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    ichabod @replies

    @missrory: I miss the snappier conversations and quiet moments of Twelve’s episodes; a lot of the equivalents here are more like characters lecturing each other, and more telling than showing.

    Yes, and yes.  I just don’t like the way Chibnal is writing this.  Everybody keeps explaining stuff to each other, and if there’s a rhythm to the scenes, I’m not getting it.  I think maybe he’s writing such shallow characters because he thinks that’s how you appeal to youngsters?  Maybe he’s right; I haven’t been a kid for really long time, and my new great-granddaughter is too young to discuss it with.  The upshot is that I was bored, finally turned it off and had a nap instead, and can barely remember any of it today.  I agree that the little scene between Jack and Yaz discussing traveling with the Doctor was effective; maybe that’s what I’m missing: a sense of (of all things!) Time.  A sense of past events that knit people together via shared experience, including emotional experience.

    I’ll check in for the next season, but I admit that my hopes are not high.  I wanted a female Doctor, but so far I’ve seen very little to persuade me that Chibnal can write her and her stories well — with wit, flair, verve, and heart.

    Well, horses for courses, I guess.

    ichabod @replies

    @pedant — Ha!  Wonderful!  There’s jargon, and then there’s self-satirical jargon, but such nuances do tend to get lost outside the fold.

    ichabod @replies

    @missy — So sorry to hear about your OH.  I wish you both the best in dealing with it.  The last “good” news I had about cancer was that my opposite number, my daughter-in-law’s mother (who started her own life-long war with this disease when her son went through a bout of it in his teens), died of a recurrence of her own cancer — aged 92.

    ichabod @replies

    Winston: Maybe a female Doctor will get a whole new bunch of people watching and loving the show so it keeps going.  . . .  I always understood that to be politically correct just meant being polite and kind and being considerate of everyone no matter who they are.

    Thank you, Winston; nicely put.  The “origin story” that I’ve read about the term “politically correct” is that it began as a sort of political inside-joke among left winger used to spotlight the martinet-like, exaggeratedly “pure” demands of their own further-left extremists, alluding to how much such people’s “standards” of what was acceptably left at all came across as old-style communist propaganda out of Russia.  It was meant satirically, but was immediately seized upon by the Right as a pejorative turned against those who had come up with it in the first place.  People on the Left then gave up on it altogether (because who wants to have to explain such a tangle every time they use a phrase with its original meaning as a satirical rebuke to Left wing extremism?), and so the Right’s version of its pejorative meaning became the only meaning left.

    No one among the many Left winger folks I hang out with ever used the term seriously, and none of them use it seriously (or at all, unless as mockery of the Right’s stupidity) now.  The last time I ever heard it even discussed seriously is back in the nineties at an SF convention at which Ursula LeGuin was told, in an accusatory whine from an audience member, that her political comments verged dangerously into “politically correct” territory.  She snapped back, “I AM ‘politically correct’.  I’m against slavery, the oppression of working people and the poor, misogyny, child labor, racism, and sexism.  Are you saying that you are FOR those things?!” But even by then, the battle for the term had been lost to the Right.  And, apparently, no one had told the jerk who’d complained that Ursula, in addition to be smarter than anyone else in the room — any room — and also smaller and slighter in build, suffered fools not at all and took no prisoners.

    I’ve never heard the term used approvingly by anyone on the Left since then.  Now it’s strictly a term of abuse employed by the Right.  This is how its usage play out here in the US, at any rate.

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  Yup, just can’t stay away — civilized and intelligent conversation is much to be prized these days, and youse guys have it.

    Yeah, “Innocence” wasn’t wonderful, just pleasant, and that mostly because Nighy is such a pleasure to watch at work.  Speaking for myself, I can’t stand reading Christie — it’s all timetables, “fixed” clocks, and disguised heirs, and not a real character in sight, but that means that the actors in scripts made from those books can really go to town and create character right and left, because the author of the books left them what’s essentially a board game laid out on a blank slate, or maybe a crossword puzzle — nothing with any depth or color, so the cast can go to town supplying glimmers of both.

    “Moneyball” is a very good film, and I say that as someone who doesn’t give a flip about most team sports.  It offers a clear and cogent story of a clever and inventive sort of asymmetrical warfare in baseball — over-simplified I have no doubt, but brilliantly deployed all the same.  Enjoy!  We all need good stuff to help make our New Year happy (or at least — bearable?  I mean, seriously, what a world this is right now!).

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  Speaking of Nighy….there’s a strange series -an Agatha Christie – starring the venerable Nighy  that looks  horrorific. Has it been well received in the UK?

    Hi, Puro — if you mean, “Ordeal by Innocence”, I saw that on Netflix, I think, and enjoyed it, but I haven’t seen anything by way of reaction to it.

    ichabod @replies

    @missy  Me, too.  Me, too.

    ichabod @replies

    Yes, you’re right!  I remember that one — I saw both versions, and frankly I can’t remember what, if any, differences the differences made.  But of course that says more about me than about the movie . . ,

    ichabod @replies

    Yes, I’d love that — maybe some day, but I doubt it — unless BBC thought they could make Big Bucks from selling that on DVD.  There may be contractual problems with coming around later to do that, too?  At any rate, I doubt they’ll bother . . . maybe some day after the whole program ends.  But I rather have the program keep going, and just imagine the lost scenes!

    I do agree that there’ve been serious gaps left in the episodes as released.  I don’t know, though — have there been Directors’ cuts released of famous movies that have actually been better than the originals, and have sold widely and well?  I don’t follow the history of that sort of thing, but I haven’t seen much in the way of those versions circulating on social media for some years now.

    My impression has been that the longer renderings have been strictly for the fans, as the they tended to turn out to be something of an embarrassment and a let-down.  At least, that’s what my scrappish memory tells me . . .  wasn’t there a Director’s Cut of “At Heaven’s Gate” (“Door”?)?  That was a hugely long film, and I doubt that anyone but sincere afficionados ever watched it, let alone watched *all* of it.

