On The Sofa (10)
30 March 2022 at 06:49 #72977
@missy I agree it’s not good to over-analyze things. But my quibble with Sutcliffe owning a steel mill is merely the sort of nerdy geeky thing that (I think) denizens of this forum like to indulge in. It’s part of the fun, for me, and doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I hope my comments don’t detract from anyone else’s. And I reckon, minor loose ends that I don’t notice until after the story’s over, don’t matter. If it’s an inconsistency that strikes me immediately, or prevents me following the logic of the story, then that’s not so good.
For example, the size of the monster in the Thames (as indicated on the Tardis view screen) was an immediate question for me, since the size of the monster is an essential part of the story, and this thing was miles long. I managed to overlook it, though (as a retired engineer) I can’t help instinctively judging sizes, speeds and distances. On the other hand, time travel and ‘bigger on the inside’ cause me no worries at all.
An example of a significant glitch in a movie that actually confused me – I just watched ‘Ice Station Zebra’ (the 1968 movie) with Patrick McGoohan in impressive form. The first half of the movie – in a nuclear submarine – was extremely realistic (the US Navy lent them a real nuclear sub). The second half, on a floating ice research station near the North Pole, was good enough except: the Russians sent over a flight of aircraft, long before the Americans could get an aircraft there (this was mentioned in the plot). So five Mig 21’s duly appear on screen (I’m not sure a Mig 21 would have the range, but that’s a minor quibble). But then four F4 Phantoms appear – where did they come from? – the story didn’t say! I now *think* the Phantoms were supposed to be doubling for the MiGs – which is an incredible continuity error, if so – and actually made me lose the plot.
Okay, for me Clara was always the most entertaining companion, with a bright personality. I can certainly understand where she got too cocky (though I don’t think she ever used the Tardis as a removal van like Bill) – but then she paid the price for that.
Like you, I can’t wait to see the new Doctor Who. Though (at my age) there’s always a statistical chance I may not – but I prefer to optimistically assume that I’ll ‘always’ be here. 🙂2 April 2022 at 08:52 #72982
Continuing my re-watch (hope I’m not subverting the forum too much by posting my impressions here rather than the dedicated episode files) – brief impressions of Knock Knock:
Doesn’t David Suchet do mild-but-sinister well? I half expected the contract to be signed in blood 🙂
But it’s a lovely old house, I *love* old slightly dilapidated buildings. (When I’m travelling, I much prefer downmarket pensions or hikers’ ‘refuges’ in little out-of-the-way villages. Though huge rooms in five-star hotels, let at stupidly cheap off-season rates just to keep the place running, have their appeal too. I’m rambling.)
Bill using the Tardis for a removal van? That just feels a little bit wrong. I keep wanting to call the house ‘Wester Drumlins’ for no good reason.
The creepy noises in the kitchen turn out to be – the Doctor. Looking a bit like Boris Karloff in some lights. And there is no way I’d use an oil heater in an old timber building like that. And then the landlord mysteriously appears – almost as creepy as the Doctor.
I like the relief in Paul’s voice when Bill tells him she prefers girls – “Oh. Oh, right! I was never in with a chance. Awesome!” That is just so true to life. He can relax and stop trying it on and doesn’t feel he’s missing a chance.
Eliza restoring all the flatmates to life was a nice touch, though a bit hard to credit. But then they were alien woodlice with weird powers so I guess I can manage to believe it. But the ending came incredibly abruptly.
And the little coda with Nardole and the vault was sufficiently weird and intriguing to force me to watch the next episode! (I was going to anyway, of course)
AND then we get to Oxygen and we’re really on the hard stuff:
Suitably horrific intro, with the space zombies.
I *love* the banter between the Doc and Nardole.
BILL: What’s a fluid link?
NARDOLE: No idea. But the Tardis can’t go anywhere without it.
DOCTOR: Who told you that?
NARDOLE: You did.
DOCTOR: Exactly. (Tardis starts up)
The ‘abandoned’ space station is convincingly creepy. And conducive to black humour – Nardole’s surprisingly good at it.
Doc: Crew of forty. I’ve got thirty six records of life signs terminated. Last log entry, Station declared non-profitable.
NARDOLE: Yeah, your workers all dying’ll do that for you.
Surely the absolute nastiest thing about the station is that the crew have to buy their oxygen. And the station dumps excess oxygen to preserve the market price. The ‘free market’ taken to its toxic extreme. Makes The Rebel Flesh look like utopia.
COMPUTER: Welcome to the Ganymede Systems Series Twelve SmartSuit. Oxygen field engaged. At current levels of exertion, you have two and a half thousand breaths available. – this is really turning the screws up to ten. I know we’ve seen this general scenario before in innumerable eps like 42 and Rebel Flesh and Under the Lake, now it’s Bill’s turn and this is far the most effective one.
And *of course* if you endow a space suit with a computer it will ask inane questions at inappropriate moments like “Would you like to give feedback on your experience so far.” Doug Adams was truly prophetic with the talking doors in the Heart of Gold.
And “Please remain calm while your central nervous system is deactivated.” Almost prefer the Daleks, at least they’re honest about ‘exterminate’.
This episode is full of ingenious but logical quirks, like the zombies being unable to reach the companions because they’re in a new area that hasn’t been mapped yet. I loved that.
