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Topic: Some musings on Doctor Who Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Steven Brake
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 01 January 2016
Posts: 194
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

With the recent series of Doctor Who having ended, and, apart from the New Year's Day episode, nothing forthcoming until 2020, I thought I'd post my musings on NuWho - and, of course, I'd love to hear any thoughts JB, or any other forum members, have.

Story arcs: I had thought I'd like to see an end to these. In Classic Who, the Doctor explored a truly mysterious universe, in which any adventure could happen. Story arcs seem oddly to give the sense of a more controlled, ordered universe, in which things tend to tie together perhaps a bit too neatly.

However. The most recent series, which largely went back to stand-alone stories, largely fell flat for me! I'm not sure if it was bad writing of said episodes, or if the notion of an arc has become embedded in Who so that the series now relies upon it, at least to some extent?

Regenerations: Since Who returned, the regeneration of the Doctor has taken a pretty repetitive format - blast of energy, TARDIS destroyed, or damaged. One of the thrills of Classic Who when the Doctor was due to regenerate wasn't simply seeing the new Doctor, but the actual format of his regeneration. I seem to vaguely remember The Watcher, when Four became Five, and being both intrigued of and scared by him.

Having the regeneration standardised, not just for the Doctor, but for all Timelords, again seems to rob the show of its air of mystery. Let's go back to different regenerations each time!

Thirteen: I have no issues at all with a female Doctor, and I've liked some of the suggestions I've seen posted elsewhere (I suggested Margaret Rutherford, which seems largely to have been a winner!). However, Thirteen just hasn't worked for me at all, lacking the quirkiness, eccentricity, forcefulness and darkness that I think the part requires (and which I think Matt Smith was probably the best of the NuWho Doctors in portraying, but that's probably another post!).

Thirteen is also too encumbered with companions. Yes, I know that the Doctor has been accompanied by three people before, indeed in their first incarnation - but the new companions feel both underwritten as characters and poorly performed by the actors. I'll make an exception for Bradley Walsh's Graham, who I've been pleasantly surprised by.

I'm not sure if it's Whittaker's fault, or, again, if it's the writing that's let her down?
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Bill Collins
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Location: England
Posts: 10688
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I agree on all your points Steven, when Nu-Who started
we had the "Adult" targeted Torchwood, the all ages
Doctor Who and the children`s tv Sarah Jane Adventures,
i got a distinct Sarah Jane vibe from the latest series,
it seemed a bit dumbed down.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 116449
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I go back to the first Doctor, being introduced to him about a year after his British debut. I saw about two and a half story arcs before my family moved to Calgary, where the local station did not carry DOCTOR WHO. I didn’t see the show again until 1976, when I was living in London, Ontario, and it was being carried by a university access channel. By then the Doctor had become Jon Pertwee, but coincidentally the first episode I caught featured a quick reference to previous changes.

That set the pattern for me (and I especially liked “The Brain of Morbius”, which established that the Hartnell Doctor was not, after all, the first. I much prefer “immortal” characters to be established as such retroactively, rather than the “starting now” approach.) and I was content to see that pattern repeated thru the Doctors I saw later—mostly Baker1, with a glimpse of Davidson.

There was much about NuWHO that I took a while to accept. The big budget special effects were distracting at first, and I did not care for the overt sexualization, or having Rose shoved in my face. Also didn’t care for the Doctor-as-superhero approach. Ultimately gave up just before Amy and Rory got the heave-ho.

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Steven Brake
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 01 January 2016
Posts: 194
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

JB wrote: I especially liked “The Brain of Morbius”, which established that the Hartnell Doctor was not, after all, the first.
---------------------------------------------------------
The first episode of The Brain Of Morbius was broadcast the day after I was born.

True, if boring, fact!

I wish they'd kept the idea that the "First" Doctor wasn't actually the First at all, hinting at previous incarnations. And that they hadn't put a cap on the number of regenerations (which has been largely pointless, given that the Timelords have been shown to grant new cycles if they want. Why not just limit the Master's regeneration cycle as a punishment specific to him?).
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Steven Brake
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 01 January 2016
Posts: 194
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

@Bill Collins:

I saw somewhere or other a post that said that Doctor Who used to be written for the intelligent 12 year old, and now it seems to be written for the backwards 8 year old (or something like it).

Harsh, and perhaps not wholly PC, but hard to argue with.
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Bill Collins
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Location: England
Posts: 10688
Posted: 23 December 2018 at 11:57am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Why write down to an audience, make them think,
challenge them!
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Tim Cousar
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1573
Posted: 24 December 2018 at 9:33am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Maybe they're writing down to the executives.
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Brian Floyd
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 07 July 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6433
Posted: 24 December 2018 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I'd just like to see a regeneration that doesn't take place in the TARDIS.

My favorite NuWho regeneration was Smith into Capaldi, but I do not like at all that the delay was due to 11 using regeneration energy as a nuclear-scale weapon. That was beyond absurd.
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Jozef Brandt
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 03 March 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2472
Posted: 27 December 2018 at 3:08am | IP Logged | 9 post reply


I think that thing that has rubbed me wrong about Nu-Who generally speaking is just the limitations of the single 43 minute episode.  The pacing always seemed terribly hectic, plot lines "solved" by a single line of dialogue, and very little sense of mystery.  (There isn't much tension for a mystery to be solved when you can look at the clock and know that the solution is coming very shortly).  There are a handful of exceptions of course, and some of the two-part episodes are a close approximation of a classic 4 parter (90 vs 100 minutes depending on the length of recaps) but even some of those were pretty daft, they didn't seem able to use the expanded time wisely. 

All in all, there are a total of 18 episodes of Nu-Who that I personally deem rewatchable. 
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Andrew Saxon
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 June 2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 314
Posted: 27 December 2018 at 11:45am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I find the weaponised regenerations in 21st Century Doctor Who somewhat annoying. It made sense at least in the Eccleston to Tennant regeneration as the Doctor was expelling the energies of the time vortex, but there is no reason for the CGI fireworks to have continued or to have become more violent. Sometimes less is more...

This morning I watched the Jon Pertwee to Tom Baker regeneration from Planet of the Spiders. No CGI fireworks, no music building to a crescendo and drowning out the dialogue - just actors acting. To me the scene was every bit as moving as when I first watched it one long-ago Saturday night in the 1970s.

While I like 21st century Doctor Who and follow it with interest, I doubt I shall ever fall in love with it in the same way I did the classic series.
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Bill Collins
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Location: England
Posts: 10688
Posted: 28 December 2018 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

So the BBC in it`s infinite wisdom let the cat out of
the bag with the latest trailer for New Year`s Day, i
suspected the villain, but they could have resisted
spoiling it!
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Jim Muir
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 26 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1227
Posted: 28 December 2018 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

You’d think the Doctor would have the good sense to at least park the Tardis on the ground somewhere first when there’s a regeneration coming. I find the destruction of the control room and the out of control Tardis a bit on the repetitive side now!
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