Watching Doctor Who from the beginning: Season 31!

paulhickling
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feline1 wrote:I'm glad y'all are enjoying my ramblings on watching everything in order - I do like hearing what everyone else thinks!
It's easier to comment on someone else's trudge through the series chronologically. I started a while ago and stalled at The Tenth Planet because of the news of the returned Troughtons thinking more would come. Must start again but sadly the momentum I had has gone. Almost feel like I should start again, but that feels like a pain in the arse after I did it already. But someone's idea of just doing TTP before watching Power would be one way of refreshing my own attempt. Mmm...
paulhickling
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Chairman of the Voord wrote:I watch some version of episode one of "An Unearthly Child" every 23rd November. Sometimes I watch the pilot, sometimes I watch the aired episode and sometimes I watch one of the hybrids (or even, occasionally, the unedited footage).

I only ever watch the first episode though. I really ought to watch the whole thing again at some point, but I find it such a dull story that it's hard to sit through.

I was a child of the Tom Baker era, I have learned to adore the Troughton era (what there is of it) and the Pertwee era (which falls in and out of favour with me) but I really struggle to watch Hartnell - even though the actor himself is stunningly good (as, indeed, are his supporting cast). I just find the actual stories quite hard to watch.

That said, with the release of "Power" a couple of days before the anniversary this year I have pledged to watch "Tenth Planet" followed by "Power" as part of my annual celebration of all things Who this year.
Ah. All becomes clear. Whilst I can't agree that 'The Tribe of Gum' section of the first story is remotely rubbish I too usually only watch the actual episode An Unearthly Child. And like you sometimes it's the Pilot version, because I actually prefer it. Better dialogue and therefore acting from Mr H.
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Yeah I think I will rewatch The Tenth Planet before Power of the Daleks - I probably only watched the 10th Planet DVD once when it came out, so I need to see it again anyways!
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VICTORY OF THE DALEKS - oh bloody 'ell! :x :o
Oh dear, season 31 started so well, too! But if I complained by ungainly writing for the end of THE BEAST BELOW, that's nothing compared to this dalek story - it's complete farage! :cow: completely RIDICULOUS!

Matt Smith and Ms Pond's performances are fine, though, no fault there. And the BBC do decent WWII setting... it's just the WRITING, arrrgh.
It's starts off well enough, with a sinister Power-of-the-Daleks-esque vibe - the notion of daleks sliding around making cups of tea for people is both mildly amusing and "OMG THEY'RE GONNA KILL EVERYONE!!!" at the same time (although given how magic the Doctor's sonic screwdriver seems to usually be these days, it seems a trifle convenient that he doesn't spot how that scotch bloke out of Grange Hill is an android...)
But once the Doctor kicks the dalek's trap into action, the whole thing just goes utterly pear-shaped -
the dalek's spaceship just looks like an empty office with the desks taken out, and the idea of the Doctor holding them off with a jammy dodger is surely one of the most stupid things the show has ever done, it's worse than a talking cabbage. Just a feeble excuse of the Doctor to stand around delivering dialogue. The whole "progenitor" thing seems rather contrived in any case.
I am totally sick of Nick Brigg's dalek voices - you can hear the playground fanboy glee in his voice the whole time, it's totally hammy. Peter Hawkins had really panic and mania and sadism in his original voices, even Zippy from Rainbow did it better.
The new "pure" daleks look like plastic toys, like the whole episode is basically an excuse to advertise toy merchanising.

Then the whole "gravity bubbles" thing - which goes from being some drawings on the professor's desk, to fully functioning Star Wars X-Wing Fighter Attack on the Death Star in about 7 minutes?!?! wtf?!? It's utterly ludicrous. And Murry Gold's "barnstorming rollick" music for the sequence makes it worse.
Then it turns out the android has a piece of BAFFLEGAB inside him! Which is gonna destroy the whole world, yeah right! But it doesn't cos Amy Pond flirts with him.

I've seldom seen a dafter plot for a Doctor Who story. It's an example of the 50 minute single episode format just not working, and makes something like Timelash seem like well crafted drama.

Ian McNeice's Churchill is mostly just played for laffs too: and the way this is done basically sets the "tone" for the entire story - I think this is the core problem, really: the story never achieves menace, suspense, or drama, because it's continually got this "exceedingly hilarious jest" of round its neck: "the Doctor meets famous historical personage, Winston Churchill, looool! What a hoot!" - it's a continual postmodern metatextual (or just SILLY) joke. It blows the realism - you can't go back to the past in a time travel show, and treat the past like some kind of sitcom where everyone there sees how amusing it is that they've suddenly found themselves on telly.
That's not to say Doctor Who hasn't from time to time successful added comic touches to historical stories, but never this crassly? (Although to be honest, I struggle with the tone of The Romans and The Myth Makers at times too...)

