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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:09 pm

{{{{ Cheers Dave- I appreciate you taking the time at such a bust time of year for you- and good luck withe harvest- hope its a bumper crop.
I agree in general about better they try to go a bit deeper than dont bother even trying.

Halfy- I dont think in this case its comparable. Its not so much we get the backstory of the Doctor- you cant ever do that, at most we get more confused and possibly contradictory bits of it with no idea where or in what order they fit for sure. The day they give away the Doctors origins and reasons the show is over.
The aim in fact is the opposite- the aim with 12 was to make the Doctor someone you are less secure about less certain about, less sure about his motivations and therefore how he might act in any situation- its an attempt o put the mystery back in after over 50 years- to put the Who? back in Doctor Who. Its designed to make the viewer question the Doctors actions and motives and ask if they really are right.

Blue- drunken rants don't require an introduction! Mad drunken }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:17 pm

Interesting thoughts Petty, thanks for sharing!

I don't care about these questions though. Neutral
I don't care to watch an entire series concerned with whether the Doctor is good or bad when I already know that the Doctor is good. I've watched all of NuWho. I know what's up. I know he's a good person. Anything that claims otherwise is fiddle-faddle based on false drama and "clever twists".

I've heard far, far too many contradictory superlatives for me take the statements these characters make as meaningful. "The Doctor is amazing! The Doctor is terrifying! The Doctor keeps you safe! The Doctor will hurt you and change you and manipulate your soul! The Doctor is an idiot with a box! The Doctor is a genius and can do anything!" Blah blah blah.

The doctor uses his face like a veil? What? It's his face. What's he hiding? The flesh and bones beneath? I guess we're all hiding something with our faces then. Rolling Eyes

Some scrub introduced the idea that Time Lords subconsciously choose what their face will look like only so that 12's first season could go through this pointless meta-conversation about why the Doctor took the face of the father from the The Fires of Pompei. The answer to this question is so strung-out in the series and so hidden behind unnecessary obfuscations that I can't even recall why it is that he "subconsciously" chose that face. What was the reason again?

It's one thing to ask the audience, "Hey, perhaps there's a reason the Doctor appears as he does: why is number 12 wearing Peter Capaldi this series?" and then give the answer that same episode. It's quite another matter to string along the audience with the promise that the answer will be given in a meaningful way, but actually just feed them edgy descriptions of the Doctor as a liar and a person who doesn't care and play around with angsty Nihilist bullshit like that the Doctor is dead inside and needs a companion to show him the way (Thank God for Clara!)

Grr!!
It's like the writers took the title of the show as their prime directive and spent way too much time asking themselves, "Who is the Doctor?"

This sort of arc works in some shows. The inimitable Breaking Bad is primarily concerned with the question of whether Walter White is a good person. That is the over-arching question that is answered by the end of the series. But the question is not drawn out until the end needlessly. Every season develops the character further as he is faced with choices. Should he work with Jesse and cook meth, or should he continue working two jobs to care for his family? Should he kill Tuco, or should he allow Tuco to control him? Should he tell his family the truth, or should he lie to them?

These are all interesting questions to which the audience wants to see the answers. There is something at stake, and the ramifications of Walter's decisions affect him in a meaningful way. Walter cannot become the drug-lord of a methamphetamine empire and remain a good father and husband. He lies to himself that both are possible, but ultimately he chooses the drug empire over his family because that is what he really wants. That is the point of the show.

When Breaking Bad asks the question, "Is Walter White a good man?" I'm interested, and I care. But when Doctor Who asks the question, "Is the Doctor a good man?" I roll my eyes. Why is that? Probably because its an inappropriate question for the genre. Children's/Young Adult's Fantasy Sci-fi is a far cry from Gritty Realism. In the latter genre, the answer to that question could make a viewer uncomfortable and shocked as they watch their hero turn into a monster. But in the former genre, the answer is already known by the audience because of the expectations of the show. Doctor Who is about the good-hearted Doctor who travels through time and space defeating dastardly plots and exploring the universe. It's not a show about a man's descent into evil. The question is pointless. The Doctor is a good man. He's flawed, sure (when the writers aren't fanboying all over him and care to remember the fact anyway), but ultimately good.

Moffat is wasting our time with this edgy exploration of the Doctor's character. It's the same thing we've seen in Sherlock with all the teases about whether the titular character is as uncaring and sinister as he sometimes pretends to be.

And.. ugh. I'm not saying that there is no value in exploring the Doctor's nature. There can be subtlety and shades of gray and flaws in a good character like his and its really interesting when the show deals with that, but the way in which the showrunners go about it is poor. They drag out the question over the entire series, they tease and hint and use editing sleight-of-hand to trick us, and when the show actually seems to be giving the Doctor one of these character-defining choices, the solution is often a gimmicky twist that cheapens the whole choice to inconsequentiality.

I can't go on. I've run out of steam!

