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miranda

Dr Who Special

Any Dr Who fans on the board?
miranda

Just me then?

Laughing
Ann

Very Happy I watched it
Apple

Sort of a Dr Who fan but am starting to think its getting a bit tedious and samey now as though they are running out of fresh ideas - not watched this one yet so don't say anything - taped it while I was at work and have yet to watch it.

I prefered the Chris Ecclestone episodes of the new Dr Who series, I thought they were better all round, especially the wartime one - the "Are you my mummy?" one, but having said that I also liked the statues one - the one where you blink and they get you, and that was a David Tennant one I prefer the ones which are a bit psycological rather than the bad alien comes blasts a few things and then gets thwarted by the Dr. But for entertainment value you can't beat the old ones, dodgy effects, rubber costumes and wobbly cardboard sets you can't beat them! I still say the best Dr Who though was Tom Baker.
miranda

You're like me then, you prefer the Stephen Moffat ones to the RTD ones.  

SM wrote both the episodes you mention and his tend to be psychologically deeper whereas RTD goes for the whizz-bang, eye-popping, CGI stuff.
county_lady

Ann wrote:
Very Happy I watched it


We did too plus the BBC3 Dr Who Confidential.
Dr Who on the beeb and Red Dwarf on Dave we're having fun. Laughing
mike js

I do have a fondness for Dr Who, but RTD is doing his best to cure me. He really is a duff writer. Embarrassing. Moffat's ideas and execution seem so much more interesting. I was impressed with Blink and with The Girl in the Fireplace.

I think the big problem with over-grand 'ideas' like this one is the emptiness. Billions of deaths like so much sand slipping through the hand.

From the trailer, I thought it was going to be a rip off of Pitch Black.
Simon The Sponge

I was under the impression that RTD had stopped writing and Moffat had taken over from him...but it doesn't seem to have happened yet....another Moffat episode that I realy enjoyed was the "Silence in the Library" episode very dark and much more in keeping with the original spirit of Dr Who
Apple

County lady - I've taped Red Dwarf as well I'm waiting till I get both the other one is on tonight I think and then I'll watch them back to back! I love Red Dwarf takes me back to my youth sitting in my room watching it on my little portable telly!!

They all has some classic moments ones that stick in my mind are the justice planet one with the huge boots, the backwards episode where everything goes well... backwards and the western one.  Its a shame they got rid of the scutters though!
Ann

Apple I so wish someone could invent a justice zone! I loved Red Dwarf too, but thought the later episodes were not so good. I think Dave has done sterling work, though, and I've enjoyed these ones. I'm looking forward to the last one tonight.
Mind you wobbly scenes and plastic monsters reign!
miranda

I think most Dr Who fans prefer the Steven Moffat stories.  Girl in the Fireplace and Library were both very good.   Blink gave me the creeps!  I was wary of statues for quite a few days afterwards!
mike js

I hope it is ok to go non-bookish again and talk Dr Who as Russel T Davies says goodbye. I am relieved he's gone to be honest. His Who stuff still seems largely naff to me. I haven't noticed before, but the music seems clumsy and irritating too. The final show suffered from the usual ridiculous universe-busting danger solved in some trivial fantastical way. The ending went very sentimental. Since when does a regeneration wreck the TARDIS? Since when has the doctor pimped for a former companion? Oh yes, since when does free falling through a glass dome lead to minor cuts and bruises? etc.

I did like a couple of story ideas that could give some depth. The idea that the regeneration would be seen as death by the current doctor. The idea that the real danger for the doctor would be in a small scale sacrifice to save Wilf. But RTD just naffed his way through it all.

I have/had more hope for Moffett's time. I do hope the new doctor is not going to have 'Geronimo' as a catch phrase. It's already annoying.

Since the earlier posts, I have finally finished watching all of the newer Battlestar Galactica on DVD. The final episodes suffered a little bit from trying to do all the closing, but overall I found this a stunning drama. The deep writing, powerful acting, interesting ideas, gutsy emotion, the beautiful music, the bleakness; all were terrific. I am embarrassed to compare this with Doctor Who or, worse, Torchwood.

I have to admit that watching the end of Battlestar, I felt a surprisingly real sense of loss and sadness. This probably has something to do with the way I've been feeling recently, but even so - much respect to all who made BSG.