    Still, we can dream . . .



    ichabod @replies

    @kevinwho  My thought was maybe Graham could have articulated it. I know when I used to watch TV dramas, they’d almost always let the hero express moral superiority over the villain during the climax. So maybe some of us were wishing we’d get something like what I made up over on the fan creativity thread:

    Would something like that have been worth cutting a couple of minutes elsewhere? Or would it have undercut what the episode and series have been trying to do?

    For all we know, they did film something along those lines, but it was left on the cutting room floor.  You never know.

    ichabod @replies

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . series 12 is on its way and will be returning to BBC One in early 2020

    Good!  Thanks.

    ichabod @replies

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . the BBC has said ‘early 2020,’ so it’s not two years at all.

    Are you sure?  I’ve only seen “2020”.  If it ends up as September 2020, that will be a pretty long wait.  I hope you’re right, and I hope BBC is being realistic, not just optimistic.


    ichabod @replies

    @magickinn  The Doctor has companions who have killed before and that has not been a problem for earlier one.  I can see  several of the incarnations having no problem if Graham did it.

    I thought that, too, and it’s bugging me.  I’d accept “no killing the bad guys” as a new rule, a result of what the AG Doctors have learned in their more lethal adventures, if WhitDoc were to articulate why Graham must not kill someone who’s trying to kill him, beyond the “no better than he is” stuff.  If I shoot a thug who’s threatening to shoot me, does that make me “no better than” him?  Not to me, it doesn’t, and I’d rather deal with the PTSD I’d incur than with the medical ramifications of his bullet in my guts instead.

    The across-the-board, blanket non-violent Doctor, if that’s actually what we’re seeing now, reminds me of the old westerns on US TV, where the Lone Ranger never killed a bad guy, but would shoot the gun out of his hand.  While both were riding galloping horses.  Kind of like Graham, with no training and an unfamiliar weapon in terrible lighting, shooting Tim Shaw in the foot and actually hitting what he aimed at.

    Well, the Lone Ranger was for kids, and this is also supposed to be for kids primarily now, so . . . I’ll probably be better off with my nifty crime series from Europe, on HMZ (they are not for kids).

    ichabod @replies

    @kevinwho   . . . in this last season I’ve sometimes felt that whole episodes aren’t showing me a life lesson, they’re telling me what to think.

    Yes, sometimes — because she’s telling her companions, our stand-inswhat to think, but with no detectable (to me) emotion and personally-felt experience behind it.  Good grief, maybe my feeling about this is partly just me, as a teacher myself, being critical of WhitDoc’s teaching style!

    Seriously, though — I feel it’s a case of, Don’t just tell them how to behave — back it up with why.  And “. . . Or you’ll be no better than he is” just doesn’t cut it, for me.  It’s an easy, but false, equality — Tim Shaw has shown himself to be willfully aggressive, killing for fun and status; Graham is being actively threatened by him and has already lost a beloved partner to Tim Shaw’s aggression.  Killing Shaw would not make Graham “as bad as” Shaw because circumstances and motivations of Shaw’s death at Graham’s hands would be entirely different from any of Shaw’s murders that we’ve seen.

    But yes, if it’s more didactic school-marming for the sake of the younger set, I’ll share your muttering corner, Kevin, one old crank to another, remembering that it’s not the oldies they’re eager to please this time out.

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  Puro  . . . a few people thought “the Doc, on a TANK wearing sunglasses and playing an electric guitar?” That’s not gravitas! That’s baloney!” Except we describe him like this: proud and noble, dignified, dutiful, lofty enough to shit marble when I don’t think 12 was like that much of the time. @ichabod -would you agree?

    Gravitas in response to grave events, the scars of old conflicts and defeats, yes — but also continual break-outs from that state into snark, clowning, grandstanding, childishness (“What about me?!”) and even a larger perspective (“I am — an idiot!  In a box!  Passing by — “).  All those things — and that occasional distancing, the chill detachment of the alien observer.  I do think we got all that in 12 right along with the arrogance and the nobility, which is just what made him such a rich creation.

    I do hear you on “Please — just, see me!” A heart-breaker, on such a personal level . . . but on a social level too.  I don’t think even the Ancient Greeks were as fixated on visibility as westerners are today with our “celebrity” addictions and our shooters writing “SEE ME, mo’fo’s!” in the blood of their schoolmates.  The resonances were everywhere and dense with echoes, many of them dark.  Which doesn’t suit everyone, nor should it.  (Interesting take on that late bit of KtM, by the way — future Time running through him, once he opened that mental door?)

    So yes, stepping away now from her own private Akashic plane is a reasonable move for 13, even a necessary one for sanity’s sake, even at the cost of an initial emotional shallowness as so many here have pointed out (that complete emotional disconnect with the past bothers me, but it does make sense as folks here explain it).

    And @swankycriminal is right, IMO, that new, darker tones will accumulate as time goes on and stories about accepting limitations (as opposed to defying them, per 12) and working within them for what can be accomplished there roll on.

    @winston  The 13th Doctor is just finally learning the lessons the only age and experience and loss can give you.

    She’s learned them, I think, and that’s what we’re seeing.  My problem with this is that when the lessons are learned, the story is done.  Unless lessons learned are also freshly tested, struggled with, maybe lost, maybe found, maybe reinterpreted or something . . .

    @missy  and you didn’t feel that you were being lectured and preached at either, which, I’ve been told, is how some viewers feel with this series.

