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    @janetteb    I’m not the most discerning of viewers. If something resonates with me emotionally, or makes me smile, then I’m usually happy. Although some series or episodes I have gone back to over and over, and others I haven’t. I’ll have to do a rewatch of the last series and see how it sits with me on a second go-around.

    @mudlark   I also remember the bat! 🙂

    @roger429  I saw the first three or four episodes of the AG series, but I had a small child at the time and TV was difficult on any kind of regular basis. I came in midway through the Matt Smith era, when  my son was older, and iTunes had become a thing so I could watch on my own time. I binged-watched through Eccleston and Tennant, as well as the Amy/Rory years of Matt Smith. But I had seen pretty much all of the BG shows in late-night TV reruns in the 80s.

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    @thane16   Well, I’m trying to be up and about! I seem to have some time-management problems nowadays. Love the librarians! I have a fondness for Les Miz, and thought the film was solid, although for me it can never compare to a stage version. Arbutus Jr. did “Stars” for a singing test in choir a few years ago—they had to sing along with a recording and try and match the performance. I think he chose the original London cast recording.

    I also have a fondness for librarians. Most years at Christmas, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and I laugh like a loon at the scene where Clarence is forced to divulge to a wild-eyed George that his alternate-universe wife is (the horror!) a spinster librarian! I’m pretty sure they never meant that to be as funny as it is. On the other hand, have you seen the Hepburn-Tracy movie Desk Set? She’s a librarian and he’s a guy with a computer. I adore that film.

    Siggers the Younger, nice pick. Despite having, as I said, bailed on the 90s, I did like REM.

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    @whisht  @thane16   Awesome Woodstock content! And the B52’s. I have weirdly fond memories of dancing to Rock Lobster in high school. For some reason, we all had to fall to the floor at one point, and then bounce back up again. I lived in Calgary, Alberta, for my last two years of high school and Calgary was pretty much a disco, rock-n-roll, or nothing town at that time. I think the B-52’s were the trendiest thing I heard until I moved back to Vancouver in 1980 (because they did get played in the discos). Then all of a sudden there was all this punk/new wave/Brit pop/R&B stuff happening that I had barely even heard of. This was great until about the mid-80’s when all the music on the radio started sounding the same to me, and then rap was a thing and the tunes all went away, and I just stopped listening to the radio at that point, and went back to school and studied classical for about eight years. I pretty much missed nineties. 🙂

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    @thane16   All and any errors are attributed to Syzygy the Younger always and forever. This is why we have children.   I wish I could get away with assigning all my mistakes to Arbutus Jr. This would never fly. I can’t even assign them to the cat and get away with it.  🙂


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    @roger429     Welcome to the DWF. Like you, I was never much for social media or participating on forums, until this one. (I was drawn to join shortly after the 50th anniversary special, so that I could comment on a fabulous essay by the erudite @bluesqueakpip. I have found that the level of discussion around here hugely exceeds the usual attitudes around the internet (which Mr. Arbutus and I refer to as the “Well, you’re an extra, extra a**hole” approach to debate—long story).

    DW fans often lean toward one side or the other of the history-vs.-scifi debate. Personally, I enjoy both approaches. I’m a historian by education, so I always enjoy a historical setting (even the ones that stray pretty far from legit history don’t bother me), but there’s a lot to be said for a good, alien-filled outer space setting as well! As you can say, I’m usually pretty easy to please (possibly due to being Canadian! 😀 ) But you’ll find here a nice spread of opinion as to superiority of Doctors, companions, show runners, themes, settings, and so on. There’s lots of (mostly courteous) disagreement!

    My first (and in many ways, still fave) Doctor was Doctor No. 4, Tom Baker. Like you, I have a fondness for the Douglas Adams era. But I have great memories of watching old Pertwee episodes with a room mate of mine and enjoying them hugely (I discovered Red Dwarf at that time, too). Of the new era Doctors, Capaldi is my favourite, but I’ve always found something to love in each regeneration.

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    Earlier this month, in honour of Stranger Things, the NYT put up a playlist of music from the 1985 American charts. I just happened on this list today. They wrapped it up with this. So good.

    (For the interested, you can find the whole playlist here.)

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    @blenkinsopthebrave    That is absolutely surreal. Cab is what, a ghost walrus??? I love it. Interestingly, in the very cool opening, the band is actually playing St. James Infirmary, another one I love.