Arghh! Rubber orange daleks though!

This might have made a good Children in Need 15 minute special for charridee, but as a 50 minute "proper" episode it's awful! Moffat, what were you thinking?!?
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Agree with the comparison of the two halves. It DOES start of reasonably well. I loved the bit where the Dalek picks off enemy planes. And the ONE bit of drama as the Daleks reveal their true nature. More of this would have been pleasing instead of the atrocity that followed. And while it's obviously too much to ask the new mob for a well written grippingly dramatic (instead of a lark) historical, a little more respect for the setting is required. Not a single comment about Amy's micro skirt??? Not a tut from the women or a wolf whistle from the fellers. Actually at this time even the blokes would probably suggest she get dressed. Especially in front of the women.

But the lead's performances themselves as you say, weren't at fault. More than can be said for Churchill. But that is of course the writing, which on the whole is naff. And I'm no critic of Gatiss, but after Moff dropped the ball with the previous episode Gatiss didn't improve things. But this is a patchy season to be honest. Wait for the Silurian story, where the last problem is our different breed of creature.

As for the Fatleks/Tellytubbies/Skaroan abortions, as I said, possibly the worst crime committed in the name of Doctor Who. Yes, a LOT worse than a female Master. First time I ever put back a Who covered Radio Times. In our local Co-Op. I wanted to throw it on the floor, jump on it before ripping it up! My heart actually sank. And it's interesting about the backlash. They've disappeared fortunately. And despite Moff writing in the 'Brilliant Book' that "it's just a design" I notice that the publicity still he has with a Dalek from the story is with a regular one. Odd if you're trying to promote the bloody things. The jammie dodger thing wouldn't bother me if the rest wasn't so crap. As it stands it's rather fitting that such laughable attempts at the best ever sf monster could be stopped in such a way.

With the music, I'm going to come to the defence of Murray as usual. This is one of the last episodes where we have nice standout pieces. It's just a shame one of the best is underscoring the unveiling of the plastic overweight monstrosities!
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paulhickling wrote:Agree with the comparison of the two halves. It DOES start of reasonably well. I loved the bit where the Dalek picks off enemy planes. And the ONE bit of drama as the Daleks reveal their true nature. More of this would have been pleasing instead of the atrocity that followed. And while it's obviously too much to ask the new mob for a well written grippingly dramatic (instead of a lark) historical, a little more respect for the setting is required. Not a single comment about Amy's micro skirt??? Not a tut from the women or a wolf whistle from the fellers. Actually at this time even the blokes would probably suggest she get dressed. Especially in front of the women.

But the lead's performances themselves as you say, weren't at fault. More than can be said for Churchill. But that is of course the writing, which on the whole is naff. And I'm no critic of Gatiss, but after Moff dropped the ball with the previous episode Gatiss didn't improve things. But this is a patchy season to be honest. Wait for the Silurian story, where the last problem is our different breed of creature.

As for the Fatleks/Tellytubbies/Skaroan abortions, as I said, possibly the worst crime committed in the name of Doctor Who. Yes, a LOT worse than a female Master. First time I ever put back a Who covered Radio Times. In our local Co-Op. I wanted to throw it on the floor, jump on it before ripping it up! My heart actually sank. And it's interesting about the backlash. They've disappeared fortunately. And despite Moff writing in the 'Brilliant Book' that "it's just a design" I notice that the publicity still he has with a Dalek from the story is with a regular one. Odd if you're trying to promote the bloody things. The jammie dodger thing wouldn't bother me if the rest wasn't so crap. As it stands it's rather fitting that such laughable attempts at the best ever sf monster could be stopped in such a way.

With the music, I'm going to come to the defence of Murray as usual. This is one of the last episodes where we have nice standout pieces. It's just a shame one of the best is underscoring the unveiling of the plastic overweight monstrosities!
I am not happy with NUWHO's trivialization of WW 2. It is one thing to visit a specific time, it is quite another to turn it into a cartoon.
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bobmcpherson wrote: I am not happy with NUWHO's trivialization of WW 2.
Arguably Monty Python's best sketch EVER, definately one of Palin's best bits of acting.
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TIME OF THE ANGELS - FLESH AND STONE -
whoopeee, bizarrely back on form with a pair of superb episodes! Doing what Moffat does best, scary spooky, full of innovative twists and plot mayhems and new concepts and monster antics that soon seem so solidly part of canon that you wonder how you ever managed without them before. The angel in the CCTV loop is particularly inspired.
And lots of brilliant flip lines too.

Also much better on the BluRay without an animated trailer for Graham bloody Norton spoiling the first cliffhanger!

