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  • #67847
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant @mudlark et al

    Cheers for that, @pedant. I plan to dive into Chernobyl soonest. Time is at a premium at the moment as I try to wrangle this damn thesis into shape for final submission. But I’m looking forward to it. (Hope you’re taking care yourself btw)…

    btw, if anyone is looking for something a bit timey-wimey over the summer then I’d heartily recommend Russian Doll too. It’s great. And Natasha Lyonne has just rocketed to the top of my list of potential female Doctors.

    #67793
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @mudlark @cathannabel @janetteb et al

    I’d heartily add to the Years and Years recommendations. It is very RTD-esque but none the worst for it. It’s also a long overdue BBC foray into drama dealing with contemporary issues rather than desperately trying to avoid them in costume and/or crime drama.

    @pedant

    I’m very much looking forward to Chernobyl once I can figure out a (legal) way to get hold of it. Must also try and check out Good Omens too.

    #67732
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    Yep, sorry about that. The etheric beam locators must be on the blink….

    #67726
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    Just a bit of drive-by bad news. Paul Darrow, best known as the mighty Avon in Blake’s 7, has passed away. He’ll also be remembered as Captain Hawkins in the Silurians and (more notoriously) as Tekker in Timelash. The man was a legend and will be sorely missed.

    #66869
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    OK, here’s a cool thing for Christmas. Neil Gaiman talking about new apocalyptic poetry and its inspiration on him and with added Peter Capaldi reading The Magic Wood by Henry Treece. (Available for the next 29 days only).

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w8xl5

    #66863
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    The regular Xmas films Chez Fish go something like this:

    A Christmas Carol (various versions on rotation but more often than not the Muppets win out)
    In The Bleak Midwinter (of A Midwinter’s Tale if you’re American. Much overlooked and a great little film)
    Home Alone
    Trading Places
    Gremlins

    And of course, as @pedant says there’s lots of special TV episodes. I’d give shout outs to:

    Homicide: Life on the Streets ‘All Through the House’
    Buffy ‘Amends’
    Bones ‘The Santa in the Slush’

    And, of course, there’s the now sadly defunct Who Xmas specials. Personally, I find the Capaldi era surprisingly strong in this department as I wouldn’t have expected it of his Doctor and my go-to choice is always ‘Last Christmas’

    #66831
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @craig

    I think I guess the owner of that little gem, which actually makes me think that you might be right and that we’ve been getting visited by some botskis of late. Which is kind of a compliment, I suppose….

    #66417
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant @bluesqueakpip

    It’s pretty much the same as the gap between Series 9 and 10

    I’m not sure comparing it to the gap between s9 and s10 is that helpful, partly because the gap between the actual series is almost exactly two years between series proper. Where do you include Dr Mysterio? As the start of s10? Which still makes a year gap, with one special and then another four months until the actual series proper. But let’s not forget what it did to s10’s ratings. There’s a case to be made that it’s still long enough to knacker the good work that’s been done in rebuilding audience awareness.

    This is what the American commentators and Youtube noise generators can’t seem to grasp. The BBC definitely does not want to cancel the show

    I haven’t seen anyone anywhere seriously suggest that the show is under threat of cancellation. A few of the broflakes might be calling for it/wishing it but no one with the remotest credibility. I don’t think there’s the remotest chance the show will be cancelled not until it’s really gasping on its last legs. More likely it will end up becoming a co-production with something like Netflix sooner or later.

    And yes, it’s obviously a budgetary decision but what irks is the rather sneaky way they’ve been dripping all this out, trying to hide and spin it. What I’m struck with is that for someone who’s apparently ‘a fan’, Chibnall doesn’t really be that bothered about Who. Moffat split seasons to avoid too long a break (while also juggling Sherlock) and compromised his big finale to save the Christmas slot. At a time when he should really be brimming with ideas for his ‘five-year plan’, he really does give the impression that he doesn’t really give that much of a toss.

    #66407
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    Yep, I posted that earlier on the News thread but it kind of got lost under the ‘finale’ posts. And I suspect you’re right, that the move was to ensure there was at least some new Who ‘in’ 2019. It’s a mistake, I think. Gap years never do the show any favours.

    Although as the rumours have mostly turned out to be correct so far, I’d wager that s12 will be JW’s last one and that spinning it out like this means she can remain at least the marketable face of Who for another two years before moving on.

    #66399
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    More like The Twin Dilemma.

    And yes, that was true of the pretty flat progression of the BG show but we’re in a whole different world now. Unless you’re actually a soap opera then there’s no drama that doesn’t build up to something more than ‘wooo, it’s that utterly mediocre second-tier villain from the first episode’. In this day and age, that’s really not nearly good enough. Whichever way you cut it, that was the most mediocre and unsatisfying last episode (if we’re not calling it a finale) of any series of AG Who’s entire run. If nothing else, I’m certainly looking at Hell Bent and Death in Heaven in a whole new light.

    Right, off to ruminate. Will be back later to give it a proper kicking.

    #66396
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    Well, at least it answered that age-old fanboy question: ‘What would Timelash have looked like on a decent budget’.

    For a mid-late-series episode this would have been passable but for a finale it’s pretty damn poor.

    #66391
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord
    #66353
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant @bluesqueakpip @miapatrick

    Yeah, this doesn’t contradict anything that was coming out of the rumour mill. Whittaker and Chibbers were always going to on board for s12, as far as I know.

    Not sure about spurious though. A single source so far but I’ve seen no denials of a delay or a split season. I wouldn’t be massively surprised if either of those came to pass. I daresay we’ll hear one way or another in due course.

    #66331
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    oooh, I’m hearing Giles say it and I’m thinking still when he’s in school librarian mode, so I’m going to go for s2 or s3.

    (rummages around on IMDB.)

    I’m going to go for I Only Have Eyes For You…..

     

    #66281
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    It’s an interesting analogy and I think it’s definitely there but (and this feels oddly like something we’ve discussed on the Buffy threads) its kind of comparing apples and oranges. Who has not been ensemble show for a long time and I suspect that the way its mythos has panned out means that it never can be again.

    The issue I think is that ensemble shows need a geography to ground them. Sunnydale. Angel Inc. Torchwood. Even if its something theoretically mobile like the Enterprise or Serenity. Who in its classic form doesn’t have that. The characters aren’t rooted in a place or a situation, they’re just dropped into new ones. They can’t flit between familiar locales interacting with characters other than the Doctor (in the way that, say, Xander and Willow or Cordelia could have moments not rooted in the A plot of a particular story). Probably the last time Who could have really managed this was during Pertwee’s Earthbound phase, I’d say. If Chibbers had decided to leave WhitDoc earthbound for all of Series 11, as it looked she might be initially, than I think this current companion configuration would have worked brilliantly.

