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    Well, that was…perfect. We (Mrs Blenkinsop and I) have watched that countless times, and every single time it is as wonderful an experience as the last time. I tend to think it might rank as my favourite episode of PG Who. And yes, I am comparing it to “Blink”. Why this one? Partly, it is the warmth and the humanity. Partly, it is because there is not one single second in the episode that doesn’t feel just right. Sometimes, there are shows, or movies (Casablanca is a perfect example) where for some reason everything just…works.



    And I got one from Nancy Adams.


    Have now seen the final episode of Picard and I loved it! Will not say much in the way of detail, as many, like @whisht and @nerys are still catching up on episodes. So, no spoilers. But the episode, like the entire 10 episode story, was great; simultaneously capturing the spirit of NG while updating it to the darker mood of the present.

    p.s. @whisht, now is the time to watch the 2 part NG story “The Best of Both Worlds”, and then embark on Picard!



    Happy birthday, @craig!



    OK, at the risk of coming across as incredibly wet, I offer you this feel-good story, involving the coronaviris, from my part of the world. As I read the unrelentingly depressing stories on the news, this story gives me hope.



    Went to my local off-license (not a term we use in Canada, but anyway) a few days ago and commented to the cashier (from a distance) that if they closed I would know civilization had come to an end. Went there today and…it was closed!

    @thane16 You’re back! Hurrah!

    Just passing this on as a feel-good story about life in a lockdown out here on the west coast:

    Greater Victoria residents roar in thanks to frontline workers





    I can only offer sympathy and admiration in equal measure.

    In these times (indeed any time) Who sends us a very simple message:




    I think the illusion to Insurrection was deliberate. But, like the rest of this show, done so for the purpose of inverting our assumptions about who is innocent and who is terrifying. As for Picard himself, I think all the pieces have been put in place, both through the whole show and especially in this episode, for something quite extraordinary to happen to Picard in the last episode. I could be wrong of course, but I can’t wait to see what happens.




    Yes, I continue to enjoy the show, and I have recently seen episode 9. As you probably haven’t seen it yet I won’t say much about it, except that it sets up what promises to be a powerful and, I suspect, really interesting (in dramatic, moral and ethical ways) finale next week.


    Had to share this review of two new Julian Fellows TV shows (two–I know…). I share it, not because it is an excellent dissection of both shows, but for the utterly brilliant:  “Fellopian tropes”




    You have all my admiration for working on the “front line”, as it were, at this time. I totally agree with you about the idiots. Out here on Vancouver Island, which is generally a laid back and civilized sort of place, there was an item in today’s local news about the police having to break up a crowded house party that had been organized precisely because there was a directive from the Provincial Health Officer not to have gatherings like that in the current circumstances. I would call it childish, but I know 7 year-olds with more maturity. So what is it that makes some people (of whatever age) perversely immature?  I have no idea, but those sort of people really piss me off.



    Just went back and looked at those first comments on the board in response to “The Snowmen”. There was a tangible excitement in evidence with people discovering their ability to join the site. And lots of familiar, but now alas, distant names. There was an absurdly complicated Blenkinsop theory about Clara and water that sounded good until it was pointed out that I had mistaken CO2 as indicating water, when it actually refers to carbon dioxide! (Ahh, the price of not paying attention in science class at school…)

    I think the appeal of nostalgia will require me going back and re-reading more of the posts of that early, close-knit community.


    @bluesqueakpip, @janetteb

    Both “Adventure in Time and Space” and “Five-ish Doctors Reboot” are excellent suggestions for a re-watch.




    Thanks for the shout out to the novelization by Moffat. I was not previously aware of it, but have just rectified that courtesy of amazon.

    p.s. I am sure you are right about the site starting in season 6, as I realise that my world of Qantas Club Lounges kept going till early 2013. As for the Blenkinsop memory, however…



    I concur with the idea of revisiting some older shows, and (especially in light of The Day of the Doctor) would probably favour early Moffat to begin with. My memory of when this site came together was season 5. I say that because I recall posting on the site from Qantas Club lounges back in the day when I was doing a bit of international travel for work. Those halcyon days ended by early 2011, and as I recall, the site came into existence to escape the pointless vitriol over on t’other place by “fans” who hated Moffat and yearned for RTD. The early group who moved here, by contrast, were uniformly excited by Moffat’s approach. Hold on, now that I think about it, it was @craig who gave us the great sub-heading “Theories even more insane than what’s actually happening” and that was from “The God Complex” in season 6. Or did the subheading come a while after the establishment of the site?

