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    Arbutus @replies

    @MartyB  @scaryb

    Indeed. The Family Members have no more interest in Doctor Who than I have in listening to them talk about arduinos and “if” statements and other techie talk; we are different kinds of geek! They are vaguely aware that I follow the show, but that’s about it.

    “Highly addictive”, no kidding. It was bad enough when I was only lurking! But I keep seeing those notification emails in my inbox, and I can’t resist hopping back aboard for more.  I have almost as many branches of Real Life as the Doctor has time streams. I suspect that many on this forum would say the same.  🙂


    Arbutus @replies


    I’m not sure that anything is established as such. Many things have been suggested over time. I remember BG episodes that definitely suggested several tiers in Gallifreyan hierarchy: Time Lord nobility, Time Lord middle class, and non Time Lord, were definitely all seen at different times. I would guess that non-Time Lords born on Gallifrey would have the potential for regeneration at least. I like your idea about that formal viewing of the Untempered Schism loading them with regeneration energy, but then again, as you say, the existence of River Song interferes with that idea. (What a trouble maker that woman is!)



    Arbutus @replies


    Yes, yes, yes!

    I watched that minisode while bouncing with fan-glee the first time, then watched it several more times to confirm that it was actually as perfect as I thought. It was. The initial set-up: courageous, adventure-seeking young woman rescued by the Doctor, and his obvious expectation that he has found a new friend. Then the punch to the gut: she would rather die than go with a time lord, and she does. Everything that follows from that is unavoidable, making the story a perfect mini tragedy. Of course this would break the Doctor.

    I do understand that some science fiction fans are very big on the special effects, and big space battles with lasers blazing and things exploding. But Doctor Who has never been about that. I’m more interested in story telling and interesting characters, and Doctor Who gives me that in spades (most of the time– I haven’t loved every story, but I’ve loved enough of them). It’s why I was able to enjoy the BG stories, even with the low-budget sets and unrealistic monsters. CGI is lovely, but for me it’s about the story, the romance (meant in the narrative fiction sense, not the relationship sense). Doctor Who is a romantic epic in the best way, especially if you consider the whole sweep of its fifty-year history.

    Arbutus @replies


    I definitely have no ARSE.  (ask my girlfriend  ) 

    You just made me laugh really loudly– it’s a good thing I work at home!

    My love of Who (and indeed related types of fiction) is definitely not shared by either my husband or my son. In fact, as for many reasons we are not a TV-watching household, most of my consumption takes place during the day, when they are not around. Like the Doctor and Rose, Doctor Who and my beloved family exist in two parallel but forever separated universes. So it’s doubly nice that I’ve finally gained the courage to join this forum, since I now have someone to talk to about it all!

    Arbutus @replies


    Is the plot the metaphor for the audience, or is the audience the metaphor for the plot?  🙂

    Arbutus @replies

    @gctv  @martyB  @bluesqueakpip

    Personally, I do think it’s okay that they left the specifics of the Time War to our imagination, but fair enough if you don’t agree. Regarding The Night of the Doctor, my take on it isn’t that it was one particular death that pushed the Doctor in a new direction. It was part of a journey that he must have been making for some time. If he has been working to save people, to prevent or repair the damage being caused, he will have seen a lot of devastation. It wasn’t so much that Cass died, as that she died because she refused the help of a Time Lord. This would have helped him to see that in the eyes of the rest of the universe, there was no longer any moral difference between Time Lords and Daleks. Like two superpowers fighting it out cold war fashion, in a smaller country where the local people become the victims.

    In the end, it is exactly because of the fact that not all time lords, not all Gallifreyans, were evil or monstrous, that the Doctor lived with such a burden of guilt afterward, to the extent of trying to eradicate the War Doctor from his memory. I loved the line about “the one who regrets, and the one who forgets”.

    I agree with @martyB that, in the end, the story Moffat chose to tell is just a different story than some were expecting or hoping for. He didn’t really tell the story of the Time War, only of its impact on the Doctor. To do this within the space he had, he chose to leave a lot of back story to be assumed or understood, partly from earlier (but still AG) episodes. I must say that I do think it is reasonable, when making an anniversary episode, to assume a certain amount of knowledge on the part of the audience, particularly from the new series. I don’t think you could effectively write a 50th anniversary story that would please old (and older fans) and also accommodate someone who had rarely seen the show. That would be asking a lot, I think!