    #66259
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @kevinwho

    Nothing to apologise for. It was an interesting post.

    In answer to your question, I think Who’s real strength is that it does something audacious every so often. It’s the episodes which push the envelope slightly that seem to get remembered. All of the ‘classic’ stories are atypical in some way or another. Genesis of the Daleks is unusual in that it makes the Nazi allusions so much more blatant than they ever were before and ramped up the moral dilemma aspect. City of Death because it’s the most full embrace of the pantomimic aspects of the Williams/Adams era. Ghost Light or Fenric because they re-embrace narrative complexity in the show.

    It’s the reason why Blink or Midnight or Heaven Sent are so good and stand out so much. It’s also the reason why It Takes You Away is by a country mile the best (although still flawed) episode of Series 11. (I’ve even changed my mind about the frog and kind of like it now.)

    #66110
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @mudlark @bluesqueakpip

    I just want to point out that I’m not railing against some kind of BBC amphibian agenda here. Just at seeing a quite promising Stranger Things/Solaris fusion squandering its potential in such a spectacular fashion….

    #66104
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @whisht @craig

    And possibly ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’?

    #66102
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @miapatrick

    When it’s representing a sentient universe, one is enough…..

    #66100
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    For a while there, I thought I was going to have to eat my words of this week and call this a pretty good episode. Then frogs happened.

    Let’s just say that if I ever hear anyone diss Kill The Moon for moon eggs ever again I will not be responsible for my actions.

    #66086
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @cathannabel

    And, of course, the mighty but short-lived Long Blondes….

    #66075
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @craig

    yeah, I saw that earlier. As usual, CoG is one of the voices of reason among the WhoTubers and on this he’s dead right.

    I suspect the Whovian obsession with ratings comes from when ratings were used as the excuse for cancellation in the 1980s. It’s a hangover from a time when they actually meant something and they live in fear of a time when bad numbers means the end of the show.

    I suspect we’re past that now, at least for the time being. It would be my guess that at some point Who will find a home on a streaming service, whether that’s some current or future version of iPlayer, or Netflix or something else but there will come a time when a Series will be batch-released online and ratings will cease to even be released, let alone be of relevance.

    #66066
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @kevinwho

    Should we start calling this the divisive Chibnall era?

    Which (as @pedant says) implies that there was ever a non-divisive era. Afraid to say no such animal exists. Take a look at the audience reaction reports for pretty much any BG era of the show and you’ll see that Who fans have always been a bunch of moaning arses. In fact, I remember the Mrs Fish of the time and I went along to a meeting for a Who fan society in Sydney many years ago (during the interregnum, I think) and were quite gobsmacked at just how tribal and schismatic it was. There were, no word of a lie, three or four factions assembled, none of whom would have any truck with the other but all of whom courted us to see if we could be recruited to their cause. It was bizarre and comical but it pretty much made up our minds not to return.

    And his daughters are loving it

    Which reinforces a point that @bluesqueakpip raised earlier and I meant to address. That by any metric you can care to name, Series 11 is a major success. That there are quarters of the broflake contingent trying to call it a ratings failure just shows how idiotic they can be. As Pip and Pedant point out there are thousands of new fans, many of them young girls delighted to have someone they can cosplay and emulate. All you have to do is look at the endless tweets of them delightedly in their rainbow-stripe coats and sonics.

    And that’s as it should be. They are who the show is for, after all. This is what the likes of bowelstreak and his cohorts forget, and which I try never to forget. While I have a right to my opinion, that opinion doesn’t really matter a whole lot. Not as much as those of the emerging generations of fans. My opinion probably counted for something when Tom Baker was facing off with Jagaroth or Davison with Mawdryn, but not anymore. Now, I’m strictly along for the ride. If I enjoy where the show is going, fine. If I don’t, then really there’s many other things I should be getting exercised about. And that’s why I’ll always try to register my opinion here, or sometimes on the Graun, focus as much on the positives as I can (not always succeeding obviously) and then shut the hell up and let the show get on with it.

    What I’m hoping is that Chibnall and any future successors can sit down and analyze what makes the show appeal to both groups

    Well, in an ideal world, yeah. But I don’t think it’s ever really happened. As I’ve said elsewhere, RTD had the smarts to draft in writers like Moffat to bring what he couldn’t to the writing table. And to an extent, Moffat continued that tradition (if he perhaps let it get a little too stale). Chibbers’ mistake, I think, is failing to do that. He’s not providing variety and he’s not providing continuity. Deliberately so, I think. And I suspect it’s a mistake. Because this is where the dullness is coming in for me. As I said, I don’t find it bad, just kind of samey and there’s been nothing standout, not in terms of Who anyway, although the historicals have had significant dramatic power in their own right. But by this time, Ecclestone would have had Dalek, Tennant would have had Girl in the Fireplace, Smith would have had Eleventh Hour and Capaldi Listen. It’s not too late, of course, but we’re quite far on now and for me it makes this series rather flat narratively speaking.

    But no showrunner is ever going to please anyone. RTD was always going to have a ‘gay agenda’ for some people (he didn’t), Moffat was always going to be too complicated (he wasn’t) and Chibnall is always going to be PC gone mad (he’s not really). A mix of voices can help, but as with any creative, any showrunner has to be true to their voice and vision and if there are people who don’t like it (there are always going to be) then they just have to suck it up and either get with the programme or sit it out until the next regime change.

    @bluesqueakpip

    Not liking a Doctor is not necessarily a reflection on how well they inhabit the role as they see it – it can just mean that the role as they see it is not how you see it

    There’s certainly an element of that for sure but I’m not sure it’s the whole story. Take Hartnell, for example. I don’t really like the First Doctor. Never have done. But do I accept him as a character? I definitely do. Same with Colin Baker. Really dislike his Doctor but I’m convinced by the performance. I was never convinced by Ecclestone. And I’m not really by Whittaker either. Even when this week she got her ‘Doctor moment’ with King James, I didn’t really get a sense of conviction from it. It felt like a recitation rather than a character moment to me. Rather like how when Ecclestone said ‘fantastic’, I was always left thinking ‘you don’t really think this is fantastic at all, do you?’

    And sometimes it can happen with a Doctor’s era. I didn’t really buy McCoy’s doc when he started. It was pastiche and annoying, trying too hard to be what JNT thought was Troughtonesque. But by the end of the run, McCoy had found the true voice of his Doctor and I totally bought the character. Same in reverse with Tom Baker actually. Pretty much from the off, he nailed his Doctor but just look at him in s18. He’s really not trying that much anymore. There are occasional flashes but really to me the Fourth Doctor’s last story is Horns of Nimon (let’s say Shada to make it slightly more palatable).

