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Thread: Doctor Who/Torchwood

  1. #871
    Head to head with Jones Residents Fan's Avatar

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    Saw the drama about DW's origins, "An Adventure in Time and Space", last night. Pretty good-
    Acting was great, David Bradley and Jessica Raine were the standouts.
    They really made an effort to recreate the 1960s BBC.

    The big 50th anniversary Special "The Day of the Doctor" is to air tomorrow! I am EXCITED!

  2. #872
    Enduring Memories Omniscient_Jay's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Residents Fan View Post
    Saw the drama about DW's origins, "An Adventure in Time and Space", last night. Pretty good-
    Acting was great, David Bradley and Jessica Raine were the standouts.
    They really made an effort to recreate the 1960s BBC.

    The big 50th anniversary Special "The Day of the Doctor" is to air tomorrow! I am EXCITED!
    I've also watched it. Very cool, as I'm not at all very familiar with Classic Who, let alone the behind-the-scenes creation and production of the original series.

    In the past week or two, I've been watching through NuWho on Netflix (since they added it in recent times). I started watching Who more seriously starting with Smith's run, and I've followed much of S5-S7 as it aired. However, I had seen smatterings of Eccleston and Tennant episodes in the past.

    I've finished S1 (with Eccleston) recently, and I've begin Tennant's first season. It's been pretty great thus far.

    All of this to say that as an intermediate Who fan, I too am most certainly looking forward to The Day of the Doctor tomorrow***.


    ***Speaking of which, I watched The Night of the Doctor (the webisode). It's a precursor to the Day of the Doctor featuring Paul McGann (aka the Eighth Doctor), showing how he ended up regenerating into John Hurt's incarnation. It seems that the Eighth Doctor only appeared once in a TV-movie - which I had not seen, so the webisode was very interesting. If you haven't seen the webisode, it's certainly worth a watch to get you hyped up for the 50th.

  3. #873
    Enduring Memories Omniscient_Jay's Avatar

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    Default 50th Anniversary Special

    I watched the 50th earlier today (or yesterday, more aptly; it's getting late). It was totally awesome.

    I have not seen any Classic Who, or of most of Eleventh's run, so I'm sure I might have appreciated the special even more had I done so. Still, it was great all around.

    John Hurt was great as the "War Doctor", and I especially enjoyed his curmudgeonly disbelief and exasperation at the eccentricities of his future incarnations (a thread maintained until the very end). And Hurt did tortured weariness and gravitas excellently as well.

    I was surprised to see that Billie Piper was actually playing the sentience of The Moment, and not Rose and/or Bad Wolf herself. This was an interesting turn, and I enjoyed her enigmatic portrayal as a representation of the Bad Wolf. It also possibly implies that the Ninth Doctor sought out Rose due to subconsciously remembering The Moment's form.

    The war scenes at Arcadia were very flashy and neat, and we didn't get too much of it, which is nice. Focusing only on the Fall of Arcadia and the end of the Time War was a wise decision, since there is no need to bog down the special anymore than that (though I did like the Dalek inclusion).

    The Zygon invasion plot was very solid, and I liked how it tied into the resolution of the Time War by showing the concepts that the Doctors would then use to preserve Gallifrey. The Zygon story could have easily worked as its own standalone episode (accounting for less Doctors, of course). The "stasis cube" 3D paintings were very imaginative.

    The synergy between Ten and Eleven was great, as was the more serious stuff with them having to deal with the "specter" of what the War Doctor had done. The Brigadier's daughter and Osgood were good characters, and the Zygons were neat; however, I found the portrayal of Queen Victoria I to have been a bit hammy (possibly due to the actress). Clara was solid in this installment; now that her Impossible Girl status has been resolved, she is free to simply be at the Doctor's side, lending aid throughout.

    The big development was in the resolution of the Time War. Through The Moment, the Doctors were able to bypass the Time Lock, and so all Thirteen Doctors were able to put Gallifrey into stasis in a pocket universe, with the Dalek fleet destroying itself in the crossfire. To the outside universe, it looked as though the Daleks and the Time Lords annihilated one another alongside Gallifrey, but all along, it was the Doctor in his many incarnations that spared Gallifrey.

    As a side note, that brief eye-shot of Peter Capaldi as the upcoming Twelfth Doctor was mad hype, yo.

    It also seems that as a result of convergent time streams, none of the Doctors would remember their role in sparing Gallifrey. Therefore, the Ninth and Tenth Doctor will be "haunted" by their faulty recollection of having destroyed Gallifrey using The Moment***. This may seem to invalidate the post-War emotional trajectory of Nine and Ten (and most of Eleven), but as Eleven said, this false recollection over 400 years has allowed the Doctor to realize that in the end, there's always another way.