To slip in a weak book link - Davies is obvioulsy heavily influenced by SF movies/TV in his ideas. Has he actually read any SF do you think? He seems to have no sensibilities in this area at all.
Apple

I watched the Dr Who special and I thought it was almost the end of Dr Who for good the way it was going towards the end, all it seemed to be was a giant ego trip for RTD to say goodbye first and foremost as it had him stamped all over it and then almost as an afterthought David Tennants departure in the last few moments.

I really didn't get the need for the earth in peril thing AGAIN very simular to the one where the earth was stolen and moved somewhere else or something like that with the giant planet looming in the sky, and what was with the bit in the bar with Captain Jack??

Finally he was only on screen for about 2 seconds at the end but first impression of the the new doctor, bloody annoying and irritating!! trying far too hard and so not holding much hope for the new series, will give it a viewing purely for the new script writer but no great expections.
Hector

Although not up with the best of Who I thought the finale was pretty good all things considering. Dalton as Rasillon was at its spitting best and Simms was a much improved Master in the second part once the humourless conceit of him becoming the entire population had finished.

Perhaps a little self indulgent at the end but that is forgivable I think under the end of an era circumstances. Thought Tenant's last line of "I don't want to go" was superb.

As for the new doctor - I have to disagree with you Apple. Way too early to form a view I think. It's an unenviable part to have 20 seconds of screen time after what has been a rather solemn final twenty minutes to make a stand.  I'm going to reserve my judgment until the spring but glad that Moffat will be writing as he is far and away the best they have.

Oh, and as for the books - I did own a novel with Tom Baker as the doctor but can't actually recall ever reading it.

Regards

Hector
Evie

I thought it was self-indulgent tripe - and I *don't* forgive that ending - ending being stretched, since the Doctor's horribly sentimental farewells seemed to take far more time than the actual resolution of the plot.  I agree with mike that it's so frustrating that the whole thing is suddenly resolved a tthe flick of a switch, virtually.  And the rip-offs of other films all the way through annoyed me - RTD presumably thought they were amusing, but such borrowings have to be done with a bit of wit and ingenuity to be clever, and RTD lacks both.

It was a mess - no plot, lots of rushing about as usual with overly loud background music (more in the foreground than the background - and why do modern dramas always have music throughout?  Do they think we will lose interest if there is nothing to listen to?).

Have not enjoyed David Tennant as the Doctor, so am looking forward to seeing if things improve with a new (in a way) writer and a new actor.  I have my doubts - Blink was OK, thanks to Carey Mulligan, didn't like Girl in the Fireplace at all, the only one I really liked from the recent series was the one in WWII with Richard Wilson and the gas masks.

I liked the 5-night Torchwood they did a while back, though had given up on Torchwood prior to that.  Mike, I think you are right about *reading* SF being a better background for writers than watching lots of film and TV - Steven Spielberg said something similar many years ago about Hollywood (not just SF), that too few filmmakers were readers.  But you don't have to make this bit of the board book-related!
MikeAlx

All 3 you mention were Steven Moffat, Evie, so (Girl in the Fireplace notwithstanding) hopefully there should be something to please you in the coming series. Moffat also wrote Silence in the Library, which was another well-regarded story.

I didn't see the last story properly, but saw quite enough of it not to bother!

I think few SF screen writers read SF, which is why they're about 20 years behind in terms of ideas compared to the novelists. For example, cyberpunk (a subgenre involving virtual realities, worldwide computer networks, big corporations undermining democracy and the activities of computer hackers and other criminals) was created between 1975 and the late 1980s, but it only really entered movie-goers' consciousness with the Matrix trilogy in the late 90s - by which time the writers had moved on to other things (eg more concern with genetic engineering, and the idea of the "technological singularity").
Evie

Yes - he's better than RTD, but I am still not hugely enamoured.  Time will tell!
miranda

I think you're right, Mike.  Written Sci-fi is miles ahead of film and TV in themes and handling.  

I have to say, my favourite stories from NuWho have all been Moffat stories.  The Empty Child was very good, very creepy and well resolved.  

The biggest problem I have with RTD is his endings.  Far too quick and far too shallow.   Every universe-smashing, end of time, oh my god we're all dead, situation gets solved by flicking a switch or blowing up a computer.  I just roll my eyes.  