    But I suspect we’re never going to reach agreement on this one and that’s totally cool. And you’re essentially right, that the character of the Doctor is so vague and multi-valent and is unique in just how much an individual actor brings to it that you’re never going to please everyone. As you say, everyone has a personal interpretation of how the Doctor should be and there are several ‘types’. For instance, I think people are right when they say that Whittaker’s Doc is somewhat in the Davison mould. Now Davison was very much ‘my’ Doctor when I was the target age for the show but he’s never going to make my list of Top Docs. And consequently, I suppose, WhitDoc with her ‘happy-clappy let’s put flowers in our hair’ approach is never going to appeal either because I tend to align her with that subset of Doctors. (And it’s maybe complicated slightly by her being the first female Doctor and I imagine that most of us have been formulating our own headcanon of what that should be like for years.)

    the thought of an episode consisting entirely of the Whittaker Doctor on her own would make you break out in hives the way Heaven Sent did me

    Actually, I think I’d totally love to see that and that it might be the best thing for WhitDoc to see her operating away from her gazillion companions. Maybe a Lodger-style scenario where she’s separated from the TARDIS and companions and has to find a way back. But at the same time I think Heaven Sent (which needless to say I think is probably the highest bar AG Who has reached) is one of those episodes that wouldn’t work for any other Doctor. In the same way that Rosa could only really have worked with WhitDoc or City of Death for Tom Baker.

    Moffat had three for an awful lot of the Smith Doctor’s run

    He had the sense though for them not to be permanent additions. Both River and Rory dropped in and out as regulars and there’s really only one or two stories where they’re all in situ. A TARDIS team of four is just too much I think. One of the AG innovations that does work, I think, is having the companions not confined to the TARDIS but dropping in, as it were, continuing to have their own life back on Earth. I think that worked and suspect Chibnall should have maintained that. That way you could have a, say, Yaz-free story without it being some weird issue. She just happened to be working that day.

    you really sound like me versus the Capaldi Doctor

    Now, I really will try to dispute this one. As I said above, I’m not pining for Moffat or Capaldi. That era is done and it was done well and I’d even argue that it lasted at least one episode too long. I really want the WhitDoc to work and I really want to like her more than I actually do. I really do believe that I’ve been willing her to succeed, not fail and that it’s with the greatest reluctance that I offer these criticisms. These things take time to bed in and I kept waiting and waiting, saying ‘OK, that didn’t quite work but let’s give it a bit longer’. If anything, I’m reminded of when Colin Baker became the Doctor. I was quite excited and after the whole ‘change, m’dear’ thing I thought ‘this is going to be good, this is going to be great’ and I sat through The Twin Dilemma, Attack of the Cybermen and Vengeance on Varos and I think the first episode of Mark of the Rani before I reluctantly came to the conclusion that ‘yeah, this is what it is and I don’t really like it’.

    And at that point, the only thing to do is to maybe casually drop in every now and again to keep an eye on it but to move on for the time being. That’s what I did then and chances are that’s what I’ll do now. And as others have said, the advantage of now as opposed to then is that we have the whole show at our fingertips. Even if the current iteration isn’t floating your boat, you can occupy yourself with blogs, Big Finish and other media, and even previous eras while cheering on the show in the abstract from the sidelines.

    (Again, apologies for the extremely epic nature of this post. And thanks for reading.)

    #66044
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    I too have been looking forward to a woman Doctor and part of me thinks that the reason it’s become such a charged issue now is because it kept getting put off for so long. Probably, it should have happened after Smith (although I’m glad we got Capaldi). Really, it would have been wise if the Beeb had followed Sydney Newman’s advice and cast a female doctor back in the 80s.

    I think a fair amount of it is just that inevitable sadness that comes when you have to move on from something you really enjoyed to something new

    There’s always an element of that, of course and transition from one era to another is sometimes a wrench. (Moffat had the smarts, for example, to continue to give his era an RTD feel at least initially. Whereas Chibbers’s approach seems to be to break with tradition as much as he possibly can. As I’ve said before, too far maybe. WhitDoc doesn’t seem to have access to her previous incarnations’ memories and experiences a lot of the time, I’ve felt.)

    Certainly there’s a feeling that this is like coming to the Williams years after the Hinchcliffe era. There’s just no way of expelling the notion that it’s certainly different and just not as good. But at this stage this is definitely not my first rodeo and I’m really not pining for Moffat and Capaldi to come swooping back. That era was great but it’s done. I really want to get on with the Chib/Whittaker era but it’s just not happening. Not yet, anyway. I’ve been holding off and waiting but I’m genuinely surprised at just how much clock-watching I’m doing through episodes, wondering just how long I’ve got left.

    But, Chibbers isn’t Moffat. He’s RTD

    I get what you mean and S1 was definitely clunky as hell. There’s some really bad stuff there but to me it works because there’s enough cracking episodes sprinkled through it to make it work.

    But I’d say Chibs is far more JNT. More specifically JNT with Bidmead riding his coat. In the sense that he seems to want shift the thematic tone of the show far more dramatically than had been the case for years before. Which is totally fine — I’m very much on board with what he wants to do, just not with the way he’s going about it, which strikes me as clumsy and unsubtle.

    The historicals are a case in point. The four-person TARDIS crew might superficially look like the first crew but it reminds me far more of Davison’s first ensemble really. I’ve always felt that the historicals worked back in the day because we were still learning about the show, learning to know these characters, so seeing them embroiled in a historical setting was an interesting way to see them tested. But after a while, as the show inevitably picked up its own cultural mass, its own tropes, they just became less interesting. The show had irrevocably drifted from that mission statement and I don’t really think there was any going back.

    Having said that, the historicals are the best thing about this series. Rosa and Punjab are great bits of dramatic TV, I think, but I’m not convinced they’re particularly good bits of Who. Certainly they don’t integrate the historical and the Who elements nearly as well as the Hartnell ones did. We never, as far as I recall, got anything as clumsy as that little lecture at the end of Rosa in the Hartnell days.

    The problem for me is that a lot of the time this really doesn’t feel like Who. What it does remind me of, oddly, is Class. But I think at times even Class had more life to it. Certainly Katherine Kelly was a lot more Doctor-ey a lot of the time than Whittaker seems to be. (Ditto Michelle Gomez at the later end of her Missy days.) Class, I think, is really quite underrated — maybe that’s a blog right there.

    Whittaker, I feel, lacks conviction (in much the same way that Ecclestone often seemed to). Even when she’s doing her breathless enthusiasm bit, I’m just not feeling that it’s sincerely meant. Which worked for Ecclestone in the sense you could say that he was covering for his post-war PTSD. And maybe you’re right, Pip, in that its meant to mask her discomfort with the gender change.

