchalantly/offhandedly.

    I don't know about anybody else, but I liked Henry Van Statten as a secondary antagonist, especially the way he is introduced. He's not quite as odious as a certain person currently ensconced in Washington D.C., but the fact that he tells his assistant/security head Diana Goddard to wipe a guy's memory and that he wants the U.S. President replaced let's you know pretty quickly that he's a bit on the shady side.

    As I said in my intro, I liked the character of Adam. I think the actor playing him, Bruno Langley, played well off both Eccleston and Billie Piper, and honestly seems like somebody who, like Rose, could give Eccleston's Doctor something he needed psychologically.

    The way the show revealed that Van Statten's "Metaltron" was both the source of the distress call AND a Dalek was neat, and gave Eccleston a chance to let the Doctor 'drop the facade' a bit and give us as an audience just the tiniest glimpse into who he really is behind the 'mask' hes put on for Rose and everyone else.

    VFX-wise, this episode wasn't quite as 80s-looking with the exception of the Dalek's "shell" (did it really need to have a toilet plunger for an arm?).

    The way the episode ended was not what I was expecting, but I liked it because it put the characters of both the Doctor and Rose into 'introspection mode' and presented an interesting moral and philosophical dilemma.

    For The Long Game, the story felt very much like The End of the World, as well as something, structurally, out of the Star Trek franchise, which was kind of cool, especially since Adam's actions in the episode were ultimately very similar to those of Trek characters such as Harry Mudd, Berlinghoff Rasmussen, and Quark.

    I wish they had made Simon Pegg's Editor more than just a one-dimensional 'stooge', especially because he played really well off of Eccleston. I also wish we'd gotten more in terms of the 'subtext' of what exactly had been done to 'stunt' the progression of human society.

    I did like that it was ultimately a support character - Cathica - who saved the day, because it let the writers put the focus on the Doctor and Rose in other ways.

    The Doctor getting pissed-off enough to kick Adam off the TARDIS didn't quite have the setup I think it needed because it felt kind of petty and petulant, which isn't really consistent with the Doctor's characterization and personality as established thus far.

    All in all, I really liked both of these episodes, which form a nice little duology despite having totally unrelated plots, and expand the world of the series in heat ways.

    Also, as an aside, I kind of had it spoiled for me that the relationship dynamic between Rose and the Doctor changes after this season and Eccleston's departure, but I wasn't entirely surprised by that information because the writers had, as of Episode 3, started pretty heavily telegraphing the potential existence of mutual non-platonic attraction on the part of both Rose and the Doctor, even if neither of them consciously realizes that fact yet.
     
  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    :wtf:
    The Pertwee era is certainly old-fashioned in its portrayal of the world and society, but I don't see how being pre or post-9/11 really has anything to do with it.
    Well, yes. Yes it did. The Dalek is an iconic design, and has been for over fifty years. And that includes the plunger.
     
  5. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Admiral Admiral

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    He may have worked for UNIT, but it was pretty obvious he disliked the military’s actions and aggression. Like when the Brig sealed the Silurians underground.
     
  6. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have a question I started thinking about: just as a guide, could somebody - or multiple somebodies - give me some comparisons between the "nu" and classic Doctors as far as their overall characterization and base personalities go in terms of "if you like ____ "nu" Doctor, you would most likely like ____ "classic" Doctor"?
     
  7. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Eccleston was deliberately a bit less flamboyant and more down-to-Earth than some earlier ones; in some senses Hartnell and early Tom Baker are the ones he's closest to.
     
  8. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Tennant_NuDoc is closest to Four, but then Four is so archetypal almost everyone who came after tried to put a bit of his performance into theirs.

    Smith_NuDoc has elements of Two, Four and Five. He's avuncular in a way but still youthful.

    Capaldi is whatever Classic Doctor he feels like being second to second. Four is still a huge influence of course, but he hits all of the points. Possibly less Two, Five and Eight... looks wise he hits the Three "older man of action" concept and his initial costume is very Three, but he's more anti-authoritarian than Three, even if he gets the most UNIT-friendly storylines.
     