Mad Sofa Mad


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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:44 am

{{ A fine rant Forest  Nod - but I disagree with most of your basic premise.  Very Happy
The question of is he a good man or not is not strung out, its actually answered in several ways in the very same episode the question is posed- the dalek concludes that he is a 'good dalek' and Clara concludes that she doesn't think it maters if he is or not, he tries to be and that's what counts.
The bigger question of the series is not is the Doctor good or bad, but if you took on the power and responsibility of deciding everyones fate, of being arbitrator of good and bad could you still be good in doing so? This is why Missy gives him his own army at series end- not because she thinks he is bad but to see what he will do when given the chance to be that arbitrator of good and bad (also the same basic reason she paired him with Clara- to see how far he would go). We are being asked to question- is this not what he does already on a small scale- so why not on a universal one? And what would that make someone?



The question the Doctors asks himself is am I a good man? But its not the question the series is asking of the audience- we already as you say, know the answer- the question, and the much more interesting one is what does that mean? What does being a good person mean and at which point do the means by which you achieve that good outweigh the result? That I think is a very valid question to ask of the Doctors character- he is the person who takes on the responsibility, who makes life or death choices on behalf of others.
The point of the series is not is the Doctor good- we know he can be bad and he can make bad calls, we are shown a few as the series progress, Ashildir is one, the moments leading up to Clara's death another (and again its that sense of things being unfair, of their being no real arbitrator for good and bad that pushes him over the edge, its frustration at the universe itself)-



but should he take what he does to the level of universally enforcing it? Is his temperament even suited to it? The core of 12's personality is a sense of justice and fairness- and the universe is neither. So should he do that job? Should anyone? I think these are interesting questions surrounding the Doctors character worth exploring.

The answer to the question of the face comes up in the next series and I will fully cover it there- but in his own words he chose it - "to hold me to the mark" its a permanent reminder of who he is at his best, or as he thinks of his best- when moved by empathy and compassion to intervene to save others, regardless of risk or cost or rules, and not on a universal scale but on the individual, again in 12's own words- "I help where I can"- the face he took is from the head of the family he saved from Pompey, breaking laws of Time to do so. As series 9 deals with the consequences of that line of thought and its outcome I will leave it for later.
All I will add here is this it's not strung out either even though the answer doesn't come for a series and a half, its basically not mentioned beyond setting up the initial question in Deep Breath for the viewer to ponder on. And it has to be in Deep Breath because it frames and informs the entire look at the Doctor that series 8 and 9 consist of.

As to what is his face concealing- himself of course- the Doctor, we dont know and have never really met- the real person who isn't the Doctor. The idea of the Doctor being a role, the summing up of a promise made to himself is reaffirmed many times in 12 run, but before that also. In Into the Dalek he says that he didn't know who he really was or what he really stood for until he encountered the Daleks for the first time, then he knew that whatever he was it was not what the Daleks were and represented, he basically the defined the idea of the Doctor against the idea of Daleks. And despite RTD rewriting history so that Time Lords choose their own title the first episode of Who implies he only originally calls himself Doctor as a conversational mistake and convenience - Ian mistakenly refers to him as Doctor Foreman, to which a blank-faced and puzzled Time Lord replies, "Doctor who?" and Doctor just seems to stick after that and he keeps it. We have in fact never actually known his real name and never will (unless it really is Basil).
Bringing up the question of 12's face makes as ask again that first question- just who is he really?
Moffat has said he felt that after nearly 10 years of NUWHo at that point the audience was too comfortable with the Doctor, too sure they knew him and how he would always act and react- 12 is the antidote to that, more unpredictable, more unknowable, more mysterious and less open and playful and so less comforting when he has to do something more extreme to save the day.  And the framing of it as a narrative devise it to confront the viewer with him and say watch and judge him yourself.}}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:46 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:All I will add here is this it's not strung out either even though the answer doesn't come for a series and a half, its basically not mentioned beyond setting up the initial question in Deep Breath for the viewer to ponder on. And it has to be in Deep Breath because it frames and informs the entire look at the Doctor that series 8 and 9 consist of.

How is that not strung out!? Mad Mad
The episodes solution is to squirm out from answering it by making us think that Clara was left to die by the Doctor (cheap trick!), and then by leaving the audience with the open-ended mystery of whether the Doctor pushed the robot from the balloon. This is quite frustrating from a viewer's perspective, and only teases a satisfactory answer. It takes so darn long for us to find out, that we no longer care when we do!

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:16 am

{{Its not strung out because beyond Deep Breath and his moment of realisation why in the Girl who Lived he choose that face is not mentioned, made a plot point, or continually referenced or brought up. Its left as an open question to ponder. And because its a question that's always been there about the Doctors physical appearance, its just never been voiced out loud before.

Leaving Clara ect has nothing to do with the face stuff- that's do to with how 12 doesn't mollycoddle Clara any more, its the beginning of her becoming more like him and he is the cause of it by continually pushing her this way.

As to finding out if he pushed the robotman or if it jumped- we never do find out, we arent supposed to- we are supposed to decide for ourselves- what we think happened is very much informed by our own view of the Doctor and all his previous actions- and we are encouraged in the build up to that moment to consider these things in the following exchanges-

(The Doctor pours two glasses of whiskey.)
HALF-FACE MAN: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: I've got the horrible feeling I'm going to have to kill you. I thought you might appreciate a drink first. I know I would.

..... This reminds us he has killed bad guys before to save the day. A lot of them over the years.

