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I couldn't disagree more if you also stated that the sun is made of cheese and all goats speak Spanish. I'd contest that it was amongst the best of its series (and still holds pretty strong even against the full gamut of the Smith era), and is quite arguably the most underrated episode of all time. By no means was it flawless, but it was a compelling slice of social science fiction that took the time to explore interesting hypotheticals about human nature, psychology and society, rather than the archetypal "oh look, a monster, run!" story (not that I have anything against the latter, of course - but variety is the spice of life).
15 hours, 3 minutes ago on 2nd Opinion: Listen
I'd be interested to see if Robot of Sherwood ranks so high if the same poll were to be conducted in a year or two's time. There always seems to be a slight bias towards the most recent episode when polls like this are conducted, and whilst Sherwood wasn't a terrible episode, I have my suspicions that its popularity in this poll is at least partially a result of that effect. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's my instinct here. Personally, I'd say Cold War or A Crimson Horror is his best work, followed by The Unquiet Dead (sorely underrated, even 9 years later). I'd put Sherwood ahead of The Idiot's Lantern and Victory of the Daleks, can't decide where Night Terrors would slot into that though.
2 days, 10 hours ago on Your Verdict on Robot of Sherwood
So is a bouncy castle and free ice cream, but you never give us those. :'(
2 days, 19 hours ago on Poll: Listen – Was there a Monster or not?
I don't like number one. Seems so overly simplistic. Quite fond of theory two, however. I doubt his psionic ability quite extends to such powerful and overt acts of subconscious telekinesis (although psionic ability has been established as a Time Lord trait, it's seldom mentioned and never shown to manifest itself in ways like those your theory suggests), but it's still a nice idea that manages to reconcile the conflicting facts that a) we're pointed toward the notion that there never was a monster and b) we, more or less, saw and heard what I can only presume to be a monster/alien/unknown entity of some nature. I've yet to hear or read another theory that fully reconciles that contradiction without resorting to complete nonsense or chalking it up as being artistic license.
I sincerely hope they don't try to connect those dots (not that I believe they would, but I also wouldn't have believed Moffat would revive the Clockwork Droids, which seemed so suited to being a one-off 'monster' in a self-contained story). Much of the appeal of Midnight, and to a certain extent the same applies to Listen, was in the fact that we'd never know. It's so much easier to be scared of something you don't know or understand than by something that you're familiar with. If they eventually try to resurrect these mysteries and give us answers, then both of those episodes lose the factor that made them so enduring and terrifying. That's also why I'm still a little bit disappointed that Listen came down pretty firmly on the "there was no monster" side of things at the end of the episode. I'd rather they hadn't pointed us in one direction or the other, and simply left it completely open and completely unsolved.
I can't decide whether I agree with that statement.
2 days, 23 hours ago on Poll: Listen – Was there a Monster or not?
I think the point of the episode was that there were no monsters after all. It really tried to hammer that point home at the end, which I found a little weird considering there were instances that really couldn't be well explained otherwise - there was definitely something in that room, under the covers of the bed, and its behaviour is completely unbecoming of it simply being a human child having some fun. Besides, we catch a brief, blurred glimpse of it, and - though humanoid - it certainly didn't look human. I'd have much preferred them to have left it more ambiguous at the end, with no real answer either way. Such a resolution may not have appealed to everyone, but I found that the answer they tried to force (or, at least, heavily imply) - "no monsters" - completely conflicted with everything that we saw and so felt out of place and a little bit odd. Trying to downplay the existence of any sort of monster was as bad of a move as it would have been to reveal that there was a monster all along. They really should have done more to emphasise the lack of certainty at the end in order to draw the most out of the episode. But that's just my take on it.