  9. The Four Doctor

    The Four Doctor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Mid/Graham Williams Tom is a chore. Despite fans liking early "gothic horror" Tom, many parents (not *just* Mary Whitehouse - that's fan myth looking for a scapegoat for the loss of their preferred Who) complained about the horror and violence in a tea-time show, despite the producer getting it moved slightly to when he hoped most young children would be in the bath. This led to the BBC sacking the producer and bringing in Williams and telling him to tone it down... or else.
     
  10. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Swapping producers rather than sacking. Williams had been developing a reality-based cop show called Target, but suddenly he was transferred to Doctor Who (with the mentioned order to tone down the horror), while Hinchcliff was transferred to Target (and made it more of a punch-whack Sweeney rip-off than it would have been otherwise).
     
  11. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I'd argue that the Williams' Baker era varies according to the script editor. Read's tenure itself, largely a tale of two halves. The Leela half is, mostly, bland and definitely a reaction to Hinchcliffe's absence. The Key to Time season is an improvement, but still more fantastical than previously. Doug Adams' stint is, well, the most entertaining of the '70's, and in both good and bad ways. Its really a mixed bag, but I find myself enjoying the Adams season more as time goes on, particularly since the release of Levine's Shada, and also this new version. The Key to Time is fine, but its not very consistent and the resolution is too fast and we don't get why was the Doctor put through the ordeal in the first place.

    In short, Williams' run is not bad, but it was bad a lot of the time. In comparison, Hinchcliffe's three years and JNT's sole Baker year were all-in-all, great.
     
  12. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Holmes remained script editor for the first half of season 15. Read then takes over. On the scripts, they share the credit for Image (made between Sunmakers and Underworld).
    Oh, and the Key to Time resolution was something Adams did as he took over, and decided the original "Here it is sir, happy to deliver it" ending didn't really work.
     
  13. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    It was never going to work if it was a tacked on, 5-minute resolution to another story. It should've been its own episode, at least.
     
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My "Who Watch" has stalled out due to lack of time, but hopefully I'll be able to return to the series at some point soon once things settle down.
     
  15. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Ahh, "Timelash." It confused so many people! :D

    My take on it is that the new series gives a lot more development to the companions but the episodes are often too short to really properly develop the guest stars. The classic series, meanwhile, has longer stories which require far more development for the guest cast. But the classic companions generally never evolved much beyond 1 or 2 trademark personality quirks. (Perhaps the sole exception to that is the final classic companion, Ace. She was much more front & center of some of her stories, particularly that final trilogy of "The Curse of Fenric," "Ghost Light," & "Survival.")

    Objectivity is for sterile, formulaic sci-fi. We Whovians are beyond such things! :p

    The thing that makes Doctor Who tough to pitch to existing sci-fi fans is that it's hard to really compare to anything else. Most sci-fi shows can ultimately point to either Star Trek or The X-Files and give you at least some idea of where it originally came from. Doctor Who doesn't really have that. It's not copying anything and no one else has really copied it. I suppose, tone-wise, I might be able to draw parallels with Farscape or Firefly in that it's relatively light hearted but takes its sci-fi mythology mostly seriously. But it's still a very poor comparison.

    If anything, that would make it worse. You're still skipping over the entirety of John Hurt's run that way anyway.

    The 1996 movie is a mess, even if Paul McGann does nail the character. "Night of the Doctor" is a nice treat for Paul McGann fans and regeneration completionists but it adds nothing to Eccleston's run.

    Honestly, the fact that the Anthony Ainley version of the Master could just do that was part of his charm! "I'm indestructible. The entire universe knows that."

