The Ghost Monument

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  • #64594
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @ichabod

    Not sure that there’s nothing more to know about the Whittaker Doctor than we’ve seen. I liked her better in this episode than I did in the first one, so it may simply be that she’s a ‘slow grower’ for a lot of us.

    But that sudden collapse into ‘I’ve failed’ was definitely a bit odd – and if the ‘Timeless Child’ is her (and that could easily refer to the Doctor), is that something to do with it?

    But anyway, while I understand why she and Chibbers both felt it was better for her not to watch the previous Doctors, that means she’s in the position of feeling her way into a notoriously nebulous role. So definitely give it an entire series.

    Mind you, I hope she’s not a method actor. Yeah, you’re a several thousand years old shape changing alien who’s just flipped gender. Take that, Stanislavski! 😀

    #64595
    nerys @nerys

    @missrori … but I do think it would help if BBC America would, at least for the premiere airing, drop the commercials. They are REALLY killing momentum.

    We have the same problem with the Space channel in Canada. The ads totally disrupt the flow of an episode. It’s always such a relief to be able to watch these episodes, sans commercials, on CraveTV.

    Barring that, I enjoyed this week’s episode, though I agree with others who noted the constant running, which reminds me of many David Tennant and Matt Smith episodes. A little too “action hero”y for my tastes. I’m hoping things will calm down a bit in future episodes, and the writing focuses less on nonstop action, more on fleshing out the characters. But it’s early days yet, and it seems this is always my problem with getting used to any new Doctor. I struggle to let go of the rhythms and patterns of the old ones!

    #64597
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @ichabod So how does a female authority figure assert herself without wearing a version of male “authoritative” attire?

    Ahh, well, that is the question. In television drama, female authority figures are often in “professional” dress as part of a role of one sort or another, like Gillian Anderson (detective) in The Fall or Keeley Hawes (politician) in The Killing. Both these roles, for example, employ sexuality as part of the projection of female power – authority job + projection of dominant sexiness. That’s a common way female power is depicted in drama. Male authority (in drama) is far more likely to be un-coupled from sexuality as a display dimenson of power (e.g. Giles from Buffy or Magneto from the X-Men movies) although it is coupled also (e.g. James Bond).

    The Doctor, in his male embodied incarnations, has not had his authority linked to his sexuality – at all in BG Who (or barely) and in AG Who, the way his sexuality was depicted in fact, it could be argued, deliberately undercuts his authority. He is portrayed as gauche, shy, awkward and tongue-tied in relation to his possible attraction to Rose (Ecclestone and Tennant) and likewise as gauche, awkward, flummoxed and off-balance (Smith) in relation to his attraction to River (she is always, always depicted as more sexually confident than him).

    Jodie’s Doctor, thus far (although it’s early days) seems to have returned to a more BG Who in that the Doctor’s sexuality is not an evident dimension of character or narrative.  That was also more true of Capaldi than previous Nu Who Doctors, but not entirely (his relationship with Clara still contained some kind of charge, left from the Smith-Clara dynamic e.g. Capaldi feeling the need to tell her he *wasn’t* her boyfriend).

    I hope the writers’ room has had some deep conversations about authority and a female-embodied Who. But the writers’ room remains male dominated (although Marjorie Blackman and Joy Wilkinson are on board) so…

    Jodie will no doubt have thought about this element of her character. And the script is giving her continuity-Doctor “authority markers” like his/her tendency to be somewhat self-aggrandising (or just brutally honest) by voicing, “I’m very, very clever” etc. on occasion.

    I think it is also the responsibility of the audience, to interrogate their receptivity (or otherwise) to female-embodied authority, as this question is thrown up by a female Doctor.

    Jodie seems to have gone with a practical, down-to-earth, somewhat understated and self-doubting version of “authority” so far. But she’s still in the unstable post-regeneration phase, so I’m intrigued to see more of her Doctor.

    #64598
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Oh, and also, I love her rainbow-esque streak T-shirt more and more the more I think about it. Not only, as I mentioned above somewhere, is it an intriguing nod towards the fact that the Doctor is now officially “out” as a gender-fluid being (the rainbow as LGBT reference) but a rainbow is also the refraction of light.

    And I think that encapsulates the essence of the Doctor – in an often dark universe, the Doctor is a refraction of light – a being who embodies “our” best values – kindness, intellectual curiosity, helping others (Jodie’s “When people are in trouble, I never refuse”), an adventurous spirit, compassion and respect for all beings (unless they are oppressors).

    This Doctor, I feel, after all the darkness of becoming the “War Doctor” (the antithesis of The Doctor as far as the Doctor is concerned) and his/her long streak of guilt and atonement for that, can now be a refraction of light in the universe again. That’s my sense of who Jodie’s Doctor is going to be.

    #64599

    @juniperfish @ichabod

    Eccleston

    Tennant

    Smith

    Capaldi

    Jodie.

    There’s part of the challenge, right there.

    English doesn’t really have informal vs formal address in the way that other languages do (eg: vous vs tu), but we inject it in other ways without even trying.

    #64600
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @pedant Yes, you’re right!

    Although, there are interesting arguments about this.

    For instance, in citations, many systems just use the first-name initial so you can’t tell if the paper or article is by a man or a woman. Some argue that’s best, as it eliminates the bias (proven by data) that women are cited less than men.

    But on the other hand, there is the argument that retaining the first names makes gender more visible, so the bias can be actively monitored/ guarded against. I prefer that method.

    But, as you say, the informality of using the actor’s first name for a woman and surname for a man, a common occurrence, definitely does have connotations of greater informality potentially equalling lesser deference.

