DR.Who


#161

Thing is, I like Adric in season 18, mostly. After the regeneration, though, he becomes, well, a teenager.

Nyssa is so underwritten. No personality. Tegan has too much personality, to balance. I mean, she’s basically the same character as Donna, but written terribly. Saward gives us one-note cartoon characters, basically, then blames it on JNT. Even though both Bidmead and Cartmel managed to create their own spaces. So, hm.

Which probably informs Adric’s devolution, as well.


#162

I liked Tegan more than Donna

I think part of this is loathing the actress who played Donna while having no opinion on Tegan’s actress.

Also, I could understand hating the doctor and everything that happened on the Tardis if the doctor was a useless git like Peter Davison and one of the only other people you regularly saw was fucking Adric. I did not understand Catherine Tate’s “henpecking shrew housewife” routine and it always felt like a big old misogynist farce.

Yes, I’m aware it is a very contrarian position to take, as people generally consider Donna Noble to be a favorite of nu who. It doesn’t matter, she comes across as a sexist stereotype instead of a real character. Tegan was at least RIGHT to be unhappy on the tardis.


#163

catherine tate did overact and that shtick is kind of problematic as you say, plus I can only imagine how much more heavy handed moffat would’ve been with “the doctor donna” had it not been davies at that point, but that arc just kills me every time.


#165

her entire comedy routine before doctor who was making fun of the way poor people talked


#168

Sorry. I wrote I DONT CARE here originally then deleted it because i got reflexively embarrassed because i probably should care. I liked Donna though and i don’t really have an excuse.


#169

The thing is about Timelash – okay, so it’s a mess, clearly. But, we’re talking about the Colin Baker era here. So let’s just take it as read that it’s shit.

With that in hand, let’s see what it has to offer beyond its inevitable shittery. For one thing, it has a lightness of touch absent from Baker’s era, outside of season 23 – and most specifically Pip & Jane’s nonsense. But whereas Pip & Jane’s writing is adequate at best, twee at all times, and never approaches a thing like ambition, Timelash is… strange. I mean, it’s a really fucking strange story, over-egged with so many inexplicable elements that it’s hard to put a finger on which part most overshoots the production team’s ability or will to effectively implement. It’s bursting with ideas. Most of them are half-baked or not… necessarily good, but the script is really excited to do everything that it’s doing. So, there’s a spirit and ambition to go with the lightness of touch.

And then there’s the cast. This is probably the Colin Baker era at its height here. Baker puts in his best-judged, most genuinely entertaining performance. This is as close as his TV Doctor gets to his Big Finish performance. And Tekker. Good lord, Tekker. Is he the best villain this side of Soldeed? Nearly every line reading, every facial gesture, every shrug of body language is second only in astounding glory to “My DREEAAAMS of CON-quest!!!” Basically, for once and nearly only, the cast seems to be having a fucking blast with this story. It’s so much better, to my mind, to watch people having fun than the awkward-n-icky status quo for this era. It’s a revelation to see everyone gelling as a cast and a company, and doing what it takes to elevate a bewildering script and horrendous production.

But, as far as that production goes, you have to say something for the Borad. The sets are a unique level of awful, and the direction is mostly just kind of there, but the costumes overall are pretty good, and the Borad must be one of the best makeup/prosthetic jobs in the classic series. Not only that; those sequences are shot and lit uncommonly well for JNT-era Doctor Who. The lights are down, shadows are well-employed, and there’s an economy of visual information. It’s not often the show gets a reveal dead-on, in this decade.

So. Yeah, okay. Timelash is an anagram for lame shit. But, considering the context, it’s probably the single most watchable thing in Colin Baker’s oeuvre.

Footnote: the leader’s daughter’s boyfriend character really, really reminds me of Mac from Always Sunny…


#170

Eric Saward is just horrible, okay? But I’m watching the Timelash DVD documentary here, and he’s got this line. He describes Paul Darrow’s Tekker as “A sort of Roman emperor who had been sniffing glue all day.”

And, yes.


#171

I keep forgetting they did this. Has anyone heard it?


#172

Also, Pandastorm seems to do an amazing job with the German DVDs. They use the BBCW DVDs as a basis, then add stuff, including cleaned-up copies of the original German dubs – sourced from fan copies if needed, in true Doctor Who restoration style.

And they’re also working with the RT to release a Silver Nemesis EE DVD, which never happened with the BBCWW discs. As well as completing the German-language Davison era (which previously only included The Five Doctors), with brand new dubs, all original German-language voice actors returning where possible.

And, uh… to tie into the above, they’ve signed a deal with Big Finish to release German-langage versions of some of their audio plays, using the “official” German voice actors for the respective English-language actors. Which is just so conceptually strange to me.

Trying to find it; this isn’t Pandastorm’s doing, but the German voice actor for McCoy is just… wow. Ah, here.

And as with The X-Files, German kind of… makes sense with the TV movie.

Likewise with Colin.

Which, to complete this circle, makes me also wonder if they’re planning to dub The Last Adventure. Because… that would be pretty astounding, on a few levels.


#173

So that sure was an hour of nothing.

