Watching Doctor Who from the beginning: Season 31!

paulhickling
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I liked the first episode with lots of atmosphere, but hated the second with Silurians in robes and surgeon's smocks. And yes tonally it was all over the place. The Doctor tells the woman off for having protecting-her-child instincts and then tells the reptilian Mengele that he loves him! The conversation between Matt and the Silurian lady in the basement was a high point mind.

Overall a misfire ranking with Beast Below and 'Victory' of the Daleks. I don't think there have been dips as bad as these since. The creatures themselves are ok as I can accept different 'varieties' of them anyway. Not all snakes and lizards are exactly the same. But as with the swivelling Dalek mid-sections various abilities have been forgotten. That tongue effect was pretty good. Though I suppose it could lead the dirtier minded of us to imagine allsorts given Vastra's relationship with her human wife... :oops:
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Yeah, the Dr Mengele (hah!) Silurian just seems to be BAD WRITING, in that he's used at the end of the first episode as a SCARY CLIFFHANGER than reused the next episode to be a GOODIE, and we're not supposed to remember that far back. I mean for goddsakes Chinball, don't assume all your audience have goldfish memories, please.
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VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR - I basically enjoyed this episode a lot. Probably more than, objectively, on paper, I ought to have done:
- because the ending in particular is such mawkish sentimental layered-on-with-a-trowel guff, with seemingly even Murray Gold declared insufficiently sentimental and some bloody Coldplay-type song piped on instead. (Maybe this was Murray Gold doing a "cod-Coldplay song", I dunno. I am mercifully out of touch with modern crap pop music so didn't actually recognise the tune, if it was a famous one by a famous band)
- And indeed the "monster" is ridiculous - an invisible monster (that's "only scared cos it's blind"?!) is eviscerating people, really? It also looks silly - thank god we can't see it most of the time.
- And the writing is also ridiculous non-naturalistic and disneyfied certificate-12 nonsense - I really don't believe the real Van Gogh would've behaved in the way he did if a pair of loons like the Doctor and Amy turned up at his house.

However, as basically a three-hander between three great actors, they do lovely charming performances and, even though my brain is telling me it shouldn't be, it's a great watch for 3/4 of an hour.
Also, bloody Rory isn't there cos HE'S DEAD! HOORAY! :-) Long may this continue! :-D
And I enjoyed seeing a wee photo of William Hartnell.

Van Gogh's marvellous paintings are brought to life beautifully by the designer and lighting/grading people, and even if the story is, in my view, hugely dubiously and contrivedly written as a vehicle for gross sentimentality, I still just found it a nice watch.
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THE LODGER - You know what, I really enjoy this story! The "rom-com" aspects are brilliantly played, Matt Smith is a wonderful genuine excentric and the epic bants between him and James Corden and Sophie are a delight. The sci-fi aspect gets a littttle bit silly at the end and wouldn't really be up to scratch for a "serious" story, but works fine for a rom com. I loved it on transmission and still loved it on re-watch.
Oh, and there's no blimmin' Rory either, yay!
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Really can't add much to this because it nails everything I felt on the head.

Maybe I was softer on the naff softy stuff at the end because it did pull at the the heart-strings, and I can sometimes ignore stuff when it's 'nice' like that (mainly because of the caustic stuff Moff gave Amy to speak for most of the rest of the time).

But I did think they could have at least acknowledged the fact he must have seen cars etc on passing. THAT'S what annoyed me. The monster I never really thought about. Apart from it looked like a monster chicken. Someone's idea of re-doing the thing in Arc of Infinity perhaps? And still being a naff...
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feline1 wrote:THE LODGER - You know what, I really enjoy this story! The "rom-com" aspects are brilliantly played, Matt Smith is a wonderful genuine excentric and the epic bants between him and James Corden and Sophie are a delight. The sci-fi aspect gets a littttle bit silly at the end and wouldn't really be up to scratch for a "serious" story, but works fine for a rom com. I loved it on transmission and still loved it on re-watch.
Oh, and there's no blimmin' Rory either, yay!

The Lodger is one of the ones I rewatch as a standalone. It's a good generic story.
Doctor Who extend-a-story: write your own adventures! http://thezombienomicon.com/eas/read.php?episode=63
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feline1 wrote:THE LODGER - You know what, I really enjoy this story! The "rom-com" aspects are brilliantly played, Matt Smith is a wonderful genuine excentric and the epic bants between him and James Corden and Sophie are a delight. The sci-fi aspect gets a littttle bit silly at the end and wouldn't really be up to scratch for a "serious" story, but works fine for a rom com. I loved it on transmission and still loved it on re-watch.
Oh, and there's no blimmin' Rory either, yay!
This was the one that was based on a comic strip in DWM and has the Doctor playing football in it (should've been cricket), isn't it?

Haven't seen it since it was first shown on TV but from what I can remember, thought it was good-ish. It was Smith that made it for me. Didn't even mind James Corden in it (not really a fan of his stuff). Shame that the follow-up "Closing Time" wasn't much cop. Felt it kinda spoilt "The Lodger" in a way.
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yeah, I remember thinking the sequel was pretty lame ... but I haven't got that far yet ;)

I've not watched any other James Corden "vehicles" either, but he plays his role splendidly in The Lodger. As with most Dr Who scenarios, the characters are doing quite bizarre things, and in the hands of a less skilled performer, the lines would simply be ridiculous and not work. But what we get is both hilarious and heartwarming. Gareth Roberts must've been delighted!
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Obviously my last comments were about Vincent.., but The Lodger is another goodie. A good all-rounder with well written and played humour, and menace. I too liked James Corden in this, after finding him really tiresome in previous things.