DOCTOR: There isn't any promised land. This is just. It's a superstition that you have picked up from all the humanity you've stuffed inside yourself.
HALF-FACE MAN: I am not dead.
DOCTOR: You are a broom. Question. You take a broom, you replace the handle, and then later you replace the brush, and you do that over and over again. Is it still the same broom? Answer? No, of course it isn't. But you can still sweep the floor. Which is not strictly relevant, skip that last part. You have replaced every piece of yourself, mechanical and organic, time and time again. There's not a trace of the original you left. You probably can't even remember where you got that face from.
HALF-FACE MAN: It cannot end.
DOCTOR: It has to. You know it does. And there's only one way out.
(The Doctor opens the doors.)
HALF-FACE MAN: Self-destruction is against my basic programme.
DOCTOR: And murder is against mine.
(They struggle in the doorway.)

..... The face stuff here is also of course about the Doctor on his new set of regens at number 13 in the rosta (if officially the 12th to take the name Doctor)- after replacing every part of himself over and over 12 time so far is he still who he was? It also of course lays out the rules- the Doctor doesn't murder and the robotman can't self destruct. But we dont know if the robotman is telling the truth and we are again reminded of the Doctor past, and that he lies and is unreliable as a narrator of events.

HALF-FACE MAN: You are stronger than you look.
DOCTOR: And I'm hoping you are too. This is over. Are you capable of admitting that?
HALF-FACE MAN: Do you have it in you to murder me?
DOCTOR: Those people down there. They're never small to me. Don't make assumptions about how far I will go to protect them, because I've already come a very long way. And unlike you, I don't expect to reach the promised land.
(The Half-Face Man turns off his flame thrower. They release each other.)
DOCTOR: You realise, of course, one of us is lying about our basic programming.
HALF-FACE MAN: Yes.
DOCTOR: And I think we both know who that is.

...... again we know the Doctor lies and the robotman might have been lying, the ambiguity is deliberate but it comes entirely out of the characters, and especially that of the Doctor as we have seen him act over the years. For me thats what makes it a valid exploration and not a writing gimmick- how we view what happened here is based entirely on our own summing up of the Doctor as a whole over his time and how we think he would act- do we think he is capable of pushing the robotman out to his death or not?
The long term answer if what you thought was right or not comes from your experience of seeing 12, stripped to what he really is as the Doctor and when not, go on his journey. By the end of it you should have you're answer, but without the author having to stop to point it out to you- I think that's good writing myself.

The next time we see the them the Half-face man is dead and 12 does his eyebrow thing at camera leaving us in doubt has to how it concluded.
It also importantly sets up the theme that will run throughout 12's time with Clara of how far will he go when pushed? We as viewers are deliberately left uncertain about that so we are uncertain come the end of series 9 (and several times in-between) about just how far he will go. If it was not ambiguous here there would be nothing to build on for these moments.

Abandoning Clara is another example- if you're observant you will notice that the Doctor never in fact does abandon her- the droid he is disguised as is right there in the room with her the whole time, he's right behind her as she predicts he will be, she just doesn't know that for sure at the time. This is another aspect of 12 being shown here- that he is calculating without the niceties, and manipulative at need- he needs the information and has calculated Clara under these circumstances will get it, and he wants to observe how she does, to see if she holds up to her promise. Which she does.
But if you notice it doesn't actually take her long to get over it, and by the time of the Caretaker episode Danny outright accuses the Doctor of using Clara 'like bait' to lure the monster of the week, to which the Doctor responds, "not like bait, as bait!" Clara however by now is a completely willing participant as the bait in the plan. Reflected on at the end by Danny when he says "you weren't even scared today, I saw you. And you should have been Clara, you should have been."

So for me the only thing left open ended is a question you are left to ponder and reflect on and something you are supposed to make your own mind up on.And a bunch of stuff that's all related to the unfolding character arcs to come over the next two series- which is what the start of a good story should do. }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:17 am

Much better job of saying what I was trying to say, Forest!

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Re: All New Who

Post by Amarië on Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:37 am

I'll go out on a limb and say that we all seems to agree on Petty's summary of what (fairly) objectively happened and therefore don't have much to say about that. But we do have a lot to say about how we feel about it.

Though... personally I can't think of anything worthwhile to say. I'm with Forest too and running low on steam as well. I just want the Moffat era to end and pretend it never happened. (Which of course is not a good basis for discussing events and dialogue and plots and such... Sorry... )

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:50 pm

{{ I think there is a misconstruing because I am highlighting these aspects that they are to the fore or the main thing- they arent.
It would all too easy to write Who as a dark, gritty adult drama, and all too easy to write it as a gentle, fluffy brightly coloured kids show- what makes it unique and daunting to even experienced writers is doing both together.
Whilst I can point out all the above about the subtext and meanings of series 8 if I were to ask my niece aged 8 she would be more likely to sum things up like- Deep Breath- cool dinosaur scary robots, Into the Dalek- Rusty!! Tiny people! Robots of Sherwood- Robin Hood, spoon duels more scary robots ect
The surface tales remain as they always have been general adventuring, daring do and getting into and out of scrapes.