    In any event, the site was established by a group who responded to Moffat primarily (we even had threads here on “Sherlock”) and for that reason alone I would jump at the opportunity of revisiting the early Moffat years of Who. But, hey, as someone who is spending a lot of time indoors at the moment, I am up for any nerdy discussion with a bunch of congenial people.




    As we got to the undergallery and saw the three shrouded figures, of course I immediately imagined Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy under the sheets. What a great show “The Five-ish Doctors” was.


    Just watched it. Well, yes, it was wonderful. All of it. Everyone above has said the same thing.

    And there is a subtext to that praise.

    But it is so painfully obvious that there is no need to point it out.


    Since we all seem to spend some time online (now perhaps even more so), I thought I would pass on this suggestion:

    The National Film Board of Canada has, over the years, made a huge number of films, documentaries, kid’s stuff, etc. A lot of it is truly spectacular and incredibly interesting.

    Well, they have over 4,000 titles that are free online.

    Hey, there is not much else to do at the moment, as most of us seem to be hanging out at home.





    I don’t wear the t-shirt you see on my avatar for nothing, you know…



    A splendid idea. Hopefully, our wise and beneficent Emperor @craig will agree.

    As for Twitter and Instagram, I have never partaken and show no signs of ever wanting to. I see it as my early commitment to Social Isolation before my recent adoption of Physical Isolation.




    Where does one access the re-watch (discussion?) of The Day of the Doctor on Saturday at 7?



    For anyone teaching at a university, you probably know that in the last few days practically every institution has cancelled face to face teaching and teachers have to put everything online. This song is about that.



    We ventured out to the local shop this morning for some supplies. The pickings were slim. The usually bustling high street was eerily underpopulated. One shop sign was on our local independent bookstore, run by a collective of women of our age, who decided, wisely, that self-isolation is the most socially responsible course of action at the moment.

    To that end, when we returned home, we sat down to continue reading what we have both been engaged on. Mrs Blenkinsop  is currently making her way through the collected ghost stories of M.R. James, where there is nar a one, as she points out, that does not involve an antiquarian manuscript. I am currently reading a recent purchase–two Japanese murder mysteries set in late 1940s rural Japan by Sheishi Yokimizo and featuring the scruffy, but nerdy, private detective, Kosuke Kindaichi. The author was, apparently, wildly popular in Japan, and the two I recently bought on amazon are the first two to have been translated into English. I think they are both a wonderfully entertaining read, and would highly recommend them to anyone who likes Agatha Christie. Meanwhile, the two cats are trying to figure out why we are spending so much time in the house.


    @craig, @jimthefish, @phaseshift, @bluesqueakpip, @whisht, @mudlark, @thane16, @janetteb, @winston, @rob, @fatmaninabox and..@everyone

    It feels a bit quiet on the site and circumstances seem to be moving fast, and more of us (of a certain age) seem to be self-isolating. Hopefully, things will pass, but it would be great if there was a place where we could all keep talking. And about something that was somewhat distant from current concerns.

    It could be music, it could be movies, it could be TV…who knows, it could even be Who.

    And I know that times change, but it would be great if we could re-connect with some past friends.  I often wonder, for example, if @whohar is still in the bath.

    Hell, I am even wondering if we should open negotiations with @cumquat





    That was just wonderful! Thanks for posting.



    Let me agree with all your wise words. And my sympathies for the irritations you are experiencing. We live out on Vancouver Island, and had planned on attending a friend’s wedding in Seattle next month. Well, that won’t happen, of course. And back in Toronto, we have family members of a similar age to ours with worrying symptoms. Hopefully, the situation will pass, and you try and focus on the immediate, but it is hard to not think of those close to you (or anyone, actually) who seems to be in a precarious situation.

    Take care, everyone.



    With reference to my previous post, I was actually reading my copy of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary this morning (as one does…) and came across this:

    ABSTAINER, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.



    My only concern would be if I ran out of booze

    As I type this, Mrs Blenkinsop is out at the local grocers with an eye to edible provisions. But I think I will have to head out later to the wine store. I will make sure I empty out the boot of the car prior to heading out…


    OK. episode 8 of Picard, and…I can see a surprising connection with Who!

    For those watching Picard you will remember when Commander Oh of Starfleet security embeds, into the mind of Dr Jurati of the Daystrom Institute, a terrifying story of how synthetics would destroy everything. This leads Dr Jurati to doubt everything she thought she knew and act against her own best instincts. But we still do not know if if that story is true or not.