    I am already in love with Jodie/ Whittaker’s Doctor. I tend to fall in love with them quickly, whatever the embodiment 🙂

     

    #64601
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod

    Some comments I’ve seen have pointed out Jodie throwing bits of the other Doctors into her performance, but I have to admit, I’m not seeing that,

    As you say, it has been stated that she deliberately didn’t watch any of her predecessors in the role, but perhaps the writing and direction may have influenced her performance in that respect.

    There are what seem to be a few overt nods to them in the script. In ‘I hate empty pockets’ there was a hint of Capaldi, and her ‘I’m really smart’ echoed the tenth Doctor’s sharply emphasised ‘because I’m clever’ in, I think, Midnight. These are mere details, but where I see similarities in her Doctor it is to the marked physicality of Smith’s rendition and the hyperactivity of Tennant. There are some hints of what her personal stamp on the role may be, but it’s early days.

    @bluesqueakpip

    But that sudden collapse into ‘I’ve failed’ was definitely a bit odd

    Given the circumstances it didn’t seem all that odd to me, though it clearly was significant. She had just regenerated and, while still discovering her new identity and integrating it with the old, she was pitched into a crisis. In short order she had manufactured a new sonic screwdriver/swiss-army-knife-without-the-knife, dealt with ‘Tim Shaw’ and adapted the unfamiliar technology of his transport pod to devise a locate-and-teleport device to take her to the Tardis, all of which had given her a boost of confidence, only to end up nearly killing herself and her new friends. That can only have shaken her, so it is not surprising that when they eventually arrived at the site of the ghost monument to find no sign of the Tardis where she had been led to expect it would materialise, leaving her and the three she had inadvertently taken with her apparently stranded on a lethal planet, she momentarily expressed uncharacteristic self doubt.

    @bendubz11  @pedant

    The biscuits you find delicious, to me taste chiefly of artificial flavourings and, other than that, are just blandly sweet. Each to their own taste, though, and I won’t argue with that.

    @pedant  A whole packet of oreos 😮

    Says she who once long ago ate 12 cream donuts after being bet a bottle of Irish single malt whiskey that she couldn’t. The person who made the wager paid the debt of honour after pressure was applied by my other colleagues, so I suppose it was worth it. Soon after I had achieved this feat I felt somewhat unwell and had to rush to the lav and upchuck, and I have never since been able to face a cream donut. So I suppose a lesson was learned.

    #64602
    lisa @lisa

    @ichabod

    Hi !   Why is it I feel that even though she’s the oldest Doctor she behaves a bit adolescent ?

    It’s bugging me that its almost as if CC is trying to make her feel too “youthful” for a Doctor we all

    know to be thousands of years old?  Its not terrible and its not terrific for me.

    She may not have watched the show before production but she’s obviously extremely familiar

    with it and she seems to me to be channeling different bits of past Doctors in an effort to grow

    into her own new skin.    Meanwhile I’m hoping for a stronger consciousness raising super hero

    that finds her own distinctive uniqueness and not be thinking ‘oh this is a bit 10. this is a bit 11,

    this is a bit like 4’ and so on.  BTW, I never felt that way about previous Doctors.  They all brought

    their own uniqueness to the part from episode 1 !

    #64603
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant  @juniperfish

    I’d never given it any thought, but now that you have drawn my attention to the matter I realise that I think of her automatically as Whittaker.

    In an academic context I have been accustomed to refer to people, whether male or female, either by their title and surname or by their full name, so that comes naturally now. My father’s family were Quakers, and in those circles no titles were used and in formal circumstances people addressed each other by their full names, both forename and surname. On the other hand, in the archaeology department at Edinburgh University in the 1960s everyone, from the eminent professor down to the lowliest first year student, was referred to by their forename, something which shocked my brother, a medical student. But it was a very small department, which perhaps explains the informality.

    It isn’t so very long ago that in most social circles the convention was that only intimate friends addressed one another by their first names, and then only when invited to do so, and otherwise to refer to anyone by their first name alone when speaking to them or to a third party was to imply that they were very much a social inferior. Manners and conventions have loosened, but it is undoubtedly troubling and significant that women in the public eye are so commonly referred to by their forenames or even their nicknames in the press and by all and sundry

     

    #64604
    Anonymous @

    Counterpoint

    I know that every episode can’t be Hide or Blink but I found the writing in this one to be below standard and I’m disappointed with both this and the first one. There are literally no quotable lines in either. Also, not a single scene tickled me or make me want to go back and review it. In fact, when I tried to watch portions again, it got worse.

    For starters, materializing into the vacuum of outer space and then magically surviving it was just too sudden  a suspension of reality. I thought it was also a very poor plot device. You likely wouldn’t be looking around either but instead, would spend the next five to ten seconds trying to keep your eyes in your head as your eardrums exploded.

    Also, it’s a walkabout. But unlike Nicolas Roeg’s landmark movie, there’s no spiritual dimension to it. It also felt too much like a video game as it progressed but not in a good way.

    I could enumerate several other problems with it including the lack of chemistry with the companions, overall unconvincing lines, etc. but I’ll just end by saying that the way they presented the TARDIS to the newcomers was anticlimactic.

    I’m also getting the feeling that the new writing crew doesn’t really understand the show very well. Of course, that makes sense in some ways. I mean, they’re professional writers and aren’t sitting around like us OCD fans just re-watching Smith & Jones, The Doctor’s Wife over and over. Someone needs step up and capitalize on the rich character development of the show and not just create a space shoot ’em up. That’s George Lucas’ job.

    #64607
    ichabod @ichabod

    @juniperfish  I hope the writers’ room has had some deep conversations about authority and a female-embodied Who. 