Amarie- I am now inclined to agree that there is not much point in me continuing with parts 2 and 3 given the tenure of the responses. I had hoped to start an interesting discussion about the nature and character of the Doctor, series 8 is all about asking us how we feel about the Doctor and making us uncomfortable on that matter when confronting some of his actions past and present, but as it takes two- three hours to write and compose something like this and as it seems to have been largely taken as just another shit on Moffat opportunity rather than an engagement on the substance of that discussion I dont think it's worth my time or effort to continue it sadly. Given the subject touches on themes going back across the Doctors history and character over many showrunners including RTD, I had hoped for a less, partisan, discussion on the matter. }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:32 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Interesting thoughts Petty, thanks for sharing!

I don't care about these questions though. Neutral
I don't care to watch an entire series concerned with whether the Doctor is good or bad when I already know that the Doctor is good. I've watched all of NuWho. I know what's up. I know he's a good person. Anything that claims otherwise is fiddle-faddle based on false drama and "clever twists".

I've heard far, far too many contradictory superlatives for me take the statements these characters make as meaningful. "The Doctor is amazing! The Doctor is terrifying! The Doctor keeps you safe! The Doctor will hurt you and change you and manipulate your soul! The Doctor is an idiot with a box! The Doctor is a genius and can do anything!" Blah blah blah.

The doctor uses his face like a veil? What? It's his face. What's he hiding? The flesh and bones beneath? I guess we're all hiding something with our faces then. Rolling Eyes

Some scrub introduced the idea that Time Lords subconsciously choose what their face will look like only so that 12's first season could go through this pointless meta-conversation about why the Doctor took the face of the father from the The Fires of Pompei. The answer to this question is so strung-out in the series and so hidden behind unnecessary obfuscations that I can't even recall why it is that he "subconsciously" chose that face. What was the reason again?

It's one thing to ask the audience, "Hey, perhaps there's a reason the Doctor appears as he does: why is number 12 wearing Peter Capaldi this series?" and then give the answer that same episode. It's quite another matter to string along the audience with the promise that the answer will be given in a meaningful way, but actually just feed them edgy descriptions of the Doctor as a liar and a person who doesn't care and play around with angsty Nihilist bullshit like that the Doctor is dead inside and needs a companion to show him the way (Thank God for Clara!)

Grr!!
It's like the writers took the title of the show as their prime directive and spent way too much time asking themselves, "Who is the Doctor?"

This sort of arc works in some shows. The inimitable Breaking Bad is primarily concerned with the question of whether Walter White is a good person. That is the over-arching question that is answered by the end of the series. But the question is not drawn out until the end needlessly. Every season develops the character further as he is faced with choices. Should he work with Jesse and cook meth, or should he continue working two jobs to care for his family? Should he kill Tuco, or should he allow Tuco to control him? Should he tell his family the truth, or should he lie to them?

These are all interesting questions to which the audience wants to see the answers. There is something at stake, and the ramifications of Walter's decisions affect him in a meaningful way. Walter cannot become the drug-lord of a methamphetamine empire and remain a good father and husband. He lies to himself that both are possible, but ultimately he chooses the drug empire over his family because that is what he really wants. That is the point of the show.

When Breaking Bad asks the question, "Is Walter White a good man?" I'm interested, and I care. But when Doctor Who asks the question, "Is the Doctor a good man?" I roll my eyes. Why is that? Probably because its an inappropriate question for the genre. Children's/Young Adult's Fantasy Sci-fi is a far cry from Gritty Realism. In the latter genre, the answer to that question could make a viewer uncomfortable and shocked as they watch their hero turn into a monster. But in the former genre, the answer is already known by the audience because of the expectations of the show. Doctor Who is about the good-hearted Doctor who travels through time and space defeating dastardly plots and exploring the universe. It's not a show about a man's descent into evil. The question is pointless. The Doctor is a good man. He's flawed, sure (when the writers aren't fanboying all over him and care to remember the fact anyway), but ultimately good.

Moffat is wasting our time with this edgy exploration of the Doctor's character. It's the same thing we've seen in Sherlock with all the teases about whether the titular character is as uncaring and sinister as he sometimes pretends to be.

And.. ugh. I'm not saying that there is no value in exploring the Doctor's nature. There can be subtlety and shades of gray and flaws in a good character like his and its really interesting when the show deals with that, but the way in which the showrunners go about it is poor. They drag out the question over the entire series, they tease and hint and use editing sleight-of-hand to trick us, and when the show actually seems to be giving the Doctor one of these character-defining choices, the solution is often a gimmicky twist that cheapens the whole choice to inconsequentiality.

I can't go on. I've run out of steam!

Mad  Sofa  Mad


agree 100%. for me it all boils down to mystery, as a kid the Doctor was a mysterious magic man in the TARDIS, if you examine faerie under a magnifying glass and try to analyse, psychoanalyze or deconstruct faerie, if you look too closely and try to humanize it, the magic dies. An anecdote to illustrate this, theres a piece of land near my house which was abandoned to itself for years, it became wild and full of enchantment, then some people bought the land, tamed it, trimmed all the trees and it lost its dryad loveliness, faerie was domesticated. same with the Doctor, I want mystery I don't need to know how or why he does what he does.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:41 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ I think there is a misconstruing because I am highlighting these aspects that they are to the fore or the main thing- they arent.
It would all too easy to write Who as a dark, gritty adult drama, and all too easy to write it as a gentle, fluffy brightly coloured kids show- what makes it unique and daunting to even experienced writers is doing both together.
Whilst I can point out all the above about the subtext and meanings of series 8 if I were to ask my niece aged 8 she would be more likely to sum things up like- Deep Breath- cool dinosaur scary robots, Into the Dalek- Rusty!! Tiny people! Robots of Sherwood- Robin Hood, spoon duels more scary robots ect
The surface tales remain as they always have been general adventuring, daring do and getting into and out of scrapes.