I honestly felt the spoon fight was completely out of place; it didn't feel like it was written for Capaldi's Doctor, it was in such contrast to the more grounded, serious style he's established. It was a scene that may as well have been lifted right out of a Matt Smith, or perhaps a David Tennant, episode and it really threw me. Almost as if it was a scene that had been written long before they knew who would be cast or how the part would be played, that was never rewritten (or, preferably, removed) in accordance with Capaldi's approach to Twelve. Which was odd, because - for the most part - I felt the episode handled Capaldi quite well (though I was also thrown by how unnecessarily argumentative he was with Robin, which didn't seem to sit with how measured and calculated he's been seen to be so far - but I suppose when we're only three episodes in, we're still establishing who he is and maybe this argumentative streak will be a hallmark of his Doctor: I can hope not). That said, both Twelve and Clara definitely had some shining moments, but overall, without wishing to belittle the episode, it didn't feel like it captured Twelve quite as well as the last two instalments (weird to say so early on, I know, but that was my gut reaction - one that may well change with time).
1 week, 3 days ago on 12 Great Moments From Robot of Sherwood
While I can fully understand the BBC's motives in editing this scene in the light of recent events, it does worry me that there are those saying that the scene in question is actually of quite some importance to the plot. I haven't seen the episode or read the script, so I'm not qualified to comment on how accurate these statements are, but I am now concerned that what we're in store for on Saturday is an episode with a big, unexplained hole in the middle, that feels disjointed by way of the omission. I suppose there's not much that can be done about it, and that the re-editing was inevitable really, but my excitement for the third episode has now dropped significantly - not because I won't get to see a beheading (I'm honestly surprised Doctor Who would go down that route anyway, and I think I've heard enough of beheadings for a lifetime), but because from the sounds of things, the episode may well suffer from the unfortunate timing of these tragedies. Understandable, yes, but as a fan of the show, it disappoints me all the same.
1 week, 5 days ago on BBC Cuts Robot of Sherwood Scene
Over 77% of people rated Deep Breath "Very Good" or higher if you take a look at the other poll results listed. That's pretty good in the grand scheme of things - not a lot of episodes score that well. It's just unfortunate that the other poll naturally had to pit it against the Eleventh Hour: a lot of people seem to like that episode a ridiculous amount for reasons that I never could grasp. I dare say that Deep Breath would have emerged on top if pitted against most other openers.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Your Verdict on Deep Breath
And once again, I'm utterly baffled by people's love for The Eleventh Hour. I have a feeling this is one of those things I'll just never "get".
Compare the CGI of recent episodes to some of the CGI of earlier NuWho - say, the Lazarus Monster, Plastic Mickey, the CGI shots of Slitheen, etc - and I think it's pretty clear that what we're getting right now is, comparatively, very good. Admittedly it's not quite Hollywood Blockbuster quality, but for a television show it's actually rather commendable.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on 12 Great Moments From Into the Dalek
This - exactly this. It saddens me no end when I see people argue so endlessly and viciously over an opinion. I don't mind reading overly negative opinions on this site. I've posted my fair share of them personally. What I absolutely don't approve of is people arguing back and forth over someone's right to post their opinions. We all have the right to our opinions, and we all have the right to voice them here. It's more or less what this site is about. If you don't like someone else's point of view, feel free to disagree, but keep it civil. I can fully understand why people may disagree with Yael, as I do myself, but I don't feel all of the responses have been civil. Some have been outright rude.
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Rate & Discuss Into the Dalek
I wouldn't have called myself apathetic, but I know exactly what you mean: it feels like we're truly returning to form. I'm sure there will be some who'd disagree, but I can't help but think that this is a very, very good time to be a Whovian.
It finally feels like they've got the pacing right, not wrong - it's less frantic, less frenetic, less rushed now. There's more time to stop, to think, to savour, rather than being dragged along through a plot that feels almost synopsised by the lack of time available to tell it properly. I have nothing against any of the recent 'eras' of Doctor Who, but I've always much preferred the slower, more calculated stories when they come along - simply because you tend to get more time for meaningful and thoughtful character development that isn't just hastily tacked on - and I'm delighted to see that, from the looks of things, that this pace of story-telling is becoming the norm. This is a very, very good thing: I'd gladly take "less content" (I'd argue that any drop in "plot content" is balanced by a rise in "character content", but that's a thesis for another day) provided the content that we get is more considered and given more room to breathe.