    It’s funny — viewers who aren’t there yet, who’re still a shade (or more than a shade) uneasy and even resentful of the appearance on the scene of supporting players who aren’t white, the elevation of female characters to levels of importance *not* primarily about their sexuality, and so on, are going to feel preached at simply if the contentious issues are touched on, let alone central, because their “this is normal” setting is a bit, shall we say, dated.  I think they sense that there’s no going back now (heck, we’re on the verge of a booming, vastly lucrative, legalized pot industry here in the US, just ask this morning’s New York Times!), but they can’t give up the more rigid and restrictive comfort zone they’re so used to taking for granted.  They feel left behind (and they are, unless they make the effort to catch up), and they resent it like hell.  So any acknowledgment that these shifts will happen/are happening/have already happened (like the Doctor is female, for starters) will upset them.  Well, they’re spitting into the wind, which bloweth where it listeth, whatever direction some of us might prefer.  So for them, everything forward-looking is a lecture or a preachment.

    And yet — when 12 gave a speech against war and for negotiation, it *was* a lecture, and it *was* a preachment, but it was thrilling and up lifting (you can see it in the comments on “best Doctor moments”).  Because he spoke about what still doesn’t seem to prevail, a hope rather than a fact?  Because he was an authoritative older male figure speaking it?  Chibnal should be praised for showing as well as telling — Yaz is a cop, Ryan is an unsure by upright young black man grown well even in the absence of his parents, and Graham is an old guy running through corridors instead of sitting in a rocking chair and grumbling about kids these days — and what we’re shown is already true in the “Real World”.  Maybe that’s the problem of DW now for the anti social justice crowd?  Talk can be grand and stirring, but mirroring the reality is too close for comfort?

    @janetteb  @winston  For what it’s worth, my astrologer friend tells me that we (as a planetary population) have fallen under the influence now of Capricorn, which means among other things conservatisim, materialism,  stubbornness, and (hard-headed) pragmatism.  It (the backwards drag of reactionary politics) is basically a desperate fight by the rich and powerful against big social and economic shifts (automation, the existential necessity of spending lots of money on adapting to Climate Change instead of on this rich guy’s private submarine and that one’s mansions in four different countries, the rise of educated and fed up women against social oppression that favors men, etc.).  That’s got to be a big fight (already is in the US as well as elsewhere).


    ichabod @replies

    @pedant  Talking animals crop up a lot in Studio Ghibli animations, and this story had a bit of a Ghibli feel to it, with an ending that was honest, rather than shoe-horned in sentimental. Spirited Away? Princess Mononoke?

    Gad, yes!  “Spirited Away” sticks with me as the best animated fantasy film I’ve seen — I rarely miss a chance to see it again.  No talking frogs, though, that I remember . . . that would be a “kappa” in Japanese folklore, I think, but the kappa isn’t benign but, rather, feared.

    ichabod @replies

    @kevinwho  . . . too much standing around and talking

    Well, likely true for some people, and that’s part of the supposed SJW “issue”.  Grounding your action, when it’s imminent, in establishing clarity re why we’re going to not-kill the creature trying to kill us — that’s got to slow things down a bit (another reason that the “Bad guy!  Quick, kill it!” crowd get annoyed by conversations about ethics).  I think part of the problem may be that those conversations haven’t had the wit that Moffat & co got us used to, so they’re less entertaining now (as well as generally unwelcome to those looking for ceaseless galloping whizz-bang — hence @swankycriminal’s I would have loved to have a minute or two showing how Graham and Ryan come to the conclusion of locking Tim Shaw up — I think they decided they couldn’t afford more of that).

    @bluesqueakpip  The men talked about how wonderful they are, the woman talks about her worries and her problems. Shut up, woman! 😈

    Well, when you put it like that — !  Yep.  Hmm; it might have been fun (and useful to some viewers) to have her starting out with all that self-boosting pep talk, just like the men she’s been so often, and then “grow out of” that, or spot herself doing it, make a joke of it, and reject it for the more pragmatic and outwardly focused “If we do this, then maybe I can do that, and possibly XYZ” that we’ve been getting here.

    ichabod @replies

    @craig — JEEZ!  One look at your Xmas card, and I almost called the bomb squad!  At least now I’m awake, though, so thank you, and merry thingamabobs to you and all right back!

    ichabod @replies

    @rob  This is one of the good things that has come out of the regeneration it makes you think about equality,  hopefully it will make me a better person just by making me think about it.

    I’d say so — one of the clear signs of a knee-jerk reactionary is automatic outrage at the fact that The Contentious Issue *has been raised* — “SJW!  Communist!  Lock you up!” (throws tomatoes instead of conversing).

    I have to admit, the stasis planets, being pretty cheesy-looking objects, made me think of bubble-wrap monsters.  And the continuous self-chat is annoying because that, too, can be a way of avoiding, not thinking, so much as feeling.  But saw some Doctor-ish firmness here, in the drawing of boundary lines on ethical grounds.  Her taking a stand with Graham and his personal revenge agenda worked for me (and, even moreso, the addendum that the rules are subject to change) as The Doctor.  Is it my imagination, or did they use some good upward slanted camera angles that gave Whittaker’s sober-faced expression more power in this episode, in keeping perhaps with having a problem on hand that involved the fates of several planets, if not whole universes or planes of existence?  The confrontation with Tim Shaw also struck me as more rooted, more determined, perhaps because this current threat was a consequence of her previous refusal to kill the bastard.


    ichabod @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Mrs Blenkinsop and I just watched the last episode of series 10 . . . Looking back on that episode, I feel that Moffat could not simply do grand emotion, but grand emotion that was almost operatic.

    Nothing “almost” about it — I think it’s the operatic intensity that really caught me up in the Moffat era, because I am a doomed sucker for that sort of thing done well (“Don Carlo”, anyone?  Zowie!).  So maybe I can ratchet my personal settings for that sort of thing down to, say, “Onegin”?  Romantic, but not Imperial scale, and feel easier with Whittaker/CC.

    @cumquat I trust I will not be forced to write again to this deplorable (well, anyway…) hotbed of “intelligent” and “civil” posts

    I think you’re quite safe on that score, oh Mother of Bassets!  We are disgracefully amiable around here . . .

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  Those who hated Moffat are actually (according to a mate who scours youtube when he’s feeling twitchy) wanting him “back.”