Amarie- I am now inclined to agree that there is not much point in me continuing with parts 2 and 3 given the tenure of the responses. I had hoped to start an interesting discussion about the nature and character of the Doctor, series 8 is all about asking us how we feel about the Doctor and making us uncomfortable on that matter when confronting some of his actions past and present, but as it takes two- three hours to write and compose something like this and as it seems to have been largely taken as just another shit on Moffat opportunity rather than an engagement on the substance of that discussion I dont think it's worth my time or effort to continue it sadly. Given the subject touches on themes going back across the Doctors history and character over many showrunners including RTD, I had hoped for a less, partisan, discussion on the matter. }}}


I am sure everybody appreciates the time and effort you put into the discussion Petty. That's not in doubt. I think the 'shit on Moffat' comment was unnecessary and a bit stroppy. You started the debate and people disagreed with your analysis, shit happens. No

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:02 pm

I want mystery I don't need to know how or why he does what he does.- Figg

{{The aim is to make him more mysterious not less, and it never explains why he does what he does, he gives suggestions for why he might act certain ways, but its overall aim is to make you the viewer question and ask why he does what he does, not to answer it.

'You started the debate and people disagreed with your analysis, shit happens.'

I dont mind anyone disagreeing with me- Forest is in my view the only one to have responded in a reasonable fashion or to have engaged in the actual debate in any meaningful way or in a way that is at all productive towards a debate, and Forest was disagreeing with me- that just leads to more debate as it did- fine with that.
But I really feel the issues and questions that are being addressed about the Doctor in series 8 and 9 are covering, examining and continuing ideas and themes from across all of Who, but especially NuWho- the link to the face is not just an excuse to explain away casting the same actor for example, its a deliberate link to an earlier era of Who and an early incarnation of the Doctor as a means of making us consider him over that time period, not in isolation just under Moffat because the issues being addressed which surround the Doctor dont belong solely to Moffat era. So I dont see the meat of this discussion as being about Moffat but about the interesting ideas it throws up surrounding the Doctor. Other seem to only want to make it another Moffat is rubbish argument and I dont have the stomach for that, wasn't looking for that sort of argument and frankly dont fancy wasting up to 6 hours of my limited time to do the research and writing of it only for it to almost instantly descend into that sort of discussion.
It gets harder and harder on here to begin and engage in any sort of serious debate on substance.}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Amarië on Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:43 pm

I don't think anyone here would want another Moffat fight. Orwell's thread locking trigger finger is twitching just by us thinking about it! Shocked

I can add a Moffat word filter again, then we all would HAVE to rethink the use of the name, as it is often - I imagine - used instead of the more vague "they" as in BBC/the writers/the crew/team/whatever.

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Re: All New Who

Post by halfwise on Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:22 pm

The effort you put in is astounding, Petty; it's just that most people don't look at the Doctor as a hero figure to be deconstructed and psychoanalyzed the way we do with semi-mythic figures from the past - we just want some entertainment out of the guy (whoops! outdated...the lady).  The "wow, a whole new way of looking at the Doctor!" feels somewhat empty for a rather newly created fictional character.  It became rather tiresome for Sherlock Holmes who is even more deeply embedded in the culture.  Only someone as deeply wrapped in the cultural gestalt as King Arthur or as real as Churchill can sustain such a treatment.

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Re: All New Who

Post by David H on Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:40 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ I think there is a misconstruing because I am highlighting these aspects that they are to the fore or the main thing- they arent.
It would all too easy to write Who as a dark, gritty adult drama, and all too easy to write it as a gentle, fluffy brightly coloured kids show- what makes it unique and daunting to even experienced writers is doing both together.
Whilst I can point out all the above about the subtext and meanings of series 8 if I were to ask my niece aged 8 she would be more likely to sum things up like- Deep Breath- cool dinosaur scary robots, Into the Dalek- Rusty!! Tiny people! Robots of Sherwood- Robin Hood, spoon duels more scary robots ect
The surface tales remain as they always have been general adventuring, daring do and getting into and out of scrapes. }}}

So Petty, first just for the record I want to be absolutely clear that I admire both Steven Moffat's writing and his direction. That's the only reason it's even worthwhile reading the critiques or commenting on any of this!

To your comments above, though, I think there's a huge middle ground between "dark gritty adult drama" and "gentle fluffy brightly coloured kids show". To be able to succeed even partially at being both those two things at once would be a huge task for anybody. And then to do proper service to an extremely devoted fan base at the same time? That's a real challenge!

But about that middle ground... I watched a number of 12 episodes with my GF whose knowledge of Doctor Who was mostly limited to scattered Baker and Davidson reruns on Public TV years ago. There was a clear middle ground of charm that Capaldi and Coleman brought to the roles which was the main touchstone that engaged her interest,  but when it got too "gritty" the charm would fail, and when it would get too "fluffy" the charm would fail.  And after almost every episode I'd have to fill in gaps about the Who universe, explaining stuff that would have been obvious to any Who fan, but weren't to a causal viewer.  It required more work than anything else we've ever watched together!