    @thane16     Wonderful Ellington, he was amazing. He was never behind the times, was he? Young Syzygy, I should be astonished at what you say about belief in a “fake moon landing”, but honestly, these days I don’t even shake my head anymore at the idiocy around us. I was just reading a local news story about a bike lane that has become the busiest in North America, and several people on comment boards simply dismissed it. “Those numbers can’t be right because they don’t seem right to me, clearly the city just made them up.” People will believe what they want to, but I’m not always sure why they want to!

    Hi ho, off to bed, but tomorrow will try to find musical illustration of stupid. 🙂

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    @pedant    Gorgeous.

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    @thane16     I don’t think I *do* know this, although it sounds very retro, like something 20-year-old me would have liked to if I’d heard it. (20-year-old me, now there’s something to try and wrap my head around!)

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    Hola, @whisht!

    I saw this news as well, while I was off exploring the heartlands of Quebec. I love Desafinado, and that is such a lovely, silky performance. There’s a recording from quite a bit later, mid seventies, that includes this svelte number:

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    @thane16    Oh it’s you! 🙂 I read the notification and wondered who the heck is this Syzygy person?

    I’ve been thinking of this lovely eclectic bunch of humans recently and been meaning to jump back into the pool, but I’m so easily distracted these days. I even made the Duolingo Owl cry. (I’ll be getting back at that Spanish shortly, I promise!) Lots of great posts on here as always, although too many inspired by sad events. I saw a wonderful video clip of the parade for Dr. John in N.O. Mr. Arbutus was absolutely delighted to see so many in-tune trombones in one place.  🙂

    I can see I have a lot of reading to do on other threads, and I will do it. Meanwhile, hope everyone and everything is flowing along as usual.   *heart*

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    Brief appearance to wish everyone a very happy New Year! Hoping for better things in 2019 (not for me personally, I’m good, more for the world generally). I’ll be back tomorrow after I’ve seen the New Year special. Meanwhile, love to you all!

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    I’ve just spent a chunk of time catching up on a couple of weeks of sofa chat that I’m really sorry to have missed. Especially the garden talk. Nothing like a good convo about things like lavender, frogs, and climate. As @winston knows, there’s nothing a Canadian likes more than a nice bitch about how hard it is to garden in zone whatever. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too windy. These are the things over which we bond.  🙂

    However, comment of the month (to date) has to go to @pedant‘s succinct description of Elon Musk: He does some very cool stuff, but fuck me he’s a dickhead.

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    A Christmas present:

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    Yay! Graham faced his demon and survived. The series arc was never the Stenza, or Tim Shaw, it was Graham’s journey (and on another level, Ryan’s). False gods, the value of life, the soul-destroying nature of a life focused on vengeance. Tim Shaw paid the price for this, Graham didn’t have to. And Team TARDIS is the Doctor’s fam!

    @miapatrick   There are some levels there – Graham was her husband, but he only knew her for three years. Ryan knew her his entire life.  And while Grace was obviously a huge influence for good in Graham’s life, she raised Ryan. He is the embodiment of her values.

    When Yaz suggested that the choice might be all of earth vs. the two Ux, all I could think was that that’s not a math the Doctor has ever been good at!

    @kevinwho   I see your point about the villain, although it didn’t bother me. I liked the circular aspect of it and thought it tied well into the series theme. But as for the long arm of coincidence, I can only say that without coincidence there wouldn’t be a lot of stories! Fiction relies on it. 🙂 That being said, I do like your bonkers theory.

    @thane16   I agree that the Master will be back, but I suspect not in the form of Missy. I’m not sure the current Doctor has the gravitas to avoid to avoid some unfortunate gender stereotypes!

    As to the issue of finales, I think we’re seeing differing views based upon personal taste. I never cared all that much for the big blow-out finales, so I didn’t miss it. @craig  At no point did I think everyone’s gonna die (or be bottled up, or whatever).  I have never, ever felt that in any episode, so again, not missing it here. It’s really a “different strokes” kind of thing, I think.

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    @thane16    Not sure why I’m feeling Herbie Hancock for your belated birthday experience. But why not? Here are two classics, each in the original and then reimagined.

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    Oh, happy birthday, @thane16 (now 17)! Have you done the helicopter yet? I would never do a thing like that myself, I’m terrified of heights whenever you can actually feel them. But yes, definitely, to experiences rather than things. Puro mentioned albums as things, but I would argue that music is an experience as well! Mr. Arbutus bought a fancy turntable in the summer, so we are collecting vinyl now. Some of my old ones still sound remarkably good, others are just a mess. But you can buy a lot of stuff new, and it’s an entirely different listening experience when you have to hop up every 15 minutes and flip the album over!

