Friday, 13 September 2013

Doctor Who

I just found this thread on RPG.Net a couple of days ago and have very much enjoyed reading it. It's great to see how people perceive Doctor Who, and reading about someone watching it for the first time reminds me of when I first watched it.

My own take on it was that 9 was suffering some kind of PTSD - he could have done with another season or two to work through his issues, but I guess a regeneration works as well. 10 was ok - he was a little too human for me, and a bit too much of a hypocrite for me to get behind 100%.

All of my favourite episodes in the early seasons were Moffat ones. I've disliked just about all of the end-of-season finishes under RTD. Take season 1 for example - great setup, fantastic situation. Daleks poised to destroy mankind, and the only way the Doctor can stop it is by wiping out Earth. Great stuff! But then he doesn't go through with it, and instead Rose gets super-powers and saves the day. There's a line in there about how a time lord can't look into the heart of the Tardis as he'd get the powers of a god (kinda like Rose just did?). Then how the hell did they lose the time war?

When the Master stole the Tardis and left the Doctor and co marooned at the end of time, I thought it was so he could look into it's heart and become a God. But no, instead he wants to use it to build a really fragile Paradox Machine device, the breaking of which will undo all the stuff he's done. Great plan...

The other big thing that annoys me about RTDs endings is that there's no build up until the last minute. People have already talked about the Bad Wolf thing. It was meaningless - at best it gives a little cue that lets you place the episode within series 1 when re-watching. In Season 1, the first time we learn that the "Heart of the Tardis" is special is in Boom Town, the episode immediately before the season ending two-parter (and it solves all their problems by magic there as well).

This problem is endemic throughout the season-endings. The resolution is always something of a deus ex. Season 2, great situation with Daleks and Cybermen attacking. How do we solve it? Pull a lever... Season 3, a whole lot of people chanting your name give you magical powers? Really? And the whole fobwatch thing that indicates hidden time lords? Only introduced a couple of episodes before, and all because the Doctor didn't want to hurt the poor bad people, instead getting a bunch of innocents killed.

Season 4 gave us the Doctor-Donna fiasco. Never mind that dodging a regeneration shouldn't be as easy as having a spare body part around (and where are the limits? can I shunt regeneration energy into a finger? How about a toenail clipping?) The whole thing where Donna gets all the knowledge and power of the Doctor by touching this energy imbued hand is dodgy as anything (and not just that, but (a) she's apparently better than the Doctor at it and (b) she still only saves the day with essentially meaningless technobabble) but also creating a human clone of the Doctor? I never liked biology, but the repressed biologist inside me is crying out in agony. Still, anything for a happy ending, right? (A happy ending for Rose and the clone Doc, anyway. Kinda sucks for Donna).

I will confess I've not actually watched The End of Time - I fear my heart may give out given what I've heard.

Don't get me wrong - I love the situations and most of the season ending episodes, I've just always been disappointed by the resolution. New things are introduced (such as Heart of Tardis giving Godlike powers) which are then ignored forever-more.

I'd love to say that things got better under Moffat, and they kinda did. The first season under Moffat was genius, and I loved every minute. The next looked promising but then had a crappy ending - how exactly a wedding ceremony is meant to fix the universe I don't really know, and the resolution where River killed the robot seemed a little contrived - it would have been less of a stretch and a better nod to continuity within the series to have the 'Ganger Doc come back. The latest season hasn't really ended yet - but I'm not overly thrilled with the explanation for the Impossible Girl - seems a bit too similar to Rose getting God powers in the first RTD season and spreading messages through the time-stream. GI's motivation seemed a little OTT as well - screwing one person over at the cost of your life seems like too high a cost - better to send a minion to do it, surely?

Have to see what the 50th Anniversary special is like.

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