    But it will be interesting to see how just how Series 12 goes. If the current gossip is true then we could potentially be more than halfway through this era. I’m not convinced that’s going to be the case but it’s a bizarre thought in itself. But what frustrates me most about this era is not that it’s bad — it’s not, there’s stuff to love in just about every episode — but just that it’s boring and underachieving. The Colin Baker era was objectively bad. It was over-acted with illogical stories and production problems that were transparently played out on screen. But it was never dull. It had the fascination (and feeling) of watching a wasp trapped in a pantomime horse. But this is often dull to me. Too often I seem to get the feeling that it’s trying to use (admirable) conviction as a substitute for ideas. The lack of arcs isn’t helping this but for the first time in the reboot it feels like narratively the show is treading water, not moving forward, not evolving. And in a series that sees the first female Doctor that’s pretty worrying, I think.

    @craig

    I don’t think the troll conversation was particularly directed at this site, just a general discussion of the timbre of current fan discourse.

    #66033
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @thane16

    Happy birthday. Hope it’s a good ‘un!

    #66008
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    I do have a lot of sympathy for that view and I’m no one to talk about not taking on the trolls with the amount of flame wars I’ve become embroiled in. And you’re right, I think, that silence is counterproductive in the current climate and it’s not what I advocate by and large. I just think that it’s more productive not to join the fight on their terms. Take it elsewhere. Make it a multi-valent conversation rather than just their voice and everyone else just lost among the babble of dissenters.

    To continue with the Farage analogy, which is, you’re dead right, the biggest dereliction of journalistic duty in this country in decades. What you don’t do is to continue to invite him on Newsnight. You make serious news programmes highlighting exactly the sort of hypocrisy that you outline above. We just didn’t see that in the last years, or at least not nearly enough of it.

    It’s possible that you’re entirely right in your ‘take the fight to them’ approach and that I’m just too weary and very much in ‘time to leave the battlefield’ mode. Who used to be fun*. Talking about it, debating it used to be fun. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s what got me through some very tough times in my life. Right now, it just doesn’t feel like fun.

    (*And that’s not an argument for non-political, non-serious stories as it’s often interpreted. I’m all for them.)

    #66005
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    Forgive me, the last thing intended is to slap any wrists. I’d probably argue that @pedant‘s colourful language was aimed at a generality and a concept rather than a group of people but it’s a fair point. If we expect a higher standard of discourse that should be across the board.

    Yes, unconscious bias is definitely a thing and certainly Moffat was more guilty than most of slipping into having a little clique that was largely a ‘white boys’ club’ for at least the early years of his tenure. And I’m not really trying to put forward that tedious ‘meritocracy’ argument that the broflakes often do. You should absolutely say ‘I’m going to cast a woman Doctor’, ‘I’m going to have at least two Asian writers’, ‘two female directors’ etc but I don’t think that’s what I was saying. I think it was more that once those decisions have been made, you don’t try and shape their stories, or the series in general, by saying ‘we’ve had two leftie stories now, so I want a rightie one for a bit of balance’. You give the writers their head and let the story take them wherever, the political thrust (or not) of the story coming from their own process and not externally imposed upon them.

    It’s slightly more complex than that, of course. We don’t know for sure if, say, Malorie Blackman wanted to write about Rosa Parks and pitched it to Chibbers or whether he wanted a Rosa story and asked her specifically to write it.

    It’s also worth being aware of the biases that we ourselves bring to the show and I try to do that as much as possible. It’s never lost on me, for example, that I’m probably more likely to gravitate towards CapDoc because of the fact that he’s white and Scottish and that there are resonances to WhitDoc that I’m blind to because of my gender. But as long as I’m aware of that, it shouldn’t overly affect my ability to critique the show. Would I have been any less harsh on Arachnids or Conundrum if Kris Marshall had been the Doctor? I don’t think so. If anything, it might have been worse.

    #65998
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant and @thane16

    Certainly bowelstreak is one of the worst of the red-pill end of the Who commentariat and the increasingly high profile he’s gained over the course of this series has alarmed me. I’m not sure he can even believe half of the inflammatory crap he comes out with and I’m convinced he’s just playing up to the crowd now. He’s basically imported the Trump playbook into Who and I’m of the mind that just ignoring him and not even engaging with him is the best policy. (Because if we’d maybe did that with the Tango Twat a few years back we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. Ditto with Farage.)

    Arguing with these guys just increases their visibility and gives them the presence, if not the validity, they crave. The best way to call out their BS I think is not on their own thread, not even to reference them but to make a new post, or a new video or tweet or whatever that counters their views with fresh argument. That way, I think, they stay at the fringes where they deserve. There’s lots of arguments of this approach I think, not least it keeps the blood pressure down but if you deprive these idiots of the hits and long trailing comment threads then it means there’s less chance of the MSM picking up on them and mistakenly using them as representative of the views of the fanbase at large rather than as the few maladjusted weirdos from the margins that they actually are.

    @janetteb

    I too really like the idea that the Doctor just rummages for her new outfit from a charity shop. My main problem is that this outfit itself seems to be way too coordinated for that to have actually been the case. I would have preferred something more raggle taggle for the WhitDoc personally. It’s the same reason I prefer SmithDoc’s first outfit to his later burgundy ensemble (or CapDoc’s later hoodie look to his early one). It just looks more ‘found’. And as a personal preference I do also think that colours that are too light don’t seem quite Doctorly enough for some reason. The best example for me is that the instant McCoyDoc swapped his white jacket for the dark brown one he instantly inhabited the role much more in my view.

    @bluesqueakpip (and all of the above too)

    No, Who shouldn’t really be party political but it almost certainly never has been. In fact, the closest it’s come to it has been with Arachnids and its Trump pastiche and the actual mentioning of the Orange One. I don’t have any particular problem with mocking the so-called POTUS but I still think it was a mistake narratively. It just made the show far too parochial politically in a way that the show had deftly avoided for 55 years before that. Notice how RTD was careful not to identify Harriet Jones with one particular party or who even the most blimpish of the Pertwee bureaucrats were not specifically aligned to one party or another (although you could probably make pretty educated guesses about the affiliations and beliefs of the likes of Mr Chinn or Sir Reginald Styles).

    The best way to do that is to make sure you’re deliberately commissioning writers you don’t agree with politically

    I don’t think so. You hire writers on the strength of the story they’re pitching and the commitment they bring to that idea rather than filling quotas. It’s ‘is this a story that’ll work on Who’ rather than ‘right, we better get a Tory writer in now to balance things up a bit’. And at the end of the day, KerBlam! for me doesn’t work not because of its politics but because it’s a pretty prosaic, by-the-numbers slab of Who that could have come straight out of mid-period Tennant or even early-to-mid McCoy.