He wasn't "young" in terms of the character's actual age, but his body, demeanour and energy certainly conveyed that of a younger man. He was an old man in a young man's body. Whereas he's now an old man in an old man's body.
That works too, in a way. It was certainly one of those iconic, Doctor-defining moments that gives you insight into who this new man is. I interpreted the notion of the Doctor "arriving" a little more literally though - one of those moments where he literally bursts into the scene out of nowhere and completely changes the game.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Face-Off: The Eleventh Hour vs Deep Breath
In what way was The Eleventh Hour calculated or complex? Those are words that I might be inclined to use when describing Deep Breath, but definitely not TEH. The Eleventh Hour felt like a much simpler, on-the-rails experience without too much complexity to it. Deep Breath, on the other hand, pulls you in all sorts of directions and you're not quite sure what's happening, what's happened, or what's about to happen. That's not me trying to champion Deep Breath - tastes are tastes - but I do find your choice of words a little baffling.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Face-Off: The Eleventh Hour vs Deep Breath
Terrific article, that. Thanks for sharing.
I'd contest that Deep Breath did have one of those moments - when Clara is alone with the Control Node Droid, praying that the Doctor will "have her back": they drag that scene out for so long that it really does feel like she's done for. And then, fast as the blink of an eye, Capaldi's hand strikes into shot like a viper. On all three viewings, my heart skips a beat at that moment. And then next thing you know, he's whipping off a, uh, human face, and bingo - the Doctor "arrives", as you put it.
I don't know... that gormless expression of his always makes my heart flutter a bit...
I'm disappointed that dashing young Rory fellow didn't get a mention.
Deep Breath by a country mile. I never understood the popularity of The Eleventh Hour; it wasn't a bad episode, and it was also a brilliant way of introducing Amy, but I found the plot itself to be very dull. There wasn't very much that was remarkable about it other than the time travel Amy/Amelia twist. After that, it was just a silly and unconvincing alien threat that felt like it took an absolute backseat to just watching Matt Smith be a bit madcap. Deep Breath juggled things much better: we still saw plenty of Capaldi and got plenty of insight into his character (I'd say even more so than we did of Eleven in TEH), but it also had a much more interesting plot, a far greater range of tones, themes and emotions, and felt like more a thrill-ride than a merry-go-round (which is what I want out of the show). Eleventh Hour - 7/10. Deep Breath - 9/10.
I hope the BBC release a proper version of this in tolerable quality. I turned off the video after only a few seconds.
3 weeks ago on Watch the Deep Breath Cinema “Prequel”
I've been saying it for a while now, and I'll say it again: to my mind, Deep Breath is the best series opener/new Doctor debut yet. It doesn't molly coddle you or hold your hand, it doesn't ease you in gently with a fluffy, warm reintroduction - it struts up confidently, slaps you in the face, and tells you to follow. And you do. It combines the better aspects of episodes like The Eleventh Hour or Rose with the frenetic action of our last two series openers, whilst tightly packing oodles of character development (for the Doctor, Clara and the Paternosters), some very unsettling themes and undertones, countless twists and turns, excellent visuals and some terrific dialogue into one tidy, little package. Though complex, the plot wasn't at all contrived, the pacing felt more or less spot on (though we must account for the vastly extended run-time), and Capaldi really stole the show - I feel like we've been watching his incarnation for years already, he absolutely commanded every scene. I can't think of anything that would have markedly improved the episode, and I can't think of anything that significantly detracted from it (other than some poor logic at times, but hey - this is Doctor Who). Even trying to be cynical, as I all too often am, I can't give Deep Breath any less than a commendable 9/10. If the rest of the series (and Capaldi's tenure) lives up to this, then I've already forgotten who the last Doctor was. David Eccleston or something? Don't know, don't care.
3 weeks ago on 2nd Opinion: Deep Breath
I don't believe this commenting system has an edit function, sadly. If you do happen to find one, I'd gladly trade all of my worldly possessions for that forbidden knowledge.