Also, is the TARDIS misogynist or…?


#174

Well, that’s four-for-four in new series Doctors inexplicably dematerializing before regeneration, and so crashing as a result.

Smith very nearly was ejected the same way.


#175

The large supporting cast suggested to me that Chibnall might be pulling a Pertwee – and drawing from his background in procedural drama – by ditching the TARDIS for a while. Maybe doing that much-suggested fan thing of a series-long search arc for the ship.

Looking ever more likely.


#176

Also, I mean. He blew the shit out of the ship, just like Tennant. In that case there was massive cosmetic damage, but here it looks like he did some deep, structural, systemic damage to the control room – to the point that the very moment she was ejected, the console blew up, filling the interior with a fireball that probably would have shot out the door had the TARDIS not dematerialized itself.

So, maybe on a quick calculation it figured that ejecting her was the less-bad option?


#177

The Broadchurch model crossed my mind, but I’m not sure if the BBC is adventurous enough to allow a drastic format change on top of the new “controversial” Doctor.

With the way the Brigadier’s family was reintroduced, I do expect a Tardis-less Unit-aiding angle to be at least a couple episodes of the first season though. I hope both of the Doctor’s old cars show up too.


#178

I mentioned this to the missus and she said oh so now that she’s a girl they gotta take her keys away wtf?

A couple of episodes would be ok but if it’s a season-long thing that’ll suck.


#179

Ok I’ll go with that


#180

I don’t have the quote in my pocket, but he did say something about how he was only going to do the show if the BBC let him do it his way, and he fully expected them to say no. Because they’re a fairly conservative entity, and probably would want more of something familiar and proven. So he brought them his big plan, and to his surprise they were on-board from the start.

So who knows what he’s talking about, but it doesn’t sound like he’s doing the same kind of structure the show’s been doing the last thirteen years.

Well, we know it’s not. It’s got ten slightly-longer episodes, and a large regular or semi-regular cast. It’s being composed by a US-style writer’s room instead of individual authors, supposedly, which suggests more of a focus on long-term continuity over the individual episode. Prestige drama style.

Already this is suggesting some things about the show’s probable substance.

Then we know that he’s talked about how the show has lost it cultural currency over the last few several years, and he feels it needs to be high-profile event TV again, that plays to the whole audience instead of just a subset.

Narrows it down.

Lethbridge Stewart. Hyphenated surnames?

Narrows it down.


#181

I fully expect episode one to establish some major, shocking thing that the following nine episodes serve to explore, through all manner of cosmic twists and turns. Trying to get everyone on board, speculating about what it could all mean.


#182

https://rts.org.uk/article/chris-chibnall-man-who-reinvented-cliffhanger

This is interesting, and it speaks to the impression I get of how much Chibnall has grown since Torchwood and that first not-so-great season of Law & Order: UK. Looks like he had a creative reckoning of sorts in L.A., and figured himself out.


#183

“I think people still want appointment television,” says Chibnall. “Especially at certain points in the week. Sunday night is one of them, so moving Line of Duty to Sunday night was a master stroke. And Monday night on ITV is another one: I was thrilled to get that slot because that was the night that Cracker and Prime Suspect were on.

“For all that we binge-watch and catch-up, communal viewing has survived on those two nights in particular.”

But, for such a show to work, do future plot twists have to be ruthlessly protected from viewers and newspapers? “Yes. It is quite difficult. The only way to do it is not to tell anyone, which isn’t possible because lots of people need to know how to do their jobs.

“You have to have security measures in place. Scripts are electronically distributed; everyone has individual passwords. You have to foster a team mentality and hope that people will want to protect the endeavour.

“I’m interested that Twin Peaks has taken it to the absolute zenith by not even having trailers. But the definition of a good story is being told things that you don’t know yet.”

And he’s doing that now, from reports. To the extent of having, like, electromagneic scanners and ID checks of everyone passing into or out of the creative areas.

It’s… interesting that he singles out Twin Peaks as a point of reference.

“I feel my job is to set the creative vision,” he says. “I think of it as curating a team of geniuses.”

Ah, this is approaching what I mentioned above. The show has been renewed at least through season 15, and:

“Any reticence would be about the scale and length of the commitment. It’s a five-year project. That was a huge decision. He’s in his absolute prime and could have done whatever he wanted, writing-wise. It’s an absolutely wonderful result for Doctor Who. I think Chris, essentially, writes emotional thrillers, and that’s perfect for that show.”

Chibnall admits that he took a long time to commit: “I finally said yes because I love the show to my bones. I resisted it for a very long time, and [the BBC] really had to woo me.

“But, in the end, I had ideas about what I wanted to do with it. When I went to them and said, ‘This is what I would do’, I actually expected them to say, ‘Ooh, let’s talk about that’, but they said: ‘Great!’”

Chibnall can’t reveal yet what his daring conceit for the series is but would he, for example, be allowed to do a whole-series story­line, like Broadchurch, rather than individual episodes? “Yes. What the BBC was after was risk and boldness.” But he couldn’t kill the Doctor off in episode 1? “Ha! Then the title would really make sense.”