    Compare that with way The Master, who begins by calling himself O (not Oh, but O) embeds, into the mind of the Doctor, a terrifying story of the origin of the Time Lords. This leads the Doctor to doubt everything she thought she knew and sets up the possibility that she might act against her own best instincts. But we still do not know if that story is true or not.

    Well, it took a while, and it probably doesn’t mean anything, but it was satisfying to find a strange connection between the two shows.





    Miss Hadiza wants to know me (and I am sure I am not the only object of her attentions…)



    Brilliant actor. I have memories of so many great performances, He had an ability to slide from Bergman to Hollywood and back while never compromising the integrity of his performance. He also was one of the few actors who could radiate power and emotion through stillness. Not many actors could hypnotize the audience while barely moving. He could.

    Could share a million clips, but I always enjoy his ability to channel Woody Allen dialogue in “Hannah and Her Sisters”




    Thanks for the (lengthy) link. It was very insightful. As were your thoughts. Like @nightingale, however, I would not equate Moffat with Nolan. (I am at one with @nightingale on Nolan). So then I asked myself: who would I compare Moffat to? After some thought (and this is not a perfect analogy) but in terms of sheer story-telling power (and the ability to blend humour, excitement, sentimentality, and satire)… Preston Sturges.




    Agree about the lack of TV writers like Chabon in the UK, but Chabon is probably pretty unique as a TV show runner in the US, come to think of it. I read, nervously, that he won’t be the show runner for season 2 of Picard. I think we should savour the show while it lasts in its current form. To that end (reading your other posts) I hope you stick around to swap thoughts on the remaining episodes of Chabon’s Picard.


    Another episode of “Picard”. As expected, excellent. This one (that includes the characters of Deanna Troi and Will Riker) reminded me, in a good way, of the the rather unique chapter in “Wind in the Willows”, called “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”–that is, the chapter that was very…pantheistic.

    What sort of writer could pull off such a feat on prime time televison? Well, as @jimthefish has pointed out, it might have something to do with the fact that the show runner and principal writer is Michael Chabon.

    Are there lessons for Doctor Who…? Well, yes, probably.



    Wasn’t sure how official this was, so decided to play it safe by posting here.



    After a second viewing, I still have the same feelings as after the first (although I do take on board @phaseshift‘s point that the BBC hierarchy would need to approve a retcon–or re-retcon). Having said that, Part of my unease with where Chibnall is taking the show is that he seems to be taking it  back to RTD, if not JNT. Looking over the comments, I find myself agreeing with @whisht (especially on the previous charm of the Doctor being a somewhat mediocre Timelord, who rebels against a supercilious Timelord elite). And also agreeing with @jimthefish and @phaseshift that this particularly retcon seems pretty pointless. But it’s done so I suppose we will have to live with it, until a future show runner retcons the retcon. As I type this, I also think there is another issue I have with making the Doctor “special”. It reminds me of a trend in recent James Bond movies like Skyfall and Spectre, in that the focus has turned to Bond the person and his family history. I find that far less interesting than the writers obviously do.

    But my main reservation remains the one I pointed out after my first viewing: too much of what we have been asked to believe is on the word of a notoriously unreliable source: the Master.


    Well, I find myself in two minds about this. On the one hand, I fail to see the point of the retcon, except to provide Chibnall the opportunity “make his mark” on Who. Indeed, I get the feeling it is as much about diminishing Moffat and positioning himself as a natural successor to RTD as anything else. And then there is the way he does it here. There is, it seems to me, far too much exposition. All the really important parts of this alternate history are simply narrated to the Doctor by the Master. And I should take the Master at his word…? Why, exactly? Also, perhaps I missed it, but do we have anything (besides the Master’s word) that he actually did, personally, destroy Gallifrey? After 50 years of being exposed to a Master who lies and actually achieves very little in the way of galactic domination, we are now asked to accept a Master who is telling the truth and really does achieve much in the ways of galactic domination?? As Poirot was fond of reminding Hastings all the time in Agatha Christie: just because we are told something, does not mean we should take it at face value. We need proof.

    On the other hand, the story was a rollicking adventure (aside from the exposition) and there was something neat about the season starting with the Master’s Tardis taking the form of a house in the Australian outback and the season ending with the companions and the remnants of humanity arriving back in Sheffield in a ship that takes the form of a house.

    But I think I need a second viewing.




    (You either get the NG reference or you don’t. Back tomorrow.)


    @janetteb, @winston, @rob, and everybody,

    have just watched episode 6 of “Picard”. It was simply brilliant. It just keeps getting better and better. As I have said before, the way it weaves our knowledge of NG in to this show and then turns our expectations on its head is amazing. To anyone with a memory of NG this episode in particular is exceptional.