    Exactly.  There are other aspects of this, of course, than costume; voice pitch is another, and it’s a doozie, IMO.  I’ve seen studies supporting the idea that humans find lower voices (in both men and women) more impressive and authoritative (again, a moment of political comedy/tragedy — Trump’s ambitious son in law, Jared Kushner, is said to speak so rarely on public media because he has a high, weak voice that he doesn’t want people to hear; and HRC took lessons to help lower her speaking voice while she was campaigning, to good effect).  Whittaker’s voice has a lower register that I think is far more pleasing than the higher pitches she goes to in dangerous moments.  Not good for authority, IMO.

     

    @pedant  . . . Smith.  Capaldi.  Jodie.  There’s part of the challenge, right there

    Too right.  This started from her selection announcement, as was so noticeable that I’ve been using her last name instead of her first, in any comment anywhere, to try to help make the difference both obvious and significant.  And I think I’ve slipped up a few times.

    @mudlark:  . . . to refer to anyone by their first name alone when speaking to them or to a third party was to imply that they were very much a social inferior. Manners and conventions have loosened, but it is undoubtedly troubling and significant that women in the public eye are so commonly referred to by their forenames or even their nicknames in the press and by all and sundry.

    This.  See: “Trump” v “Hillary” to this very day (in internet conversation, not news media).  That is *not* accidental.  The exclusive use of a former first lady’s first name is an obvious jeer and a put-down understood by everyone — because this does mirror, in a distilled form, a common misogynist habit of speech.

    @lisa  It’s bugging me that its almost as if CC is trying to make her feel too “youthful” for a Doctor we all know to be thousands of years old?

    For me, this is the gravitas issue: CC & co are trying to appeal to the young, in part by (as they’ve stated outright, I think, in interviews) stressing 13’s newness with lots of energy, enthusiasm, and an optimistic tone, which  reminds me very much of Smith — but SmithDoc is often described as “an ancient alien in a young body”, the “ancient” part signaled by him being overcome by sudden waves of gravitas rooted in having so much experience before this body ever began, much of that experience quite grim.

    We’re getting the youthful up-notes from Whittaker, but the only down-note I can recall is that moment of uncertainty — and it’s not connected to the past at all.  She doesn’t have a clue, so far as I could tell, that she’s failed such promises to people before, with dire results (e.g. poor Bill and unhappy Ashildr, only moments ago),

    This lack of reference to the past, A past, his/her past, is of course part of the fresh, new beginning they’ve been promising.  But without that long past with its very dark passages, how is this Doctor to connect with his/her own gravitas, that weight of very mixed experience that creates the soberness of character and deliberation based on wisdom?  It’s possible that CC wants to omit this quality almost entirely in the name of “freshness”, since Tennant had rather a lot of it, and Whittaker isn’t Tennant; Smith did gravitas with great effect, and Whittaker isn’t Smith; and Capaldi made gravitas the cornerstone of his Doctor, and Whittaker can’t be him either.

    So — maybe they ignore that whole aspect of the Doctor’s nature, or anyway postpone it and only let it develop a little, or gradually, as time goes on and adventures (including failures) create new cautionary memories (if they’re allowed to).

    @shinymcshine   It also felt too much like a video game as it progressed but not in a good way.

    I felt that too, as soon as Malik’s character laid out the route and objective, more so when the apparently blind “sniper” bots chased them in the ruins.  Jeez.  I’d be a better sniper than those tin cans, with my eyeglasses off!

    Someone needs step up and capitalize on the rich character development of the show and not just create a space shoot ’em up. That’s George Lucas’ job.

    Well, see, here’s the thing: I think that rich character development is exactly what CC & co are trying to skate over, first because they want it to be more kid-friendly (equated with “shallow, and action-y like a video game”).  Adult watchers coming off of the RTD/Moffat years that offered character development and (sometimes) real depth have been “spoiled” by finding literary values in a TV serial about space travelers.  I suspect that CC’s skill with characters seen in B’church is being deliberately put aside, because this isn’t B’church (a dour exercise in sadness and bad mistakes, not kid-friendly at all).  It’s supposed to be “family viewing” — soft-pedal distress, and steer clear of despair and anguish entirely, guys, for fear of frightening (or baffling, or boring) the colts and the fillies (and their parents).

    I’m seeing my pre-series concerns fulfilled, but Time will tell.

    #64610
    syzygy @thane16

    @ichabod

    Low voices show pitch relationships. Words like “authoritative” are stimulated from data modelling when recent CTs and MRIs show low pitch calming to most but not all species. Sometimes there’s a Russell TeaPot on the boil when small words like “authority” emerge from larger concepts via modelling discussions.

    Logical atomism, it can kill ya.

    Unlike five secs in “outer-space” @shinymcshine which won’t.

    Unfortunately.

    Purofilion-via-Thane.

     

    #64611
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @ichabod – don’t know about the characterisation. He’s set up a situation with two male companions linked by someone they both loved who is dead. Possibly my favourite line was when Graham was with Ryan as he woke up and says ‘come on, we’ll sort this out’. How Graham? You’ve just been accidentally teleported into space and stopped up by a spaceship. But he’s being calm, and kind,  and pragmatic and taking care of his wife’s grandson (who has always tried to keep him at a distance). it’s a small thing, but I like it, it feels as though he’s remembered what 13 said about her family, carrying them in her heart, thinking of what they’d say, with an excellent grasp of the first rule of intergalactic travel: don’t panic.

    (We can assume he did panic, a bit, when he woke up. But he’s used to waking up feeling extremely ill.)

    @pedant – the name thing is a very good point. My school had only recently gone co-eduational when I went there, and many of the male teachers continued using surnames for the boys, and first names for the girls. I think in their hearts it was meant as being more respectful to the girls, but the same teachers were slightly stunned when they were informed that girls would be taking woodwork, and boys home economics. Personally would rather refer to them as Christopher, David, Matt, Peter, Jody simply because I find these easier to spell, but it’s true, she does seem to be ‘Jody’ in a lot of the articles and discussions around the show, and surnames are a status thing (literally, once.)