    Season 1, IMO, is probably good gateway Doctor Who even though the show would later be on much surer footing. The show was testing the waters, seeing how far out it could go in terms of wacky sci-fi. And while it's far from my favorite season, I think it is the most consistent one. I don't think there's a true stinker in the bunch.
    "Rose" does a good job of setting everything up, even if some bits get overly silly. The part where the trash bin eats Mickey pushes it a bit too far, IMO. I wouldn't have stuck with the show if they were all like this.
    "The End of the World" was actually the episode that sold me on the new series. It was lovely to see such out & out alien-ness on TV again. The entire episode gives me a very Farscape sort of vibe.
    "Aliens of London"/"World War Three" isn't nearly as bad as most fans make it out to be. While the Slitheen aren't the greatest villains, their plot is a credible threat, the stuff with the Doctor is decent (particularly the aforementioned space pig scene), and I love the way that they handle the impact that Rose's departure had on everyone she left behind. That added a surprising touch of realism to an aspect that had never been addressed on the classic series. The episode also helped retroactively make me like "Rose" a bit better because I was originally frustrated that it spent so much time on Mickey & Jackie, 2 annoying characters that I never expected to see again. But when they came back, I thought they were handled very well and I actually wish that we got a little bit more of them later on in the series. (That said, I think later seasons went to that family drama well a bit too often. I want to enjoy the sci-fi adventures, not have to check in with Martha or Donna's mother ever few eps.)
    "Dalek" & "Father's Day" are the high points of the season for me. In fact, when I was first introducing my mother to the series, I started with "Father's Day."

    Season 2, IMO was much more uneven. I think it had higher highs than Season 1 but also some of the most abysmal lows of the entire franchise.
    "The Girl in the Fireplace," "Rise of the Cybermen," "The Age of Steel," "Army of Ghosts," & "Doomsday" are all excellent, IMO.
    "The Christmas Invasion" struggles a bit until the final act when the Doctor finally comes back into the picture.
    "New Earth" has aged better than I would have thought but it's still only so-so.
    "Tooth & Claw" and "School Reunion" focus too much on running up & down corridors being chased by unconvincing CGI monsters.
    "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" was actually the first time when I really felt like the show genuinely felt like the classic show. It's like, if you just lowered the production value substantially, I could totally see it as a 4th Doctor & Sarah Jane story.
    "Love & Monsters is one of the worst things ever to have the Doctor Who name associated with it. I hate hate HATE this episode. I find the tone to be insulting. It's mawkish sentimentality with a sci-fi veneer and the sci-fi is garbage! And the ending is supposed to be cute or funny or sweet or something and it just comes across as disturbing.
    "Fear Her" isn't as bad but, considering it comes right on the heels of "Love & Monsters," the show went through a really rough couple weeks. It's not awful but it feels like a rip-off of "The Idiot's Lantern" from earlier that same season. It suffers from the Doctor getting trapped out of the action for a good chunk of it. And I just can't stand the whispering child voice that the villain has.

    As an American myself, I agree. For a while, it seemed like every other Saturday Night Live skit had fake vomiting in it. Thank the lord that they seemed to stop doing that once Tina Fey left. It also ruins the first Pitch Perfect movie for me. Again, thankfully they completely got rid of that for the sequel.

    I enjoyed the show during the RTD era but I LOVE the Moffat era. While Moffat's plots could sometimes get too convoluted for his own good, even his failures tended to be really funny. And he spent less time checking in on the companions' parents. And, IMO, RTD spent too much time providing 'shipping fuel for the Doctor/Rose & Doctor/Martha 'shippers. I'm not entirely opposed to romance on the show (Amy/Rory 4evah! :p ) but I just never believed that a 19-year-old shop girl could turn the head of a 900-year-old alien in that way.

    That's hard, partly because, as mentioned, Tom Baker is so definitive that nearly every Doctor after him owes some debt to his version. I would also say that, overall, the new Doctors tend to not have as much contrast between them as the classics did. Eccleston, Tennant, & Smith all feel very much like a natural progression to me.

    Capaldi goes through a lot of different iterations and you can sometimes see the influences of his predecessors more clearly. His wardrobe & posture sometimes bring to mind Jon Pertwee. His crustiness is closer to William Hartnell & Colin Baker. There are moments in "Mummy on the Orient Express" where I'd swear he was holding a seance with the 4th Doctor.

