teyla: Ten opening the TARDIS with a fingersnap. ([dw] fingersnap)
teyla ([personal profile] teyla) wrote2017-03-18 11:48 pm
Entry tags:

I Did Not Expect This

The GF and I just marathoned the entirety of Doctor Who season 9 today, and I am so invested. SO INVESTED. How did this happen? Did they give Moffat a brain transplant? Did someone ghostwrite all of his episodes? HOW? WHAT? I don't understand but I certainly approve!


Missy/ the Master worked much better for me this season. They were less of a flimsy excuse to put someone in an old-timey dress, and much more a coherent character. Them witnessing the Doctor's self-indulgent (and, lbr, fucking embarrassing) goodbye party was great, especially the exchange between the Master and Clara: "He's never like this!" -- "My god, you have no idea."

I still have a hard time calling them "Missy". I really like the actress, though, and her performance. Especially this season I liked the character a lot, and the Master/Doctor dynamics feel very Three/Delgado, which is quite entertaining.

Mostly, the Doctor and the Master in those episodes just felt like reading Prydonian Academy fic. Which is great, I love Prydonian Academy fic.

Loved the scene on the battlefield at the very beginning when kid!Davros reveals he's Davros. That was one of the best OH SHIT-Doctor faces I've ever seen. And I liked the portrayal of Skaro; it felt appropriately war-torn and creepy. I'm quite enjoying all the nods to Classic Who canon, actually--something I wouldn't have expected to enjoy as much, but there you go.

I am also, I have to admit, partial to the Doctor's guitar and his sonic sunglasses. It fits for Twelve's character, and Capaldi manages to use and wear them with some level of dignity, or at least I-don't-give-a-fuck-ity, which feels very Doctor. I just really like his character, and those props seem IC for him.

The ghost episodes were all right; enjoyable enough. I quite liked the Fisherking make-up. Is the Fisherking something from Classic Who? I feel like I vaguely remember the name, but it may be from something else.

The production values are so much better this season than the previous season. I don't know if they had budget increases or if they just managed their budget better, but season 9 looked a LOT better than season 8, even with big set-ups like the dam in the ghost episodes. There were very few moments of me cringing at the far-too-obvious green screen, and the directing was a lot more smooth.

Except Peter Capaldi riding a horse. That still looked terrible. Just teach the man to ride, how hard can it be? He's been on a horse twice now, and it looked atrocious both times.

Ashildr. HOW AWESOME IS SHE. It was so great to see the reference to Fires in Pompeii, and watch the Doctor make a huge mistake because he's a big old sap. Very reminiscent of Ten. And Ashildr/ Lady Me as a character was just really enjoyable, especially once she got styled to become the "Master" to Clara's "Doctor". It did make me wonder what happened to Torchwood, though. I don't quite remember how Miracle Day ended. They probably ... all ... died? Except Jack? That was kind of Torchwood's thing, as far as I remember.

The Zygon episodes sort of bored me, up until the Doctor's big speech about war at the end, which was great. Also that he apparently does this every single time the ceasefire is in danger, but still manages to tap into all of those emotions. Capaldi manages that balance between angsty survivor's guilt, righteous warrior anger, and laconic jadedness so well. He really feels like a natural evolution from Ten, which is great. Also, holy competence batman. Twelve is probably one of the most competent Doctors I've ever watched. Which ... I sort of like, actually? He's a huge idiot, but also from time to time manages to be self-aware enough to avoid repeating mistakes, and actually now and again ends up having his plans work out as, well, planned. It's kind of fun. Again, quite reminiscent of Three.

Okay, the sandman episode was weird, and not particularly enjoyable. It doesn't help that I really hate found footage, but even leaving that aside, just ... what? Which is kind of sad, because I really like the Morpheus legends. But that execution just wasn't very good. But hey, there's always that one episode, right?

Right. So. The finale. They actually killed the companion! They haven't done that since the 80s! I didn't mind that Clara died. It didn't feel like classic fridging, which is probably because Clara did actually feel on equal footing with the Doctor.

I guess this is where I talk about how much I love Clara's and Twelve's relationship. I love it a lot. I love it more than I've loved most of Ten's relationships with his companions, and you don't even know how much it pains me to admit this. Not that I didn't love Rose and Martha, but neither of them ever managed to actually feel like the Doctor's equal. With Martha, I think that was intentional, but Rose ... I guess Rose just never worked out for me.