    #64613
    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @pedant @juniperfish @miapatrick and others commenting on naming.  I’m sure I’ve done the Jodie thing but it does jar for me, in conjunction with other Doctors, because I never naturally say Matt/David/Christopher/Peter.  I’m trying to either use the numbers (not in itself free of contention but still most of us get who we mean by Nine, Ten etc) or initials (quicker than spelling out the surnames).

    I noticed in the second ep that I was struggling to hear the Doctor’s voice as the authoritative one when there was a longer shot with several people talking.  When I could see her, I was fine.  Interesting…  Clearly any feminist credentials I may have don’t stop me from having absorbed the lessons of the patriarchy – authority speaks in a male voice.  Gravitas comes with that male voice.  Even those of us most passionately enthusiastic about the gender switch have some adjusting to do, but at least we’re willing to do it, and to give it time to work rather than expecting everything to be fixed by episode 2.  I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t be critiquing it from every perspective – narrative, character building, writing, AND how they deal with the change of gender – but we can’t shed 50+ years of hearing the Doctor as a male voice without a little bit of conscious adjustment of expectations, and I think we will gradually (if we’re open to the change) start hearing JW’s voice as the Doctor’s voice, regardless of pitch.

    #64615
    syzygy @thane16

    @juniperfish  re #64600

    I think “connotations of greater informality” =  pejorative.

    @cathannabel yes, that sounds really good to me. I think mum meant something like this. I do know Russell’s tea-pot and from a brief discussion before she nodded off on Sofa we delved into how low pitch is modelled in experiments across species and she mentioned that how we accustom ourselves to dialogue in film across genders is…..important . I need a few more years to get my head around all this…..

    T16

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by  syzygy. Reason: pitch and what it means across gender and species debates
    #64617

    @miapatrick

    Personally would rather refer to them as Christopher, David, Matt, Peter, Jody simply because I find these easier to spell, but it’s true, she does seem to be ‘Jody’

    *circles bait*

    *thinks better of it*

    @cathannabel

    In the Usenet days the convention (and I don’t think it was any more than that, plus a bit of micro-bandwidth management) was to use the initials (for of Buffy it was SMG, AH, NB, ASH etc etc). That side-steps the problem nicely.

    @shinymcshine

    I’m also getting the feeling that the new writing crew doesn’t really understand the show very well. Of course, that makes sense in some ways.

    That would the the Chibnall (wrote both episodes) who has written for Who for years and is every bit the uber-fan that RTD and Moffat are?

    #64619
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @pedant: to be fair that’s closer than I’d get to her surname without pausing my comment to look it up… but yeah.

    #64630

    @cathannabel @thane16

    Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my memory, I have the thought that the Royal Air Force did some research into the impact of different vocal styles had on the authority of air controllers. It found that female voices had a timbre to them that pilots (sometimes coming from quite stressful situations) responded to better than any other. I may be misremembering, bit I don’t think so.

    @miapatrick

    This is what initials were invented for 😉

    #64631
    syzygy @thane16

    @pedant  @cathannabel

    At last something I know something about!

    Aircraft….

    I often say I have difficulty talking to people who don’t understand planes. Issues of attitude determining altitude etc. 🙂

    But I digress. Different vocal styles are produced by men and women. Pitch and timbre are quite different. Different notes can have the same timbre (imagine ‘colour’ or ‘feel’ or character) but play different ‘notes’ or pitches. Each instrument can play a ‘character’ or a vivid crashing wave which elicits a feeling. This feeling is timbre and describes the range of sound character that instruments can now produce -which they couldn’t do in the 1700s.

    Also, timbre is frequency ‘addicted’ or ‘attracted.’  If you listen to a sound-wave (frequency) from 2 different instruments the timbre will be quite different. Yet the pitch might be the same.

    Amongst ATC and commercial airliners the timbre of a particular voice, from a particular individual determines the level of what I’ve defined as ‘sooth-force.’ Timbre or sound-waves of a specific type or character are calming. In the most recent studies female vocalists using a specific timbre are most successful when lower pitch is identified and produced.

    Then there’s over-tones and harmonics….

    Puro.

    Puro

    #64632
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @ichabod and @shinymcshine

    But it is a video game. It’s made clear it’s a video game. It’s just that this particular video game has real live people taking part.

    But the mention of bonuses and race and prize makes it clear that this is a *game* for Art Malik’s character. That’s why he warns them not to touch the water – no fun in it if the contestants get slaughtered. It has to be a game they can win.

    Personally, I’m going for ‘the Whittaker Doctor’. I realise that we’re all likely to go for Jodie because there’s a convention of calling women by their first names – but that’s because of the historic subordination of women in our society. Women are called by their first names – just as children are. 😈

    She’s the Doctor. And she gets accorded exactly the same status as any other Doctor. Which means, since I tend to call the other Doctor’s by their surnames, she’s ‘the Whittaker Doctor’. 😀

    #64633
    nerys @nerys

    OK, on second viewing (this time via Space’s on-demand stream, which, while it has commercials, has far fewer of them than the cable broadcast channel), this episode held together much better for me. I actually liked the Doctor’s uncertainty and fear that she’d failed her companions. As others have noted, it’s not that she’s never experienced failure. But she’s early enough into her regeneration that I’m sure she wouldn’t want it to happen so soon.

    And I loved the Doctor’s greeting of her old friend, the TARDIS! Her relief at them being reunited was palpable.

    #64641
    Arbutus @arbutus

    Finally got another viewing in. More thoughts about it all.

    The Doctor seems to have finally moved past the Time War, having regretted, forgotten, and done penance. This may mean that, for awhile, she is more of an open book, less of a mystery. I’m okay with that (although it seems that there will still be the occasional mystery!) We’ll see what comes when the inevitable questions start coming from Team TARDIS.