The cast are all acting splendidly (River Song is a much sharper performance this time round) and the design is quite superb, some of the best visuals since the series returned to the screens. Loved the "Silent Running" style forest.

There's an intriguing bonus scene on the BluRay too, where Amy tries to shag the Doctor and we get to see a montage of previous companions, which sounds hellish on paper but is actually marvellously played by Smith and Gillan.

Now why couldn't it have been this good last week?!?!

These episodes demonstrate starkly that what is important above all is GOOD WRITING - you've got a great cast, but you've gotta give them a great script, and combine that with the budget and a good designer and this is one of the best shows on television.
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Just remembered and wanted to mention the bit about the River Song and the TARDIS dematerialisation noise being that the Doctor always "left the brake on" :lol: very droll
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feline1 wrote:TIME OF THE ANGELS - FLESH AND STONE -
whoopeee, bizarrely back on form with a pair of superb episodes! Doing what Moffat does best, scary spooky, full of innovative twists and plot mayhems and new concepts and monster antics that soon seem so solidly part of canon that you wonder how you ever managed without them before. The angel in the CCTV loop is particularly inspired.
And lots of brilliant flip lines too.

Also much better on the BluRay without an animated trailer for Graham bloody Norton spoiling the first cliffhanger!

The cast are all acting splendidly (River Song is a much sharper performance this time round) and the design is quite superb, some of the best visuals since the series returned to the screens. Loved the "Silent Running" style forest.

There's an intriguing bonus scene on the BluRay too, where Amy tries to shag the Doctor and we get to see a montage of previous companions, which sounds hellish on paper but is actually marvellously played by Smith and Gillan.

Now why couldn't it have been this good last week?!?!

These episodes demonstrate starkly that what is important above all is GOOD WRITING - you've got a great cast, but you've gotta give them a great script, and combine that with the budget and a good designer and this is one of the best shows on television.
Well it was reasonably well realised, for me the mistake was bringing the Weeping Angel back at all. They work best as one off foes in a story the were specially crafted for (Blink).
AMERICA IS AN ANVIL.

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I thought having them in a mausoleum worked splendidly! I was just asking "but why don't all the statues have two heads?!!?" before the Doctor asked the same question :P
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VAMPIRES OF VENICE -
I thought this one went reasonably well! Certainly the visuals are great - I somehow suspect they were actually in a carpark in Swansea rather than Venice, but it certainly *looked* like they were in Venice. The costumes were superb.
I did kinda feel it would've been a better story if it had simply just involved the Doctor and Amy meeting vampires in Venice, rather than AMY'S BLOODY DRIP OF A BOYFRIEND having to tag along. It's not *quite* a soapily done as RTD stuff (indeed, it's more played for comedy, and at times Rory is just *too* Shaggy-from-ScoobyDoo/StanLaurel to the point it undermines credibility in the story - for instance the scene where he's bringing Amy to the school to give her away)
Nevertheless, the whole works reasonably well, but I felt the ending where the Doctor climbs up a tower like spiderman and magically saves the day by flicking a switch was a bit 'throwaway' - and also the compositing of the shots was a bit iffy, with the lighting on Matt not really matching the background. Oh well.
Some amusing metatextual deconstruction of the story's own plot points by the characters themselves ("how come we can see the teeth?" etc etc)
Not as wonderful as The Eleventh Hour or the two Angels episodes, but certainly considerably better than the dumbass dalek story.
Matt Smith's performance continues to be excellent. His tone is just so *natural* as an eccentric, he makes Tennant seem hugely earnest and over-emotive
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feline1 wrote:I felt the ending where the Doctor climbs up a tower like spiderman and magically saves the day by flicking a switch was a bit 'throwaway'
Yeah lucky they don't use that one too often :roll:
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Hah well Tennant did it at least twice, but I think it was Matt Smith's first one for that particular gambit :D
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The three negative things for me about the Weeping Angels two-parter were: the fact they had to return; the reuse of the speaking after death scene; and that we see them move normally. At the time I too thought they were a great one-off monster, and were diminished by coming back, but they'd been something of a smash so I suppose it was too great a temptation. Fortunately the story is a good 'un so we let 'em off. Again the after death scene was just as well written directed and performed as the one in Silence in the Library. And I suppose it's only we the viewer who are seeing them move as opposed to the characters...

Tennant did do the climbing scene twice before. More recently at the end of Evolution of the Daleks where he was basically a cross between Superman (absorbing all sorts of death dealing stuff) and of course King Kong given the location. Better was the one before at the end of Idiot's Lantern. This is the one Matt's scene in Vampires resembles most. I suppose the climbing scene makes for a good climax, just as Hammer films loved fire so much. It makes for a spectacular ending.