    Arbutus @replies


    Thanks for posting this, there was some interesting stuff in there. That guy is beyond geek! He speaks at the same tempo as my teenage son, whose brain runs pretty far ahead of his mouth at times.  🙂


    Of course, his statement about the origins of the scarf depends on his believe that Osgood is Kate’s daughter, the truth of which depends on where you stand on the mum/ma’am controversy, which came up on this forum after the episode. I stand on the ma’am side of the divide myself. As to the scarf, I would have to have a look at Castrovalva again to find the scene, but I’m pretty sure I remember that scarf reverting to its natural state at some point!


    But he’s got regeneration energy; River was so very annoyed when he used it on her broken wrist. There’s also the scene in The Impossible Astronaut where we get a light show to simulate regeneration. I suppose it’s possible he’s the twelfth-and-a-half. That the first Tennant regeneration took sufficient that he’s worried he may not have enough energy left to complete the cycle.

    This is interesting. It brings up the whole question of how regeneration actually works. I like the idea that it might be a bit like a car battery. The battery doesn’t have to be completely dead for the car not to start!

    I wonder if a Time Lord is born with a certain amount of non-renewable energy, or does it rebuild throughout the new incarnation’s lifetime, again a bit like a car battery? If so, the eleventh doctor having lived for several hundred years, he should have lots, unless he has wasted it faking his own death or healing River’s boo-boos, etc. This would also explain the idea that has come up in a few episodes, that if a Time Lord is killed again while attempting to regenerate, they might actually die.

    It would be beautifully ironic and terribly Moffatian if – just as he’s discovered a reason to live (finding Gallifrey) – his enemies team up to make sure he keeps his date with that tomb on Trenzalore.

    You’re so right. However he departs at Christmas, this timing will make it so much more poignant!

    Arbutus @replies

    @purofilion   @tardisblue

    Thank you for your kind encouragement! I’ve always been a little shy about sharing my personal views, so I am trying to be braver here.  🙂

    I too thought that Captain Jack was a great character: fun, likeable, and different. I just wasn’t convinced, as many fans were, that his relatively few appearances warranted an automatic return in the anniversary special, particularly when most actually companions were not coming back. I liked Billie Piper very much as The Moment, more to be honest than as Rose. (I really liked the scene when she told the War Doctor that the TARDIS noise brought hope to everyone who heard it, “Even you!” and turned on her amazing 200 kw smile as he turned around.)

    I haven’t seen the YouTube reviews, although I have read lots of written reviews and opinion posts. Frankly, I wasn’t too surprised, as I suspected going in that there were many people that just weren’t going to be happy, no matter what. Too much AG and not enough classic doctors; too many nods to the past and too few AG characters; not enough Time War; too complicated a plot; Zygon plot either unnecessary or insufficient; should have used (choose one) Silence, Angels, Daleks, etc. etc. etc.  Ha. I think some people were just not realistic in their expectations; that lovely term that coined by this forum, ARSE, comes to mind.   🙂

    I guess, finally, my joy in the special comes a bit from my slight surprise that Moffat really did get it right (IMHO) when I wasn’t actually sure going in that he was going to make me happy. I was okay with that, as I never deluded myself that he was writing it for me.  I was prepared to enjoy it for whatever it was. It was when I saw The Night of the Doctor, which I felt that he got absolutely right (I am by the way a huge fan of McGann’s Big Finish audios), that I began to have an inkling that I might be quite pleased with what was to come.



    Arbutus @replies

    I realize that I have made a few posts now but have never properly introduced myself, so hi to all! I have followed Who since Tom Baker, but have seen at some time all the eras, due to an excellent local TV station here in my colonial home, that used to run them as serials late on Saturday evening, and would repeatedly cycle through from the beginning of Pertwee to whatever point was current. Once, they went all the back to the beginning of the Hartnell era, so I got a look at everything that was then available from the early eras as well.

    I didn’t pick up on AG Who right at the start, although I was pleased and excited to see that it was returning. But my son was small at that point, and watching TV had pretty much disappeared from our lifestyle and to be honest, has never really come back. I started buying seasons of AG Who on iTunes, to watch while working out. It really encouraged me to spend a little longer on the elliptical trainer!