The only ending of a series that really pulled me in and stays with me is when Rose left.    Until of course he ruined it by giving her her own doctor to play with!    Rolling Eyes
MikeAlx

I'm still of the opinion that the old 4-part format was better. I watched some Tom Baker series a year or two back (The Genesis of the Daleks and The Talons of Weng Chiang) and much preferred the way the pacing worked, gradually building, and of course having the obligatory cliff-hanger episode endings. But perhaps I'm just too old for modern, fast-paced TV!!
miranda

I think it applies to most drama these days, they just don't give it time.  The two best things I saw last year were The Wire and Spiral.  The first by HBO in America and the second by a French company.   Both were given time and space to develop both story and character and both had an over-arching story to which everything else was fitted.  And they were both brilliant, IMO.   British made drama seems to be all wham bam thank you mam.
Apple

Miranda Wrote:
Quote:
I think it applies to most drama these days, they just don't give it time.  The two best things I saw last year were The Wire and Spiral.  The first by HBO in America and the second by a French company.   Both were given time and space to develop both story and character and both had an over-arching story to which everything else was fitted.  And they were both brilliant, IMO.   British made drama seems to be all wham bam thank you mam.


That could be down to time constraints and budgets, you find that with a lot of television programmes now there is the allotted time they have so not to go over budget, they want this that and the other so something has to give.
TheRejectAmidHair

All television dramas have allotted time and budgets: ‘twas ever thus. The problem with modern television drama is that the producers and directors assume that if they allow the pace to slow down even slightly, vast numbers of viewers will get bored and switch off. Sadly, they are probably right.
Evie

Yes, it's about the pace of a drama, which is about writing and direction rather than budget.

And with Dr Who, I can't see that it would cost more to make one story last over four episodes than to have a separate story per episode.  Cheaper, if anything - don't have to make so many different alien costumes!   Wink
Evie

Though of course there is no doubt that those American companies have more money at their disposal.

Nevertheless, the reason Damages, The Wire, etc, are so good is not just the amount of money thrown at them, but the quality of the writing, and the creativity of writers and directors.  We have nothing that even comes close to the quality of the best American TV drama - of which there is a lot.

Many of the American dramas run to 12 or more episodes per series - some are 22 episodes long - with no let-up in the quality; it seems to me that there is nothing on British TV that has the gumption to keep going for that many episodes.  Compare Casualty and ER - it's embarrassing, and yet Casualty is billed as one of the BBC's top dramas.  The American dramas create strong characters with well-written storylines and very good scripts; production values are high, but are the icing on the cake rather than the core of why they are such good dramas.
TheRejectAmidHair

I am by no means a regular viewer of Dr Who. Our daughter used to be a fan a few years ago, but she has been growing out of it recently. So I watched some with her. The problem seems to be that there is too much Indiana-Jones-like running and scampering around, and not enough time given to anything else. The worst of it are the huge dollops of sentimentality: I remember those endless farewell scenes between David Tennant and Billie Piper, and they really were puke-inducing. They would have been completely out of place with the Dr Who I remember growing up with.

Dr Who started off as a sort of grandfatherly figure (William Hartnell), or, perhaps, as a sort of eccentric avuncular figure (Patrick Throughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker). But recent casting decisions seem to indicate that he is now pictured more as a sort of person teenage girls might fancy. And the writers don’t seem averse to involving the doctor in romantic entanglements with assistants, complete with phoney faux-emotional scenes. Not my cup of tea I’m afraid.

I did start watching the Christmas Day episode, but what with all the wine I’d drunk over dinner, I’m afraid I dozed off. My daughter says I was snoring loudly, but you mustn’t take her too seriously … She does exaggerate these things…
miranda

Evie wrote:
Many of the American dramas run to 12 or more episodes per series - some are 22 episodes long - with no let-up in the quality; it seems to me that there is nothing on British TV that has the gumption to keep going for that many episodes.  Compare Casualty and ER - it's embarrassing, and yet Casualty is billed as one of the BBC's top dramas.  The American dramas create strong characters with well-written storylines and very good scripts; production values are high, but are the icing on the cake rather than the core of why they are such good dramas.