Then Bill’s suit jams again and they can’t carry her because it locks her to the floor for ‘health & safety’ – only too realistic. And the Doctor suddenly realises that the killer suits aren’t a malfunction, they’re merely terminating redundant employees. Nice! So he simply reprograms the power reactor to blow if the survivors’ life signs cease – at which point they become too expensive to kill and the zombie suits promptly switch to keeping them alive. (Reminds me of the pursuit in George Lucas’ old movie THX 1138, where the hero is fleeing from the pursuing cops, he is just about to be captured by an android cop when it gets the message ‘pursuit budget exceeded’ so it breaks off).
And it leaves the Doctor blind. This is a real dynamite episode. As a condemnation of the excesses of capitalism it leaves ‘Arachnids in the UK’ and ‘Kerblam’ feebly wallowing in its wake.
And Nardole rants about the contents of the Vault. Is there anyone left by this point who doesn’t think it’s Missy? And (if confirmation were needed) the ‘Next time’ trailer concludes with a half-second shot of Missy. Not technically a spoiler since the next ep actually begins with a cameo of her.16 April 2022 at 15:20 #73013johnnybear @johnnybear
Has anyone here had anything to do with Shandi Cabrera? she has sent me a message or so and wants me to reply. does anyone know anything about her?
Thanks, john.16 April 2022 at 15:23 #73014johnnybear @johnnybear
No it’s okay thanks, I just looked up my posts and apparently I asked about her last year!!! So obviously she is a troll!
JB17 April 2022 at 02:44 #73015
@johnnybear I got a message from her too. Technically not a troll, more like spam or phishing. Though I haven’t seen her photo yet, she might be a troll. Probably is, if she’s desperate enough to want to have ‘passionate true love’ with me 🙂19 April 2022 at 12:12 #73028
Well, I’ve worked my way through the Monks trilogy (I stuck my comments in the ‘Extremis’ and ‘Lie of the Land’ slots – excellent episodes in my view). Empress of Mars – well there’s one ep like that in every series. Best two things about it were the Colonel shooting the Captain dead; and the neat bouncy cubes that people turned into when the Ice Warriors shot them.
So then I just watched Eaters of Light. Much more enjoyable. Thoroughly atmospheric, the monster didn’t make a lot of sense but it was really more about the people involved. I almost believed that the Doctor was prepared to spend eternity in a cave fighting monsters (we know he won’t ‘cos we need him for next week but he was quite convincing). For a monster that just killed and ate a Roman legion, it wasn’t terribly big and was surprisingly easy to control with a few prisms. But the CGI was very good. Oh, and apparently there really was a Ninth Legion that reached Scotland and then disappeared from the pages of history. So there’s a mystery there (always good when Doctor Who solves a mystery).19 April 2022 at 13:46 #73031
@dentarthurdent. I commented on the Lie of the Land thread in response to your review there. I quite like Empress of Mars. Very tongue in cheek and very typical of Gatiss writing. Not a great episode but fun with a bit of an old Who feel to it.
I am quite fond of Eaters of Light. Yes the monster of the week is a bit so so but the characters are delightful and it is set in Scotland. Always a bonus. I find that music very “ear wormy” but not in a bad way.
Janette19 April 2022 at 15:27 #73033
@janetteb I notice (from the DVD extras) that Rona Munro’s last writing credit was Survival, the last episode of OldWho. I have that on DVD too. I do like Seven and Ace, pity about the cat people. That is, they’re supposed to be savage warriors, but they look like cuddly pussycats. Apparently Rona Munro was disappointed with their appearance too. Probably the biggest improvement in NuWho over OldWho has been in the standard of the monsters. Not just NuWho originals (Weeping Angels, Silents) but new versions of originals (Silurians, Zygons, Mondassian Cybermen) are much more convincing. I haven’t seen Sea Devils, old or new, but I gather they’re much improved?
(P.S. Incidentally, I think our summer is finally just about over. Last Wednesday the sea was still pleasantly warm, Friday and Saturday it was distinctly cool such that I hopped out again promptly, today I tried again and while it was just warm enough that I floated around for a few minutes, I wasn’t tempted to stay in long. So that’s about it for our summer down here. Can’t complain, it’s been a long swimming season. To all our friends in the top half of the map, your spring should be well on the way by now, hope you have a good summer. The Weather Gods permitting, though they seem to be getting increasingly capricious these days.)20 April 2022 at 01:53 #73034
@dentarthurdent It snowed here yesterday and today so it does not look much like spring yet, but it will come, it always does. Sorry about the swimming, but I guess you had a good long season and you will be able to walk on the beach now. There is always next summer (the gardeners mantra) to dream about.
Stay safe20 April 2022 at 07:46 #73036
Well, if I drive the 20 miles to Piha on the west coast, I can swim at any state of tide (though high tide is best). But our ‘local’ beach at Blockhouse Bay is in the Manukau Harbour, which is full of mudflats with a few tiny sandy beaches in little coves. (I suspect the sand came in on Council trucks). Swimming is only any good near high spring tides, with a few feet of water over a firm mud bottom, further out (i.e. at lower water) you end up treading on rocks or oozy mud filled with oysters. As for walking, there are a few short tracks through the bush on the cliffs, but walking along the narrow strip of beach below the cliffs is only possible at half tide or below. So I’ve learned to check the tide tables. In fact I’ve only ‘discovered’ swimming there this year,
That said, I went down there for a short stroll today, the water didn’t seem too cold, so I tried it and, to my surprise, the water was okay again! I think it’s toying with me, either that or my sense of temperature is wonky. Well, I can keep it up as long as it can. But this is already the longest summer I can recall, so no complaints on that score.