    And it’s easy to forget when we’re busy defending Who from idiotic accusations of SJW/NPC flapdoodle that the show has always been home to a multitude of political outlooks, even if they largely gravitate around humanistic/liberal/very soft left centre of gravity. Yes, The Daleks is an anti-nuclear, anti-fascism parable but it’s also pretty blatantly anti-pacifism and pro-military intervention. Given the times it was written, I’d say it’s a pretty straightforward rebuke to CND disarmament rhetoric, coming from a place somewhere on the right. Similarly, the Peladon stories, often held up as textbook Political Who, are deeply conservative — and royalist — in their outlook. Just look at the representation of the workers in Monster. They’re easily manipulated idiots, for want of a better word.

    And what we’ve got at the moment with the fandom is all the little white boys who never grew up complaining that their show is no longer about them

    No, that’s the fringe morons like bowelstreak and while they often shout the loudest that is not all of fandom. Contributing equally to the increasingly toxic atmosphere are the positively evangelical pro-Series 11 fans who shout down any criticism (and there’s plenty to be critical about) by screaming sexism and misogyny, whether that’s justified or not. I don’t see much evidence that they’re being shouted down and are in fact doing just as much shouting themselves and in just as reductive a way as the red pill contingent. Who are being shouted out at the moment are all the fans who are somewhere in the middle and who are to varying degrees sympathetic to the current series but whose misgivings are being drowned out by the extremists at both ends of the spectrum. Don’t believe me? Look at the latest videos by the traditionally more moderate vloggers like CrispyPro, TheWhoAddicts and CouncilOfGeeks. It’s becoming an increasingly identifiable problem.

    And, much as I hate to say it, the fact that rhetoric like ‘Shouty Little Boys’ is making an appearance on this site tell me that it’s not a problem relegated to Twitter and YouTube and that @pedant is right in that it is infecting all of fandom in the same way that it’s already infected Star Wars and Star Trek. We used to be better than this. I remember in the days when @htpbdet was still with us that we would tend to disagree more than agree but I don’t ever recall it becoming fractious or dismissive. Something has definitely changed since then and so, yeah, @pedant, I think a blog on this might be very timely.)

    Finally, @craig I’m sure we’ve discussed this quite recently but I think that the current moderation policy is the right one. The more idiotic of the trolls are essentially drive-by’s who get bored easily and to start deleting their posts willy nilly (save for the occasional one that is downright abusive or offensive) would just feed into their sense of grievance.

    #65942
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    I must admit I think the new scarf is really quite spiffy. That and the stovepipe hat (or fez) should be permanent additions to WhitDoc’s wardrobe.

    I’m hoping that the fanboys don’t get up in arms about the colours. After all, the Doctor wore multicoloured stripes years ago. Just because they’re horizontal rather than vertical shouldn’t make a difference. It will, of course. But it shouldn’t.

    I must admit the sheer combativeness in fandom around this series is making me so weary now. It really shouldn’t be like this.

    #65923
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @tardisprototype94

    Social Messages are everywhere

    Lawks. As they have been ever since the show started.

    #65918
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    Alan Cumming was lots of fun in this and, um, that’s it really. Spent much of the episode being reminded of The Mark of the Rani, which, oddly enough, was the story that made me check out of the show back in the 80s.

    I think I’m done. At least for the time being….

    #65830
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @miapatrick

    it seemed to me that all the consciousness was in the system, not individual robots.

    Which seems to me be the problem. If the System is in control of the bots, then why bother with a needlessly cryptic SOS? Why not just turn off all the bots? Presumably because Charlie had hijacked the control protocols in some way. But I’m still thinking the CharlieBots seemed rather autonomic in their actions for their mass forced suicide to be entirely comfortable (c.f. The Vardies in Smile).

    @bluesqueakpip

    the reprimands being given in (admittedly creepy robot) positive way

    We’re probably venturing into the realms of digressionary interpretation here because I didn’t find those reprimands in any way positive. Creepy, yes. But very Black Mirror-esque in their passive-aggressive quashing of the human instinct to commune. Personally, I doubt that they’re meant to be seen as signifiers of KerBlamm being ‘essentially the good guys’. At best, it’s another instance of them failing to understand the human cost of their business model.

    I think at the moment we’re rather over-programmed to think of corporations as bad things

    There’s certainly a case to be made that it’s an overused trope, particularly in Who and I’d agree it’s refreshing that the episode attempted to engage with an alternative viewpoint, not to mention a social issue that’s actually a lot more burning than many are still giving it credit for. (I wouldn’t say ‘over-programmed’ however, otherwise the tossers would be less inclined to flout popular opinion and actually pay their taxes, perhaps.)

    The problem is the deeply dated and unambitious solutions it presents. (You’re possibly right that McTighe started digging into the implications of the subject and just threw up his hands and gave up as the deadline approached.) Invoking a deeply Victorian enlightened overseer and ‘take comfort in the dignity of work’ approach is simply not good enough, not for Who at any rate. The fundamental problem, as the Doctor identifies, is that the work is pointless and unnecessary. Putting more people in that position isn’t a solution. It’s perpetuating the problem, possibly in a way that’s just going to lead to more Charlies further down the line, especially as they’ve seen that his homicidal strategy actually bore some fruit. It would have been nice to have seen at least some attempt by the Doctor at something a little more radical. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean anti-capitalist. The Doctor essentially solved the problem of the Vardies by introducing them to capitalism and yet it was a far more satisfying ending to a story than this one.)

    This is, as far as I can remember, the first time that the Doctor put the needs of an institution (even a nominally benign one) over the needs of individuals and it’s also one of the few times where she’s upheld the status quo, despite it clearly remaining against the interests of at least half the people involved. That’s like solving The Daleks by setting up a few conflict resolution counselling sessions (which to be fair is essentially what did happen at the end of the Zygon two-parter) or maybe even like asking Rosa to be happy with getting unlimited access to half the seats on the bus but to make no more fuss than that.

    And that makes it possibly the most un-Doctor-ey thing I’ve ever seen to the point that I can’t imagine any other incarnation acting in that way, not even the First in his earliest, most ambivalent, phase.

    #65746
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    Avoiding the obvious critique is fine but I think you have to think it through and not just do it for the sake of it. Leaving aside the plotholes which, let’s face it, have never really bothered us, this episode seems to be all over the place intellectually, with its ‘terrorism wins’ and ‘let’s define people’s self worth by their jobs, even if they are crappy and essentially pointless and unnecessary’ tropes.

    I agree though that it does deliberately try to confound our expectations with what we’ve seen in such stories in the past, which is fair enough, and kind of interesting. But it does raise some awkward questions in terms of character in that this incarnation seems to be in no way affected by her previous experiences prior to this story. While you’re right that the managements of Oxygen and Kerblamm are very different, the former did nearly kills his friend and left him blind, never mind the stories before that. You would think that those experiences would have at least some kind of residual effect on the Doctor’s character.

