TV rants

January 18, 2013

Doctor Who

“Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey,” was meant to be a funny line, not a plot ethos.

Still don’t like the current Doctor.  He’s whiney, clingy, and manic without depth.  Like that guy who tries so hard to be aggressively different just to be different and everybody kind of cringes when he walks into a room.  My favorite episode of the last couple of years was “A Town Called Mercy,” but I spent the whole thing wishing it was David Tennant’s Doctor.

And when was the last time I was really scared by an episode?  I don’t actually remember.  I just keep getting annoyed.  Sure, the Weeping Angels were scary in “Blink,” but when you keep using the Weeping Angels and change the rules every time they show up (Now they possess statues?  What?  And you realize the last time the Statue of Liberty got possessed and walked around town was Ghostbusters 2, and we all know how well that turned out.) they’re not all that scary anymore, you know?

“Asylum of the Daleks” was pretty darned scary, I’ll confess.  And it turns out everyone liked that one character so much that she’s coming back!  There’s some big mystery about her!  Or something!  I don’t really care!  Because, “Hey, everybody really liked this little bit, why don’t we now use that bit over and over again until the audience is entirely sick of it” is not a foundation for good storytelling.  On a show like Doctor Who you’ve got the entire universe and all of time to draw stories from.  Why not use it?

I will keep watching, because the show still pulls out gems like “Vincent and the Doctor.”  I’m waiting. . .

End rant.

Wait a minute, isn’t Rory still an immortal centurion or did that go away and I missed it?


I’m almost done with the second season, and it’s genius.  I’ve decided the thing I like best about it is the worldbuilding.  This story takes place in a decadent, decaying universe.  The most admirable character on the show is a zombified assassin.  We have stunted bureaucracies with the gravity of black holes, crumbling religious orders, poverty-stricken and ignorant communities on the verge of collapse — and absolutely no higher purpose available for anyone.  There ends up being a lot of focus on food and sex.  Often at the same time.  (Hello, Lyekka!)  It’s a space opera with very little metal.  It’s a universe that’s full of inhabited worlds, and simultaneously empty of people, indicated by planets-full of deserted cities and dozens of abandoned space stations, and a clinging population of people who’ve edged into madness.  The main characters want to save the universe, not to save the universe, but to save their own skins.

This is all what keeps me watching.  Individual episodes are really weird and discomfiting.  But taken as a whole, the show is cohesive, and compelling.  This is a world that someone actually thought about.  It may have started with “Let’s make a science fiction show that’s as pornographic as possible without ending up on Skinemax,” but they actually thought about the implications of the world that kind of show would have to take place in.

The show has earned my trust.  Toward the end of the second season are two episodes, “The Net” and “The Web.”  These are the same episode.  Same footage, same story, the same.  I almost flipped back to the menu to make sure I hadn’t accidentally set the previous episode going again.  The second one includes some extra footage and details from the villain’s point of view, since after the first episode we know who the villain is.  It’s a fascinating experiment — I’m not sure it’s entirely successful in illuminating the world or characters.  But hell, not every experiment has to be a success to be worthwhile.  I was totally willing to let them run with it.

And then came the musical episode “Brigadoom.”  Big sparkly hearts, guys.

Next up is season 2 of Justified.


17 Responses to “TV rants”

  1. WanabePBWriter Says:

    The doctor has completely dropped off my radar since his last regeneration, can’t say when it did, but the” Vincent and the Doctor” was the last episode I can remember watching. (Bow ties are not cool, or at least not cool enough.) Are there any episodes you can endorse?
    Query. Have you any liking for Warehouse 13?

  2. fozmeadows Says:

    Total agreement on the Doctor Who issue. Moffat has ruined the show for me; I can’t watch it anymore without getting enraged, and so tend to steer clear instead. And I don’t think Rory stopped being an immortal centurion at any point – so woo, major continuity fail. Again.

  3. Carrie V. Says:

    The show really jumped the shark for me in “The Girl Who Waited,” when they didn’t have the guts to cast an older actress to play 60-year old Amy. Totally unconvincing and ruined what should have been a good story.