So to me is seems natural that different people feel differently about the series, and none of them have to be wrong. It's just that there's no other show I can think of that tries to be so many things to so many people, and that makes really shaky ground for a debate!
{{{I certainly have more sense than to debate any of this with the GF pale Sofa }}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:57 pm

I just want show not tell. I hope Chibnall can give me the Doctor just being the Doctor.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:21 am

Poor Tyrant! You deserve a more enthusiastic level of Doctor Who fandom to interact with. Razz

I don't disagree with your analysis Petty: from what I can tell this is exactly what the show-runners were going for, or at least close to what they were going for. I just don't like how they went about it, and so as Amarie said I'm not a very good discussion buddy!

You're right. The show does contain gritty elements like death and murder and horror. The main thing, I think, that sets Doctor Who apart from the gritty realism genre is the manner in which the good guys win (also that there are "good guys", haha). The Doctor "wins" quite differently from how, say, Walter White "wins" in Breaking Bad. In that show, it often seems as though Mr. White has sold his soul to the devil: such is the level of insane luck and happenstance that gets him out of his worst jambs. This works perfectly for the story because his character is becoming harder and harder to redeem as the show develops, as if he actually is selling off his soul one piece at a time.

Working backwards in Doctor Who, we know that the Doctor can never:

A. die, or the show ends.
B. become irredeemable, or the show ends.

And so when the Doctor is faced with "impossible" choices which don't seem to have a right answer, the solution can not be one that discredits the Doctor's ultimate goodness. I suppose that's why some of these mysteries, like whether the Doctor throws the robot off the balloon, feel a bit disingenuous. We never find out what happened, kind of like how we never find out how Sherlock faked his own death. The show is telling us that the truth in this case doesn't matter. It's not the point. The point is, as you point out Petty, to get us to ask ourselves, "Does the Doctor have it in him to kill the robot?" And then answer the question ourselves. (Or just wait for an answer that never comes.) It's part of the "Who is the Doctor, really?" arc of the series, but the problem is that asking open-ended questions that the show-runners have no intention of answering is a poor way of exploring a character.

It is the way in which the show-runners can write the twistiest and most mysterious arc, and perhaps that is why they do it. The intricacies and magnitude of a certain individual's brain needs room to breathe after all, and without open-ended questions the show cannot build up the apparent depth and complexity in which that certain individual thrives.




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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:30 am

The "wow, a whole new way of looking at the Doctor!"- Halfy

{{ I dont think it is a whole new way of looking at him, its just really looking at him- we are being asked to assess him and his actions and draw our conclusions. And we do so by observation of him in action over the course of his three series.
Its not a study of the Doctor in the sense the stories are all about highlighting who he is and how he works, we get hints, we get insights, we get pointed in certain directions, we see him in unusual circumstances we haven't before -such as completely on his own in Heaven Sent with no one to play up for, Halfy I believe you watched that episode, I dont know but I'd be willing to take a punt when you watched it you were more concerned with what was going on and puzzling out the narrative and enjoying the performance and direction ect than you were considering how it was probably part of a three series long exploration of the Doctor and that the reason he is on his own was to give the viewer the opportunity to observe how he acts when alone- yet its from exactly seeing him in such situations that we are encouraged towards our conclusions about him.

But we are not seeing a new Doctor, or seeing him in a new light even- the whole point is we are seeing him more stripped bare as the Doctor of the usual pleasantries so his actions are all the clearer, but those actions are the same sort he has always done- we are being asked to reappraise, to consider what we have always seen him do in a new way but we are not presented with a new way of him doing so. For me that's one of the things that makes it so interesting.
It draws on so much of his character over the entirety of the shows existence- again its no coincidence 12 will end up his time in the company of 1.

' And after almost every episode I'd have to fill in gaps about the Who universe, explaining stuff that would have been obvious to any Who fan, but weren't to a causal viewer.  It required more work than anything else we've ever watched together!'- David

I would not personally recommend starting Who with 12 simply because Deep Breath is not really a soft reboot jumping on point- series 1, series 5 and series 10 are all much better for new folk needing concepts explained I find as they were deliberately written with this very purpose in mind.
I dont think its conceivable to do it another way really- the soft reboots allow for new viewers to join and get up to speed on the basics in short order- but if you continually stop to explain everything that may need doing so in every episode you will soon bore and alienate your long term fans.
I am in favour therefore of the idea of 'jumping on' soft reboots every so many years- and we are presumably about to get another one with series 11.

'there's no other show I can think of that tries to be so many things to so many people, and that makes really shaky ground for a debate!'