    I have been following your forum pretty much since its beginnings, but didn’t join earlier due to not being a) much good at theorizing, and b) much of a one for posting on forums. I enjoy reading people’s opinions when they are conceived with thought and written well, and there is far too little of either on the internet! I tend not to join in on internet conversations because things can get nasty so quickly, and often I’d rather just keep my views to myself.

    But having been drawn in to express my admiration for your very literate and thoughtful musings here, I am now starting to enjoy sharing, especially if no one minds that my ability leans toward discussion of what we have seen rather than anticipating what is to come. Although my own mind usually follows the straight path, I really enjoy reading all your theories, and admire your cleverness at avoiding the obvious!  🙂

    Arbutus @replies

    I just had another watch through the special yesterday, and as well as being a simple fan made very happy, I’m still impressed with it as a piece of story-telling as well. I loved the way the classic opening morphed so subtly from b&w to colour, and placed us very quickly in the modern setting. I really enjoyed the energy of the airlifted TARDIS scene, I remember just beaming through it the first time I watched, it was so much fun! I thought the transitions were just about perfect, using the paintings to carry the doctor back into his memories of earlier incarnations, and move us into those parts of the stories. And I loved the linking of three different “doctor realities” by means of the traveling fez!

    I loved the way that, after seeing the War Doctor at the end of his battle, in all his grim acceptance and implacability, we are shown immediately upon his joining his later selves that he really is still the Doctor. He has that politeness and affability that is always an essential part of the doctor’s character, as well as a healthy dose of rather cutting humour! If I were forced to chose one favourite moment from my first viewing, it might well be the line about the sonic screwdrivers: “It’s a scientific instrument, not a water pistol!” I wanted to kiss him when he said that!  🙂

    (The main competition for my affections would be the brief scene where doctors ten and eleven are enjoying the sudden appearance of “the round things”, clearly speaking for BG fans, their voices filled with a world of affection: “I love the round things.” “What are the round things?” “No idea.”)

    I was impressed that Moffat made no attempt to cater to fans by shoehorning in loads of past characters. I was pleased that Rose Tyler did not return; ditto Captain Jack, who I know was on the wish list of many AG fans. And while I know the lack of BF doctors was disappointing to some, I thought that acknowledging the show’s history through Tom Baker’s brief cameo was flawlessly done. He is the oldest living doctor, the longest serving doctor, and arguably the most iconic, and he was the right choice in my view. The sound of his familiar voice off-screen, and the long, long moment that follows before we see him, was brilliantly played.

    I loved Osgood the fan-girl; with her mantra, “The Doctor will save me,” she was clearly a nod to fifty years’ worth of children watching the show and thinking the same thing. Can I just give here, though, my mental response to all the comments I’ve read in various places speculating about where she got the scarf? I’m pretty sure that it cannot be the fourth doctor’s actual scarf, unless he had more than one hidden in his TARDIS, because didn’t that one get unraveled in Castrovalva, the Fifth Doctor’s first episode? I’m pretty sure that I remember Peter Davison, wandering around the TARDIS in a confused state, using it somehow like a large ball of wool? I think Osgood made the scarf herself, like a proper fan!

    Possibly the only moment that worked less than perfectly for me (and only because I had to think up an explanation for it, rather than feeling it as an organic part of the plotting) was the issue of Doctor Eleven’s solution to the ending of the war. I did wonder, when as he said, he had had 400 years to think about it, why he didn’t suggest it immediately rather than wait for Clara’s intervention. On thinking it through, I believe that it was a case of him not truly understanding that he could change his own history (remember Ten’s shock at the suggestion); that he could change his mind. So even that bit works for me, it was just noticeable that I had to think about it to come up with an answer, whereas most of the narrative flowed effortlessly.

    Forgive the long ramble; I’ve had all these thought going around since my first viewing, and it’s been fun sorting them out. It’s nice to work out why I loved something, rather than just accepting its awesomeness.  🙂

    Arbutus @replies


    I have had The Lathe of Heaven in mind, too, while thinking through all of the timeline issues. I almost referenced it in an earlier post, but I couldn’t come up with a logical explanation for why the Time War reminded me of it so strongly. But it definitely does! I think it must be that Le Guin portrays very effectively a sense of mental confusion, of trying to reconcile conflicting memories, that it seems to me might be a by-product of the Time War. I love her as a writer, she paints her worlds so vividly, and the inner workings of her characters make them very memorable.

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