    @ichabod  This Doctor may be less of a reader, but she’s clearly still big on the importance of information. Her insistence on learning the facts about the planet and its history suggest that she’s more of a field researcher than a back-in-the-library type.

    Interesting conversation about the new costume, leading to the bigger issue of a woman in an authoritative role. It’s a long-standing problem of course, the linking of respect for women to appearance/style/clothing rather than actions/abilities. A guy can be a CEO in jeans and a hoodie, but a woman executive has to wear a power suit. I don’t mind that the Doctor is saying no to this, and will earn respect and maintain authority by way of her abilities rather than her personal style. @juniperfish I really like your take on all this, especially “a refraction of light in the universe”.

    I had no problem seeing this Doctor as “authoritative”. To me, she came across as capable, smart, and generally self-confident. I would certainly do what she told me to in a crisis. Pessimist dude (whose name I have sadly forgotten) certainly bowed to her in a crisis, due apparently to her obvious understanding of the situation and clear self-confidence.

    @thane16   As you say. Most women are vaguely mezzo-soprano in range, but their speaking qualities can be quite different. I watched a mayoral debate yesterday between two women and three men. The most stereotypically authoritative voice among them belonged to one of the woman, not because it was lower or deeper, but due to her style of speaking. She was deliberately taking it to the guys (she kept mentioning the “old boys’ club”), but her style did not feel particularly “leader-like” to me!

    I think this is perhaps another reason for my early connection of Thirteen to the Fifth Doctor, who tended to be a more soft-spoken, rational type. (In fact, Two didn’t always come across as traditionally authoritative, either!)

    #64642
    Arbutus @arbutus

    Someone suggested that we are seeing a deliberate de-emphasis of character-drawing. I don’t agree. I’m not concerned about the slower flowering of the Companion characters. We have a whole series in which to do that, and all that matters to start out is that they all seem likeable and competent, and have some good potential backstories.

    @cathannabel   As someone who grew up with an absent father, I would be fine seeing this troubled relationship explored. I understand that with Ryan being Black, it could be seen as a stereotype, but it’s also a true thing that happens, and could make for some interesting character development. It’s unclear how much Ryan’s dad has actually been a part of his life, but Ryan did say he had wanted him at Grace’s funeral, which suggests some kind of emotional connection, whether good or bad.

    I had an interesting feeling at the end when the Doctor momentarily lost hope, and the Companions, led by Graham, came together to backstop her. That was the moment that they really became Team TARDIS, and immediately following that, the TARDIS shows up. Did the TARDIS sense that somehow? Had she waited just long enough for her new Doctor to sag just long enough to make that happen? (Btw, although I have no strong views yet on the new TARDIS, I do like the contrast between bright, practical Doctor and the surprisingly mystical interior.)

    All to say that I find loads here to feed my love of characters in stories. I hope the detailed drawing of one-off characters continues. I really enjoyed the two we had this week. It is a weakness in my own writing that I tend to give too much time to peripheral characters, which makes stories run longer than they probably should. Everyone should have a story, even if we only get a bit of it. We saw this last week with Carl.

    @kharis  I would never say you shouldn’t notice the music, and I loved Murray Gold’s compositions. But I’ll admit there were occasions when I felt that the music, good as it was, pulled a little deliberately on my emotions. So far, I’m finding this a nice change.

    @bluesqueakpip   A few thoughts about Graham and Grace   Now this is what I come here for! 🙂

    #64643
    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane16  . . . recent CTs and MRIs show low pitch calming to most but not all species.

    That makes sense, since in many species warning cries — “Danger, danger, everybody to get from street!” (Alan Arkin in “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!”) — are usually pitched high to carry well and be instantly comprehended by the hearers.  But high pitches are also used to indicate “I am non-threatening, don’t fear me” and even “I wuv you, you little cutey pie, come to mama”; while low ones can also indicate menace, as with a growling dog or big cat.  And a low, slow voice in humans, both male and female, is sometimes associated with seductive excitement, isn’t it?  “Come wiz me to ze Kazbaaahhh . . . ”

    Dang.  Old movie day for me today, apparently.  Memory is such a clown sometimes!

    #64644
    ichabod @ichabod

    @miapatrick  don’t know about the characterisation. He’s set up a situation with two male companions linked by someone they both loved who is dead.

    Agreed, I like that, and the novelty of it.  My doubts about characterization are actually centered on the Doctor, rather than the companions. Of course, Moffat said the show was really all about the companions, more so than the Doctor, and this little nugget of an unusual connection between Graham and Ryan certainly echoes that, in a good way.  It was the characterization of the Doctor that I’m worried about, really.  But it’s too soon to tell.

    #64645
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @arbutus

    Her insistence on learning the facts about the planet and its history suggest that she’s more of a field researcher than a back-in-the-library type.

    A kindred soul in that respect, but libraries have their uses once you come in out of the field. I wouldn’t trust anyone who published without references 😉

    #64649
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @mudlark    Well, that’s just it. I’m not sure that the Doctor is (currently) interested in publishing. Possibly too many years spent in the ivory tower, before Bill came along?

    #64652
    ichabod @ichabod

    @cathannabel  Gravitas comes with that male voice.  Even those of us most passionately enthusiastic about the gender switch have some adjusting to do

    Indeed.

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . convention of calling women by their first names – but that’s because of the historic subordination of women in our society. Women are called by their first names – just as children are.

    And that’s exactly what caught my attention when Whittaker was first announced as the new Doctor.  I found the use of “Jodie” almost from the get-go, rather than “Whittaker” in the style of the guys, Tennant, Capaldi, et al, demeaning in a perfectly mindless way — not meant consciously but oh, so there — and reacted against it.  It really bugged me, but your summary of the problem, above, lays it out much more clearly than I could think it through t the time.