    Holy crapolli, didn’t I say so?!  I did.  But you don’t need a crystal ball to see it coming — isn’t it always like that after a hand-off?  Speaking for myself, I don’t actually long for Moffat to come back — I think he got to do his thing and was more than ready to go.  Chibnal isn’t a bad writer — I would just like to see a better Chibnal writing and running DW.  But we don’t always get what we wa-anttt . . . So maybe this is what DW needs?  Sometimes?


    ichabod @replies

    @miapatrick To me the high concept of this series is that the monsters are not just monsters.

    Yes, that seems to be a theme here — consistent with a Doctor who’s “heroic” on a deliberately smaller scale, so her companions can share in the heroics on a human scale, instead of having to stretch hard to help rescue a  planet, a species, a universe.  So the “bad guys” (except for the Tim Shaw & co) are also “bad” not on a Davros scale, but on a more personal (the one in Rosa) and human scale too.  I like that.

    Haven’t seen the latest one yet — been traveling — but soon!

    ichabod @replies

    @kevinwho  Yes, I think that’s part of it.  I’m not picking up cues of reflection; thinking (except about how to solve the immediate problem); or really remembering rather than just ticking off a box from the past.  So maybe it’s more a matter of the pacing of the episodes (for those who share this reaction).  They’ve set it for youth, newness, high energy, but there seem to be no moments of quiet, no pauses (although sometimes the dialog has some odd little lags  where something ought to be coming across, but isn’t).

    Well, that’s it for now for me — busy weekend!

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  You make a good case; and I’m not really looking for an extension of the Moffat/Capaldi tone.  I agree that that was taken as far as it could go within the parameters of the show, and wrapped up pretty well in Season 10.  I don’t miss it, certainly not pining for a repeat; I’m just missing a sense of emotional continuity between that and this, I guess.  It’ll fade with time; and we do want new kids jumping on board the fun train.

    I got sidetracked over to YouTube, and oh boy, it’s a proper Whine-Fest over there!  Best to steer clear of them; which is nothing new, really.  Does anyone do any moderating on YouTube at all?  It seems pretty much a free-for-all, no matter how nasty some posts get.

    ichabod @replies

    @arbutus  @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.

    Oh, yes; it is our clinging to the past that can never be authentically re-created again for us in the present, that is what’s being declined here by our heroes.  I guess I wanted some such temptation for this Doctor included too — not a chat with a frog, but perhaps just a quiet and sober and polite refusal of some significant person from the past (any of those the Doctor, in all his forms, has had to “let go” one way or another), and clear-eyed acknowledgment that *this* lesson is one this Doctor remembers learning, and doesn’t need to learn again.

    Huh; it really is “about time”– about how having the mean for Time travel and a very long string of lives does not in any way suspend the or de-fang the meaning of that one-way Arrow: losses are real, however you treat them (and that “however” will also change as time rolls on).  Letting go is being a grown up, understanding the necessity of acceptance.

    ichabod @replies

    @mirime  ‘Timeless Child’ is interesting. I’m torn between wanting to know more and thinking it should just be left as a mystery. There’s such a risk of disappointment and I’m not confident in Chibnall’s abilities yet.

    Me too; I’d love to see that bloom into something gripping, something to help anchor this Doctor to her own deep past maybe, linking herself firmly to it from now, in her new ID.

    @magickim  get rid of his SJW garbage

    Oh, come on, don’t get into that dreary Right wing “talking points” thing here, it won’t fly and will interfere with people taking your comments seriously.  And you won’t find much of a welcome here.

    @thane16  But you do. I’m here. Also, @pedants niece and other assorted kids. They may not be in front of the telly but they’re coming to the site…

    Yikes — you’re right!  Thank goodness.  I need to hear what you have to say!  You (and them too) are the audience CC and Whittaker are aiming for, after all, so what you think of the show is a lot more important than any grumbling from the likes o’ me.  (NOT sarcasm — that’s just good marketing sense for the long run — and we all hope it *will* continue to be a long run.)

    ichabod @replies

    @thane16  She’s completely a new person but she still has, deep inside, those memories, that sadness and that loss. It isn’t front and centre. This world is not just about the Doctor anymore. It’s like she steps back to serve. Or, almost, like she’s an idiot in a box, stepping in and out to help when she can.

    Agreed — that’s clearly the intention here, and it’s perfectly legit, IMO; but I can’t just take that on faith (there’s so little sign of any of it in her current demeanor).  So it’s not working for me, so far, so it’s my problem, not a general thing.  Without some present influence of that past, some conscious awareness of who and what she’s been, Whittaker is indeed a “completely new person”, but a one-dimensional and not very interesting one.

    Maybe that will change.  If not, not; she’ll be lots of fans’ Doctor anyway.

    But part of this, I think, for me personally but not *only* for me, is what I think is a cultural meme that male characters get to carry, but female ones very rarely do: I mean The Person With the Past, a past with very dark patches that can’t be forgotten, but a person self-mended to be functional and even light-hearted in the present.  *Like real, normal people*, most of whom have had their sorrows and transcended them *without* just pushing them down and making them invisible (to others but also to self).  I agree that gravitas doesn’t have to be, “I am a man of constant sorrows, I’ve seen trouble all my days” (folk song; do you know it?), but more like — those blow up figures that bob around if you hit them, but have some weighty stuff (sand?) at the bottom that makes them swing back upright again after you’ve smacked them down.  No sand, no effective *sense* that there’s that weighty grit in there someplace, and the thing is just an unanchored balloon — a cartoon figure.

    Okay, I have to go away and think about this some more.  It’s getting away from the episode, too.  To the Sofa, then, in a bit — I’ve got some work to do, off the computer for a while.  But I want to come back to the subject, cuz its bugging me.

    ichabod @replies

    @arbutus    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.