And I do hope spring comes for you soon.
CR21 April 2022 at 14:37 #73039
Well, I’m up to World Enough and Time. I’m curiously reluctant to put the DVD in the player (the same way as, when a kind friend from England sent me the last Xena double episode, 2 decades ago, I left it several days before I finally sat down to watch. There was a kind of bittersweet sadness knowing this would be the last of the regular VHS tapes in my mailbox). Because it’s the end of the line. The last regular Doctor Who episode. (Twice Upon a Time was a special, without the regular companions. And after that there was only a spinoff with the same name but different flavour).21 April 2022 at 14:40 #73040
So anyway, I’ve put my impressions of those two eps in their respective slots. I might go on to read what you-all thought of them five years ago 🙂21 April 2022 at 14:54 #73043
Incidentally, I’d always thought the (original) Mondassian Cybermen were the very naff-est of old Who monsters, only too painfully obviously extras in suits, and it would never be possible to make them look any good. And now, I regard them as the most effective and horrific Cybermen, precisely because there is, visibly, the remains of a human inside there.24 April 2022 at 20:59 #73056Bean-Powered @bean-powered
The Doctor and his companion(s) often leave the door open.
Get Sadie Miller in the TARDIS.
Trapped exploring it’s Wonders.
(Elizabeth Sladen’s daughter)
Drop her off in Dallas, Texas.
Not realizing she’s in the Past-
She asks directions to where President Kennedy was assassinated.
The puppet masters have to
expose themselves to complete the assassination25 April 2022 at 15:17 #73059
I meant to share this article by Martin Belam last week but was distracted by birthdays and easter etc. I thought he had some interesting suggestions.
Janette26 April 2022 at 03:45 #73060
@janetteb Thanks, I read the article and thought some of the ideas interesting but I find that the older I get the less I like change. I don’t know why, it just happened! Even though I know it is strange to be that way, yet love a show that is all about change. I want the Tardis in every episode because it is the Doctors home (the newest model is not very homely) and it feels like the Doctor is most comfortable there like we all are in our own homes. I love the blue box and everything about it including its wheezing sound.
A Doctor a week sounds fun but how can we get to know them, like them or even dislike them in such a short time? When we love a Doctor we never want them to regenerate and that loss is part of the story. Then we get a whole new Doctor to learn about and except and even love. You see how weird it is to dislike change but love Doctor Who? I think I need some sleep.26 April 2022 at 04:32 #73061
@janetteb Hi Janette, I read the article. I disagree with most of it 🙂
‘Search for the missing Tardis’ could be a thing, but surely the Doc hitch-hiking around the galaxy would involve a variety of other ships – so a lot of sets would be required. With the Tardis they only need one set, and it’s a marvellous device for changing ‘worlds’ each week.
I think ‘Doctor of the week’ would seriously dilute viewer loyalty. We get used to a particular Doctor and set of companions, it needs a few episodes to stabilise that.
Setting it in the recent past – noooo! (I must admit my personal prejudices come in here). The Beeb does period dramas very well, I’m told, but Downton Abbey / Upstairs Downstairs etc ad infinitum just don’t appeal to me and Who would just get submerged in that genre. IMO.
Aiming at 12-year-olds – well, obviously wouldn’t suit me. But ‘a young doctor with teenage companions’ – no! When I was a kid (IIRC) I wanted to watch ‘proper’ adventures with proper grown-ups, not kidstuff. The Lone Ranger, Doctor Who (season 1), Maverick, William Tell (and I was exactly 12 when that aired), Danger Man – don’t remember any young teens in the cast of those! Why is it assumed that programmes *for* kids have to be *about* kids? I’m a geriatric old fart now, doesn’t mean I want to watch programmes about geriatric old farts. (Back in the day when steam trains were rare on TV, I used to scream at the screen when ‘Great Railway Journeys’ wasted precious screen time talking to railway enthusiasts about their hobby instead of showing the train – train nuts are interested in TRAINS, duh, not the private life of other train nuts. [/rant] (Please excuse the digression, I got carried away. ))
(Note, I’m not objecting to kids when the story naturally calls for it, like ‘The Empty Child’ – just not every week).
Okay, so that was a bit of a rant, and absolutely my opinion, and I’d welcome some other opinions.
That said, I don’t have any recipe for success – I can nitpick what’s wrong but I think I must lack the vision to emulate RTD or the Moff.
In other news, I’m still swimming, as of yesterday. This is ridiculous. The water is just warm enough, it just doesn’t seem to want to cool down. Well, I can keep it up as long as it can.
Cheers26 April 2022 at 04:34 #73062
@winston I heartily agree with your thoughts. You said pretty much what I said, just more concisely 🙂
If I was a scriptwriter (would never happen) the cutting room floor would be carpeted with my contributions 🙂5 May 2022 at 13:02 #73075
Well, I watched the last 12th Doctor episode – Twice Upon a Time – a week ago. Not a bad episode, but it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as World Enough & Time / The Doctor Falls. I did like it that Testimony gave the Doctor his memories of Clara back – though he only had a few minutes to enjoy them before he regenerated.