    @arbutus  A guy can be a CEO in jeans and a hoodie, but a woman executive has to wear a power suit.

    Well put; and I don’t recall, in those early video shots of people skateboarding around the playground parts of the Google offices (or was it Apple?), seeing any females on skateboards, or in jeans.  But there weren’t many (any?) women in those shots anyway . . . were there?  Drat.  Memory glitch.

    #64656
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    Really enjoyed the episode.

    Like all new Doctors, this one will take some getting used to (I get so attached to the prior Doctor, the new one takes some time for me to really get into their personality quirks).

    TARDIS is a bit dark. Is the Doctor a tree hugger? What is the aversion to lights? Wouldn’t seeing things in the TARDIS make it more comfortable? The new design looks a little creepy to me.

    #64660

    Have just been through a whole chuck of this just listening to the music.

    You know what? It’s bloody fantastic. A while back I mentioned that there was something very Blue Veils and Golden Sands about one of the bits on his site, and I feel that even more now. Delia Derbyshire would have recognised it as a direct descendant of her body of work (not just on Who). God, why did hardly anyone take her properly seriously until it was too late? For that alone Akinola should be saluted.

    Also, thanks for the plane info @thane16 – glad I wasn’t totally misremembering.

    #64662
    ichabod @ichabod

    @troygorsline  I found that Tardis interior very dark, gloomy, confusing, and cluttered-seeming.  Looked at it again, and I thought, this looks like the Tardis that 12 would have ended up with, while his Tardis interior would be much better suited to JoDoc.  All that gloom and smouldery orange just seems so divorced from the cheerful optimist with the popular mechanics can-do attitude — it doesn’t suit her, as she’s been presented so far, at all, IMO.  It’s like a Girl Scout troop leader living in The Hall of the Mountain King.

    Maybe the poor old Tardis just needs to acclimatize herself to this new Doctor and do some brightening up inside.

    #64667
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @ichabod I was concerned to read that on the lead up to the Doctor, just for the fact of officially having less focus on the Doctor at the moment the Doctor turns female, and also surprised since a hefty chunk of the complaint about Who recently have been on the focus on the companion. I then thought these people might not complain so much about it this time round because two thirds of the companions are men…

    I suppose the fact is, the Doctor has worked through a lot of things. Managed to reach some clarity with his relationship with the Master, and at least part way redeem her. Met, married, and lost his wife (hey, actually in that order! give or take a little jumbling between those points) but actually said goodbye after a 24 year date night, which is more than he was expecting for a long time, and finally managed to say ‘I love you’ (Hello Sweetie) back which wasn’t as nauseous as it now appears as I type it), discovered he didn’t destroy Gallifrey (or even wipe out the Daleks which isn’t actually a good thing, but the Doctor does hate genocide), outsmarted the Time Lords, and despite the fact that his last two companions technically died, left them travelling the universe quite happily.

    Of course, there is the matter of the ‘Timeless Child’. But for the moment the Doctor is back to a rebellious Time Lord Who stole/was stolen by a Tardis and went to travel the universe, which the Doctor hasn’t been since 8 regenerated into the War Doctor.

    #64670

    @ichabod

    A dark, gloomy….custard cream dispenser.

    #64671
    syzygy @thane16

    @bluesqueakpip

    But it is a video game. It’s made clear it’s a video game. It’s just that this particular video game has real live people taking part.

    Quite.

    @pedant The issue with the word ‘authoritative’ is boiling the Pot in my head because it’s a ‘small’ word for an enormous concept, imo. 🙂

    On Akinola. I got a call t’other day from old college and there was excitement. He’s involved in a few interesting projects after and during Who. The use of Derbyshire’s composition is facia bene. The tension rod adjustment on the field drum is quite specific rather than customised, imo =heard it only the once, so don’t quote me. But there’s a dimensional width to the score absent in years. The colourised sequence reminded me of the interior of sclerotic bowel.

    And right too: Akinola is a Derbyshire fan from before her years of ‘on screen interview’ re Who. But also after.

    Puro

    #64672
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant

    A dark, gloomy….custard cream dispenser

    Given my views on custard creams, dark and gloomy is entirely appropriate for a dispenser of same 😈

    Have you or anyone else here read the article devoted to the design of the Tardis in next week’s issue of Radio Times, or spotted my brief comment on same over on the Sofa?  It offers a few details additional to what was said in the video, but I didn’t want to be too specific about some of these in case it counted as spoilery.  I get the impression that there have been some shifts in the underlying concept, though how significant these will turn out to be isn’t entirely clear.

    I’m in total agreement with you on the music. That is exactly how it struck me from the first and my response was/is gleeful. It makes me realise how much I loved Delia Derbyshire’s work and the radiophonic workshop. That isn’t to say I disliked Murray Gold’s scores, but sometimes his music seemed to me a bit overpowering – more suited to a cinema than a television set in the living room.

     

    #64674

    @mudlark

    You’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t dunk, aren’t you? 😉

    #64675
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant

    An illogical inference. I’ll happily dunk ginger nuts any day, and chocolate digestives – though once has to be very quick about the latter, so that the chocolate is in a partially melted state but the underlying biscuit hasn’t disintegrated. For that matter, I’m also partial to dark chocolate coated ginger nuts, and brandy snaps, both of which are dunkable.

    #64676
    syzygy @thane16

    @pedant

    It’s the “in reality” that makes it Art.

    @ichabod

    But high pitches are..used to indicate “I am non-threatening, don’t fear me” and “I wuv you, you little cutey pie, come to mama” …. And a low, slow voice in humans, both male and female, is sometimes associated with seductive excitement.