    ***None of the Classic Doctors would remember either, I venture. It was cool to see archived footage in the war room interfaces (as well as Nine's face), as well as the Tardis fleet.

    It now seems that the next season with the Twelfth Doctor will involve the search for Gallifrey as its primary arc (though whether this is achieved by the S8 finale, or how serialized this search will be, remains to be seen). This is an appropriate shift, I find, since it frees up the Doctor's Time War baggage. And Eleven's voiceover was fitting, with the notion of roundabout journeys to home.

    The cameo by Tom Baker as the mysterious Custodian was very cool. I have not seen Baker's run, but I enjoyed his performance nonetheless.

    And the final shot with Eleven's dream, where all the Doctors (plus the War Doctor, minus the Twelfth (are lined up like an arrow towards Gallifrey, was a monumental closing shot.

    The only thing that would have made the special even better was if Christopher Eccleston would have returned as the Ninth. The post-War Doctor Time War PTSD baggage effected Nine pretty profoundly, so his inclusion in the special is a missed opportunity.

    Eccleston apparently had a beef with the show's producers, which led to his departure after S1. Which is a shame, since I enjoyed Nine's run immensely. At the least, it would have been awesome to have him make a cameo during the War Doctor's regeneration, belting out a last "Fantastic!" before heading off to foil Autons in 21st Century London (we saw the beginning of Hurt's regeneration, and even saw his face beginning to change, but it's a poorer substitute for Eccleston's actual presence).

    Even in spite of this absence, The Day of the Doctor was an excellent installment. I was most familiar with Moffat's run (S5-S7), and while S7 faltered (especially in the finale), this is a very strong effort on his part. Suffice it to say that I look forward to the future of Doctor Who.

    The next big installment is the upcoming Christmas Special, in which Matt Smith will pass the torch to Peter Capaldi. By the teaser, it seems that Eleven will be meeting his end at Trenzalore, as foreshadowed throughout S7. We see the Silents, the Weeping Angels, the Daleks, and more. It seems that lingering questions concerning Eleven's run, such as Trenzalore, Silence Must Fall, the Question, and more will be tied up, which is great, since these were left dangling thus far.

    While waiting for that one, I will continue catching up on NuWho, having just begun Tennant's run in S2. Familiarizing myself with Tennant may allow me to better appreciate the 50th Anniversary, in retrospect.
    Last edited by Omniscient_Jay; 11-24-2013 at 02:10 AM.

  4. #874
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    I'd love to start watching Doctor Who, my friends really want me to. But I have no idea where to start. And I KNOW I don't have the time to start from Season one

  5. #875
    It's the White Wire Administrator bookworm2342's Avatar

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    I suggesting starting from the reboot in 2005 if at all possible, with Christopher Eccleston.
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  6. #876
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookworm2342 View Post
    I suggesting starting from the reboot in 2005 if at all possible, with Christopher Eccleston.
    That's probably the best gateway into the series for new viewers, barring going back to the very beginning with William Hartnell in the original Black-And-White run that began in the 60s.

    To expand, the show was cancelled during the Seventh Doctor's run (Sylvester McCoy) during the late 80s. A TV-movie featuring the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) aired in 1996, but it wasn't successful. They revived the series in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, and this pseudo-reboot was meant to bring Doctor Who for the modern age.

    In other words, it's meant to be a point that introduces the concept of Doctor Who to people who may not know. You don't necessarily need to have seen the past 25 seasons of the show over the past 40+ years to enjoy modern DW (also known as NuWho). But, NuWho also respects the continuity of the past (as much continuity as there is in a show like this), and there are the frequent references and returns of past faces and plot points.

    Eccleston had one 13-ep season as the Ninth Doctor; David Tennant succeeded him as the Tenth Doctor, doing three seasons (S2-S4); and now we have Matt Smith as the Eleventh, who too had three seasons (S5-S7). In the 2013 Christmas Special airing a week from now, Smith will be passing the baton to Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, whose adventures will begin in Summer 2014 (with Season 8).

    So now is an excellent time to start catching up. I've been rewatching the series in preparation for the Christmas Special, and it's been great stuff. The show may seem corny/campy in the early run, and the special effects are outdated by modern standards, but stick with it; the show steadily improves over its run.

  7. #877
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    Default The Time of the Doctor

    So, anyone watch the 2013 Christmas Special?

    I thought it was great. Though apparently, it was a fairly divisive outing.

    Since this was Smith's curtain call, the episode naturally centers on him, and he gives it his all as Eleven. Of course, Clara has a substantive presence throughout, being the present Companion (though Handles also shined as a one-off Companion ).

    The next major face would be Orla Brady (Elizabeth Bishop), who played Tasha Lem. She was great in Fringe, and I really dug her performance in this one.