Favourite line: “It’s not an evil plot. I don’t know what to do when it isn’t an evil plot.”
I did get a bit emotional over the last few minutes – last sight of the Doctor and Bill, and that magnificent Tardis.
I’ve left it a while to settle before embarking on the spinoff. I’ve got the Season 12 DVD set unopened, I guess I’ll work my way through a repeat of Season 11 first. Meanwhile I’ve started watching New Tricks from Season 1 (the DVDs have been sitting on my shelf for a year or so, this will be the first time I’ve watched it through in sequence), and with Danger Man I’ve just started Season 2, the 50-minute episodes which have time to be usefully more complex and subtle than Season 1.
And, continuing what I said a week ago, our summer is still going on, just, some beautiful calm pleasantly warm days, and I had probably my last quick dip in the sea today because the water has – finally – cooled off over the last three days. I have no complaints about our last summer. Hopefully our Northern friends are into spring by now.6 May 2022 at 07:48 #73076
I liked Twice Upon a Time in part because it touched on the “Silent Night”, of 1914 which seemed so apt for a Twelfth Doctor finale. Very Moffat. Once I did a “Silent Night” image using Playmobil figures. IT was also nice to see David Bradley reprise the role of the First Doctor which he did so well in An Adventure in Space and Time and of course it was lovely to see Bill again. It is very sombre however, reflecting the mood of the last Capaldi season which is perhaps why viewing figures were dropping. There is a overall growing sense of darkness through the series.
We have just gone back to the other end of Moffat’s Who tenure, re watching the Amy/Rory stories and last Sunday we introduced the “cult tv club” to the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. The podcast of the discussion will be posted up soon. We are now putting them up on Spotify so they are easier to access and listen too.
Janette6 May 2022 at 10:38 #73077
@janetteb Eleventh Hour was where I started my current re-watch (the one that’s just reached Twice Upon a Time). Those stories never get old.7 May 2022 at 04:09 #73078
I just watched Around the World in 80 Days and found it good if not very exciting. It was a pretty good adaptation of the book with some added romance and a few character changes but on the whole, recognizable.
I also watched the new version of Stephen Kings The Stand and actively disliked it. I had to leave the room and sit at my computer so Mr. Winston could watch it in peace. I think if you had not read the book like the Mr. than you could enjoy it, he did. While ranting about it to my son who also loved the book and had watched the series, the Mr. remarked while passing “get over it!” so I re-read the book and now I feel better.
Spring has sprung here and the spring bulbs are blooming, the robins are nesting and the Canada geese hatched 6 goslings across the creek just yesterday. They had their first swim today and they are so cute and fluffy. “Permission to squeeeee!” A wren has put sticks in 3 birdhouses in the hopes that his girl will pick one, she is picky but his singing might help. We built a new dock to replace the one that the ice smashed up and when we put it in the water I will start feeding my turtles, I love the turtles. There is evil in my paradise though, mosquitoes and black flies are showing up and very hungry and the winstons are on the menu. Where did I put the bug repellent?
Stay safe.7 May 2022 at 05:01 #73079Bean-Powered @bean-powered
The Doctor needs help- goes to past
companions. Tegan and Nyssa.
Accidentally gets the aged versions.
On some advanced planet-
They accidentally get medical upgrades.
Can leap over tall buildings…7 May 2022 at 07:04 #73080
@winston we do not get that kind of spring awakening here in Oz where the garden carries on all year but we experienced the wonder of it the year we lived in Sweden. We arrived in February and moved into our house in late March. The entire garden was deeply buried in snow and so we saw the green shoots erupting from the sullen earth, within a few weeks the garden was transformed from a sodden brown to bright greens, pinks, reds and purples.
Your garden sounds so lovely and you are fortunate to have so much wildlife. It sounds idyllic except of course for the evils of mosquitoes. The “evil” currently invading my garden is Morning Glory vine. It is currently growing in places i can’t get too so I need to do a massive clean up. Autumn, winter and spring are our gardening seasons. Summer it too hot.
Janette7 May 2022 at 07:09 #73081
Our long mellow autumn has now conceded defeat and the clouds have mustered. We have even had rain. I hope our cold front has found its way down to your patch of the Pacific and hampered your swimming.
Janette7 May 2022 at 13:08 #73082
@janetteb I hope there was a ‘not’ intended in there somewhere? 🙂
@janetteb @winston In fact our weather is still being delightful – cool nights, but warms up nicely during the day, fine and calm, lovely. As for swimming, it was warm enough to be quite pleasant up till a week ago. Since then it’s cooled off slightly (I’m chicken when it comes to cold water), but I’ve been going down the beach for a walk, observed that the water is nice and calm, dipping my toes in (and it always feels warmer to ones toes than ones tummy) and saying ‘what the hell’ and going in, followed two minutes later by ‘that’s enough’ and coming out again 🙂 All things being equal, it would not make me swim right now, but it’s become a sort of a challenge – can I last it out as long as the weather does? – this is waaay past normal autumn. Which just proves I’m an idiot.