    I would note that Smith & Capaldi are both more eccentric than Eccleston & Tennant. In particular, each has an episode ("The Lodger" & "The Caretaker," respectively) where the entire premise of the episode is "The Doctor can't pass himself off as a normal human being when he goes undercover." It requires them to go a a level of alien obliviousness that Eccleston & Tennant could never pull off. They're actually 2 of my favorite episodes from their respective seasons.

    As far as what aspects of the classic series to sample, I think it really depends. I will warn you, most of classic Doctor Who is super low budget, so much so that you'll never complain about the dodgy production values of the original Star Trek ever again! It's also really slow in places (not quite as slow as Dark Shadows but it's the closest comparison I could think of). I would say start with Tom Baker. The pacing isn't quite as slow there as it is in the earlier seasons. The first 3 Doctors are great but you'll probably need to work up to them. Meanwhile, I would avoid most of the 1980s Doctors. Peter Davison is too bland for my tastes. Colin Baker isn't a bad Doctor but he had awful companions and his coat takes a lot of getting used to. Sylvester McCoy had some really godawful writing but a couple of absolute gems mixed in; I would say, watch "Remembrance of the Daleks" & "Battlefield" but ignore the rest. Overall, I love the classic series but I freely admit that it's an acquired taste. But if you have the time & money to spend acquiring it, it's definitely worth it.

    I like the Graham Williams run. The writing could have trouble sometimes but I enjoyed the season for the devilmaycare "Lets let Tom adlib whatever he wants!" attitude. Most times that would be disastrous but since Tom Baker is an actual space alien it's perfect. On the other hand, JNT was too stiff & sci-fi-ish for my tastes. And I don't understand all the love for Hinchcliffe & Sarah Jane. They were well-executed seasons but I think there was a certain formulaic feel that set in around that time. It lacked the danger of the first 3 Doctors.
     
  16. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Another thought if you're curious about some of the earlier Doctors: "The Five Doctors." As a 20th anniversary reunion special, it moves at a pretty rapid clip by classic series standards and gives you a nice little primer on the 2nd, 3rd, & 5th Doctors. (The 4th Doctor only appears in a few minutes of stock footage and William Hartnell was long dead by the time they made the story. They recast the 1st Doctor for the special but he doesn't really give you an idea of what the Hartnell years were really like. You'd need Ian & Barbara around to really understand what the Hartnell years were really about.)
     
  17. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Some of us absolutely love "Love and Monsters," fwiw. The ending not so much, perhaps, but it's so darn fun.
     
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  18. SevenOfNiven

    SevenOfNiven Ensign Red Shirt

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    Regarding watching the classic Doctors, I would highly recommend checking out at least the very first episode, An Unearthly Child. It's a pretty tight introduction to the main characters, and one of my favorite episodes of sci-fi television.

    If you'd prefer to jump right to Tom Baker, a good jumping on point is The Face of Evil, as it makes a relatively fresh start from the various UNIT-Master-Sarah Jane storylines inherited from the Jon Pertwee era, and the serials that follow are pretty darn good. (YMMV on Talons of Weng-Chiang, which has a concentration of some pretty cringeworthy elements.)

    The new BritBox streaming service is a good source for Classic Who in the US; it's only about $7 a month and I've cancelled and resubscribed a couple of times for episodes that aren't readily available on DVD. Ye Olde Netflix DVD service has a nice selection as well. Both have some annoying gaps, but they're probably the best legitimate options.

    Night of the Doctor is best viewed as a prelude to the Day of the Doctor 50th anniversary special. I'd argue that it's one of the best Who episodes in spite of its short runtime, but it does assume a familiarity with the character and lore that one might not have after a few Eccleston episodes.
     
  19. Mr Soak

    Mr Soak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I made an "extended cut" of Day of the Doctor, starting with The Last Night followed by The Night of the Doctor, leading into Day of the Doctor. The next step would be to reinsert the cut scene they released. Unfortunately, the scene isn't on the stand-alone DVD I'm using as a basis.
     
  20. starsuperion

    starsuperion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Watch the Season 2 ending.. Battle at Canary Warf. The Plunger becomes very scary then.. much more so then after use in the Loo..