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    My remark on the other thread, about the refusal to let the dead rest, immediately brought to mind the very old song The Unquiet Grave. This is my favourite version, for its haunted feel.

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    @miapatrick  The fact it doesn’t work on the daughter makes me wonder if it simply doesn’t work with family members    We’ve already seen that Hanne is very sensitive to lies. She knows immediately when Ryan is lying to her.

    Btw, I just love this take, regarding the Doctor and River: I think what seemed like a good idea when he had only just met her and only knew that she would become important to him and she had given her life to save him, felt like less of a good idea once he got to know her and love her   


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    @thane16  But to me, the baddie was the solitract: luring people with promises of “forever.”  Or not even the solitract, but the refusal to accept reality, let go of the past, and let the dead rest.

    @bluesqueakpip  Just for a couple of seconds, as if the Solitract had thought it might try taking the Doctor back to the barn and becoming someone in her past – and then decided against it. I like this, because I was definitely expecting it to do that. I like @miapatrick‘s point that the Doctor found the solitract more relatable when it wasn’t trying to deceive. The solitract might well have gotten that sense of the Doctor, that she would be better dealt with honestly.


    @ichabod  Did the Doctor ever really consider spending some time telling the Solitract stories of her adventures in our universe?  No . . . not really.  It was a trick, to escape a trap.  That’s what I found sad.  I’d like to think that the Doctor’s offer was more of a “take me instead”, spur of the moment attempt to save Erik, and that she only realized afterward that she wouldn’t be able to stay.

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    And the dead stay dead.

    It’s interesting to me that this series, in which numerous people have died and stayed that way, still feels lighter and brighter than many a previous series in which most deaths didn’t stick.

    I loved this, both the underlying theme and the story itself, which engrossed and delighted me from start to finish. We saw a very quick and authoritative Doctor here, she really took charge, without showing much sign of the self-doubt that’s been plaguing her. I loved the brief but clear reference to the scope of her history and experience (the “reverse the polarity” moment made me laugh). And the Doctor’s open enthusiasm for life and sentience in every form shone very clearly at the end.

    Oh, and Ribbon of the Seven Stomachs!

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    @mudlark   Echoing the best wishes of everyone. I trust everything will proceed accordingly.


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    @idiotsavon <span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>On the subject of names, I don’t disagree with the principle. And yet, I recall that while Tennant and Capaldi were mostly called by last names, Matt Smith was very often “Matt”. Due to youth, perhaps, or personality? There might be a bit of that element with the use of Jodi (as well as the typing issue, as someone mentioned).

    The hip hop guys frequently go by one name (often made up, as you say). Interestingly, Vancouver’s new mayor, a guy named Kennedy Stewart, ran his whole campaign on a first-name basis– “Elect Kennedy”, to the point where Mr. Arbutus wasn’t sure whether his name was Kennedy Stewart or Stewart Kennedy!

    @thane16   Puro, re “smelled” vs. “smelt”, there is this old line: “He who smelt it, dealt it.” 🙂

    @janetteb  Love the story of R2 and the mince pies! With a 19-year old son at home, I would pretty much have to label things “do not touch” if I expect them to stick around!

    @pedant   I love a good form letter.

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    @miapatrick   I didn’t see the Doctor as ineffectual, more as torn. It’s interesting to see the Doctor actually trying to live up to the “don’t change history” rule, as opposed to just blowing it off most of the time. As I recall, she acted immediately Graham told her about his witch tour and the fact that this town wasn’t mentioned. In other words, as soon as she realized that she was free to act, she did. It’s nice to see the moral conundrum of time travel taken seriously, which I think it has to be if we’re going to see this number of historical settings, which personally I love.

    And from what I’m seeing here, I’m really glad I’m not reading comments anywhere else! I don’t mind reading criticism here, even when I disagree, because it is rarely of the “I don’t like the ideological slant” variety. Thanks for that!

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    I loved, loved, loved this. Looked gorgeous, great performances from the guest actors, excellent use of each member of Team TARDIS, and a growing sense of this Doctor. I felt that most of the historical inaccuracies were covered by the stated fact that the events were out of the ordinary and were wiped from the historical record.