    The thing I appreciated most from this special was the wrapping up of loose ends left over Eleven's run, tying in both stuff from the past three seasons (the Cracks, the Silence, the Question, Trenzalore, etc.), and the 50th Anniversary Special (namely, concerning the present status of Gallifrey). I also liked how this whole shebang is basically one massive ontological loop (then again, the entire Doctor Who show could probably be argued as a massive ontological loop ).

    I recall one criticism I've seen is that Moffat glossed over a lot of this information. In other words, these major mysteries were resolved and dismissed with one or two lines of exposition (from Smith or otherwise). As an information guy, I am simply happy to absorb worldbuilding/mythos information like a sponge, so as to better place things into context. As such, the fact that many of these mysteries were explained in short time did not bother me in the slightest.

    However, this, in addition to how the episode covers centuries of time, and how basically the Doctor's entire Rogue Gallery had come to Trenzalore, makes me wonder if TTOTD would have worked (even) better as a two-part installment. Because as it stands, the episode just burns through the Siege and War of Trenzalore. For instance, we learn that as the War prolonged, most races stepped out. In the end, only the Daleks and the Papal Mainframe remained, eventually leading the Doctor to ally himself with the Silents on the battlefield.

    That's a pretty significant concept, but they explain it away in a line, barely a blip on the radar. Perhaps as a two-parter, we could have had more time to explore these developments, and see more things only hinted at or referenced in passing (such as Kovarian's faction splintering off, see more of how the War progressed, etc.).

    Then again, the reason the Doctor's leaps in aging work is because we only technically drop in on him every few centuries or so (thanks to the ways in which Clara is sent back and keeps returning late). So to condense the Siege and War on that front, depicting it as a sort of mythic narration, makes sense in this regard.

    Clara's role in this episode is rather similar to the one in the 50th. She essentially serves as the Doctor's Voice of Reason, in the 50th helping the Doctor(s) "change" the outcome of the Time War (I say "change" because again, it's all a big ol' loop), and again in TTOTD by being at the Doctor's side and voicing concerns and doubts over what he's doing (and most notably, convincing the Time Lords to grant the Doctor another Regeneration cycle).

    Clara is a polarizing figure, it seems. I've read here and there that she's perceived as a hollow caricature, all sassy and feisty, and that her Impossible Girl status reduces her to a plot device and/or puzzle to be solved. Rose Tyler was an ordinary girl, as were Martha and Donna. They didn't start out as Bad Wolf and UNIT Action Girl and DoctorDonna; they only became these things during their travels, but they never fully eclipsed them as people.

    Amy (and Rory) were a bit different, since Amy was Special due to the Cracks, and the Ponds were (and became) River's parents, but they were pretty great despite this.

    The only real thing Clara had going for her was the Impossible Girl mystery, and possibly her Leaf In The Wind motif. Now that these things are behind us, Clara kind of pales in comparison to past companions, especially Amy, who was also clever and strongheaded and rebellious.

    For all of this, I did think Clara to have been serviceable in this episode (the Christmas dinner stuff with her relatives were probably the low points in the episode, though).

    Also, the episode in itself wasn't all that Christmas-y, even with Smith defending Christmas itself from the ravages of war. But that didn't at all matter to me, since the episode was much more important as a Regeneration story.

    Speaking of, I very much liked the Regeneration sequence, especially how it had its cake and ate it too. It was explosive and dramatic during the Clock Tower portion, but the Doctor still managed to have his one last bow back in the TARDIS. The whole last five minutes were probably my favourite of the hour. Smith's monologue, the fish fingers and custard, Amelia's apparition (including a Gillan cameo!), the undoing of the bow tie, the score; it was all fantastic stuff.

    And the actual Regeneration was quick as a flash, which was unexpected (and the fact that it was unexpected made it greater). Capaldi's few lines were pretty hilarious, and as with all viewers, I'm looking forward to seeing what he (and Clara, for the foreseeable future) will bring to the table.

    So overall, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I really dug this past trilogy of episodes (Name, Day, Time); I'd say that Day of the Doctor was easily the best installment, followed closely by Time of the Doctor and with Name of the Doctor lagging a bit more behind.

    Some stray thoughts:

    -The great majority of the explanations for the mysteries made sense, and were pretty satisfying overall. However, I have a couple of lingering questions.

    First, what does this episode mean for the "future" of Trenzalore, as seen in 7.13? Will Trenzalore still become a scorched world where the TARDIS stands as the Doctor's "final" resting place, with his timestream entombed inside?

    I imagine that the War must have ruined Trenzalore over the centuries. But since much of the war was fast-forwarded, and since most of the action was limited to the town of Christmas, the War as depicted in TTOTD doesn't seem to align with what we saw in 7.13. And did the strength of the Doctor's Regeneration contribute to messing up the countryside?