You're right, Evie, it is down to the writing a lot of time.  But Himadri is also right, imo, about British drama creators thinking they have to constantly fill the screen with action.  Some of the best dramas have moments of quiet.  The Wire was full of them.  Just moments of stillness that emphasised and deepened the moments of action.   I think the Xmas Dr Who had one.  Just one, in 3 hours of action.   And that's ridiculous.  

But Himadri is wrong in thinking that that's the way most people like it.  It get mentioned loads on POV.  Dr Who, Triffids, Survivors, Bonekickers.... the same complaint was mentioned re all of them.  

And I don't count Casualty as drama, it's soap so the rules are different.  IMO, anyway.   But I do get your point.
Evie

I'm not disagreeing with Himadri at all - my post was meant to reinforce his point of view, not contradict it.  By 'writing' I was meaning the issues inolved in the writing of a drama, not just the script - and I did mention directors too, who are equally important.

The reason I emphasised writing is because the problem is not just the rushing about, but the fact that nothing is allowed to develop - just as Dr Who has resorted to single episode stories, adaptations of classic novels have dwindled from 6 or more episodes to two or three, or in some cases a single two-hour drama.  Think back to the wonderful adaptation of War and Peace in the early 1970s - not only was it given 20 episodes, but the drama itself revolved around lots of long scenes, including silences but also focusing on dialogue - no need to change the camera angle every three seconds.

Anyway, all I mean is writing and 'filling the screen with action' are intrinsically related - writing isn't just about the specifics of the script.
miranda

Ermmm... I didn't say you did.  Sorry if I gave that impression.  What you said wasn't opposite to what Himadri said.   I was just .... giving my side.
Evie

And I was just clarifying mine!  Smile

You did seem to think I was saying something different from Himadri - sorry if I misunderstood.  The frustration levels are so massive that I take any excuse to rant about it all!
miranda

Sorry, it was the 'but Himadri..' wasn't it?  Just bad writing ( Laughing ) on my part.   I should have written 'and Himadri..'
Apple

Yes I agree that the quality of the writing has a lot to do with it as well, but in certain cases budget constraints will play a part, especially in productions like Dr Who which lend themselves to special effects which cost money and which RTD relied on far to much to hide his poor scripts - in my honest opinion, I think the two go hand in hand.
Evie

Yes, absolutely.  Then again, Alan Bennett's Talking Heads are stunning works of drama, and just involve a single actor in a single set, talking to camera - fabulous.  I don't expect Dr Who to be like that, of course!  Wink
spidernick

As a long-standing fan of Doctor Who (with some gaps towards the end of Tom Baker's time and more so with Sylvester McCoy), it saddens me to say that Tennant's finale was so very disappointing.  I'll always be grateful to Davies for bringing my favourite TV programme back and would buy him a beer if I ever met him, but he's definitely outstayed his welcome.  Moffat is not such a derivative writer (nothing like it in fact) and I do have high hopes for the new series.  I've also heard good things about Matt Smith and a lovely redhead as an assistant will also be appreciated!

I thought Tennant's final line was more than a little ironic, as the whole point about not having a full series in 2009 was so he could go off and do his theatre, etc. and then come back in 2010 for a full series.  As such, his assertion that 'I don't want to go' grated almost as much as the rest of the story.  Saying that, a full RTD series wouldn't have been much good most likely, so perhaps this has secured the long-term future of the programme.  At least the over-sentimental nonsense at the end should draw a line under the RTD era and we won't see the return of assistants ad nauseum!

Evie and others are right that the Americans do drawn-out series so well.  In this age of Twitter (which I detest with a passion and for me it represents much that is wrong with our two minute attention span culture!) it's ironic that series like 24  and Lost are so popular.  I wish the BBC would have the courage to make an epic like the wonderful Murder One of a few years ago and revel in the story rather than worry that people will get bored and switch over (although Himadri is sadly right that many would!).

As for the books, I have many of the Target 'novelisations' (for want of a better word) in my loft and can recall many a happy Sunday just sitting in my room reading them when I was about 10.

So, thanks for everything RTD (well not quite everything), but time to leave the Tardis!
MikeAlx

Sadly I no longer have any of my old Dr Who books. But they were constant companions when I was 10 or 11. Most were by Terrance Dicks, who also wrote a decent kids' SF trilogy called StarQuest.
Apple

Evie Wrote:
Quote:
Yes, absolutely.  Then again, Alan Bennett's Talking Heads are stunning works of drama, and just involve a single actor in a single set, talking to camera - fabulous.  I don't expect Dr Who to be like that, of course!