    There’s a bit of a return to BG-style Who in the fact that the Doctor feels in no way “super human”– she can’t talk, sonic, or psychic-paper her way out of everything. I loved her interactions with the King and with Becca, they felt very Doctor-ish to me. I also enjoyed the moment where the Companions realize who must be on trial. (Oh, can I claim that pun as intentional? 🙂 )

    I agree with those who felt the ending was rushed, I could have used a few more minutes. But I happily accepted that for the excellent pace at which the rest of the story played out. I admit I do find it a bit strange that they would arrive for Elizabeth I’s coronation in modern clothes, so I hope that @bluesqueakpip is right and there is a reason for that.

    I really think this series is winning on the historical episodes, they’ve all been excellent. I’m looking forward to watching this one again.

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    @bluesqueakpip   The maddening thing is that I somehow thought that by leaving out the little knob, it would prevent the heat-based explosion from happening. Which it did. The lid didn’t come off. The soup just shot out through the hole, hit the overhanging cupboard, and rebounded downward in multiple directions. This is me being clever. I do wonder about myself, sometimes.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave     Ha! “I think the time has come for us to go down to the pub.” Well, that’s pretty much what I did, isn’t it?  🙂

    Mr. Arbutus found some more lentils underneath the espresso machine this morning, and did not hit me over the head with a bottle, or behave badly in any other way. So that’s something.

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    Okay. We’ve all done the dumbass thing with the blender, right? Where you fill it with lentil soup to puree, and for who knows what reason, you put the lid on without the little knob thing in the hole? And one pulse later, there are Puy lentils all over that corner of the kitchen? Which in my kitchen means the espresso machine, the bean grinder, the olive oil dispenser, the salt container, the counter, the wall, the electrical outlet, and the bottom of the cupboard? You’ve all done this, right?

    I don’t think I’ve used the F-word so many times for one incident. 15 minutes to clean it up, and I’m going, “I just want to eat my effing dinner.”

    I feel a bit better now, after a couple glasses of Cabernet, the soup, and the roquefort. But damn.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave    This makes absolute sense to me. I can see why those who prefer story arcs and complexity are feeling underwhelmed. I loved Moffat’s approach, and Peter Capaldi was probably my favourite-ever Doctor. But right now, I feel as though after a long period of challenging, multi-ingredient cocktails, I’m sitting down to a nice dry martini with a lemon twist.

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    Just finished winding my way through about a month’s worth of fascinating pub conversations to get here, and good grief. @pedant, I gather that you are okay, but how scary. I trust you’ve continued to recover. And great news on the blood sugar! I’m about to get my own checked as it was a little dicey last spring, and I was told to ease off the white flour products (my weakness more than the sweets!)

    I’m sorry to have missed so many interesting discussions! (Debates? Arguments? Everyone here is so polite.) My immediate takeaway is that @thane16 has to write essays for maths class! I believe Arbutus Jr. would have thrown himself off a bridge. Even in primary school, he was outraged by “explain your answer” questions. He felt that one place at least should have been free of handwriting, spelling, and grammar.

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    @kevinwho   I should clarify that I wasn’t so much talking about people who aren’t liking the interpretation or who don’t feel that Whittaker is working for them. This was more about vague criticisms of change, because it struck me that we have now seen the new Doctor speaking up for humanity in a very Doctor-like way.

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    @kevinwho<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>That’s interesting. Personally, I never felt that the RTD and Moffat eras felt all that similar (although of course, the whole Last of the Time Lords/Time War arc ran through both). It’s true though, that RTD’s arcs were less complex, less timey-wimey, than Moffat’s. I preferred Moffat, not so much because of the timey-wimey, but because I preferred his take on the Doctor’s character, and I enjoyed the journey of those stories.

    @bluesqueakpip     I wrote a long comment on your blog but I can’t seem to get it to post. I’ll just say here that you encapsulated perfectly what I’ve been feeling about the thematic arc of the series, with its de-emphasis of alien villains. I’m really enjoying that element of the stories.

    And you make a good point about Umbreen, guessing the truth about what happened in her past. I tend to forget that some of the episodes from earlier series establish that humankind is by now well aware that aliens exist. Graham, or whoever it was, never said that aliens don’t come to earth, only that they don’t come to Sheffield!

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    This was absolutely beautiful, and the last ten or so minutes had me in tears. The issue of divisiveness, that was so wonderfully expressed here, is something I feel passionate about, so I’m truly loving the ways it is being explored in this series. The heartbreak of families torn apart by the uncaring decisions of others was vividly portrayed. It feels as if all the stories are touching upon issues that are very pertinent right now. I appreciate that, and I hope they keep the historical episodes coming!

