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Topic Summary

Posted by: nacho
« on: February 11, 2020, 04:38:36 PM »

Almost done with this lackluster, bullshit season of NuWho.

RC, next Sunday is a Mary Shelley episode.
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 20, 2020, 10:16:51 AM »

So...I'm struggling. Hell, in all fairness, I've never really liked NuWho 100%. It's been misguided, mishandled, and corrupted by commercial product greed from day one. But now it's just simply edging into boring. The Doctor remains ancillary to her slightly too many companions, the stories are bent-over-backwards trying to teach lessons. The return of the Master was bizarre and belabored. The Master has always returned from the dead since the 70s, but they worked so hard to undo that with Missy that it's odd there wasn't even some sort of acknowledgement. The Master HAS had to explain himself a couple of times in the past if the death was just too much to possibly escape. Either way, we certainly didn't need a three hour premiere building to that. And then the next episode is all a warning about climate change with agonizingly annoying side characters. I've started watching the show while I do chores because no sane, rational person can sit through these episodes.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 13, 2018, 09:58:40 AM »

Posted by: nacho
« on: December 10, 2018, 01:29:36 PM »

So the finale was a little bit flat, but I think that's because it's really meant as a bookend to the premiere. The finale is really about how the three companions have grown and changed over the course of the series. Problem is: Because they've worked hard to keep the episodes fairly standalone, the companions have to remind us in the finale that they've been on this spiritual journey. Yes, we get a snoot-full of it in each of their "special" episodes, but it's done in a way that's a weird hybrid of "series arc" and "anti-series arc."

That said...the finale was good. Mainly because it avoided front-loading what we expected (resolving the "Timeless Child" question and/or bringing back the familiar monster squad). This season is the best season of NuWho. Period.

The New Year's special very obviously is going to be the familiar monster squad. But that's fine. Just simply having 10 episodes pass without literally throwing a Dalek at the camera has been amazing. It feels like a reboot of Who 20 years from now where they finally got away from the fan service. So having something familiar stomp around in the one-off special might even be welcome.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 07, 2018, 10:53:23 AM »

So the big finale is this weekend! It's been a wonderful, impressive season. They need to fix a few things, of course, but nothing glaring or terrible. The biggest problem is that they have too many companions. The grandfather-grandson team of Graham and Ryan would be perfect. Yaz needs to go home... Which is sad, because she's a great actress and a great character, but the writers never knew what to do with Yaz (even in Yaz-centric episodes!). I think the main problem with Yaz is that she feels like all of the previous NuWho companions -- the rudderless young woman who lives in the projects and is seeking Something More.

Graham and Ryan are a departure for NuWho, and a bit more like the classic companions. They're involved, but still kowtow to the Doctor. They stumbled across the adventure but, otherwise, have normal lives.

So I still feel that this is the best season of NuWho.
Posted by: nacho
« on: November 20, 2018, 05:10:59 PM »

Missus RC was impressed with her initial Who exposure.

Yeah. Now is the time to get into the show.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: November 20, 2018, 11:42:25 AM »

Missus RC was impressed with her initial Who exposure.
Posted by: nacho
« on: November 12, 2018, 09:55:58 AM »

Demons of the Punjab was a fascinating episode.

Once again, this season's new attitude subverts the aliens. We've had aliens and monsters in every episode, but they're not the usual monsters. They're not out for world domination, or to kill the Doctor. In Punjab, they turn out to be reformed aliens on a benevolent mission. In the last episode, the alien was just hungry. The episode before that, the monsters were mutated spiders, non-sentient and scared animals. We got a baddie in Rosa Parks, but he was human. And even the baddie in the pilot episode, who racked up the biggest body count of the season so far, was basically just a Predator ripoff who had a weird honorable streak that prevented him from killing non-approved targets.

Instead, in the last three episodes, the real enemy is Mankind. Our own inner demons are what we must face, win or lose. Is Tsuranga, it was fear of failure and self doubt that was the enemy. In Arachnids, it was greed and lust that was the enemy. In Punjab, set during the partition of India, prejudice was the enemy.