This is how I interpreted it as well. There was the line that "[the Doctor's] people became what they did through prolonged exposure to the Time Vortex" (apologies if I'm paraphrasing slightly), which infers that Time Lord abilities, such as regeneration, are not an innate biological inheritance but a by-product of a life of time travel. River Song was able to regenerate because she was conceived within the time vortex, and was thus in some way influenced by or connected to it. This means that "Time Lord", and the biological mechanisms we associate with it (regeneration, psychic ability, etc) can't really be thought of as a race - it's more of an attribute that can be possessed. Most "Time Lords" (for want of a better word - it's important to differentiate between Time Lord as a title/social class and Time Lord as in the package of abilities we're talking about) are Gallifreyan, because it was Gallifreyans who first mastered time travel, but a member of any higher race could presumably become a "Time Lord" (i.e. gain regeneration and whatnot) with exposure to the vortex. So River is human, if we're talking in species terms. Entirely human, with two human parents to prove it. Likewise, the Doctor is Gallifreyan. Two distinct species. But they're both able to be Time Lords.
3 weeks, 1 day ago on Addressing the Deep Breath Kiss
In reality, yes, it's a garden. But nobody was thinking they actually filmed it inside an actual, real life TARDIS. That'd be far too costly for BBC's budget. What people are suggesting is that the garden is substituting for a location that, in-show, may be the interior of a TARDIS. The likelihood of that is obviously up for debate, but there's nothing so far to debunk that idea.
3 weeks, 1 day ago on Introducing Missy the “Gatekeeper”: Who is She?
I still didn't find that as bad as "WOULD YOU LIKE SOME TEEEEAAAA?". I get that they were operating under a cover story, but it's hard to take a race of insane, genocidal war machines seriously when they're repeatedly offering to fetch you warm beverages. At least in Asylum, the actual words (IIRC) were "You WILL save us" - which is (though still divisive) a lot more Dalek than simply "help, help!"
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Next Time: Into The Dalek
That's actually a good question, and I'll be interested to see if they take the time to explain it. But there's always the simple fallback explanation of time travel - even if Twelve hasn't met the Daleks yet from his point of view, they may well have met a future version of his incarnation from their own point of view. And with that Dalek hive-mind, all it takes is for one Dalek to have once seen Twelve and all Daleks know of him.
"You will experience a slight tingling sensation, and then death."
Well, at least their entire fleet didn't get wiped out by a regeneration.
Absolutely nothing. I've read the script and they just have a good ol' chat, share some anecdotes, and then the Dalek joins the TARDIS crew. I think it's the first episode yet where there's absolutely no danger or threat at all. I, for one, welcome this new direction.
It was there simply to be subverted at the end, with the "I never said it was your mistake" line. Which, cheesy though it was and as little as I liked it, was actually quite powerful.
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Introducing Missy the “Gatekeeper”: Who is She?
Of course 11 knew he was going to change - I'm not sure if you're misplacing when that scene actually took place in the context of the Siege of Trenzalore, but the phone call, from 11's perspective, took place after he was given a new regenerative cycle, destroyed the Daleks and returned to his TARDIS, in the brief interval before Clara turned up. That's why the phone was off the hook when Clara got there (it'd just been used), and that's why 11 referenced that he thought his next regeneration was going to be a "whopper" - it was the first of a whole new cycle. "Breaking some serious science here, boys" etc. It wasn't pointless at all, it took place right at the very end once everything had been wrapped up and he was minutes away from regeneration. That phone call, other than his final monologue, was pretty much his last act as the Eleventh Doctor.
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Moffat on THAT Deep Breath Cameo
Although I disagree with the speculation, it's worth noting regarding question 3 that Meta-Ten and Rose were given a piece of TARDIS coral which would supposedly grow into a whole new TARDIS eventually. Since that scene was cut from the final broadcast its canonicity is questionable at best, but RTD has stated that it still "happened" as far as he's concerned. As I say, I'm not citing this because I'm in defence of the notion that Rose may be involved in some way, just thought it's worth a mention. Plus if the TARDIS did grow, there's nothing to say Meta-Ten isn't here in our Universe too. Food for thought. :P
In what way(s) are they really that different?