    By this point, I’m not sure how anyone can continue to argue that this isn’t the Doctor. Her speech to the “assassins”, and her words during the marriage ceremony, were as doctorish as we’ve ever seen. She really is all about hope love, and optimism, which I’ve always felt were core values of the Doctor, even during his post-Time War incarnations.

    And if there’s anyone better suited to travelling in the TARDIS than Graham, I’d like to meet that person. Every word and look makes me happy.

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    I’m late to the party, but I loved this. It was set up as a stereotypical corridor-running, danger-on-a-spaceship story, but there was a great emotional payoff. My only real complaint was the creature. I wish it had looked a little less like Stitch! Although they might have been trying to emphasize that it wasn’t truly malevolent (although very, very dangerous).

    A few takeaways:

    We rejoin a fully-functioning Team TARDIS, as shown by the opening scene. Chibnall clearly understands, from back in the day when we had companion groups, that they work best when they are allowed to split up, and play different rolls as needed. Everyone had a job to do here.

    Once again, the guest characters were lovely. I know it could be argued that we don’t gets loads of depth, but I don’t see that there’s room for that in the confines of a single episode that also has to tell a story.

    I absolutely loved Ryan’s words of support to the childbearing character (I forget his name). The fact that nobody is truly ready to be a parent, you learn as you go no matter who you are, and that what matters most is being there.

    I enjoyed the general’s statement that having this critical illness did not fit with her personal narrative. That scene spoke loads, and all the dynamics of that group of relationships (including android consort) were beautifully done.

    There were further hints of a story arc, in the suggestions of dark times in the 65th century. I liked the light touch of the return to a universe in which the Doctor’s reputation might have preceded her.

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    @pedant       Okay. I’ve stopped laughing now. Still smiling, though. 🙂 I was sad to see Steve go, although I don’t think anyone would have seen the MVP truck coming. But what a story. (And we all love a good story, don’t we?)

    And in other news, there was this headline yesterday: It isn’t just your imagination: sightings of spiders are on the rise in Metro Vancouver this fall, and, according to one pest controller, they’re bigger than ever. Uh oh.

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    @swordwhale   @mudlark

    I wonder if the TARDIS cookie dispenser produces whatever you’re thinking of, like the food machines on the Heart of Gold spaceship? I’d be thinking of gingersnaps.

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    @lisa    I haven’t had time for a second viewing, but did they actually change that or just not make it clear? Because they definitely showed her as part of an activist organization. The Doctor’s concern was to keep history exactly as it was, hence we couldn’t just have Graham drive the bus, for instance. So I don’t think it was actually stated that she couldn’t have just done her protest on some other occasion, only that the Doctor was concerned about the change to history. Possibly a desire not to dilute the urgency of their task made them keep things more vague.

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    Welcome, @kevinwho!

    It’s a fair point. I loved Flatline, too. Chibnall et al were telling a different story, but it’s fine to say that you would have enjoyed a different one more. I think we need to compare our villain-of-the-week less to your family friends with the racist views, and more to the guy who takes those views out with a weapon and shoots up a grocery store. There are both kinds of people out there, and villain-of-the-week was obviously the more activist kind.

    Personally, I didn’t mind the more “bear witness to history” approach, and the storyteller’s desire to keep it simple. And a Black writer is likely to tell the story from a different point of reference than mine. Personally, I found plenty of interest in the reactions of the companions to being part of this history (believable reaction to me, since I found it hard enough just watching), and in what Yaz and Ryan learned from Rosa. The final scene on the bus had me in tears!

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    @troygorsline     It’s a bizarre irony that so many white people in North America feel that we own it, after having stolen it from non-whites in the first place! But that’s clearly the root of the problem. In Canada as well, there are those spouting the “they will take over our country, change our culture” nonsense. Like you, my hope lies with the young people. Like your daughters, my son has zero tolerance. His friends come from many cultures and races, they are lovely and smart and thoughtful, and I have more faith in them than in much of my own generation.

    (And btw, if “changing our culture” means I can get a banh mi, bao bun, empanada, or Cubano, instead of just burgers all the time, well, I’m down for that!  🙂 )

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    Okay, more random thoughts.

    Re the one dimensional Krasko: There wasn’t a dramatic need to show us more about Krasko, as he was only technically the enemy. The real enemy was racism itself.

    @miapatrick, @juniperfish, and others discussing previous stories dealing with racism: Interesting that Ryan was better able to control himself when encountering that treatment than Martha was. Presumably Martha, from an educated middle class family, was even less prepared to face overt racism.