Now then, Vampires of Venice. I mistakenly said Victory of the Daleks had the last stand-out music from Murray Gold. I COMPLETELY forgot it was of course this throwback to the Hinchcliffes that had an incredible score for the whole episode, the like of which has not been heard since. Popular at the concerts it really gets the juices flowing, worthy of any film score, channelling intentionally naturally Hammer Films' James Bernard. There's some amazing percussion in it, and more besides.

Storywise it's great. As has been said lovely costumes and a superb location. Of COURSE it was filmed outside Wales! Both this and Vincent and the Doctor were filmed in Croatia. Well documented at the time. Once again though there's some silliness. As well as materialising and announcing their arrival at the top of The Doctor's voice, right in the middle of a crowded area, we also have Amy prancing around in a mini skirt. The modern clothes I can forgive but this seems to me a detail that should be remarked on even if only in jest somewhere.

Otherwise it's a cracker. Next up we're on shaky ground again, and not just because the Silurians are trying to make their way up to see us. The one thing that doesn't bother me is their change of appearance, although those earlier designs we saw in the Brilliant Book did leave us all wishing they'd have gone with them I'm sure...
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paulhickling wrote:As well as materialising and announcing their arrival at the top of The Doctor's voice, right in the middle of a crowded area, we also have Amy prancing around in a mini skirt. The modern clothes I can forgive but this seems to me a detail that should be remarked on even if only in jest somewhere.
She dressed for RIO!!!

...oh, sorry, that's the next story...
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One little thing I forgot to mention - I love when the Doctor flashes his library card and it's William Hartnell's photo! Somehow this doesn't feel at all gratuitous or fanwanky to me,it just feels cool - probably cos there's no dialogue labouring the point, we just see it

As for the weeping angels coming back - srsly you guys, we could complain about the daleks coming back, they were never as good as when confined in their city in their first serial. In every other environment their design just becomes silly and totally implausible that they could conquer the galaxy with a sink plunger ;)

Moffat does have a real problem with recycling the same plot tropes againand again - the talking after death one is not the last we'll see of this kind of rehashing
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feline1 wrote:As for the weeping angels coming back - srsly you guys, we could complain about the daleks coming back, they were never as good as when confined in their city in their first serial. In every other environment their design just becomes silly and totally implausible that they could conquer the galaxy with a sink plunger
Careful you're starting to sound like Pertwee! But yes the Hartnell i.d. was nice.

The main problem with Moff rehashing is that sometimes, as with that first after death scene, the ideas are actually inspired. The scene first time around was incredibly good, really touching, but not unique anymore because he couldn't stop himself doing it again. Luckily it was nicely done second time around too, but still..

This leads me to the point that I would never accuse Moff being a bad writer, however much we get annoyed at his handling of our favourite show sometimes. In fact the guy is an excellent writer. Ideas flow out of him, he does creepy really well, and can be very witty or even laugh out funny. And he simply has written some the best episodes of Doctor Who ever made. The bugger just likes winding us up too much.
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Well, he's kinda his own worst enemy for spoiling what is good and ground-breaking about his writing by just doing it over and over again to the point where it's ridiculous!
I also have to say, watching him in the "in vision commentaries" on this BluRay, that he's got something slightly thuggish or nasty about his temperament. The one with just him and Karen Gillan for Time of the Angels is a bit of a hard watch, she's just a simpering nervous mess and he's just very kinda dogged/slablike in presence. Compared to charming gents like Philip Hinchliffe or Barry Letts he's very ungracious.
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feline1 wrote:Well, he's kinda his own worst enemy for spoiling what is good and ground-breaking about his writing by just doing it over and over again to the point where it's ridiculous!
I also have to say, watching him in the "in vision commentaries" on this BluRay, that he's got something slightly thuggish or nasty about his temperament. The one with just him and Karen Gillan for Time of the Angels is a bit of a hard watch, she's just a simpering nervous mess and he's just very kinda dogged/slablike in presence. Compared to charming gents like Philip Hinchliffe or Barry Letts he's very ungracious.
Blimey don't get me started. I've always noticed his grumpy personality. I would compare it with RTD with them both being from the modern era. Despite them being mates and respectful of each other's work, there is a very clear difference in personality. RTD always seems genial, whereas Moff has always seemed a bit 'don't mess with me'. And it shows in the writing too. For all his faults Russell's characters seem real, and even when less than pleasant are not half as abrasive as some of Moff's writing for Amy.

You should have seen his treatment of a kid at the last big convention! The guy obviously had aspergers or something, and was physically shaking as he made a less than subtle critique of what Moff does. Moff was anything but gracious in reply. He basically told the lad he needed a personality transplant! It was a VERY uncomfortable moment that I was convinced would end up in the papers. And as a mate of mine asked about the scheduling with years off etc, he snapped at him too.
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