Best bit of speculation I've heard so far, and it's not unlike the sort of subtle hint that Moffat would sow. +1 non-redeemable internet point for you.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Introducing Missy the “Gatekeeper”: Who is She?
I'll give you Vastra, Jenny and Kate. Maybe Madge too. But, while I may not get unanimous backing on this, I'd contest that Clara and Amy are actually very, very similarly written characters as well. They both started out as "mysteries" to be solved, who only became companions by virtue of being an enigma, they've both straddled the line between platonic and romantic when it comes to the Doctor, they're both more strong-willed companions than most and are capable of "instructing" the Doctor in a sense, they've both been shown to hold down jobs despite travelling with the Doctor, they've both been "abandoned" by the Doctor, and before long, they'll both have had relationships with men who subsequently find themselves joining the TARDIS crew. They've followed a similar path and, other than the nuances that mostly seem to be down to the respective actresses, aren't actually all that different character-wise. Only one's a bit more Scottish.
He was slightly over 1200 years old at the beginning of The Time of the Doctor, and allegedly spent another 900 years defending the town of Christmas. So he was actually over 2100 before he'd regenerated.
I refer back to my final sentence.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Moffat on THAT Deep Breath Cameo
I am just the tiniest bit worried about this. Obviously, on the back of a few minutes of footage, it's hard to gauge the character yet. But I do recall all the speculation that Tasha Lem was in some way River Song, and now there's speculation of Missy being Tasha or River. Speculation which, whilst I think is probably unfounded, is in all fairness quite understandable. I'm not sure if there's some grander plan behind this, or whether Moffat has genuinely forgotten how to write characters that aren't River.
But it would have made no sense had they not duly reinforced the notion that Clara was struggling to come to terms with the Doctor's new incarnation. If she'd have accepted and welcomed him from the start and throughout the episode, then the phone call scene truly would have served no purpose. That recurring thread, paired with both the phone call scene and the argument with Vastra, were all inter-dependent in telling the story and giving it some weight. As for your assessment that it was all about "berating the fan girls"... it's not just "fan girls" who are hesitant when a beloved lead actor gets replaced. A lot of viewers, irrespective of the devoutness of their love for the show or (as seems to be a popular idea today) their gender, need a bit of reassurance at times like this, especially when the new incumbent is taking on a much darker, more visceral direction that contrasts so strikingly with what came before. Not everybody who watches Doctor Who is the sort of die-hard fan who hangs about on fansites and has an unconditional love for the show. There's a very large casual audience that needs to be looked after too.
I see a lot of people saying the same (the "fangirls" part, that is), but I absolutely have to disagree. It wasn't there to pander to any particular segment of the fanbase, it was there because it was an interesting, original and unexpected sequence that carried a lot of emotional weight and really punctuated Clara's character development in the episode. It served an important story purpose and provided the catalyst for a very emotional, very deep Twelve/Clara moment -- their first moment of real, true connection. I think to chalk it up as a throwaway cameo designed purely for one segment of the fanbase is to either vastly oversimplify or to completely miss the point.
I don't know whether it'd be satisfactory enough for those who really do want to see more Paternoster Gang, but I've been wondering why they haven't expanded upon them in minisodes. 1 - Moffat likes doing them. 2 - They can presumably budget for it, as they have done in the past. 3 - The sort of scenarios you describe are, IMHO, better suited to short stories than long episodes. 4 - If there's any inclination at all within the BBC to consider a full spin-off, a short run of minisodes would be the perfect way to gauge the reception and response. It makes sense to me. Personally, I'm not fussed for them in the slightest, but if there's enough call for them, then I think minisodes make perfect sense, even if (as I personally suspect) a full series isn't entirely viable.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Deep Breath Spoiler-Free Review
How can anyone not yet understand that Doctor Who can only sustain itself, being the behemoth that it is, by being as inclusive as possible and welcoming all manner of viewer? If it only targeted itself as children, or only targeted itself at adults, or at males, or at females, or at hardcore fans, or at casual viewers, it simply couldn't go on. It's a huge show with a huge budget that needs a huge audience to justify itself. Cutting itself off from potential audiences is suicidal. And that's to completely ignore the fact that it'd go against 51 years of history and legacy.