    I was struck that when Ryan got on talking about doing something that to the uninitiated could only have been interpreted as attacking someone, the bus driver’s sole focus was on which door he used!

    I think it was @miapatrick who said: This, I think, may have made us in the UK somewhat complacent, and this episode offers an important perspective. This applies equally in Canada. Many Canadians, and Canada as a nation, are only now coming to terms with our own racist history, which was mostly (but not entirely) less overt than slavery and Jim Crow. The treatment of our First Peoples remains a disgrace, and the people of colour who make up a large part of our population still aren’t properly represented among the ruling class. We tend to look at American history through a lens of “we didn’t do that” while ignoring all the things we did do (and continue to do!).

    I like this practical Doctor, who is able to accept the realities of history knowing that it is history, which cannot (or should not) fundamentally be changed. I’m reminded of the argument we see from time to time about the viewing of history through a modern lens, with Shakespeare’s plays and so on.

    I think it’s necessary that she have a pretty matter-of-fact relationship with her companions. With the gender change, the last thing I think anyone would be comfortable with is too much emotion. (And if that relationship is going to be less angsty for awhile, I for one will be pleased with the change). It hearkens back to a First Doctor kind of feel (maybe influenced by the Doctor’s encounter with his earliest self just prior to regen?)

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    That was devastatingly good. Painful to watch at times, and a weep fest at the end. Really beautifully done in every way that I can think of right now, although I suppose when I watch it again the emotional impact will be less and I will see flaws. None at the moment, though.

    At a time when white liberals like myself who grew up in the sixties and seventies have been jarringly reminded of how much hasn’t changed, it was great to see a story that acknowledges what has improved, what has not, and what never will (mostly without beating us over the head with it). What a great conversation parents will be able to have with their kids after watching that!

    I’ll come back a bit later with dryer eyes, etc., to express some more rational thought, but just want to add right now that I am loving Graham so, so much!

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    @thane16     Well, there you go, then.  🙂  I won’t let myself veer wildly off-topic, but briefly say that I do like Berg, with some reservations.

    Hm, I wonder what music the Whittaker Doctor likes?

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    Argh. Sorry about the weird brackety things. I cut and paste my posts, and I can usually catch the spaces that don’t translate properly. However, I’ve found lately that trying to edit just causes whole posts to vanish, so I’m leaving them in this time.

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    @shinymcshine<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>It appears that the franchise considers Dr. Who to be for prepubescents now.  Well, as someone well on in my fifties, I still enjoyed these first two episodes. We’ll see where they lead. In the end though, I’m still willing to fork out for an iTunes subscription, which is not true for anything else on TV these days.

    @ichabod<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>In general, I find that expectations are great killers of joy and satisfaction, and so best avoided where possible.  As the millennials say, this is a very good take. 🙂

    @idiotsavon   You are all of us. I also gave Series 1 a go, and enjoyed it, while feeling not quite sure that it was really DW. In my case, I stopped watching due to a kindergarten-age son and lack of time. By the time I got back to it, through iTunes, it was already Matt Smith’s era. I went back, binge-watched them all, and started lurking in the Guardian comment section and then lurking on the Forum, until an epic post of @bluesqueakpip’s after the 50th Anniversary special forced me to come aboard just so I could express my admiration!  🙂

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    @thane16     As I read your post, I was hearing an expressionist aria for soprano, with piano accompaniment, vaguely Berg-like, with the lyric: If we are not calm, the pitch isn’t low. If a cause always leads to an effect then absence of that effect is evidence of absence of the cause.

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    @thane16    I like dark chocolate but Mum who ALWAYS sneers at white-choc eaters was eating white chocolate the other day!

    I also prefer dark chocolate. However, I have been know to hoover a peanut-butter Oh Henry bar. When necessity calls, etc.

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    @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?

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    @shinymcshine  @ichabod    I have to agree here with @pedant and @miapatrick, that no incarnation of the Doctor would have been happy with Karl’s action. The fact that (as far as I recall) she didn’t take her criticism any further suggests that she understood Karl’s feelings while disapproving of the act.

    Also, the “test” was not to kill a defenceless victim, but to find a random human without help from among the population of an entire planet. Actually quite a hard thing to do, except that he cheated.

    As far as your story goes, it’s frequently the case that someone’s critical take really translates to “I would rather have watched this story”. I get that; I occasionally felt that way about RTD-era episodes. But we’re not the one telling the stories, we don’t own the show.

    Off to the Sofa now to talk about chocolate.


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    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! 🙂

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    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!)

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