    Yes, lower pitches are calming to some species.**  The “wuv you” is more timbre. Something “slow” is neither pitch nor timbre but tempo, as far as I can tell.

    **if it is calming to ‘some’ species it’s not calming to all. But at one point, researchers headed to Transpositional Logic Land stating: calm emerges from low pitch. If we are not calm, the pitch isn’t low. Or: if a cause always leads to an effect then absence of that effect is evidence of absence of the cause.

    Which isn’t true when we’re talking about pitch and calm across all species.  🙂

    And then we had lots of  ‘pitching up’ rocket-ships in this episode. *\*~ Pitching up didn’t result in calm there.   😈

    Puro with drips.

    #64679
    Rob @rob

    I think this sums it up…..

    Beware strong language

    The Daily Mash

    https://youtu.be/htGAdlkStv8

    #64680
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @arbutus

    “@juniperfish I really like your take on all this, especially “a refraction of light in the universe””

    Thanks 🙂 The new Doctor’s outfit is always a topic of much conversation, following a regeneration, whether (s)he is male or female embodied, so at least we can say there has been no less scrutiny of previous Doctors’ attire.

    Although, of course, it has been much rarer to speculate on what the male embodied forms’ attire has to say about their relationship to either masculinity or authority. Nevertheless, the Doctor’s relationship to Time Lord authority has always been rebellious. and that has been encoded in his outfits frequently (dandy, hobo, eccentric flouter of convention) especially in relation to the very formal wear favoured by Time Lord officialdom. (S)he remains however, anti-authoritarian dress sense aside, a renegade member of the Time Lord “aristocracy”. “Officer class” as Danny put it.

    @cathannabel

    “Clearly any feminist credentials I may have don’t stop me from having absorbed the lessons of the patriarchy – authority speaks in a male voice.  Gravitas comes with that male voice.  Even those of us most passionately enthusiastic about the gender switch have some adjusting to do, but at least we’re willing to do it, and to give it time to work rather than expecting everything to be fixed by episode 2.”

    Yes, as I think @bluesqueakpip and others concurred, this hits the nail on the head, which is why I think it is the responsibility of the audience to interrogate their/ our own responses to this latest female embodied incarnation of our beloved alien.

    @mudlark

    “My father’s family were Quakers, and in those circles no titles were used and in formal circumstances people addressed each other by their full names, both forename and surname. On the other hand, in the archaeology department at Edinburgh University in the 1960s everyone, from the eminent professor down to the lowliest first year student, was referred to by their forename.”

    I think the Quakers “do power” better than almost anybody else (I grew up partially Quaker too, as my step-Dad’s family were Quakers). Their concept of “elders” as a rotational and time-limited function within the community has prevented the abuses of power so frequently found in other religious iterations favouring a permanent class of priests.

    Heh yes, my department does firstnames for everyone too.  Which has the interesting effect of making “invisible” (or rather, rendering openly speechless) the continuing highly structured hierarchies of status and power.

    @miapatrick and @cathannabel

    Re Ryan’s relationship with his Dad. Yes, this could be much more interesting than “deadbeat Dad.” Thinking about narrative mirroring again. We now have a grandfather/ grandson relationship aboard the TARDIS which has immediate resonances with the first Doctor and his grandfatherly role re Susan, and then we have an apparently “deadbeat Dad” in the background. That could also mirror the Doctor, as we have no idea about his/her relationship with Susan’s parent, the Doctor’s child. I look foward to seeing whether this mirroring takes us anywhere within Chibnall’s larger narrative.

    I have no doubt Chibnall does plan an emotional arc, if nothing else. Simply the arrival and departure of new companions presents an emotional arc, in Nu Who, as the Doctor grows fond of her/his latest TARDIS co-occupants (in whatever way) and then has to let them go, for one reason or another.

    #64681
    Anonymous @

    I joined this forum a couple of days ago really for one reason, to find out what happened to one of my favorite shows.

    First, I’d like to compliment Mr. Gibnell for selling out gloriously and I mean that as a compliment. It’s almost impossible to make a living in the arts these days (I know this from personal experience BTW).

    Selling out means writing the show they tell you to write instead of the one you wanted to write and my compliment is meant to also exclude the alternative which would be very dire.

    There’s really no way this season can suddenly jump to thought provoking or display the dazzle of the Tenet/Smith years because the setup was so poor. I’m regretting having purchased the season on Amazon but I’ll probably hang in there out of loyalty.

    Chibnall’s credits include Torchwood which was all over the place. It went from formulaic to edgy to shocking to just plain weird. I suppose it’s possible that all of a sudden we’ll get an interesting and clever episode but like the Capaldi era, I predict only one or two that I’ll want to see parts of again. With Capaldi, there’s really only one that I return to once in a while. Contrast that with the Tenet/Smith era. I’ve watched many of those over 20-30 times. They were that good.

    So with that…

    So long Dr. Who, I already miss you so much.

    #64682
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    resisting the urge to point out how this site and Doctor Who in general differ from an airport, mostly because I respect that you don’t seem to be about to stick around just to bitch about every single episode, I’ll just say to you what I said to myself before this series began:

    It’s the nature of Doctor Who to change with the show runner/main actor. If you get a run that you really like, that’s great, and there will be people out there who hate it. But it’s a matter of waiting. In the mean time, you can re watch old versions that you like from the past half century, listen to episodes on the radio with BG Doctors, and Big Finish look really interesting (too expensive for me right now). A version of the Doctor that you don’t like isn’t the end of the show. It’ll probably come around again.

    #64683
    lisa @lisa

    @shinymcshine

    Did you like the Sarah Jane Adventures?   Cause  that’s what this show has been at least it is for me.