There is no other like it, its why its lasted and why its such a surprisingly hard show to write well for- you only need to take a look at the caliber of writer and the cv's that have come to the table in RTD and Moffat era only for their episode to fall foul of the wrath of the fans for not making the Who quality benchmark. And often (Forest of the Night being a good example) the cause of the failing is finding that tricky balance between complicated enough for the adult audience and fun and entertaining enough for the nippers.
My own nieces hated 12 at the start, now they don't want to see him go, and not because they have at, 8 and 10 years old, loved the existential questions surrounding the nature of the Doctor I can assure you- that's not the show they have been watching that's the one I've been watching- their show was about a grumpy Doctor who through Clara's niceness and strength of character became a lovely old Doctor who can still be a bit scary at times, but is tons of fun playing his guitar and wearing his shades and to paraphrase one of my nieces, 'his face can be really sad and I want to hug him because he just wants to be nice'.
There's two shows going on essentially with Who depending what age of the audience you fit into. But the conclusion is basically the same- her conclusion that he just basically want so to be nice and that he can't be all the time makes him sad is the same one the adult will essentially come to following all the more existential questions raised- its told on two levels, one simple enough for an 8 year old to grasp the basic character journey without the nuances, and one for folk like me who like to delve under the hood more.
That's a really hard thing to do.

'I just want show not tell.'- Figg

I am not really sure how that applies to series 8-10. The whole manner in which our questioning of the Doctor is done is to be prompted to consider certain aspects, then to do so over time by observing him in action- its 90% show and 10% tell.



'when the Doctor is faced with "impossible" choices which don't seem to have a right answer, the solution can not be one that discredits the Doctor's ultimate goodness.'

I am not sure I would agree with that- the Doctor has done things which are not to his credit- from wanting to cave in someone's head just because they were injured and slowing them down to trying to seize control of the laws of Time resulting in someone committing suicide. In Into the Dalek, the episode in which he poses to Clara the question 'Am I a good man?' we are explicitly told by the Dalek he is not, whilst locked into the Doctor's mind Rusty the Dalek appraises him in the following exchange-

RUSTY: I see into your soul, Doctor. I see beauty. I see divinity. I see HATRED.
DOCTOR: Hatred?
RUSTY: I see your hatred of the Daleks and it is good.
DOCTOR: No, no, no. You must see more than that, there must be more than that.

This of course begs in the viewer the question is there more than that? And its a legitimate question as to ow much does the Doctors hatred of things he considers unjust or unfair motive and drive him compared to the better, higher reasons we might like to ascribe to all his actions. What makes the Doctor interesting is what 12 says of himself, "I'm not a good man, I'm not a bad man' he isn't good. He tries to be but he sometimes fails at it- see his outburst to destroy Ashildir -

Doctor- You will save Clara, and you will do it now, or I will rain hell on you for the rest of time.....And I will end you, and everything you love.

Heck the final episode of series 9 Hell Bent he is not the Doctor for most of it, just a very angry, pissed off at the universe old Time Lord who holds his own planet to ransom to get what he wants, kills a fellow Time Lord in cold blood and attempts to violate his companions mind by wiping her memory against her wishes- his redemption comes in his own realisation of his actions, a reaffirming of his promise to himself as the Doctor and acceptance of his punishment for his sins, as it were. But I wouldn't say his actions were towards any sort of presentation of his 'ultimate goodness' he isn't good, he is just trying to do the right thing and sometimes screwing up in the attempt- 'I'm an idiot. With a box, and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning.'

'the problem is that asking open-ended questions that the show-runners have no intention of answering is a poor way of exploring a character.'

I dont agree they are open-ended in the sense they are not answered- they are answered, twice. Firstly by watching 12 in action over his three series- that's the intention- we are being asked to consider his actions and ultimately what sort of a person is he and is he justified- that is never outright answered save thematically in everything the Doctor does over that time.
But by its end you have your answers anyway if still required- the Doctors speech to the Master and Missy in the final episode does in fact answer the question of why the Doctor does what he does, but by this point we have been watching him put those words into action throughout, its merely a confirmation of what we have been shown all along.

Doctor (The Doctor Falls)- Winning? Is that what you think it's about? I'm not trying to win. I'm not doing this because I want to beat someone, or because I hate someone, or because, because I want to blame someone. It's not because it's fun and God knows it's not because it's easy. It's not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do, because it's right! Because it's decent! And above all, it's kind. It's just that. Just kind.

There is the answer plain as day- but as I say we have seen him do all this, be this speech in action. Its a conclusion we should have already reached, not through being told but by through doing what we were encouraged to do from the start- consider his actions and words and deeds.

The rest of the answer that sums up the sentiment of the Doctor's action comes from the passage in Rivers diary read out by Nardole and which the Doctor comes to repeat to himself at the very end and as as his benchmark for Missy to reach.

'Goodness is not goodness that seeks advantage. Good is good in the final hour, in the deepest pit without hope, without witness, without reward. Virtue is only virtue in extremis. This is what he believes, and this is the reason above all, I love him. My husband. My madman in a box. My Doctor.'

So I firmly disagree there are no answers- they are answers on two levels- those that come from the Doctor acting out the above sentiments as we observe him and spoken aloud as above in the final episode of 12's last series. }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:33 am

{{ Could be the start of an interesting series- I like this idea about how present day and relative time works in Who }}}


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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:33 pm

'I just want show not tell.'- Figg

I am not really sure how that applies to series 8-10. The whole manner in which our questioning of the Doctor is done is to be prompted to consider certain aspects, then to do so over time by observing him in action- its 90% show and 10% tell.
Petty.