The Doctor and Co., in maintaining their Hartnell-era style, are pretty much forced to simply stand by. They want to intervene. They try to do so. They behave as NuWho characters should and try to save the world... But, in what feels like a wave of brilliance in the tarnished NuWho era, they can't. They're forced to become observers. They're forced to walk away as the main guest star is brutally executed. Even when they try to NuWho the timeline, it's impossible.

The Doctor has lost this season. Not in a dramatic, rain-tower, moody stare into the middle distance way. The Doctor's known that it's coming each time. Her priority, as with Classic Who, is just to get out of the situation she's in. That occasionally involves changing things and saving the day (the Tsuranga would have surely been destroyed without her interference, and Rosa Parks was in danger, though she didn't ever know it), but, for the most part, she's had to walk away (Arachnids and Punjab).

Best of all: The companions remain normal and human. There's no angst-filled "The Doctor has ruined my life" stuff. No "You're forever changed when you travel with the lonely god" bullshit. The companions understand the stakes, and they adapt and roll with them. In their ordinary-ness, they're the bets companions I've seen in NuWho. They enjoy the adventure, and the outcome of this latest episode was heavy and sad, but... It's history. They were familiar with it already. It happened. By seeing it actually happening, they're given a slightly deeper layer when it comes to their lives back home. These companions, instead of being ruined by the "lonely god," are instead becoming better because of her. A very, very welcome change (as is the lack of romance).

In the field, the companions are the voice of reason for the Doctor. Ryan remains the avatar for the audience, but Bradley Walsh behaves more like the old Doctor than the Doctor herself. He's the calming voice, the defuser of bad situations, and the heart and soul that the Doctor, perhaps, is lacking (or, at least, forgets about when she gets wrapped up in an adventure).

So far, these have been some of the best episodes of Doctor Who in the entire series, old and new. This season is what I've always wanted the reboot to be.
Posted by: nacho
« on: November 05, 2018, 11:12:55 AM »

This show is so good now. Jodie is so good now.

Episode five was pure classic WHo on a huge budget. We're even down to shit like the Doctor and Co. get separated from the TARDIS somehow in each episode. In fact, we've only had one episode in this season so far where they did have the option to run back to the TARDIS if they wanted to but didn't because they had to save the Earth. But all the other episodes has taken the TARDIS away, which is perfect.

Jodie remains mesmerizing. There is a companion problem -- we have one too many. So we have Ryan, who's the heart. We have Bradley Walsh, who's the voice of the audience and a foil for the Doctor... And then there's poor Yaz. She gets her own episode next week but, so far, she's woefully underused and generally fading into the background. This looks to be a writing flaw. There's a lot going on, and Whittaker's manic Doctor fills the screen. By the time Ryan is done being the emotional anchor, and Walsh is done questioning the Doctor and bringing the audience into the action, there's just nothing for Yaz to do but watch.

But that's the only complaint so far...
Posted by: nacho
« on: October 23, 2018, 10:31:01 AM »

Whew...okay, so episode three was a little tough to handle. At first glance, it looked like a straight up historical. The Doctor & Co. have to go back to 1955 Montgomery, AL and make sure Rosa Parks fulfills her role in history. There's something wrong with the timeline and can they now make it right. Added layer: The Doctor's diverse companions in the 1950s American South mean that they have a major complication -- the black kid is screwed, and Pakistani Yaz is called a Mexican and also somewhat harshly treated. So, the pros:

It's daring to do a historical episode this early on, and it further reinforced that we're getting a series roughly modeled on the very first season of Who.

Acting is solid across the board this time, even poor Yaz, who remains a third wheel with little to do. Rosa Parks was excellent. Companions meeting their role models also excellent. Whittaker remains mesmerizing.

The first problem is that...they can't just do a historical. There's a bad guy, from the 79th Century, who has escaped prison. He has a chip in his head that prevents him from hurting anyone so, from the get-go, they remove his fangs and everyone runs circles around him, with one of the companions actually just casually shooting him with a time gun and pretty much shrugging off this whole, pointless, distracting big bad.