    I’m also slightly concerned at the vagueness around the sentience of the despatch bots. If they’re essentially dumb terminals controlled by the system then it’s (arguably) fine for the Doctor to instruct thousands of them to blow themselves up. But it seems to me that there’s enough evidence to suggest that they have a decent level of autonomy and therefore sentience to put that act on an almost McCoy level of dickishness. And for the apparently ‘nice’ Doctor, she didn’t seem to make much more than a half-hearted effort to save Charlie.

    They looked like great sets to act in

    Absolutely. I’d like to see Whittaker try to regenerate in this set. There just doesn’t seem to be the room for it. Unless the regeneration itself is triggered by her being clobbered by one of those crystal pistons.

    #65739
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    We’re talking apples and oranges here

    To an extent we are, I suppose. I guess I was citing Oxygen as the most recent episode to take on modern capitalism before this one. But I was more thinking that if you take this whole sub-genre from The Happiness Patrol to The Sun Makers to The Green Death and beyond, Kerblamm really sticks out as being really unusually conservative in its conclusions. Because I can’t help but feel that WhitDoc’s stance here really contrasts with pretty much every Doctor before her. Which, if nothing else, should please the alt-righties who complain that the show constantly has them ideologically in their sights.

    But nonetheless, for a story that seems to want to make a statement about the future of work and automation, it seems astonishingly old-fashioned in its outlook, if for no other reason in that it seems to want to reassert a link between work and wages, labour and identity, that employers like Kerblamm have irreversibly uncoupled now, let alone in the future. I can’t help but feel that McTighe might have benefited from reading a bit of Richard Sennett, Barry Wellman or Angela McRobbie before he sat down to write this.

    #65731
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    Shades of The Happiness Patrol, Time Heist and The Beast Below to that one, although mostly what it reminded me of was The Long Game. A nice enough runaround with a touch of stunt casting and a premise that’s going to look quite dated further down the line. And still that vague feeling of what would have been a filler episode in times gone by.

    I must admit I was kind of troubled to see the Doctor quite so excited about the Kerblam Man. The Doc enthusing about a corporate marketing symbol? Really? The overall ‘human dignity of work’ didn’t much sound like the Doctor either, especially not after Oxygen last year.

    Which kind of is one of my reservations with WhitDoc, I suppose. She 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. It was nice that JW got a bit more to work with this week and got to sit the new Doctor moral indignation test this week — although I’m not sure she passed, personally.

    That said, she totally rocked the fez. She should keep it.

    On a more structural note, like Dan over at the Other Place, I’m starting to miss the pre-titles teaser. I get that going straight into the titles is kicking it old school but I think the teaser helps to contextualise the episode right from the off. Certainly, I think this story more than most could have totally benefited from it.

    And I still can’t get over how cramped that console room is compared to the last few iterations. For some reason, it also seems to remind me of a cast off set from a mid-eighties Wogan. I do like the multi-panel monitor though.

    #65709
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    the opening shots in ‘we want some changes around here’

    I dunno, it seems a bit early in his run for him to be demanding changes, especially as it seems that the Beeb seems to have gone out of its way to accommodate him as it is. Unless he’s angling for more money, I don’t see what else there is that he could possibly want to change. I do suspect there’s nothing in it though, especially in an online climate that’s so fractious and full of broflakes agitating for change, cancellation and so on.

    It is possible that he’ll go, I suppose and the scuttlebutt was that he didn’t really want to do it in the first place but I the word was that he’d also committed to five years, so I dunno. Certainly, Whittaker will not hang around that long and I’d imagine her to do the standard three-year stint but again I wouldn’t be surprised if she did go earlier. She’s an actor with incredible depth and she’s clearly in demand and I’d imagine that she’d want to be moving on to other things, unlike say actors like Tennant or Capaldi who had a personal link to the character. I imagine it’s just another gig to her in the long run. So I wouldn’t be surprised if she does go after s12. That’s assuming Chibbers isn’t planning to stun us with a surprise regeneration on New Year’s Day. He’s done such a good job of keeping the show under wraps this year that he could conceivably manage it.

    I also see that the even latest rumblings are that it’s a split season. Not convinced by that either, bearing in mind just how much of a disaster it was when they did it last time. That strikes me as more gloomy broflake deathwishing, which is precisely the reason why I’m so uncomfortable with not enjoying the current run as much as I would like. I really don’t want to find myself lumped in with these eedjits. Personally, I’m glad that the show will be back ’19, just as I’m glad that there seems to be a new influx of fans who are enjoying the new direction. I don’t think the Beeb will want to screw around with the success that’s been attained this year by screwing around with gap years, split seasons and regime changes too much just yet.

    #65696
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    As you were. I hopefully stand corrected. S12 airing in Autumn 2019.

    https://www.starburstmagazine.com/doctor-bbc-confirm-series-12-broadcast-2019

    Though interesting speculation that Chibnall and Whittaker might go afterwards. Where, one wonders, would that leave the much-vaunted five-year deal?

    #65694
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @mudlark

    Sorry to hear that. As @pedant says, always best to get these things removed as early as possible. Hope it all goes OK.

    #65691
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    s12 is definitely in pre-production, although the early stages if the chat on Twitter and thereabouts is to be believed. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that we could see it late in 2019 but I doubt it, not with the amount of post that Who requires. I’m pretty sure they were well under way with filming s11 by this time last year. Could be wrong though. Those same voices who were mooting the Xmas special change are now hinting at a Jan 2020 premiere and I’m inclined to believe them.

    @missrori and Pip

    I get the argument that a regeneration in The Doctor Falls might have been a bit depressing but to my mind tonally it suited not only Capaldi’s run but that story. What irks is that that two-parter is pretty much perfect Who, Moffat running on full mojo and Bill’s loss and that defining speech to Missy/Master is lost by not having him regenerate at the end. I’m also not convinced that refusing to regenerate fits Capaldi’s Doctor. It seemed entirely appropriate for Tennant and I think it could have worked for Smith too but there was just too many instances of him not being that bothered about it before that story to really convince. And he was always the Doctor willing to make the tough decisions, the sacrifices. It just felt off. To me, The Doctor Falls would have been Nu-Who’s Androzani if they’d stayed to the plan.

    Not that I hate TUAT. Aside from a few missteps, it was perfectly fun but I’m just not sure ‘fun’ was the right way to end 12’s run. He should have gone out fighting — literally and intellectually and that ground was laid and squandered in The Doctor Falls. Personally, if we couldn’t have had 13’s run starting at Christmas, and I kind of understand why Chibnall might not have wanted to do that, I think we should have had a ‘missing adventure’, a prolonged regeneration flashback or something like that. Maybe with McGann, or even Bradley.