Anyway, having had my little token dip, I walked round the corner and there was a sealion sunning himself on the boat ramp. According to a spectator he’d been there for an hour. We couldn’t make out if he was hurt or just getting a suntan – how can you tell if a sealion is hurt? He wasn’t moving much but he seemed to be just zoning out. I think it was a sealion not a seal (don’t know how you tell the difference). First time I’ve seen one in the harbour, but apparently they have occasionally been seen.
Garden-wise, Mrs D and her niece finally cut down the dahlias – leaving it a bit late, their flowers were over weeks ago and looking scruffy. But they’ll be back again in a few months. I find them a very satisfying plant.
We don’t have Morning Glory (thank goodness) but we do have Madeira vine and moth plant and they are menaces – they go up trees like a rocket and if not caught, just smother everything. I periodically conduct campaigns of extermination against them on our trees and our neighbour’s (we share boundaries so our creepers are his creepers and vice versa). It pays to catch them early before they get too far up the trees (I’m not good at heights). Unfortunately they don’t stay exterminated long.
We also have ivy and privet – but they’re slow growing and easy to control – and wandering jew, which also goes like a rocket but stays on the ground, so not much worry. (I always think ‘wandering jew’ sounds a bit politically incorrect, google tells me some people call it ‘wandering willy’ instead, but that sounds equally suspect to my deplorable mind 🙂
Okay, time to start on Season 11 I guess.7 May 2022 at 15:08 #73083
@dentarthurdent. Indeed. Sorry. I need to pay more attention to proof reading.
A couple of years ago, not long after the son’s girlfriend had moved in the S.O was messaging them to say, “just leave the something or other out, but accidentally hit send after typing “just leave”. The dangers of modern communication. (after a moment’s panic she realised what had happened.)
It sounds as though the sea-lion was enjoying the late autumn sun.
The most wildlife we get around here are lizards. They have moved back into our garden now that we no longer have a dog. We also have native mice living in the bougainvillea just outside our window. I have never seen them before this year so maybe the cooler summer has encouraged them to move further north than usual as we are probably a little outside their usual range.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts on series 11.
Janette7 May 2022 at 16:28 #73084
@janetteb Hey, typos happen, no worries 🙂 as they say. One might very well consider that anything that usurps my silly bet-with-myself would be a good and fortunate circumstance, just I didn’t think you would phrase it that way 🙂
If lizards intrigue you, you should try living in Rarotonga for a while. They have geckos, which like to live in houses and walk about on the ceiling. Big ones may reach up to six inches in length. But what I find amazing – what gives me, as an engineer, acute cognitive discomfort because I can’t imagine how it’s done – is how they hang on to the ceiling with their little padded toes. Ceilings are typically plasterboard painted flat white – it isn’t glassy smooth (so their feet surely can’t function as suction cups, and even if they did, I don’t think atmospheric pressure of 15psi would be enough to support their weight) and it isn’t rough like sawn timber so little velcro-like hooks are out – how do they do it? And not just hang on but run across the ceiling upside down.
My thoughts on Season 11 – I may not post very much on that. Put it this way – I don’t want too inject to much negativity into this forum, or spoil it for people who do like it. If I watch a fantastic episode like Day of the Doctor or Hell Bent I want to talk about it! – I want to share my enthusiasm. An episode that doesn’t do much for me, I don’t feel the need to share my indifference at length. So I may keep my comments on Season 11 fairly brief. Maybe it will seem better on second viewing. Season 12, now, I haven’t seen yet.7 May 2022 at 16:54 #73085
Errm – correction, I was wrong about suction not supporting a gecko, I was fooled by the square-cube law and it would do so easily. Pulling up a picture of a six-inch gecko – assuming its body approximates to a cylinder 1/2″ diameter and 2″ long (1.2cm x 5 cm) – a bit like the physicists’ spherical cow – that’s a volume of 5.6cc which (if equivalent density to water, which people are and probably also geckos) weighs 5.6 grammes.
Now scaling off the picture, its ‘finger’ pads appear to be say 1mm by 2mm, which (with twenty per gecko) is 40 square mm or 0.062 square inches, which at 15psi gives 0.93 pounds or 422 grammes – enough to support 75 geckos! Though it still looks ‘wrong’ to me and I still don’t see how they can generate any suction on Semi-gloss White.8 May 2022 at 07:17 #73086
@dentarthurdent. That is fine. I agree re’ not being too negative. I hesitated before posting my thoughts on the Chibnell era on another thread, and deleted the post twice before finally hitting send. Overall the past three series have been disappointing but they have fans and there have been some good episodes that pass the watch again test. I don’t think there is a series of Who, new or old that doesn’t have at least one episode that I skip when re watching. In fact I think the series 11 episode i had the most problem with was the spider one which, living in a country that censored Peppa Pig over a “be nice to spiders” message because being nice to spiders in Australia is most definitely not a wise move, that is because it was a bad script. I found the politics a but questionable in that episode too though. It felt as though it was veering on pro corporate, even with a faint hint of Trumpism at the end.
Maybe the geckos are alien. We know from film and tv that alien species can defy laws of physics, biology and basic common sense. (-:
Janette8 May 2022 at 08:21 #73087
@janetteb I love spiders, especially the big hairy ones, but we have the luxury of having virtually no poisonous spiders** (also, no snakes). I found a lot of bad logic in the Arachnids script which I’ll get to in due course 🙂
**The only poisonous spiders are found in driftwood on the beach, they’re quite rare and non-aggressive. Virtually a non-existent risk compared with the common yellow wasps.
