"Talkin' 'Bout My Regeneration"
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Dan: I wanted to like it more than I did. Perhaps the mad topology of the TARDIS is necessarily reflected in the script, and it would make some kind of sense if you could think in seven or more dimensions with time constituting at least two of them. I liked a few details, such as
. Also, anyone who thinks it unlikely that
clearly doesn't have an older brother.
Breadmaster: My main problem with the "android" thing was that the actor playing the oldest
brother was so cringeworthily, woodenly bad that for some time I thought he was
supposed to be the android.
Dan: Yeah, that was a little odd; given that the quality of casting of late has been if anything in excess of requirements, that performance was a distinct clunker. Mind you, I really couldn't say what any actor could or should have made of that role, so it may not have been entirely his fault.
Stevie: Still not clear on why
Breadmaster: [Dan] True, but I do think that a basic requisite for any role should be the ability
to deliver lines like you know what they mean.
Projoy: It was a bit messy, but I was pleased about the premise.
Perhaps the Time War book and increased TARDIS mythology is
setting up some season-wide stuff. All in all, it was better
than passable, but could have been much timey-wimier and been
more fun as a result.
Phil: I thought the
was some of the best acting/directing this
Dan: I'd have liked to have seen more imagination in the interior details. Since the whole thing seems to be made of some kind of virtual or dynamic matter which can be created/uncreated at need (presumably due to the vast amount of power and matter available) and moved around without apparent structural impact, the doors and corridors seemed like cramped, bulkheady and dully conventional ship-building tech, rather than, well, something else, which could have even been cheaper to build. Though one might argue that their forms are a kind of symbolic labeling to indicate that you're passing through infrastructural or default space.
Dan: (And speaking of which, I guess they already threw out the parts from the last Gaiman episode, in which connecting spaces looked like Who-tech, with roundels. By contrast those at least had a strong visual suggestion of reconfigurability.)
Tuj: Think I agree with everything said about the most recent episode. Thanks all.
Projoy: I thought this week's was OK. Better than previous Gatiss
attempts because he stuck to Victorian melodrama and didn't
really try to write drama with emotions.
Projoy: Overall, however, I am enjoying this half of the series much
less than the first half, and in turn enjoyed that much less
than the two previous ones. For me, those two series (or a
lot of aspects of them anyway) were a bit of a pinnacle and
things seem to be settling back down to "normal" now. It all
feels much more like the first two (Eccleston/Tennant) series
again. I guess it can't stay up in the stratosphere of
intricate-story-arc planning forever.
Dan: I thought this one was fine. Apart from the bit where Gatiss Mary Sue'd the Doctor by having him
, and that sort of thing is really not on nowadays. Kind of struck a wrong note with me. He's pretty physical with her and with Clara generally, which is another departure from Who tradition; but that's not why it doesn't seem quite right to me.
CdM: I liked
Dan: I did wonder if
CdM: [Dan] I am almost certain you are right.
Tuj: Good fun by me that, aside the bit Dan disliked and the bit CdM liked. But when will
Breadmaster: I thought it was very good. Much better than last week's, probably not quite as
good as the one two weeks ago.
Phil: [Dan] Mrs Phil believes that the Silurian detective should
her own spin-off show, Sarah-Jane style. It took me a while
remember who first suggested it. My kids were slightly disturbed
when I described her as "foxy" on Saturday!
Breadmaster: She's good - but not as good as Jago and Lightfoot!
Projoy: [The one with the theme park and the chess and the emperor
and the planetary self-destruct and the Doctor vs. the Doctor
and the cyberkids and Clara as military commander and the
Doctor fancying Clara and a new idea every few minutes] It
was a bit much, I thought, and not as well organised as I
hoped. Certainly the characters were the least successful
part of it.
Dan: [Projoy] Yeah, I'm not sure you actually need a Neil Gaiman for that script, it had pretty much all the properties of a not-Neil Gaiman script.