    I like that better, too.  What I missed, though, was some — sense of connection between Doctor and the Solitract — it’s a being from an old Gallifreyan story told by the granny to the child-Doctor, so that’s a pull to the dead past for the Doctor right there — only nothing’s made of, not even a fleeting reference: gran told me about you but I thought you weren’t real — what you been doing all this time since — a long, lonely time looking for friends, which also describes the Doctor herself, looking for that “mate” to travel with.  *Damn* it.  This Doctor now has some memory of her past, but I’m just not getting any sense of emotional connection to any of it, and I think that’s both the writing and the actor.

    This was a good story, mysterious and unpredictable, but — the Doctor has rules she’s trying to live by (and to convince others to live by too), but with no palpable past, only flitting memories referred to in quick one-liners, there’s no emotional depth.  For me this Doctor seems to have no soul.  It’s probably more my failure than Whittaker’s, but so far, speed and shallowness are keeping the character flat, for me.  The others all have more depth than she does . . . It makes no sense, because I, as viewer, know much more about how the Doctor’s long life has been so full of emotion, positive and negative than *she* does, and feel it more than she seems to feel it.

    Here there was a chance to really look back, even for an instant — to gran, Gallifrey, that long-ago childhood on a distant planet — to *touch* that time (like, a clearer reference to the Barn on Gallifrey?).  But no.  Must rush on, action, action!!

    I think maybe RTD and Moffat have ruined this for me.  I like the companions, but the center, the Doctor herself, is unrooted and empty, for me.  Maybe I’m just missing cues here, because of the change in style . . . but I think I’m talking about what some others have been referring to as a lack of “gravitas”, in the sense of the weight of past experience (so much of it), both positive and negative.

    It’s okay — it’s clearly working for others, so carry on.  Strokes and folks.







    ichabod @replies

    @notime   It didnt even try to trick the Doctor or Jaz with memories

    Wonder why it didn’t try to draw Ryan in, maybe with a double of his father . . . ?  Or does it have to be a siren — female, singing to men of assured and deathless love?

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    @thane16  @ichabod I think you might like this one?

    You’re right; for me, this story had a pleasingly disconnected feeling that I think came with the “through the looking glass” echo — first time I felt that they dared to take off without a clear flight path to an expected landing place (except that a sort of resolution between Ryan and Graham has been in the cards from early on, so that got done here).  I didn’t see where we were going, which was a relief after some of the plodding from A to B to C that I’ve felt going on in the writing previously.

    I also liked the triangle imagery — quite striking.

    @ardaraith  I also think this ep is foreshadowing for Ryan’s dad to make an appearance.

    Could be; he’s certainly a looming possibility.

    @pedant  The Doctor totally seduced a universe that was personifying as female.

    Seduced, and abandoned — not without melancholy; very Doctorish.  But also a bit of a betrayal.  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.  [Love the North Sea Depression — too right!]

    So the Solitract is a mind that can manifest, but not maintain, a happier version of our universe?  The bed-time story the granny told the Doctor was about this thing, or about a fairy tale version of it?  Since it’s “soli”, and looking for friends, can we assume that it’s unique?  Also old, older than the Doctor, even, if granny told a story about it when the Doctor was just a (grand)child.  Wonder what it’s been doing all that time.  Making simulacra of dead people and playing with them like dolls?  Lonely kids do that sometimes.

    Was it really a possible choice for Graham or Erik to stay with their false wives, since the whole place was crashing anyway?  What if they had stayed?  I thought Graham might, if it meant being with “Grace” and not worrying about cancer any more, but if he had, what would have happened to him there?  I’m unclear about these things, but I like that much better than where the rest of the season so far has left me.  There’s some freedom in this episode, a bit of imaginative swash and buckler, and never mind wrapping it all up neatly in the end.




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    @thane16  Happy birthday!

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    Enjoyed it, might watch again because the ending was so rushed that I can’t sort it out clearly in my head.

    I did wonder, though, if the Morax thing would say “imprisoned in the hill or war crimes”.  What, no denial, no self-justification?  Odd.  And I wondered why the Doctor didn’t have some reaction to the high-handedness some deep space Nuremburg court stuffing its convicts away on Earth.  That seems a bit war-crimey in itself, to me.


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    @pedant   At last, a much needed public service to all DW fans some of the time and some DW fans all of the time!  Thanks for the giggle; I needed it!  Well, we all need it some of the time . . .

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    @pedant  Thanks for the link.  We’re not losing pubs (well, bars) around here; we’re gaining lots of little independent breweries, which seem to be blossoming in every US city with a halfway decent economy.  We’ve also got a massive alcoholism problem that’s been going on for a while under the radar because our opioid epidemic has taken the spotlight.  American men and women are drinking themselves to death at an accelerating rate, according to a study just out, with women gaining on men in that respect.

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    @pedant  @mudlark  Jesus H Christ On A Bike, ichabod. That you even gave such transparent horse shit credence does not reflect well on you.

    Don’t be daft!  Who says I gave it credence?  I said I’ve seen pub closures attributed to this “cause”, and am pleased to read comments on it here that throw more light on the subject from folks who’d know.

    There were also complaints about old pubs being bought to be tarted up and re-opened with, of course, higher prices; I didn’t realize how bad inflation has been there.  I live in a backwater city where that’s been much slower than it is in our own larger and more attractive places.  The US is in a housing crunch (in terms of rents and prices more than available housing stock) which I think is putting pressure on any city that people want to live in.  The news has been full of the planned new HQ for Amazon, and how nervous residents of the sites selected (Queens in New York and somewhere in DC) are about having rapid gentrification because of these new installations that will drive up all costs and force out anybody who can’t keep up economically (not to mention completely overloading the local transportation situation).  Common problems these days, I think.  And to think that for a little while there, bi cities were benefiting from an inflow of retirees and older people who’d traded bigger suburban homes for walkable streets, public transport, and the cultural concentration in urban settings!  Most old people can’t think that way now.  Better just put our roller skates on and get around the barren suburbs that way.