Series 5 is like a funny shaped 'W' in terms of quality with eps 2-3 and Silurian ones the dips. Everything else has some merit, with some terrific episodes, despite the ball being dropped way too low for those bad patches..
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I wonder are the bad eps all from the same production block or the same director or was it just luck of the draw and Moffat finding his feet?
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feline1 wrote:I wonder are the bad eps all from the same production block or the same director or was it just luck of the draw and Moffat finding his feet?
Good point. There are indeed certain connections here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_(series_5)

The main link appears to be producers. Peter Bennett did the lows - blocks 2,4 and 6, while Tracie Simpson bags most of the highs. There's also some connection with directors. I do think that the finale episodes have more going for them than blocks 2 and 6. There's much to annoy, just not the same as Victory and Beast Below or the second Silurian episode.

Anyway you'll be onto the last two episodes next. Good luck!
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THE PANDORICA OPENS.
Hmmm... I cannot decide if this episode was "epic" or whether it was like a blithering mess written by an 8 year old. :lol:
The pre-credits sequence is 7 mins 20 secs long! And sadly reminds us of that bloody stupid daleks episode. More pressingly, it is one of those ludicrously convoluted Moffat timey-wimey things for which, frankly, there is NO NEED. I mean to me it's like some insane 7 minute Emerson Lake and Palmer drum solo, which finally incomprehensibly resolves to the band playing 12 bars of recognisable melody.
And Rory is back, arrrrrgh. Although this time he's an auton.
To be fair, setting a story in Roman Britain and filming on Stonehenge is great. The costumes, the horse riding, and River Song as Cleopatra ( :lol: ) all looks great (Although point of order: although Stonehenge was indeed a couple of thousand years old by then, it surely didn't look *exactly* the same as today - Salisbury Plain was surely still densely wooden, and they should've re-erected a few trilithons in CGI ;) )
And the whole "Rory is back to life", whilst on one level COMPLETELY BLOODY ANNOYING and cheats basic premises of drama, undermining previous cliffhangers and introducing a massive "cry wolf" factor... it's nonetheless played both very amusingly with Rory meeting the Doctor, and very poignantly with Rory meeting Amy.

I fear what probably swings my verdict to the "shambles written by an 8 year old" side, though, is the menagerie of every single monster coming back to lock the Doctor in a chair. It's just silly. And why don't they just kill him anyways?!?
I shall look forward to next week to see how he gets out of that one...
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You won't like it.
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I seem to remember it involves a Fez. :floorroll:
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Moff's first go at a finale is just ott tosh. It all smacks of "aren't I clever?" As you say it's a shame because there are good bits. But having that awful 'Dalek' thing... These two episodes instead of either being a high or a very low like the rest of the season are sort of both in one story. Some nice moments among lots of annoying ones.

But yes, I remember being annoyed and totally unimpressed at the massed army of enemies. They spout names of monsters we know they're not going to bring back for one scene (Drahvins!!?), and then we get what feels like a bunch of people wearing costumes out of the wardrobe for the last couple of years. Two or three of each of the big baddies and then others that logically should even be there. The fact that they're all together in one big bunch makes it look like a re-enactment at a convention or something.
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Yeah I mean why would (say) the Sycorax, who'd never been to Earth before 2005, turn up there 2000 years earlier, it was just bollocks. :lol:
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BIG BANG -
"oh! I've escaped! Brilliant! Love it when I do that!" :lol: ...what??? :roll:

For the first 20 minutes or so, this is a well-edited, exciting and amusing fast-paced piece of Moffatry where he does (just about) manage to do some of his show-piece "timey-wimey" time-travel-paradox stuff, and it more or less hangs together coherently...
(although - WARNING KLAXXON - I notice the two sonic screwdrivers "short out their time difference" with a blinovich bang, but then minutes later, young Amy hugs old Amy and dying Doctor whispers in the ear of alive Doctor and there's no bang whatsoever... this is a terrible sign that the writer is abandoning the story's internal rules and consistency as he goes along and just MAKING UP COMPLETE BOLLOCKS, and hoping the sheer spectacle and Murray Gold music will distract everyone from noticing).

... once the Doctor "escapes", for me the whole thing just unravels in ridiculous slow-motion schmaltz that makes less and less sense...
I still haven't a bloody clue why the TARDIS should blow up, or why this should destroy the "whole universe", and why a Pandorica should be able to "restore" it all with a "field" and ... arrrgh.
What was River Song doing in the TARDIS anyways, she materialises and opens the door and there's rock outside, where was that? and when? And why?
Is Rory properly alive now, and not an Auton?
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Well now that the forum's finally working again I guess I can just add my overall take on Season 31...

...but to be honest, I think we covered it above pretty well!

It's basically: Matt Smith - best casting in ages.
Karen Gillan - top notch too. (For me: Stan Laurel/Shaggy-from-ScoobyDoo as her boyfriend - maybe not so hot ;) )
Alex Kingston's continues to give good value.

But the writing: Problematic. Rather than Moffat taking the reins and every story being an "Are You My Mummy?" classic, there seems to be an unsettling mix of cracking tales, and other ones which are surely some of the worst, lamest, silliest stories in bloody years. And not just *stylistically* awful in an experimental Love&Monsters way, but just plain stoopid badly written "what were they thinking?!?" stuff - Victory of the Daleks, step forward! Very much a curate's egg...

Will this stablise for season 32? We shall see...
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