Projoy: [Dan] I do think that Gaiman's characters are often
theatrical sorts of creations, almost types. And I've also
felt in the past that Gaiman is a great contriver of striking
dramatic tableaux for them to pose in, but he's much weaker
at creating journeys for his characters that take them
seamlessly from tableau to tableau in a way that seems
natural. But then again, the
originality of the scenarios leaves you admiring the overall
effect anyway. I felt this about his other Who script,
but here the downsides seem to have been much less hidden by
Breadmaster: I seemed pretty decent to me, though overall a bit unsatisfying - I felt there were
too many ideas that didn't go anywhere (the comical castle being the most
obvious - there was nothing comical about it!). I liked the cutely middle-class kids
and the upgraded Cybermen. But Clara continues to annoy me.
Phil: Was the boy supposed to be a bit autistic, or Asperger's-ish,
or something? Or was he just way too "stage-school" to be
anywhere near real?
Projoy: I think he was just not all that good, but I think in the wake
of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
child actor agencies should always have the "oh, he thought it
needed to be a bit Asperger-y" as an excuse to casting
directors for a wooden performance.
Tolken: Personally I thought
for the duration of the climactic sequence was screenwriting genius. Masterclass in how to deal with child actors.
matt: [Tolken] Agreed. That was probably my favourite thing about the episode,
given they were the most thoroughly annoying screen children I've seen in
years. Otherwise, there was lots to enjoy, and also many flaws. I could've
done without the
, for example, and
Blob: Last two episodes: I much preferred / enjoyed the Gatiss one to the Gaiman one - which was something of a surprise. Reckon it was the best Who effort by Gatiss to date. To me Dr Who does work particularly well in the Victorian era, not sure exactly why, perhaps because the Victorians were all about invention / discovery / broader horizons / shedding of taboos / questioning religion - but without the trappings of complacency we have to technology these days ... it was all still wonderful and new - which just seems to meld well with Dr Who's entire ethos to me.
Re the Gaiman one - it had both promise and good moments, but overall didn't really deliver IMHO.
Dan: [matt] The Cyberiad is the name of a Stanislaw Lem work (a set of fables on a cybernetic theme) so I didn't see it as a coinage. Perhaps nobody involved in the script ever heard of it but it seems unlikely. And you're certainly right to bring up The Borg, this new Cybermen modality is indistinguishable from them right down to the facial appliqués on the partially-converted. And while it's true that if the "Borg collective" isn't lifted from the Cybermen it might as well be as the basic concept is identical, it's not so fun to see the borrowing (if it was) go the other way.
Breadmaster: [matt] Surely
know this because I've seen this webpage.
Respect to this guy.
Phil: [BM] Massive respect to that guy.
matt: [Bm] Indeed. But the
isn't really relevant. The
Cybermen are supposed to be implacable and emotionless. Presented with the
Doc's gambit, the Planner would surely have
Breadmaster: [matt] Ah, but
matt: [Bm] You could say that, yes. I shall have to watch it again to see.
matt: Ha! OK, that was fun. Many of the usual Moffat tics, obvs, but at least you can't
Projoy: Yes, I thought it was pretty darn decent, that one, although
the on-screen credit at the end was a bit OTT, I thought.
Dan: What's bugging me is the way, particularly but not exclusively under Moffat, the show keeps repeating itself. Yes, it's all unravelling, all the things he's saved, all the things he's destroyed, oh look, the stars are going out. If it was ever suspenseful it really isn't anymore. I really do prefer the ones that are about something else with him as the problem solver than the ones that are about him and his convoluted history, because in the end there's either no other kind of threat to it or they can't think of one.
Dan: Spoilery spoilers what possibly spoil future eps, not just this one:
Breadmaster: Well, we were hooked. After the glorious opening sequence it could do no
wrong for me, but the whole thing was near-perfect. I think that was a truly
great performance from Smith. And a very satisfying resolution of the Clara
mystery, with a great introduction of a new mystery. My main criticism was
that it was a shame they couldn't show the Second Doctor a little more
Game over! And what a splendid game it was, too.
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