    We’ve got Netflix’s plans to open a big production facility here in Albuquerque to look forward to, with what the ramifications of that will be, from more and better work for the film-making community that’s already developed here, to further Los Angelization (locally referred to as “Californication” when it was just frantic urban sprawl that makes efficient public transport almost impossible).

    @thane16  Puro  Our big cost is electricity for cooling in summer — people who say, “Oh, but it’s dry heat so it doesn’t matter” aren’t noticing that our “dry” heat is becoming damper by the year, as the city spreads and heats up the “heat island” effect of so much traffic and so many A/C systems grinding away.  I found that I had to have a refrigerated air system put in if I was going to be able to sleep at night in summer, and that stuff is expensive to run.  My house was built circa 1900, so it’s a modest size.  We finished the attic for my husband to use as his office when he retired, but I don’t heat or cool it now he’s gone, and I rarely go up there at all.

    The big homes you describe sound like what we call “MacMansions” here, only yours sound much more upscale than the tatty crap they put together with particle board and nail guns in these new divisions here.  But the state has little to sell that others want, so local governments do little to restrain the darker instincts of developers.

    The only stream around here was the flood wash from the huge parking lot behind these houses (for a hospital at the end of the block) which is also up-hill from us, and there’s only one storm drain back there, smack in the middle of the block — but the grating is almost always blocked with a thick mat of pine needles from the trees edging the parking lot, so water rushing straight down to my house for years had actually washed away a chunk of the foundation under the back porch without without anyone noticing.  We had to have cement poured in, and a diversionary block wall built about two and a half feet high — this is high desert country, mind you, but when it rains it really rains, and there are always flooding problems.  The whole east side is built on the sloping flood plain of the Rio Grande, with water pouring down off the Sandia mountains and all the paved areas.

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    @mudlark  Thanks for that encouraging news about the village that has found ways to save itself — it does seem as though real, positive change in this particular environment of a labor market on the brink of collapsing (into something else, largely automated and on-line based).  I can’t think of any successful news like that about dying US towns and cities either freezing working people out due to unaffordable housing or vanished jobs and tax income.  Te only thing that comes to mind is the cooperative efforts that have gone into revitalizing very small portions of the largely abandoned ruins of Detroit, with communal gardens and a lively but very poor arts scene as the focus of social revival (or so I’ve read).

    I’d read about pubs going under all over the UK, a development that I’ve seen attributed to the influence of inflows of muslim residents into old neighborhoods (that used to support a watering hole on every block, it seems), but that can’t be the whole story.  It’s heartening to read about a place pulling its own socks up to sponsor and support local amenities that would otherwise just vanish.

    Meanwhile, around here the New York Times is constantly full of stories about the latest egregious bullshit words and actions from the monster employers we patronize — Amazon, Apple, Face Book, the rest of them — and how workers are pushing back (Google workers protesting Google’s work for and links to the military, for instance); but these are broad movements in scattered work forces, not “local” in the sense discussed here.  Latest concern is about how Amazon pretended to consider smaller cities in order to use the “incentives” these offered for HQ locations there to leverage up the deals they finally made with DC and New York City, which were their pre-selected targets all along; and now people living in Queens, NY, a borough already subject to creeping gentrification, are terrified that all the rents there will go sky high and force them all out — but to where?  Of course, once automation hits full force (speaking of tsunamis, though we weren’t), there won’t be many live Amazon workers to house in Queens after all, so maybe the economic exiles can come back.

    And create some communal gardens . . . Uh, sarcasm, but not entirely.  Communal *anything* is better than a society sliced up so badly by economic autocracy and Right Wing disdain for the disadvantaged (which will soon be the majority, unless the Congress starts to swing into serious action under more Democratic leadership — which it might, or might not).  Well, better than anything except gang wars, which are “communal” efforts in their own ways.

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    @mudlark  Oh, it’s going to take a good long time to come up with some better solutions, and it will be very uneven as well — after all, we still have actual slavery going on in the “Kingdom of Saud” while the ISS whizzes around its orbit above Earth.  Some problems don’t really get solved at all, they just evolve into something else . . . The consequences of the Enclosures is rendered in unforgettable terms in Ronald Blythe’s book “Akenfield”, an old favorite of mine.  I hadn’t tied that (and the Luddites and what brought them into being) into a depression after the wars, though — but of course it’s all woven together.

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    @miapatrick  The worrying thing for me at the moment isn’t really the pass she gives the system. It’s the fact that, just as she isn’t doing anything about a race of aliens moving through the universe killing people for sport. She isn’t doing anything about the human root of the corporation

    The problem with that for me is that it’s coupled with all that child-like joy at the beginning when the package arrives for the Doctor, and her statement that she’s used Kerblam before.  So, Amazonblam is so *convenient*, try to make working there a little less of a nightmare please, and maybe up the levels of constant supervision by fake-polite guards called “team-mates” — yikes!

    This could have been fixed by allowing the Doctor to be a bit less ebullient about getting toys in the mail, and addressing directly the fact that a) it’s going to take more than a Doctor and crew to “fix” what’s rapidly shaping up to be humanity’s second biggest 21st c problem — the sucking out of the system of work without considering what could replace it as a lifetime focus for people who can’t sing or become perfectly meaningless icons for others to adore (begins with “K”, or example); and b) that the social solutions that work best have to come from and be carried by the people affected by the problem, rather than friendly outsiders with encouraging maxims to offer but no deep, personal understanding of the problems.  That ties up well with a Dcotor who has learned to accept death as something you can’t “fix” properly either.

    Why not just spell it out, as the wisdom that acceptance of one’s limitations can be, with some allusions to how that wisdom was won — by Doctors who came before?  I *want* some wisdom from this Doctor, with or without the confusion of a new style of body — some wisdom has been earned.  We’ve just watched it being earned through the AG seasons.  Ignoring all that seems just — rude, and dismissive.  And wasteful.

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    @jimthefish  WhitDoc . . .  seems to have forgotten a lot of life lessons. I quite like the hesitant naivete of this Doc but it sometimes seems to rely a little too much on her not having been remotely affected by the experiences of previous regenerations.