Well it would be different!! There is one episode which was very minimalist not just one person obviously but very stripped down and that was the statue one where the Dr was talking on the video and there were very few characters involved - which was also one of the best ones if you ask me!
Evie

Yeah, that was probably the best one - partly because David Tennant was hardly in it!  I did hope Sally Sparrow would be the new Doctor's assistant, but it was not to be - and Carey Mulligan, who was so good in that episode (also very good as Ada in Bleak House), has gone on to other things.
Green Jay

miranda wrote:
I think it applies to most drama these days, they just don't give it time.  The two best things I saw last year were The Wire and Spiral.  The first by HBO in America and the second by a French company.   Both were given time and space to develop both story and character and both had an over-arching story to which everything else was fitted.  And they were both brilliant, IMO.   British made drama seems to be all wham bam thank you mam.


I saw the second series of Spiral , never did see Series 1, - found it quite by chance on catch-up TV and thought it was wonderful. Except for one obvious mistake by the female chief who endangered her undercover cop in a way I'm sure no professional ever would - by going and picking him up from a lock-up cell where other criminals locked up could spot the two of them together.
miranda

I think she made that mistake because she was emotionally involved with her colleague.   She has a tendency to do that.  But then, she is a complicated human being.
Green Jay

miranda wrote:
I think she made that mistake because she was emotionally involved with her colleague.   She has a tendency to do that.  But then, she is a complicated human being.


Yes, you're right, she was. Risky business, that, all round! A very tense series, esp the denouement in Spain.
miranda

I know, I was on the edge of my seat at the end.  

It's a shame you didn't see the first one.  It was really good.
mike js

Yay for Carey Mulligan winning a BAFTA! I haven't seen that film, but from Bleak House and the Doctor Who episode, Blink, she is an excellent actress and I hope she does well in her film career.
Evie

I thought she looked fabulous too - great to see her doing well.
mike js

Weak apologies for contributing nothing for a while then popping in to go off topic for the board.

I had been tentatively looking forward to the new Doctor Who, with Russel T Davies bowing out and Steven Moffat seeming a much better writer. After five episodes or so, I think it is quite promising. Matt Smith is excellent, I think. Karen Gillan could be good too, though the character of Amy is a bit forward so far; hoping it will settle down. I really liked the very young Amy in the first episode; much more charming than the older Amy so far!

The Dalek episode was laughably bad - haven't all the Dalek episodes since the revival been embarrassing? Only saving grace was the Dalek asking if someone would like a cup of tea.

Moffat's Weeping Angels are great. I think the quiet and simple Blink worked better than the two-parter, but the new ones were clever and not obvious sequel material. I gather there was a rough idea of doing an Aliens type of follow on to Blink's Alien. We even have the 'marines' and the character referred to as Bishop!

Some great banter and wordplay from Moffat's pen.

All in all, not bad, but I'd like to feel it can improve. Still, it's only a kids' show - or something.
Apple

I must admit I am quietly optimistic about this new series, I wasn't too sure about the new doctor to start with - possibly me I just don't like change!  Wink  

I like the new assistant, she's fiesty and yet not annoying with it.  There has been a marked improvement on the stories since RTD's departure, although I thought the dalek one was very tongue in cheek almost a send up of them - loved the dalek asking if anyone wanted any tea.  The return of the statues was was welcome they ranked for me one of the cleverest ideas Dr Who came up with for a long time, and naturally unnerving and sinister.  I am interested to see where this River Song thing is going to go and how it unfolds I just hope they don't make things overly complicated or drag it out too long as it could get tedious.  A comment at the end makes me think she is going to be key if and when they decide to end Dr Who for good as she says she was in prison for killing a man and she says it was a good man the best man she ever met, a little obvious maybe and I could be totally wrong but I think a seed was planted there, like back in the library episode where this one that has just been shown was first mentioned, when she was going through the diary with him asking if he remembered any of the times they had met up.
spidernick

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I haven't been hugely impressed so far and thought Moffat would give us better stories.

Oh, and it's a family programme, not a kids' one!
mike js

I seem to have been hoping that the revived Doctor Who would be good for some years now. I'm trapped watching it for old times' sake I suppose, and almost always feeling embarrassed that it is so weak.