    Moreover,  having given it some more thought Jodie is  totally reminding me of Sarah Jane !

    That is barring the show veers into a new direction in future episodes with different writers.

    I did like the SJ Adventures but I just didn’t expect that they would bring back that show

    in this particular way.  The BBC did profess to wanting to bring along more of that type of younger cohort.

    Doesn’t mean its a bad thing.  Just I’ve been a bit impaired I guess by my hopeful expectations .

     

    #64684
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ShinyMcShine

    You don’t like what Chibnall has done so far, fair enough. Speaking for myself alone and on the evidence so far, I don’t think that he is as good a writer as Moffat, at least as far as Doctor Who is concerned, and I have some misgivings about the direction in which he appears to be taking the show. The one thing I would never accuse him of, however, is of being a sell-out hack who writes what he is told to write (by the suits at the BBC, I presume you mean). He cares about Doctor Who, he is a long-time fan, and I am absolutely sure that he writes what he wants to write according to his conception of it and its audience, which ranges from young children to antiques in their 70s like me, and if he chooses to pitch it more to the younger end of the range, that is his choice, and they are, after all, the audience which in the long run will determine whether it has a future.

    It seems a bit defeatist to give up after only two episodes, and it’s not as if there haven’t been a few stinkers since the show’s revival. Most of us here will probably stick with it, even if some find it less satisfying than hitherto, because, as @miapatrick says (more or less), the one thing that is constant about Doctor Who is that it changes, and ultimately that is its strength.

    #64685
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @juniperfish

    I think the Quakers “do power” better than almost anybody else … Their concept of “elders” as a rotational and time-limited function within the community has prevented the abuses of power so frequently found in other religious iterations favouring a permanent class of priests.

    That, and the fact that women, from the 17th century beginnings, have been able to stand up and speak in Meetings for Worship, and were among the elders long before the idea of women priests was remotely acceptable in any of the principal denominations. In addition, there is the way business meetings are structured; all members eligible to participate, no chairman or decisions by majority vote, just a Clerk of the Meeting whose job it is to determine the consensus –  the ‘feeling of the Meeting’.  And it seems to work, with remarkably little friction or delay.

    Thinking about it now, I wonder if exposure to this didn’t contribute to my early and still partially surviving naïve confidence as to my place in society

     

    #64688
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    A lot is being made out of the format of the show gearing to the younger generation… especially in after the more cynical 12. I can say I have a 15 year old daughter who could not be happier with the direction of the show – so mission accomplished there.

    I have been a Whovian for many a year now and I will watch no matter what the tone. The stories are still good (a must), and even bad Doctor Who is better than 90% of television today. I am a sci-fiction/fantasy nerd (I am on a Doctor Who fansite so no surprise revelation). As long as you tell me a good story (sugar coated or no), I am in for the long haul. Doctor Who has a long history with me of maybe starting off in a direction I am so-so about, but the show finds its rhythm and salvages the season and launches into really good follow up. I call in the New Doctor Growing Pains

    #64689
    Anonymous @

    @lisa
    Yes, I liked SJC a lot and I can see that it’s decidedly meant for younger viewers. I wouldn’t compare the two though as their intended audience is much younger.

    It appears that the franchise considers Dr. Who to be for prepubescents now.

    #64690
    Anonymous @

    @mudlark
    I absolutely did not call Chibnell a hack; that would preclude selling out BTW because a hack has nothing to sell out on.

    On the other hand, he’s been at it for a long time and maybe the juice just isn’t there anymore for this series. I recognise it can be really complicated climbing the ladder and suddenly upon arriving at the top, you’re over the whole thing. I can feel another episode idea brewing again 😉

     

    #64692
    ichabod @ichabod

    @pedant  A dark, gloomy….custard cream dispenser.

    Dash it all!  Now I want one of those.  Only, chocolate mousse for me, thanks.

    @thane16  The colourised sequence reminded me of the interior of sclerotic bowel.

    Er — yes.  I was trying to put my finger on it — uh, trying to come up with something visceral like that . .

    @rob  LOL!

    @miapatrick  A version of the Doctor that you don’t like isn’t the end of the show. It’ll probably come around again.

    Cannot be said too often; which is a good thing, since it seems it needs to be said so often.

    @lisa  Just I’ve been a bit impaired I guess by my hopeful expectations

    I don’t know the Sara Jane Adventures at all, but I think I get what you’re saying, and I have a similar view to yours, so far.  In general, I find that expectations are great killers of joy and satisfaction, and so best avoided where possible.

    @mudlark The one thing I would never accuse him [Chibnal] of, however, is of being a sell-out hack who writes what he is told to write (by the suits at the BBC, I presume you mean).

    Another thing that can’t be said too often, whenever a fan of the show is running the show.  They write a rebel Time Lord; I think most of these folks are rebellious themselves, and sometimes quite daring (“Heaven Sent”).  I respect them for it, and wish those critical of them would do likewise.

    . . . a Clerk of the Meeting whose job it is to determine the consensus –  the ‘feeling of the Meeting’.  And it seems to work, with remarkably little friction or delay.

    Reminds me of the way the pueblos out here work (or used to): government by consensus, but it did make them very wearing to deal with since everyone had to allow, if not positively agree.  I think that’s all changed now — to have any traction with the BIA and Congress, these groups had to adopt the colonial model of a “town meeting” format run by elected officials.

     

     

     

     

    #64693
    lisa @lisa

    @shinymcshine

    Maybe the audience was intended for younger viewers ?    SJA ended up having a lot of cross over

    older viewers.   That’s sort of how this new Who is so far for me.

     

    @ichabod

    I can manage my expectations about this new series 🙂  I just wanted to feel more attached to it.

    (I think there was possibly a  Shakespeare quote about expectations similar

    to what your saying? Or maybe some one)

     

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