    It does make sense that the Church of the Silence (and/or the Papal Mainframe) would be responsible for handling the burials and the grave-making, the results of which seen in 7.13.

    That still leaves the question of how the TARDIS eventually ends up on Trenzalore in the future. The Doctor said that the future could be changed if the Time Lords were still around; since the intervened by granting the Regeneration Cycle, does this imply that this act changed the future, in that the 7.13 future happened because the Eleventh died of old age during the War?

    This would of course result in a paradox, a sort of superposition of outcomes for the Trenzalore Incident (since Clara is who convinced the Time Lords to intervene, yet the 7.13 future is necessary for her to be the Impossible Girl).

    The second major question is how the Time Lords can even interact with the outside world. As the 50th noted, Gallifrey was spared by "freezing" it in a single moment within a pocket universe, much like the Stasis Cube paintings used in the Zygon invasion plot.

    I imagine that the solution is in how people inside the stasis field can still move about, as seen when the Zygons emerged in the present day from their paintings, or when the three Doctors hid inside Gallifrey Falls (No More) so that they could then enter the Black Archives. It must be that the Time Lords can still move about within their pocket reality, but that they can't leave their planet (since Gallifrey would conceivably be the only thing inside that pocket universe).

    The third question is how the Time Lords managed to move the Crack from inside the Bell Tower to the skies overhead. It was explained that the Crack in the tower wasn't really a Crack, but the "scar tissue" remaining after the Universe Reboot of 5.12-5.13. The only solution I can think of is that the Time Lords "traced" their fingers along weak points in spacetime extending from the scar, and momentarily forced open a rift in order to send over the Regeneration energy (being a highly advanced civilization, I can buy that they'd be capable of this).

    The last question is how the Doctor knew who the Silents were (genetically-engineered priests used for purposes of confession). It must be that he found out who they really were sometime after 6.13 (the last time we saw them), since he didn't appear to know their true nature prior to S6.

    -Lots of funny bits in this episode. The nudity thing was amusing, and didn't overstay its welcome. Smith's baldness was a surprise (though apparently, it's because he had shaved his head for a movie role). And the Eleventh Doctor was his old goofy self. I also enjoyed a lot of the stuff concerning the Papal Mainframe's inner workings, a sort of weird lampooning of religious traditions.

    -Were the Sontarans played by the guy who did Strax? If so, are these supposed to be clones from the same gene pool that Strax comes from? That'd be kind of cool.

    -It's hard to say what's to come next for the show. Thanks to the 50th, the Doctor has finally shed his Time War baggage. And all of Eleven's mytharcs have been wrapped up. So it looks like in more ways than one, the Doctor has been reset. The only known trajectory would be a Search For Gallifrey/Gallifrey's Return arc, in which the Doctor tries to find a way to both bring back the Time Lords while also ensuring peace (since as TTOTD showed, if the Time Lords returned, then their enemies might amass to wage war).

    Though of course, Moffat might also start introducing new series-spanning mysteries and arcs for the Twelfth Doctor. And as mentioned before, Clara doesn't have much going for her as a character (i.e. she doesn't have any emotional baggage or mysteries to drive her development). Not sure how keeping her as a Companion will be viable beyond S8, but perhaps Moffat and Friends will surprise me.

    A long post, but I can't help but turn all the stones. I look forward to S8 in Autumn 2014 (a long wait, but at least the season won't be split like in S6-S7).
    Last edited by Omniscient_Jay; 12-31-2013 at 12:08 AM.

  8. #878
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    So, it's back again!

    "Deep Breath". I liked Peter Capaldi's Doc. Grumpy but not to the point of unlikeable.
    The Victorian era is standard DW terrority,although it was used well here. I felt the dinosaur everyone could see
    was stretching disbelief a tad (and it reminded me of that crappy
    Asylum Sherlock Holmes film). The Clockwork guys were scary antagonists
    and the bit where they were stalking Clara was creepy (the first
    time DW has genuinely unsettled me since "The Crimson Horror"). 3/5

    "Into the Dalek". Can the show find a new angle on the
    famous metal meanies? Yes it can. The Doctor and
    co. are minaturised and sent inside a Dalek.
    The scenes inside the Dalek were suitably scary,
    and nerve-racking, and it was good to have a Dalek story where they
    weren't all magically blown up at the conclusion. On the other hand, the
    Dalek going evil again was hardly a surprise, and Capaldi's Doctor
    seems worrying callous towards the bereved female solider (he didn't
    seem to bothered about her brother perishing, and he wasn't to
    pushed about the guy turned into pea sour either).
    Interesting to see Danny Pink, the former soldier as
    a possible companion - they may
    be gonna for a classic DW feel here (Jon Pertwee working
    with the Brigadier, and Tom Baker had ex-Navy man Harry Sullivan) .3/5

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