    As to the scheduling move, it doesn’t massively bother me. But I think you can still do Christmas episodes without shoehorning Christmas in. Time and the Doctor, Doctor Mysterio and Husbands of River Song had only a passing Christmas relevance and they were perfectly fine stories. (Well, maybe not Time and the Doctor.) I think there could have been ways to continue the tradition. The problem is, I suspect, that Chibnall, while a great writer in many ways, just doesn’t have the sense of either festive bombast of RTD or the fairytale wonder of Moffat and you need either to do a Christmas ep. It looks like he’s at least got the self-awareness to realise this so maybe a New Year ep is a better fit.

    #65639
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    I don’t think this really qualifies as a spoiler. No Christmas Special this year but a New Year Day one instead.

    https://www.denofgeek.com/uk/tv/doctor-who/61805/doctor-who-2018-christmas-special-moved-to-new-years-day

    Cue the usual outrage but I’m not sure I’m all that bothered by this. Can’t recall ever actually watching a Christmas episode ‘live’ and shoehorning in festive feelgoodness into some of them made them feel a little forced (Yes, Time of the Doctor, I’m looking at you).

    I am slightly irked on Moffat’s behalf that he exerted himself with Twice Upon A Time in order to keep the Christmas slot for Chibnall to just let it die. If for no other reason than it now needlessly neutered the end of The Doctor Falls by artifically extending CapDoc’s regeneration when that episode should really have been his far more effective swansong.

    My other concern, despite continued ambivalence to s11, is that it also means we’re looking at another year gap until s12 and I wonder if that might undo the good work that’s been done in lifting the ratings again. They certainly didn’t do Smith’s and Capaldi’s runs any favours when they happened in the past.

    #65622
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    it might be that the change from the direction of the Moffat years is so great that it’s going to take a series to get your head round

    That’s distinctly possible, of course, but I’ve seen a number of dramatic changes in direction over the years, not all I’ve cared for (the shift from the sublime Hinchcliffe/Holmes era to the Williams one for instance). And this is certainly a doozy, probably the single biggest tonal shift since the transition from Troughton to Pertwee.

    But I’d say the strongest comparison is with JNT’s first season as producer, which had a similar upgrade in look, style and the themes it addressed. It’s also notable for the significantly different take on the Doctor, perhaps more interesting in this case, because the character was still played by the same person, with Baker becoming much more of a background figure in the same way that WhitDoc is this year. One other point of interest might be is that Lalla Ward took a lot of the Doctorly responsibilities in her last stories and did so really well. She really is the earliest template for a female Doctor and did it very effectively indeed (more convincingly, I’m afraid to say, than Whittaker is). In an ideal world, she really should have been the next Doctor after Baker and it’s such a shame that our Female Time Lord retrospective stalled before getting to her.

    The difference is that in 1963, the events of Partition were so close that it’s unlikely that the BBC would have let them do it

    Oh, totally. The one thing I’m enjoying about this series is the engaging with history that’s not from the ‘officially sanctioned white-person’s guide to the world’. Long may that continue.

     I think what Whittaker’s going for might easily be confused with Jodie Whittaker, the actor, being nervous about her performance when it’s actually the Whittaker Doctor, as the Doctor, being nervous about herself.

    Yes, I think there’s an element of that and that is what she’s trying to convey but I’m still not convinced that she’s doing so successfully. The overall impression is still of an actor struggling to find their way into a role, not of a character tormented by self doubt. For us to see that we’re really going to have to have much more in the script pointing us in that direction rather than leaving it merely to audience headcanon.

    Someone said above that there’s something Davison-esque about WhitDoc and I’d definitely agree and I certainly think that’s deliberate, in the same way that CapDoc deliberately echoed Hartnell and SmithDoc Troughton. It’s right down to the frailness — WhitDoc seems to spend a lot of time clutching her chest and having moments of physical debilitation in much the same way that Davison did. It’s one of the things that rendered him rather ineffectual as a Doctor in my opinion (though don’t get me wrong, he was kind of ‘my’ Doctor growing up and I do have a vague nostalgia for him) but I find it a strange thing to integrate into WhitDoc.

    Mostly though I’m reminded of Eccleston with Whittaker. They’re both incredible actors, with a particular strength in portraying troubled, articulate working class characters. I think intense is the word you could use of both of them. Both exude awkwardness which is so right for many roles but not for the Doctor. I never really bought the Ninth Doc because Eccleston, I felt, just didn’t know what to do with the part either and could only really parse the Doctor’s quirk by plastering a slightly suspect grin on his face and constantly saying ‘fantastic’. He really only came into his own when he was dealing with Time War trauma because, I suspect, regret, pain and introspection are a much more fundamental part of his skillset.

    Whittaker is slightly different in that she’s show she can do quirky in Adult Life Skills and I still think there’s a terrific Doctor in there trying to get out. The problem, I think, might be Chibnall. He’s a brilliant character writer, of that there’s surely no doubt. He’s good with ensembles (which is why he did so well on Law and Order and Broadchurch, and, I suppose,  Torchwood too). His interest lies in those kinds of dynamics and he’s possibly a born soap man even more than RTD was. But this restricts him when it comes to Who.

    True, in the Hartnell days the TARDIS team was more of an ensemble show but those days are gone — Troughton and then Pertwee blew that concept out of the water. It’s important to get companion character right (Moffat’s tenure lost considerable momentum because of Clara, who never got past being a concept rather than a genuine character. She’s probably one of the more fundamental errors of his run.) but you also have to put some work in on the Doctor too.

    This doesn’t mean going OTT with all that ‘Oncoming Storm’ malarkey but you do need to put some character work in. One of the real joys of the Capaldi era is watching his Doctor evolve and grow — going from standoffish ‘am I a good man’ to zen ‘be kind’. But in all his episodes Chibnall has never shown the remotest interest in the Doctor. From 42, to the Silurian two-parter to Dinosaurs, he’s clearly much more interested in the extended cast of supporting characters with the Doctor just being the cypher who’s there to bring them all together. Even Power of Three only really comes alive when he’s putting the Doctor in an extended family setting. But what, I suspect, WhitDoc’s character really needs right now is for him and Whittaker to sit down and figure out who she is, where’s she’s going. If she is in fact nervous about who she is now, then that’s a terrific arc but it has to be shown, not merely implied. Sooner rather than later, she’s going to need an episode like Listen or The Lodger.

    Another part of the problem is that there’s just too many companions. Maybe it’ll help when Graham inevitably bites the dust but frankly I think he’s a good fit for WhitDoc and and I’ll be sorry to see him go. He’s the Tegan to her DavisonDoc. Which makes Ryan Nyssa and, rather sadly, that makes Yaz Adric. To be honest, I think that’s the way I’d have liked Punjab to go with Yaz sacrificing herself for her grandmother’s happiness, leading to a universe without Yaz. Time changed, all the remaining team, including WhitDoc realising the implications of screwing around in the timestream, lesson learned, the ‘not one line’ credo shown to be right by demonstration this time.