The bad guy has come back in time to stop Parks because Rosa Parks not standing up on a bus at just the right moment is the ONE THING that impacts ALL OF human history? And...without Parks, black people are never free, and this bad guy from 8000 years in the future wants to black people in their place? I feel like people from the 79th century would be more worried about eliminating Daleks or whatever instead of black folk.

And that leads into the main problem with this episode -- it is heavy handed. It is so proud of its diversity it's almost meta. Every single scene is steeped in racist cops and people standing up against prejudice. It's very #sorightnow, sure, but it feels a bit off putting when Brits are waving their fingers at American racism.

I don't know... "Blunt" is the term that comes to mind. 
Posted by: nacho
« on: October 15, 2018, 09:48:14 AM »

Episode two!

So...some holes are starting to show up. It felt very rushed (the episode length is set to match BBC America's needs, sadly). The new title sequence is pretty awesome, but lacking in something. The new TARDIS is horrible... It's like a crystal grotto in a dark cave. Very Merlin-esque, I guess. But I don't know. It sort of flies in the face of 13's bright, breezy nature.

The ensemble remains strong. Many, many shades of the Hartnell era with the three companions figuring stuff out on their own, taking charge of their own scenes, working together (the theme of this episode) to solve problems, and being able to be apart from the Doctor and continue adventuring.

Whittaker remains mesmerizing in everything she says and does. And we're given a mystery. "The Timeless Child" is this season's big bad, maybe? Though the all-knowing aliens could have been referring to the Doctor (or Susan, or Me, or Clara).
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: October 09, 2018, 03:58:36 PM »

Wow. Your review is so... hopeful! It *is* the end times.
Posted by: nacho
« on: October 09, 2018, 11:51:10 AM »

So...pursuing the "did the UK get to see the new title sequence" theory, the answer is no -- but the UK "next episode" trailer does have the new theme song.'s awesome. It's like the 60s version:
Posted by: nacho
« on: October 09, 2018, 09:16:22 AM »

So, I don't know if this was just in the US, but we STILL haven't seen the new title sequence!

The Woman Who Fell to Earth was probably one of the more perfect episodes of Doctor Who I have ever seen, and certainly miles above about 90% of NuWho. The ensemble, which I was worried about, was lovingly introduced to us and felt perfectly natural from the get-go. I haven't seen a sci-fi ensemble work this well right out of the gate since Firefly. The three companions are 2018-diverse: A young female indian, a black man with a disability, and an old white guy who's in cancer remission. These are three multilayered companions, each able to do their own thing and add to the team.

Jodie... Oh, my god, Jodie. She was amazing. She owned the role from her first line. She's hot, approachable, positive, energetic. Inevitably, all NuWho Doctors get compared to classic Doctors, and Jodie is clearly in line with the Second Doctor (she even quotes him verbatim when asked about her family). The Second Doctor's effusive mannerisms, tinged occasionally by melancholy, plays perfectly with Whittaker. NuWho has had a tendency to mish-mash Doctors to appease the older fans. Capaldi clearly wanted to be Pertwee, but he was also forced to evoke Hartnell and the War Doctor. Smith was a combination of Troughton and Davison and the Bakers. Etc.

So Troughton alone is a perfect model for Whittaker -- both the Second and the Thirteenth Doctors represent a new era for the show, stepping away from the mired and troubled past.

Best of all -- the fan service is almost sub rosa. I see it because I've been watching the show for 35 years, but a newcomer could leap right in with this episode and not have to know anything except that the Doctor is an immortal time traveling alien. Even the fan service scenes, in that context, play out as new and interesting. People can begin building the legend of Doctor Who just with Whittaker.

We get a new monster, we're without the TARDIS, they even demystify the sonic screwdriver a little bit. Whittaker commands every scene with a bubbly, powerful presence that's simply captivating throughout even an extra-length episode (about 95 minutes), which is very hard to do for NuWho.

Nacho says: Fans and newbies alike should start here and pretend the more heinous mistakes of NuWho never happened...

Posted by: nacho
« on: October 08, 2018, 01:09:26 PM »

No Who review yet? Have you watched it?

I loved it... But meeting a second cousin today, and meetings all afternoon. Blah... I hate being busy.