    That’s my major problem with her too.  And the wide eyes and big O mouth of surprised delight expression is starting to wear on me (very much in evidence in Kerblam!).

    @bluesqueakpip  The double levels of the Pickwoad sets, plus the varied seating, meant the actors and directors could change levels, fling themselves into a chair, show an explosion by swinging on the railings – lots of stuff. They looked like great sets to act in.

    And this one is just a weirdly lit big elevator car with not enough room to move around in, and nothing to do.  Thanks for clarifying that — I feel claustrophobic just looking at it and wondering why.  The potentialities of the actors’ bodies being expressive and interesting to watch in motion is canceled, especially with four of them in there.

    Re this Doctor more accepting of death: CapDoc started out with patches of that in a sort of alien-detachment sense (notably in Into the Dalek, as I recall), and got slammed for it by fans used to the more sympatico SmithDoc perhaps; now WhitDoc is showing some of this quality and it looks like simply more practical perspective that one would expect in a 2,000 yr old time traveler — and I’m seeing some similar criticism of that, here and there.  Here’s a point where I think some casting back to earlier experiences as AG Doctors learning acceptance-of-what-must-be-accepted the hard way might help to make this pragmatism more of an asset to the character than a puzzling and off-putting casualness with no visible underpinnings.

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    @janetteb  I do like Robots of Sherwood. I agree the script is very silly and the ending even sillier. I enjoy it because it is a fun play on the Errol Flynn movie and the banter between Capdoc and Robin is hilarious.

    Me. too — I was happily reminded of a bunch of lurid “historical” movies of my childhood, and I found poor Robin’s uncertainty about being real and/or fictional rather engaging.  Also the spoon.  And lots else about Robots of Sherwood.

    And this: discussion requires something more than a mere statement of preference and a dismissal of everyone else’s view points.

    Ever so YES.  If you approach like a troll, @seeoswald, no point being surprised by being called out as one (especially if “form” is an issue . . . ).  So why else are you here, seeoswald?  All the stuff you’ve said so far is just a regurgitation of a bunch of generalized and childishly dismissive talking points that have infested DW chat on reddit and other such sites for years.  Got something new and specific to offer?


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    @mudlark — Good luck with the nose!  Here in the American Southwest, oddities with noses (and cheeks, and ears) are taken quite seriously.  I’m glad yours is being taken that way too.

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    @missy  Although only fiction and an actor acting out that fiction, PC’s Doctor always made me feel safe. Strange isn’t it.

    I felt both the same, and the opposite — never knew, particularly in S8, which way he would jump, or how far he would go, but simultaneously there was no doubt whatever in my mind that this Doctor’s two hearts were positively molten with passion for decency, fairness, and kindness.  That fixed the game in a way, because it would almost always bring him round in the end to a softer landing rather than a hard one.

    Not when dealing with Cybermen, of course, because they themselves had no hearts at all (if I recall correctly).



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    @mudlark  Thanks!  And Fermor’s book is one of my favorites, right up there with, say, “Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village” et al.

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    @toinfinityandbeyond  — GAWD, that clip is *wonderful* — thanks so much!  Love it, love it — and they used the middle eight!  Hurray!

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    @cathannabel   I must have told him a dozen times each day ‘Don’t wander off’ with about as much effect as it had when various Doctors gave that instruction to various companions (he did wander off in the middle of Salzburg,

    I know the feeling, from when my husband and I did a couple of river cruises, and before it became just too much to even think about.  He got lost in Vienna, somehow made his way back across the city in time to get back on the boat for the next leg of the trip!  Exciting times . . . I’m glad you got to do this with your Dad.

    @thane16  Puro  — While in Prague, I had a truly creepy dream of people hanging long white sheet-like cloths from upper story windows in those taller apartment buildings.  Someone told me that that was in fact done in medieval times (?) to signal the presence of plague — but did Prague, as an inland city rather than a port, fall victim much to plague?  Anyway, that dream probably colored my sense of a sinister air about the place.

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    @margaret-blaine   . . . under Chibnall, the show seems to be moving in a different direction and the time for theorizing of a bonkers nature may, sadly, be over. Perhaps this has been a Moffat site more than a Dr Who site.

    My very thoughts.  Even a good story (like “Punjab”) is flatfooted, by which I mean — what you see is what you get, so how much more is there to say about it?  With Moffat, what you saw (and heard) was just one layer of what you got, so there was plenty to chat about, and reason to look again; and again.  So far, there’s been nothing I want to re-watch; and not a lot I want to say . . .

    @jimthefish  in all his episodes Chibnall has never shown the remotest interest in the Doctor.

    And that, I feel also, is exactly what’s going on here now.  She’s like agitated scenery, a sort of — talking McGuffin, as written.  What’s going on among the crew is the real focus, and that’s not a bad thing by any means — I recall some discussion during Capaldi’s run of too much close focus on the Doctor/Clara axis and a longing for more ensemble work to offset it (so here it is, solid and sometimes appealingly warm, but — unexciting, IMO).  She sets them in motion; they run around looking at stuff and discussing what it is, what it means.  The situation they’ve stepped into plays itself out without them messing it up, but — what are *they* there for?  What is *their* stake in the outcome; or hers?  I’m not feeling it.  And I miss that.  I miss feeling *involved* not as a companion, but as a traveling alien, a (gun-less) gunslinger for justice and compassion (and, sometimes, dangerous fury).  I don’t want to come here and moan about this over and over; but I’m not sure there’s enough else to discuss to stay engaged.

    . . . this series is just not doing nearly enough to take me out of my comfort zone. I want it to do it far more. I’m not so much feeling uncomfortable as slightly bored a lot of the time.

    Yes.  *sigh* Me too.

    @swordwhale  More and more I’m shouting “THIS IS THE SERIES I WANTED WHEN I WAS TWELVE!!!”