It applies to series 8-10 because that's where my observations come from. We are told to expect certain things or told that he is a certain thing, we don't get to see him 'in action'
Take the good man/bad man trope, we have been shown over 50 years that he is a good man, therefore when we are being told he is questioning this without showing us why, makes the whole thing redundant. He hasn't gone on a killing spree or started to hate humans, he is just the same person he always was, therefore the good Doctor/ bad Doctor thing is pointless. The only difference we are shown in his behavious are a few angsty monologues, we are not shown why he is suddenly having a crisis of personality.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:39 pm

{{The whole point is seeing him in action and judging him- every episode of series 8 fills in other piece of 12- that's all show.

As to why is he having a crisis- he has just reincorporated all his Time War memories, got a whole new regen life cycle after been prepared for and accepting his own death, and spent 1000 years fighting a siege- all of which we saw on screen, any one of which is more than enough to cause someone to question themselves let alone in combination.

Compare to 9 and one of your favorites- Eccy- whose enter crisis of being is caused by the Time War- an event we never see and which we are solely told happened offscreen- its 100% tell and 0% show -yet you are oddly silent in your complaints about it! }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:46 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{The whole point is seeing him in action and judging him- every episode of series 8 fills in other piece of 12- that's all show.

As to why is he having a crisis- he has just reincorporated all his Time War memories, got a whole new regen life cycle after been prepared for and accepting his own death, and spent 1000 years fighting a siege- all of which we saw on screen, any one of which is more than enough to cause someone to question themselves let alone in combination.

Compare to 9 and one of your favorites- Eccy- whose enter crisis of being is caused by the Time War- an event we never see and which we are solely told happened offscreen- its 100% tell and 0% show -yet you are oddly silent in your complaints about it! }}}


We are shown, Eccy is confronted by a captured Dalek, the results of the Time War is standing right in front of him.

that's why I am 'oddly silent'

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:53 pm

{{And the result of what the Doctor has been through are right there in Deep breath- "Ive a terrible feeling I'm going to have to kill you" or all the stuff relating to his face and the metaphor of the broom and if you replace (ie regenerate) over and over is that person really the same person who began? Thats an existential crisis all in itself right there. Or in the Zygon two parter "I have done worst things that you can ever imagine...when I close my eyes I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count." ect we get plenty reasons and meat for his existential crisis in 12's run and for his questioning of his own actions and motives. Loads of it.
And if for you 9 getting angry at a Dalek for one episode is enough 'show' to justify his entire crisis then 12's encounter with Rusty in Into the Dalek stands equally strongly as Rusty only sees his hatred and thinks its good.
There are a ton more reasons given and shown for 12's state of mind than there ever was for 9 who we are meant to just accept was traumatized without ever seeing the cause of it. }}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:22 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{And the result of what the Doctor has been through are right there in Deep breath- "Ive a terrible feeling I'm going to have to kill you" or all the stuff relating to his face and the metaphor of the broom and if you replace (ie regenerate) over and over is that person really the same person who began? Thats an existential crisis all in itself right there. Or in the Zygon two parter "I have done worst things that you can ever imagine...when I close my eyes I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count." ect we get plenty reasons and meat for his existential crisis in 12's run and for his questioning of his own actions and motives. Loads of it.

You have just described loads of tell not show. We are not shown any of those things but told about them as memories or hindsight. that's tell not show.



And if for you 9 getting angry at a Dalek for one episode is enough 'show' to justify his entire crisis then 12's encounter with Rusty in Into the Dalek stands equally strongly as Rusty only sees his hatred and thinks its good.

That example is a perfect example of visually showing us the consequences he faces. this is show not tell.

There are a ton more reasons given and shown for 12's state of mind than there ever was for 9 who we are meant to just accept was traumatized without ever seeing the cause of it. }}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:20 pm

{{ Dunno what you were watching Figg but I saw 11 go through the end of the Time War and then have to reincorporate those memories back in- something still effecting him in series 9 as we see in the Zygon 2 parter- and I watched 11 grow old defending Trenzolore from a 1000 year siege in the belief he was on his last regen and going to die. I watched the pain of 12 as Clara rejected him, and his confusion and anger over why he choose that face and why he is not honest enough with himself to just say, I saw his ambiguous actions in dealing with Half-face man- unlike the Time War I saw all of these things unfold and happen, none of these are tell they are show.

Way, way more show than Eccy getting angry at a Dalek for one episode in scenes that are pure dialogue and exposition about events we never saw until Moffat came along and made the 50th. There is no show save 9's anger. Everything else is tell- that the Doctor was the one who ended the Time War wiping out both sides?- told not shown- that he thought all the daleks were wiped out- told not shown, how this Dalek escaped the war?- told not shown. Where is the show part?
The only show I can see in the entire episode is how angry and upset 9 gets- but you cant be claiming that as the show as there is less show there than there is in 12's interactions with Rusty the Dalek which you seem to have dismissed as not counting as show, so it cant count for Eccy either by your own measuring stick.}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:00 pm

The point is that Eccy and Tennant episodes were not obsessed by what happened to him in the Time War, there is much less fake angst or going on about it. 9 and 10 were episodes in which you didn't need to know anything about the past war to enjoy them because they weren't about the Time War.

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