    I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of Warehouse 13 — unfortunately the first one I saw was by all accounts the worst one ever (quartz under the prison makes people crazy!), so I haven’t been totally on board with it since, even though everyone says I would love it and I believe them. There’s just too much TV to catch up on right now. (Lexx, Justified, and about 5 others I want to start on.)

  4. They had already decided to have Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion long before “Asylum of the Daleks” or “The Snowmen” had aired; she wasn’t bought back due to popularity.

  5. Carrie V. Says:

    Be that as at it may… they’ve still decided to build up an entire storyline about this person, tying together totally disparate storylines because…why? It’s tiring.

  6. Carrie V. Says:

    Sorry for sounding snippy, but I’ve been frustrated with the show and have been trying to figure out why, and I think it has a lot to do with a) setting up these unnecessarily complex storylines that don’t hold together in the end and b) as I think Adam mentioned in a previous thread, featuring companions that increasingly seem to be little more than perky young modern eye candy. There’s a sameness to it that makes the show less interesting.

  7. Jax Says:

    Re the Rory/Immortal Centurion thing: I was under the impression that at the end of the Pandorica story when the Universe was restored he went back to being normal in the same way that Amy’s parents are restored. Whilst Rory is not specifically mentioned there are statements about the timeline being restored there are several indicators including their baby which is conceived after this point.

    I agree that many of the plot lines seem to go wrong, The final angel story just annoyed me, it just made no sense. For me the balance between ‘story of the week’ and arc threads is wrong somehow.

  8. Carrie V. Says:

    I’m willing to buy that, but he does show up as “The Last Centurion” a couple more times after that (in “A Good Man Goes to War” I think?).

    I think you’re right about the balance being off. I’m thinking of the Bad Wolf storyline in the first season, where we had a bunch of great one-off stories, but in hindsight they all contained these little hints that culminated in one big story arc. *That* was satisfying.

  9. I agree about the Angels, and the whole Statue of Liberty thing was not making sense to me. Lexx was insanely fun; I loved it, and I had one friend who was into it as well. Shame when it went off, but such is the way with TV.

  10. Jax Says:

    There are definitely wild inconsistencies in who remembers what in the following story arcs which is part of the annoyance.

    Bad Wolf was good, though on the whole its the Tennant arc that really gets me, the end had me in tears.

    Need to watch Lexx, never seen it, and I’ve not watched S2 Justified yet.

  11. I got sick of what I felt was the Pond Soap Opera with this guy named the Doctor who sometimes matters, even though it’s his show. I think Amy is just horrid to Rory and I found myself liking her less and less.

    11th Doctor and Amy destroyed the show for me. Although I put the fault with Moffat. remember that show with the guy who had adventures in time and space? I miss that show.

  12. Adam. Says:

    First few seasons of Lexx were good, I kind of lost interest somewhere abouts of the twin planets of fire and ice…

    As to companions I’ve got nothing against the perky young eye candy part (part of the purpose of TV after all is to give us stuff that’s good to look at 🙂 I do think that it’s about time we had a different outlook on the wonders of the Doctor’s travels than that which is provided by the “modern”.

    Maybe they’ll kill this one as well and give us Clara Oswin Oswald the 1930s Aviatrix, which should be enough to make Carrie happy…(and could plausibly involve a flying helmet and some wet celery)

  13. Doruk Says:

    So, I guess I am the only person here who likes 11 better than 10, then? 😉

  14. Ann Says:

    Did Lexx air immediately after Farscape on the Sci-Fi Channel at some point, year 2000 maybe?

    I’m another non-fan of the current Doctor Who. He doesn’t have enough screen presence to pull of The Doctor. Plus, I feel that he looks like a British attempt at a stock Disney character.

  15. Max Says:

    Jax et al: Either the Universe-Reset in Pandorica undid immortal Rory and he wasn’t the immortal centurion any more, or it didn’t, and he is still imortal.
    In “A good man goes to war” He dresses in the uniform, identifies himself as it, and is recognized. If the universe reset had made it never happen, neither he nor the vogons or whoever those goonballs were would have recognized him.
    Ergo, Rory is still immortal.

  16. Jax Says:

    But no gun in hand and he managed to father a child (I suspect there are other examples of him potentially being human too) I guess the problem, as with much of the subject of discussion here, is inconsistency in the part of the writers. Lazy and annoying 😦

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