I saw the series opener last night and thought it was just curiously dull. I like Matt Smith as the doctor, or thought I did, but found the Doctor very irritating in this one. Amy is pretty much always irritating (and young Amelia was so lovely!)

I thought Steven Moffat was going to be good, but he is really racking up the terrible episodes now.

Will the BBC ever do something interesting in SF? Outcasts was so staggeringly bad that it made Doctor Who look deep.

It is a shock to hear that Elisabeth Sladen has died. A highlight of the revival was a chance to see her again.
Evie

I quite enjoyed it last night, but can't say I really followed the story!  I like Matt Smith very much as the Doctor, but as you say, Amy Pond is so irritating - and she only has one facial expression and one way of standing, on or off set.

I watched the 15-minute tribute to Elisabeth Sladen afterwards on CBBC, and was in tears - it was a lovely programme, and showed how much could be got into 15 minutes.  It was also a reminder of how good Dr Who used to be...

I gave up during the Tennant reign, and gave up in the last series too, but thought I'd give it another go - but like you, mike, had hoped for better things from Steven Moffat (while not being quite as convinced by his previous stories as some others).  Matt Smith deserves better.
mike js

Evie, I only saw the last ten minutes of the tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, but it was lovely. Sarah Jane was an endearing character, and the little I saw and heard of Elisabeth herself was likewise.
Hector

Thought Doctor Who last night was brilliant. If you compare that opener to the one with the walking blobs of fat (adipose?) then it was in another league.

Matt Smith just gets better and better. With a non linear narrative, answers aren't going to be straightforward or make sense from only 45 mins. However, a few key strands are developing and I am intrigued how it will be resolved next episode and as the series progresses. There is a fine line of making it too complicated or confusing but I think it's walking the right side of that line at the moment. That might change of course.

Evie - I think Karen Gillan / Amy Pond is actually pretty good and certainly not one note. The bit when the Doctor is questioning her in the Tardis as she holds back the big secret was brilliantly done. Off screen, she seems a little bonkers but in a quirky and charming way.
mike js

Well, I really enjoyed the latest episode, The Doctor's Wife, written by Neil Gaiman. It restored my faith that the show still has real potential.

The Auntie and Uncle characters were nicely acted, and I thought Suranne Jones was excellent as the character that I cannot describe without spoiling the story! Some emotional heart to go with the fun and adventure.

Neil Gaiman really seems to know and like the Doctor Who form, and I do hope he might write a future epsisode or two. I watched the 'making of' documentary on BBC Three, and his readings of the script were brilliantly atmospheric.

Has anyone read any of his books?
Marita

I have read two books of his short stories, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ and ‘Coraline and other stories’. Coraline is really for children but is very good. Amongst the short stories are real gems. I have also read ‘Stardust’ which is much sadder than the film that was made of it.

There is also ‘Good Omens’, co-written with Terry Pratchett. It’s the funniest book about the end of the world I’ve ever read and a real favourite of mine.

Other people on the board have read some of his novels and were very positive about them. It’s a pleasure still awaiting me.

Marita
mike js

Thanks, Marita. I certainly feel I'd like to try reading something by Neil Gaiman.
county_lady

Mike I've read the same ones as Marita plus Neverwhere, American Gods and Anansi Boys.

Stardust is the best fairy tale I've read and Good Omens is my alltime favourite comfort read.

Check out his website.http://www.neilgaiman.com/
county_lady

PS. I did expect Gaiman's Dr. Who episode to be good and so it was.
Apple

I could not agree more County Lady!! I loved last Saturday nights episode of Dr Who, I'm quite enjoying this series of Dr Who to be honest, I'm not sure where they are going with the Amy pregnant/not pregnant thing though.  My first thought when the Dr was "killed" in the first episode was that the person in the suit was River Song going right back to that time we saw her and she said she was in prison for killing a man, but then I thought maybe not considering the reaction we got from the other version of River who you would have thought would know it was herself (if you get what I mean).