    I hope you managed to watch the NG two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds” and have embarked on “Picard”.

    What can I say? Clearly, I am very impressed with this show.



    If this incarnation is post-Missy

    If so, perhaps. But I have had the feeling that since Chibnall took over, and particularly this season, there seems to be a much stronger continuity from RTD to Chibnall than Moffat to Chibnall. And even if he is not trying to avoid Moffat, it could also be true that the Master may be pre-Missy. Until we see see the episode, we don’t know even if Gallifrey is destroyed at all. It might all be an illusion. As the synopsis for the episode says, in part, “lies are exposed”



    My (admittedly faltering) memory is that the Doctor relinquishes the Cyberium/Cyberiad to the Lone Cyberman at Diodata and it is he who zaps it forward ??? (Perhaps this is the time for one of @bluesqueakpip‘s graphic charts). As for the Master,

    It would be the first time in Who history that he has actually achieved anything.

    Exactly. Which is why I am highly skeptical that he has.

    I hesitate to add this final observation, but if we are taking about Shelley’s poetry, and hubris and illusion and Ozymandius, but I cannot but observe the spelling of Ozymandius…i.e., OZymandius…



    It’s true, the Master does say: “Look upon my work, Doctor, and despair.” And it’s also true that (perhaps to self-identify with Ozymandius) he initially calls himself “O”. But…

    Do I believe the Master destroyed Gallifrey? Personally, no, I don’t. But I do believe he would claim to have done it.

    More importantly, the poem is about hubris–the hubris of mankind in building great empires. Yet, I would argue it is the Master who is the one who is (always) guilty of hubris, and by identifying with Ozymandius he has both mis-read Shelley and revealed his own shortcomings. Even in the realm of literary interpretation, the Master only scores a D-.




    Part of me agrees with you, but on the basis of what Chibnall has given us since taking over the reigns of “Who” I am not convinced that Chibnall has the capacity to deliver an epic Gallifreyan arc. But I will cheer along with you if he does deliver one.



    I confess that part of me is still convinced that there is a Wizard of Oz vibe to all this…



    Ok, everything is being set up in a way that we are supposed to believe that Master is about to reveal the truth to a concerned and confused Doctor. But, I ask you, when has the Master ever told the truth?



    After a very nice bottle of Shiraz from the cellar, I am not sure I am any closer to a more detailed explanation of why Chibnall is drawing on RTD, but the more I think about it the more I am convinced that Chibnall is using RTD as his template and completely ignoring the Moffat years. Everything I have said about pacing, for example, I think was an issue during the RTD period (parictularly early RTD). And there is something that is obvious (as opposed to nuanced) that seems to be in common. I just feel that the more I watch Chibnall, the more I am reminded of RTD.



    Latest idea about where all this is going. It is a re-working of RTD’s 3 linked episodes”Utopia”, “The Sound of Drums”, and “The Last of the Time Lords”. Remember back to when the Doctor sent a message to the Master back in “Spyfall part 2” which she stated was not Morse code but something personal that the Master would know…the sound of two hearts beating.

    More to follow…but in order to collect my thoughts it is time to delve into the Blenkinsop cellar.


    Just did a rewatch. If others have already referred to what I am about to say upstream, apologies. Anyway, Brendon. Why was his story set in Ireland? Perhaps because the police force is called the Guarda. He is asked at his job interview why he wants to be a guard. He replies: “I want to make a difference.” Now think of the English meaning of “guard” or…”guardian”. What might he be guarding, or be the guardian of? Perhaps, the Cyberium. Perhaps the reason why he is seemingly immortal is that he is able to guard the Cyberium from one life to the next.

    The carriage clock. Does it contain the Cyberium? Or will it be transferred from Brendon as a result of his mindwipe into the carriage clock?

    When the Cyberium leaves Shelley it goes into the Doctor. I think the Doctor explains it because of some kind of Time Lord magnetism (?) I’m a bit fuzzy on that. I suppose I’ll have to rewatch that episode.

    There has been a reference to something like the Cyberium in “Who” before–in “Tomb of the Cybermen” with the Troughton Doctor. And the current crop of Cybermen have a similar look/design as the Cybermen from from “Tomb of the Cybermen”.

    And my conclusion is…I have no idea.



    Thanks for that. I suppose I was thinking of the Master’s Tardis taking the form of a clock in “The Deadly Assassin” (particularly since it was a Gallifrey/TimeLord story). But in reality, I think I am just clutching at straws in trying to find meaning in what we were presented with.

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