I’ve googled a bit and found out that geckos use Van der Waals forces (which I remember very dimly from undergraduate chemistry. Something to do with interaction between electron orbits in adjacent atoms).
So these little beasties are experts in submicroscopic atomic physics. Aliens indeed!
In other news, I went down to the beach today, went in for my two-minute the-hell-with-it token dip – and stayed in for fifteen minutes. The water seems to have warmed up a degree. I think it’s just playing with me.8 May 2022 at 16:11 #73093
Well, I just rewatched The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Now last time I watched it I was mourning the loss of Capaldi, Bill and Clara, and the Tardis. I thought maybe this time around I would be more used to Whittaker’s version, and her dithery mannerisms would grate less on me. Unfortunately, discounting those – even if Capaldi was in it – it would still be a not very good episode, with one of the most unimpressive and least convincing villains ever. What sort of ‘formidable warrior race’ sets a challenge for their future ruler to hunt down some poor unsuspecting human – something any terrestrial back street heavy could do in his spare time?
And also the wit, the humour, the subtlety and the multi-level plotting that I’ve grown accustomed to from the Moff is completely missing.
I wrote quite a screed of random comments and impressions of this ep (something I’d promised to avoid. Obviously, I lied) and posted them out of the way in the forum for the ep. Right after the comments I posted a year and a half ago! (Actually, I was kinder than I recalled being). But my comments this time around are similar but not quite the same, so I’ll leave them there.9 May 2022 at 09:38 #73101
Not Who-related but, I was sad to see Dennis Waterman just died. (I’ve just started watching New Tricks right through). He’s probably best known for Minder, but I could never really like that series, I kept wanting him to plant one on Arthur Daley. Liked him better in The Sweeney alongside the great John Thaw, and of course in New Tricks.
Other news, I took a dip today and cut it short, the water’s cooled off again, it’s definitely toying with me.9 May 2022 at 22:27 #73110blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Was just reading an interesting article in the Guardian about the casting of Gatwa as the new Doctor, and the connection with the Englishness of the show. In the article it is pointed out that from the very beginning of the show, it was created, not by those who represented some idealized notion of “authentic” Englishness, but by those whose idea of “Englishness” was fundamentally informed by their “outsider” status. And crucially, they came, not from the Anglican Home Counties, but from a diverse British Empire/Commonwealth.
The show was created by Sydney Newman, a Canadian, the first stories were written by Anthony Coburn, an Australian, the first episodes were directed by Waris Hussein, from British India, and who was gay, and the show was produced by Verity Lambert, who was Jewish.
I started to wonder about how this informed the Englishness of the show itself. Could one see the show (particularly the early Hartnell years that set the tone of what followed) in relation to the British Empire/Commonwealth? In other words, could the travels through space and time, to exotic and potentially threatening worlds be something of a representation of the British Empire/Commonwealth? I am not suggesting direct parallels, but rather that the “Englishness” of the show can only be understood by accepting that the very idea of “England” is meaningless without accepting that it has always been shaped, informed and expressed through the diversity of the Empire/Commonwealth.
Will ponder more over a cup of tea (darjeeling tea, of course).10 May 2022 at 04:20 #73112
Well now. Obviously there could be very many differing ideas of what ‘Englishness’ is, I can only give mine.
I am English (though I’ve lived in NZ most of my life). My (only slightly romanticised) picture of ‘England’ is of leafy, narrow country lanes and little villages. (Never mind that 90% of the population lives in cities). And a quick tour of southern England shows that a remarkably high percentage of the countryside is still like that – and I think it’s delightful and worth preserving. I would like to think that even the inhabitants of tower blocks feel the same way. So long as they do, I don’t care if their parents came from Sydney or Kingston or what colour they are, I’m happy to accept them as English.
Along with that goes a certain degree of understatement and reserve, and a sense of justice and fairness (I know I just derided the Doctor’s declaration “I’m the Doctor, here to ensure fair play throughout the Universe” as bathetic, but it was the clumsy way it was expressed that triggered my English sense of absurdity). And also a feeling that loud, noisy, boastful people should be taken down a peg, not rewarded.
So that’s my idea of ‘England’ and ‘Englishness’, and it’s quite compatible with Commonwealth citizens. Though they’re not essential to it, IMO, but in practice I think interchange between England and the Empire has been going on for a very long time. And I’m sure it’s had a broadening influence on English consciousness.
(Umm, I was thinking of Kingston, Jamaica, but Kingston Ontario would do as well 🙂
Oh, and the ability to take the piss out of ourselves (I love this:)
11 May 2022 at 04:37 #73117blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
@dentarthurdent Yes I take on board all you say. Growing up in Australia in the 50s and 60s the impact of England was always there. I know from friends it was the case in NZ as well. I often recall the joke about NZ at the time that so many men looked like Sir Edmund Hillary and so many women wore pleated tartan skirts with big safety pins on the side, and seemingly everyone drove a Morris Minor.
I have always thought that one of the characteristics of countries like Australia, NZ and Canada back then was that they defined themselves by reference to somewhere else. For OZ and NZ it was the UK. For Canada in those years it was a mixture of the UK and the USA. (But then there was Quebec, of course.)