I have to admit I did find the first couple of episodes a little bit confusing and hard to follow - but I do think Steven Moffat must have an incredible mind to come up with stuff he does which then links into other things which happened that he wrote way back and all the time there are little hints which at the time you miss but then it all comes together eventually and I have faith that all will be explained and revealed in the end.  The only episode which I have liked least up to now was the pirate one.
mike js

Thanks for your recommendations too, county lady! I shall certainly be looking into trying something by NG.

Glad you enjoyed the latest Doctor Who episode, Apple.
MikeAlx

I seem to be ever more at odds with everyone over Dr Who these days. I really think it's lost the plot. (Yes, sorry, this is going to be a bit of a rant!).

Whilst I found much to admire in Gaiman's "Doctor's Wife" story, taken as a piece of pure fantasy writing, I really don't like the extent to which DW stories have gone in that direction, leaving even the most tenuous connections with science behind. In the pre-RTD era, the TARDIS used to be a machine. If it had any intelligence at all, it was definitely machine intelligence - there was no "soul" of the TARDIS. Now, it's sparkly golden magic vapour that can possess human bodies, fly around in the air, then re-embed itself somehow in the TARDIS. To be fair this isn't Gaiman's fault - I recall something similar in the Rose Tyler era. I feel like shouting: "but a matrix isn't sparkly golden vapour, it's just a load of numbers arranged in a grid".

It seems to me this sort of thing isn't just unscientific, it's anti-scientific - a shame for a programme that began back in the 1960s with the ideal of being educational as well as entertaining. RTD- and Moffat-era Dr Who projects a view of the universe that requires 'spirit' (though this is often misnamed as 'energy') to act on matter to cause any change. This is the model that the Greek philosopher Epicurius rejected a couple of thousand years ago, and his view has been supported by an ever-growing body of evidence from science. From a scientific point of view, Cartesian Dualism (souls separate from matter) is really on its last legs and looking lamer with every new finding. Yet in Doctor Who, everything seems to have a "soul", everything is an "entity", every force in the universe is anthropomorphised.

One of the problems of this increasingly pure-fantasy movement - and perhaps also connected with the shorter format of the modern show - is that too often the plots are resolved by a deus-ex-machina, often of a pseudo-magical variety. There isn't really any development involved in the climax and resolution, so that the ending feels rushed and forced.

Well I'm going to shut up now, except to say that the Gaiman episode was better crafted than most DWs of late, and the performances were pretty good too. I just don't like the way DW is going in general.
county_lady

Hi Mike I know exactly what you mean but as Gaiman is a fantasy writer and I believe science has almost dismissed the possibility of us ever being time-travellers. Sad

Oh well we are still waiting for new hard SF on TV like ?
I suppose that would be a whole new subject and necessarily subjective.
Apple

Mike js Wrote:
Quote:
Neil Gaiman really seems to know and like the Doctor Who form, and I do hope he might write a future epsisode or two. I watched the 'making of' documentary on BBC Three, and his readings of the script were brilliantly atmospheric.

Has anyone read any of his books?
I think I recall Caro (but don't quote me) read Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman a while back now and rated it quite highly as I vaguely recall - or I could have just made that up!! I know someone on here read it anyway, and for some reason its Caro that I have in my mind.

I haven't personally read anything YET although I have Stardust and Anansi Boys on my TBR pile
mike js

Thanks, Apple.

Mike, a good point about the fantasy invasion of Doctor Who. I suppose I have not been seeing it as science fiction for some time; more a quirky entertainment. On the other hand, the lack of respect for reason in the newer Who may be a strong factor in my general feeling of disappointment, which I hadn't recognised!
Hector

Mike

The 'heart' or 'soul' of the TARDIS has been mentioned since the 5th Doctor (or perhaps earlier). Davison was once grounded when it was removed.

The Matrix has been about even longer although as far as I'm aware it was where Time Lord knowledge was stored. There's an amusing Tom Baker episode where he runs about inside the Matrix (a quarry, naturally). Not sure what it's doing in the TARDIS but it has never been 'numbers on a grid' in the programme.

Agree with you though on the use of deus ex machina. The last couple of years haven't been as bad for it though. Having said that, it's always been the case - John Pertwee had a fondness for 'reversing the polarity of the neutron flow' and everything was alright again.
Apple

Well, watched last nights episode and sort of worked out River Song's identity when we discovered the baby was called Melody, but I think its just getting a bit silly now!  (and what's with the break? at the end it says its not on again until the Autumn?!)

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