    That’s my problem with it; I haven’t been twelve in quite a long time, and going back to that place is just “been there, done that” for me these days.  I have a strong feeling that if Graham goes, that’s it for me: I’m gone too.  Sad, but not very; Doctor Who is indeed for everyone, just not everyone all at the same time.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave  Ye gods.  That clip really *hurts*, after all this time — and so much else that has hurt and continues to hurt.

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    @bluesqueakpip  High ratings — good!  Relieved to hear it.  Thanks.

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    @mudlark  Yaz . I thought I knew my Nan … But if this is true, if this is her life, then she lied to me.

    Graham. … that girl in there, she ain’t your nan, yet. It’s only later that she’ll decide how to tell it. And I honestly don’t know whether any of us know the real truth about our own lives’.

    This was the first hint of serious depth in this new series, for me — a suggestion of the complexity of human identities that are always, with the passage of time, changing (and this is re-enforced, if only in passing, by the change in the mission of the “demons” themselves, from assassin to witnesses).  Big sigh of relief from me — there’s hope now, for more than a clever sort-of-supere-hero comic book!

    @pedant — OMG!  The watch . . . thanks for that.

    @jimthefish  I like a grandstanding, speechifying Doctor but this incarnation of the Doctor seems to be somehow more sentimentally naive than passionate with it.

    Yeh.  I expressed myself somewhat similarly over on Faces discussion about this.  Whittaker is working fine for the stories we’re getting, but not working, for me, as an ancient alien traveler with a long and often painful history.  But maybe, for the newer, more youthful audience DW is hoping to capture, this is where you have to start to get there again later on.

    @kevinwho   Yeah, man.  I want a glint of that “I’m so tired of losing” moment — the *cost* of non-interference.  It doesn’t come free.  How weird — Walsh’s character is looking more to me like an experienced  Doctor than Whittaker does.

    @miapatrick  Re: the wedding, it was quite sweet, a little too sweet, though that was undercut by the fact we knew she knew the husband would be dead within hours. I know this is a fresh start and all that, but I did think their could have been some extra poignancy from the fact that the Doctor’s wife died still quite recently in her timeline, especially with the hand binding. It’s not as though River was only really married to Eleven.

    Yes.  There’s a price to pay, for such a harsh and completely unaknowledged severance of this Doctor from her own past.  The Doctor is a Time Lord; erasing her own long past completely from her consciousness, as they seem to be doing here so far, is a costly decision.

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . she, a rebel Time Lord, has to act like everything she hates about the Time Lords. Not interfere while terrible things are happening.

    Ah, well-spotted!  But that didn’t come through for me, until you pointed it out.  It literally didn’t occur to me — because I saw no sign that it occurred to WhittDoc.  I’m getting a very disturbing feeling of “Don’t frighten the horses” here — this is core AG Doctor.  The Past Matters, including the Doctor’s past — but not here, not up front and solidly, only by inference afterward.  Of course, this episode isn’t really about the Doctor, but about Yaz and her family.   But still . . .

    @tardigrade  . . . there must have already been a conversation about going back to save Grace, and specifically the impossibility of that. It feels like that probably should be been in an episode . . .

    Yes, that deserved an episode, and I’m disturbed that it hasn’t happened yet.  I’m worried that they might veer away from the Graham-Ryan-Grace emotional story because it’s potentially so strong — and this Doctor has, so far, no emotional ballast to pitch against/with it.  She doesn’t seem to have any remembrance of River’s fate in the Library, for example, to resonate even a bit with Graham’s loss of Grace (speaking of missed opportunities!).

    What are we, without our memories?  Obliterate the Doctor’s emotional past and, IMO, you obliterate her/his meaning, and with meaning, existence.  And that’s part of why comments are dwindling: there’s little or nothing to comment on about the Doctor herself.

    @janetteb  Graeme talking to Yaz. it was a good speech but I felt as though it should have been the Doctor saying it.

    Exactly; Graham is the wise elder here, and doing the job very well.   But the Doctor, who is more “wise elder” than anyone, is an Indiana Jones sort of figure (but more restrained of course) instead.  And the really worrisome aspect of this, for me personally, is that I’d rather have Graham continue in that role — which Walsh is doing excellently — than have WhittDoc assume it, because it fits him — but I don’t see how it can fit her, now that she’s been established as something like an adventurous young tour guide in dangerously exotic places . . . which is how I’m seeing her, so far.

    This was a good, well-thought out and heartfelt story well suited for our times.  I liked it.  But I think I’d have lied it just as well without WhittDoc, as long as Graham was still in it.

    Maybe I’m just too old for this, now.

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    @missy  Yes, many of us do . . . Funny, but it was always quite clear that Capaldi himself was not “his” Doctor (“He’s the Doctor, I’m just a guy”), and that the Doctor was separated from human by eons of not-human experience although electrifyingly connected to humanity at certain emotional points.

    The thing with Whittaker that I’m finding is that she seems to be her Doctor — but that Doctor is no more alien than my cat is.  A human with some enhanced abilities, brilliant tech, and a lot of odd experience, but — us.  A good woman to have as your friend: sympathetic (mostly), reliable, scattery but capable, with — so far as I can see — a good heart.  One good heart.  She pretty Zen, in fact — in and of the moment, devoid of any impulse to reflect.  She could just as easily be that adventurous aunt who zooms off to live with the nomads for a year, or gets asked to go help the space station solve a problem and ends up inventing a star-drive and punching through to Alpha Centauri — Victorian England produced a good handful of such women, lone explorers in exotic climes who just couldn’t be doing with Victorian/Edwardian “lady” ness and walked right out of it to do their own (Imperially protected) thing in Albania, Arabia, the Far East, etc..

    But alien?  No.  More Indiana Jones than Starman, so far.  Clearly, this is just fine for the current DW purpose.  A bit dull for me, though, and I’m not seeing much potential in Whittacker for a blossoming of depths.  But you never now . . .

    I’ll stay on for stories, and wait to see if there’s more.


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