But it was that relational dimension (ie, defining one’s own culture in relation to the colonial origins) of those Commonwealth countries that I still believe informs the origins of Doctor Who.11 May 2022 at 12:02 #73119
@blenkinsopthebrave You’re correct about the British influence on NZ society (though as a Pommie immigrant I always found it best to avoid comparisons. I think that applies universally, any visitor to anywhere is best advised not to imply “we do it better where I come from.”)
Of course colonial countries defined themselves by reference to the ‘old country’, that’s where the colonists came from and so it was the society that they patterned themselves after.
As to whether the colonial relationship influenced early Doctor Who – I don’t really have an opinion on that. I’m not sufficiently familiar with early Who,12 May 2022 at 11:03 #73126
@janetteb You mentioned Arachnids in the UK a couple of days ago. You said you felt it was “as though it was veering on pro corporate, even with a faint hint of Trumpism at the end.” Really? I thought it was wildly anti-corporate (and I tend to be fairly anti-corporate myself, also a tree-hugger, but I thought Arachnids was way over the top in that respect). Mainly because the ‘corporate’ line was voiced by Robertson, who was so wildly exaggerated as to discredit anything he said.
I did like Yaz’s family, and Jade the scientist, but some of the preachiness made me roll my eyes. It’s an episode I half-liked (or, liked half of), I would have liked to like more, if only it was a bit better edited.
(I wrote a lot more but stuck it in the forum for the episode).
In other news, I think our summer is – finally – over. Last Sunday was overcast but warm – about 20 degrees – and calm, I popped in for a token dip, and it was so pleasant I floated around for 15 minutes. Monday and Tuesday, the air was the same but the water had dropped off a degree or two. Ever the optimist, I tried going in and came out a minute later. Wednesday was fine and sunny but with a southerly breeze that my car said was just 16 degrees – not even tempted. So that’s it for summer, I think. It’s been a remarkably long one.13 May 2022 at 06:06 #73127
@dentarthurdent I did like Yaz’s family too and wish we had seen more of them. There was rich narrative potential there that was never tapped. I might be wrong about the political slant. As I recall it did start off with an anti corp tone but that felt confused at the end but it has been a long time since I watched it and yes the preachiness about letting the spiders live out what would most likely have been a painful existence was very hard to swallow, especially for those of us who have to deal with red backs and white tails.
Summer is slowly fading away here, letting go very reluctantly. We need more rain but when it that not the complaint here? Apparently the rains would start around about Anzac Day, now they don’t come until early June. The driest state is getting drier. Not a promising outlook.
Janette13 May 2022 at 07:52 #73128
@janetteb Well, Robertson made a couple of good points about re-using derelict sites and even just how far up the chain of command responsibility extends – can you condemn the chairman of the board if a subsidiary goes rogue? (When a space shuttle explodes or a 737 Max crashes, how far up do you place the blame? The source of heated, err, debates on Youtube comment lists). But his points were completely undercut by the rest of his behaviour which was an exaggerated caricature of everything we love to hate about (some) purportedly mega-rich Americans.
Our summer tends to linger on with fine weather – often the most settled weather is towards the end of summer. And then quite abruptly drops off into winter. But I think our summer this year has lasted far longer than normal – until last Sunday, to be precise. Autumn started this week.
But you said “the driest state is getting drier”. Is that a reference to South Australia? I’m surprised, I would always have thought West Australia was the driest, what with the Nullarbor Plain and the northwest ranges. Maybe the southwest corner south of Perth has a dampening influence. And, I see (looking at the map) that SA could claim half the Nullarbor. My impression is that the ‘interior’ is so different from the coastal fringes that quoting rainfall on a ‘per-state’ basis is probably quite misleading. But (since my only actual experience of Oz is Perth, and that a lifetime ago) I only really know from TV. Please correct me if I’m talking nonsense 🙂14 May 2022 at 06:55 #73129
@dentarthurdent I don’t know if it is just South Australians trying to claim to be best/biggest/worst at something and lack of rainfall is the best boast they have but the state is described as being, “the driest state on the driest continent”. Maybe that is due to efforts to farm land with poor sandy soils and irregular rainfall. In the nineteenth century they adapted a U.S. pioneer maxim, “the rain follows the plough”. Bankruptcy and a ruined land was the result.
Janette14 May 2022 at 07:53 #73130
@janetteb “the rain follows the plough”sounds utterly daft to me. Why would it? More likely to follow afforestation,which is the exact opposite of ploughing. Ploughing marginal soils which could just support semi-arid vegetation was a sure recipe for disaster, the ‘dust bowl’ in the US Midwest being a classic example. [Here endeth this week’s environmental rant]
SA could well be the driest state (on average) on the driest continent (on average). It sounds like they should then be the driest in the world, but in fact that doesn’t preclude other countries on other continents actually being drier. Such is the nature of averages.15 May 2022 at 03:45 #73132
@janetteb I really hope you get some rain and not stupid rain but just gentle drops to feed the land. There are so many places suffering from drought and the consequences are terrible for humans and animals alike. We need rain here already even after the snow melt because the ground was so dry going into winter and the spring rains have missed us so far. This week it has been a hot one with 30C temps for days. Too hot, too soon. It cooks my spring bulbs so the tulips and daffys don’t last long.