    Because one of the things that may be happening is that not only are we, the audience, being taken out of our comfort zones

    Again, you might be right, and I’m deluding myself here (sign me up for an Angry Virgin outsized t-shirt and soiled underwear) but for me the problem is the opposite. Aside from the interesting re-evaluation of historicals, 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.

    You’re right that Ghost, Conundrum and Arachnids contain interesting themes embedded within them but at their heart, they’re really very pedestrian Who episodes that we’ve seen done many times before. As I said above (and I can’t take credit for it, definitely saw it elsewhere), the vibe for me is ‘filler episode’. I feel like I’m watching a series that’s been Planet of the Dead, followed by The Lazarus Experiment, followed by 42, with not enough stand-out moments in between. I sort of understand why he’s done it, but I think Chibnall is making a mistake in not having at least one bona fide ‘fan’ writer in the mix.

    Blimey, that ended up an epic. If you make it to the end of this, my profound apologies….

    #65555
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    I continue to be conflicted. Clive James once had a line that went something like whenever he found that he shared an opinion with Jane Fonda he immediately had to examine it to figure out what was wrong with it. Similarly, it’s frustrating me that while I have absolutely no truck with the #notmydoctor #whotoopc moron brigade, I find that I’m annoyingly aligned with them in the sense that I’m really, really not liking Series 11 and that the last thing I want to do is give said red pillers succour by being too critical of it.

    That said, this was without a doubt the best episode of S11, superior even to Rosa in terms of character at least. I would never have thought that historicals could work in this day and age and I’m surprised to find myself wishing that with both this and Rosa that they’d had the nerve to ditch the SF trapping altogether and just have faith in the historical drama because it was more than strong enough to carry it. Here the alien assassins while a great design and a great concept too were just distracting from all the interesting family and historical dynamics I found. Chibnall deserves props for really managing to do historicals with a genuinely Hartnell vibe, right down to the ‘non interference’ credo and I’m enjoying that we’re seeing subjects and periods that didn’t fall into the ‘approved white person’s view of history’ that we had in the 1960s.

    The show continues to look and sound great and how awesome was that arrangement of the theme at the end. I loved Murray Gold’s work but Segun Akinola is certainly giving him a run for his money.

    But overall, I’m really not loving this to the point if this week’s hadn’t been quite so good after the two pretty lacklustre episodes that preceded it I would have been hanging up my sonic at least for a while. Punjab has probably piqued my interest sufficiently that I’ll keep stumble on until the end of the series at least but I must admit I am getting deja vu to Season 24, as someone said online I think. I’d also concur with the view I think I saw on Twitter that it feels like a series full of what would be filler episodes in other earlier eras.

    It’s down (at least partially — the overfull TARDIS crew, dodgy writing and weird editing aren’t helping) to WhitDoc. She just doesn’t convince me at all. There’s still that nervousness, like she’s looking out of the screen and going ‘is this Doctorey enough? I think it’s Doctorey enough. Maybe it isn’t….’ It’s not that she’s Colin Baker bad or anything, she’s just bland. It’s like an impersonation or like she’s a Curse of Fatal Death Doctor, although some of those felt as if they brought more conviction to the few lines that they had. Or maybe it’s the mawkishness. Her wedding speech this week (rather like last week’s little speech about love and hope) kind of gave me the boak a little bit. (sorry, @juniperfish) I like a grandstanding, speechifying Doctor but this incarnation of the Doctor seems to be somehow more sentimentally naive than passionate with it.

    #65537
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    Your life is certainly being rather on the eventful side at the moment. Glad you emerged from this (relatively) unscathed. Hope you’ll be quickly on the mend….

    #65455
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @troygorsline

    I think we are all taking the color of the shirt too far

    Ah, you must be new around these here parts….

    @rob

    It did strike me that some of the sets did look quite TARDIS-like. Maybe they were part of an earlier redesign and just repurposed….

    #65418
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @pedant

    So it’s a machine that goes PTing?

    I can’t believe you went there.

    What the P’Ting (and CC really needs to stop with the random apostrophe villains, if that’s indeed how you spell it) really reminded me of was the Purple Minions from Despicable Me 2.

    #65402
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    Well, it looked nice. Sort of 80s Who meets Space 1999 vibe to the sets. And doesn’t The Tsuranga Conundrum just sound like the title of an annual story from the 70s?

    Apart from that, I got nothing.

    #65379
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @craig

    I’ll definitely be interested in giving it a read when I get a chance….

    And as you’re ‘funemployed’ at the moment, surely no better time to sit down and write something else?

    #65269
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @nekrosys

    And yet, here you are, being all triggered.

    #65268
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @lisa

    Again, a blase piece that dwells on the text of the GFA but has zero understanding of how that actually affects people on the ground on both sides of a hard border. It’s more useful, I think, to heed the warnings of former NI secretaries on both sides of the political equation, contemporary PMs who actually had to deal with the (boak) ‘Irish question’, still-living architects of the GFA and former heads of British intelligence, all of whom maintain that the existence of a hard border will reignite sectarian violence.

    Trade is not the issue — and fantasyland electronic scanning solutions have already been rejected on the basis that the necessary tech does not yet exist. The Canada/US analogy does not really translate, largely because citizens of Canada and the US do not have a tradition of hooding, knee-capping and car-bombing each other, and as recently as 20-odd years ago. The fear of a few cheap DVD players slipping across Lough Foyle is secondary to the psychological wound that the necessary infrastructure and boots on the ground again in Ireland will reopen.

    And this is the real problem. There’s a lot of blue-sky thinking by people who have no conception of what life on the ground in Ireland was like before the GFA (and by extension in the UK). The EU is not scare-mongering but merely has the advantage of having members of the Irish Government to tell them this stuff. The UK Brexit team has notably kept Ulster, and any other ‘region’ out of negotiations. Probably because of the embarrassing fact of Northern Ireland, never known as a hotbed of leftie liberalism, voted to Remain.

    Also probably not a good idea to make the automatic assumption that a resumption of sectarian violence would be solely down to the IRA. There’ll be plenty of Unionist balaclavas getting dusted down as well.

    @pedant @bluesqueakpip

    The question around feeding ourselves and self-sufficiency is not so much whether we could or not (almost certainly couldn’t) but more what planning has been put in place to make sure that food supplies keep coming into the shops, regardless of where they come from. Personally, I don’t think telling people that they can no longer have broccoli and can only have meat once a week but can make up for it with lots and lots of potatoes is not going to be a vote winner, let alone a recipe for civil harmony. And let’s not get started on there being British Army-run electricity barges off the coast of Northern Ireland to keep the lights on once it loses access to the supplies largely generated south of the Border at the moment.

    #65263
    JimTheFish @replies
    Time Lord

    @nekrosys

    Hmm, didn’t follow that link, did you? Hope I didn’t inadvertently trigger you.

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