A very agreeable (p)review; I'd personally contest that Deep Breath even out-performs The Eleventh Hour, though. The latter is a much simpler, neater episode and made a very clean and welcoming jumping-on point for new viewers (or those who were still pensive about anyone replacing Tennant), so if that's what the author is trying to construe, then perhaps he's correct. In terms of the overall quality of the episode - plot, pacing, dialogue, development, etc - I think Deep Breath really hits all the right nails and probably makes for a better general opening episode. That's not to say it does any disservice to Capaldi's debut, mind you, but it's a more complex episode and probably not the one you'd show a first-time viewer, simply because of all the bits you'd inevitably end up having to explain. On the other hand, for regular viewers who are eager to be thrown straight back into the thick of the action without first sitting through a lighter, almost re-introductory episode, this one's a real humdinger. I suppose it comes down to what you want out of an episode really, but in my mind Deep Breath is probably the best opener yet. It does every bit as much to set the stage for a new Doctor as Rose, The Christmas Invasion or The Eleventh Hour, but retains the thrill factor and 'straight back to business' vibe of more action-heavy openers such as The Impossible Astronaut or Asylum of the Daleks. I think the gist of what I'm trying to get across here is that this episode doesn't feel like it was designed the way that other recent Doctor debuts have been - it seems less about trying to attract potential new audiences or gently ease in hesitant fans, and more about throwing us straight back into the thick of the show we came to see.
You could be right - but I find it very unlikely. I can't imagine the BBC would start teasing us with ambiguous, speculative references to something that they already confirmed long ago and made a big song and dance about. Whilst this could have been recorded long before then, logic dictates they'd have released this much earlier if that were the case. Deliberately getting fan's hopes up in this way, if they've got nothing we don't already know about to show for it, is just a very poor move - I think they're smarter than that.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Moffat Teases “Major Foe” For Series 8
The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone sort of meets that criteria. Only The Doctor, Amy and River - the primary characters - made it out of the Byzantium alive. There was quite a sizeable church army force that all perished through some means or another. He also came close in Silence of the Library/Forest of the Dead, where only Strackman Lux made it out alive alongside the main protagonists - although the rescuing of the thousands of previously-lost guests at the end undoes the effect of that a little.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Moffat on Death: “There are dark times ahead”
Did Moffat dictate Solomon's demise? That was a Chris Chibnall episode, and I don't personally remember any sources that suggest Solomon's death was a script direction mandated by the Moff. I could well be wrong though, so please correct me if so - I'd be interested to know. Also, Moffat has killed a fair few lesser characters beyond the main companions; all of the Church Soldier dudes from the Byzantium perished, either to the Angels (poor Bob) or the Crack in Time. The majority of the expedition to the Library died as well. Lorna Bucket croaked in A Good Man Goes To War. There were plenty of deaths in The Wedding of River Song - albeit it in an alternate timeline. Kovarian's was particularly memorable. Asylum of the Daleks saw corpses animated as Daleks, if you count that (no on-screen deaths, but the theme of death was still pretty evident - as it was in A Christmas Carol, and Abigail's subsequent implied off-screen demise). There was also the death of Reinette (albeit that historical, and thus not entirely of his own making), the death of the pilot whose name eludes me in The Night of the Doctor, and the death of Handles, if you choose to include non-human protagonist (of sorts) deaths. So whilst he's not particularly excessive with it, he certainly doesn't shy away from killing the less-important characters in his stories, despite his "everybody lives" debut. Plus, although you're not wrong in the whole "happy ending" thing, he's most likely referring at least in part to the various times he's "killed off" Rory or The Doctor, or at least implied their death then written around it; River, Amy and Rory are all technically "dead" from the Doctor's perspective too. Death is a theme that certainly recurs throughout a fair number of Moffat's episodes, even if it's not immediately obvious or particularly notable/memorable.
3 weeks, 6 days ago on Moffat on Death: “There are dark times ahead”