As a life long bardener and the child of farmers I know that “rain does not follow the plough”, at my house the garden hose coming out of the creek follows my plough. ( I am the plough).
@dentarthurdent Too bad about the swimming but your autumn sounds lovely.15 May 2022 at 11:11 #73133
@winston I am absolutely not complaining about the swimming – it’s lasted a month longer than it usually does. (Interesting to see that very few other people have kept swimming though, I think they’re reacting more to their usual expectations than to the actual water temperature). Incidentally, it isn’t “just me” imagining things, saw a weather scientist on TV a couple of days ago explaining that NZ has been getting unusually warm currents around it this year.
I think our autumn’s pretty well over now, though, but our winter never gets really cold (I can only ever remember seeing ice on puddles once, and we only get 2-3 frosts a year. Never seen snow here (though our lawn was white with hail once). That’s Auckland, which is surrounded by sea. Further south and a little higher up in the middle of North Island they do get proper winter.21 May 2022 at 14:57 #73158
Well, plodding desultorily through Season 11, I rewatched The Tsuranga Conundrum (the first ten minutes of it anyway. Then I gave up and went to Youtube. Maybe I was in a odd frame of mind.) First, let me say the set was absolutely beautiful, probably the best I’ve seen on any Who episode. Clean white walls with a two-tone blue stripe. Why couldn’t the new Tardis be like that? (Tardis, if you’re somewhere around, I hope you’re taking notes). Seriously, what a chance was missed to make that the new Tardis!
But, for the rest – the ‘what if men got pregnant’ was a sort of one-line joke idea that fell flat in the telling, as I recall. And the rest was just routine base-under-siege, I think.
I notice the Doctor now name-drops historical figures copiously; RTD and the Moff used to do that occasionally, usually to humorous effect, with this Doctor (or this showrunner) I get the impression they’re just there to spice up a flat line or two. And the other quirk, of frequent references to random alien races, is straight out of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker, except it was genuinely funny when DNA did it, usually informed by some weird alien logic; here it just feels like an attempt to reinforce the Doctor’s alien-ness.
So then my impressions on Demons of the Punjab (which I liked rather better) and Kerblam, I put in the appropriate slots. I’ll make it to Season 12 eventually.21 May 2022 at 16:14 #73163
@dentarthurdent I have no recollection at all of the Tsuranga Conundrum though I know I watched it, which I guess says something about the quality of the episode. Demons of the Punjab however I consider to be one of the better episodes of the series. Kerblam is another I had to look up to remind myself of what episode it was. I vaguely remember it and did not like it much. I thought it started well and had promise but did not deliver.
Janette22 May 2022 at 01:55 #73165
@janetteb Demons of the Punjab could likely have made an excellent human-interest story without the sci-fi elements at all. But that’s not my thing, I’m told the Beeb’s recent-historical dramas (Upstairs Downstairs, Onedin Line etc etc) are very well made but not my taste. That society is not my taste. The Doctor Who episodes set in the recent past capture my interest (if they do) through the involvement of the Doctor and companion(s) – Deep Breath or the Ice Fair one for example, and in Demons they were only observers.
Kerblam, I agree with you. Promising premise and (again) very well shot, but could have been much better with a bit of a rewrite.
I think the next one is the King James (?) witchcraft one.
By the way, we’re well into winter now. Precisely two weeks ago I was floating happily around wondering how much longer the tail end of summer could hang on. (Well I got my answer. 🙂 ) It just seems hard to credit right now. No complaints, anyway.22 May 2022 at 22:22 #73167Mudlark @mudlark
Like you, I tend to prefer science fiction/fantasy stories set in an imagined future to those with a historical setting, but not for the reasons you cite. For me, as an archaeologist and historian, it is the inaccuracies which are jarring, and there generally are at least a few inaccuracies or anachronisms.
That said, I thought that Demons of the Punjab was one of the better examples and, given that the historic reality was so horrific, quite sensitively done. But the ‘demons’ seemed shoe-horned in and an unnecessary distraction in that context. I got the impression that, as in Rosa, the thinking was that ‘This is Doctor Who, so there must be a monster in the story’. In fact, in the earliest episodes of the Hartnell era the stories set in the past were notably lacking in monsters, and I don’t think monster, bug-eyed or otherwise, featured at all the original concept until the Daleks proved such a success.22 May 2022 at 23:29 #73169Devilishrobby @devilishrobby
@dentarthurdent I think I remember reading somewhere the original concept for the show was to give a platform where science could be explored in a fictional story telling way. I can quite understand your frustration about historical set stories it’s much like when I watch medical based tv like Casualty as a nurse who’s worked in an A+E I groan at the multiple high drama medical dilemmas happening every episode when the actuality is in the main more prosaic and mundane23 May 2022 at 01:36 #73171
@devilishrobby I occasionally trip over an episode of Casualty for about ten minutes (before I switch away because I don’t want to get hooked on their current storyline!) and my immediate thought is, “how do these people ever find time to, like, treat any patients?”
Here in NZ our long-running nightly soap (which I have also never watched) is “Shortland Street” which I believe is set in a medical centre / clinic – doubtless the same applies.
Being a (retired) engineer, rail fan and car nut, my groan-worthy moments usually come when TV/movies feature railways, aircraft or cars. But mostly I’ve given up noticing when they call a locomotive a “train” or when any old car automatically backfires whenever it starts.
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