I think it has something to do with the fact that pretty much all emotionally compelling relationships that RTD writes have some level of unrequitedness going on. Which is so easy to do with Ten, because he's so selfish and so incapable of getting over his guilt and actually seeing the people around him as anything more than projects for him to use for his own redemption. Donna was the only companion who managed to break through that, which is why she's always been my fave--and I think it was because RTD actually made a point of making that a non-romantic relationship. No romance, no unrequited pining, no unequal footing. But looking back now, it bugs me that only the older, more "matron-y" companion got to have a friendship like that with the Doctor. Why the fuck couldn't Rose or Martha have had that? They had to have a romantic infatuation, because they were young and attractive.

Clara and the Doctor, on the other hand, have an antagonistic relationship with mutual infatuation, which actually works out great when you have someone as selfish and self-absorbed and unreliable as the Doctor. If you give him a companion who isn't just as selfish, there will always be an imbalance. I loved Clara challenging him every chance she got, and I loved her retaining her own apartment and her own life and her own job, and I loved their ever-switching teacher-student roles, and her not just imitating him, but making the role of the Doctor her own. I think I also profited from missing out on Clara's introduction with Eleven, because I never saw her go through all the "Impossible Girl" stuff. To me, she's just a school teacher with an obsession with Jane Austen who likes to hitch a ride with the Doctor now and again to spice up her life. And I love that.

Also, just saying, but this would be exactly the kind of companion the Master would set the Doctor up with. I know, my ship is showing, but really. The Master knows what the Doctor needs.

Anyway, Clara's death was very much under her own control, so it didn't feel like classic fridging. Despite the fucking four billion years of torture the Doctor puts himself through afterwards. Really, four billion years? The only reason I'm on board with that is that it's not really the Doctor who's lived through all of that time--he died over and over, right, and didn't seem to retain any memory of his previous cycles. So he really only remembers his last cycle, and the iteration of the Doctor who's alive now has only lived through that single one cycle.

Considering this, I actually kind of like Twelve's weird torture castle stint. This is the kind of interrogation technique the Time Lords would use; utterly fucked up and weirdly distant and so disturbing in its simplicity. And I think the awareness that you've been through four billion years of punching a diamond wall is enough to fuck with your brain without you actually needing to remember it. So I've decided I'm okay with this.

... I may possibly have mellowed since that one Torchwood finale where Jack spends something like six thousand years buried somewhere in the Welsh countryside. I almost ragequit the show over that.

GALLIFREY. Full disclosure, I've never seen the 50th Anniversary Special, and I don't think I'll ever watch it. I don't even really know what happens in it. I raged a lot when I heard that Moffat was bringing back Gallifrey, and refused to find out the first thing about how he did it. That said, I didn't hate Twelve's awareness that somewhere in the universe, Gallifrey still exists, but he can never return to it. This is sort of how I saw Ten's situation, anyway--sure, he could have pulled Gallifrey out of the Time Lock and saved it, but he never did because he didn't want to confront the horrors he lived through in the Time War, and didn't want to confront the horrible truth that his people are a troupe of selfish assholes who'd happily sacrifice the universe if it meant their survival.

Continuing on from that, Twelve returning to Gallifrey to take ownership of the planet actually makes a lot of sense. He's older now, he has if not made peace with what he did in the Time War, then at least accepted that it happened and that it may not all have been his fault. And maybe that he even did some good by, you know, actually stopping the war.

Rassilon was sort of sad and puny, but still. I enjoyed the Gallifrey sequences. I'm a sucker for Gallifrey backstory, and I love the Cloister and the Matrix and all that good semi-fantasy Time Lord society shit. It's so vague and lovecraftian and leaves open so many possibilities as to what that stuff actually is and how it works and what it does. And the Time Lords torturing the Doctor for four billion years only to then be like "well it's not OUR fault you wouldn't TELL us what we wanted to know, YOU DO IT TO YOURSELF", that felt very in tone with what I imagine Time Lord society to be like.

Also, just saying, but the Doctor went and casually conquered Gallifrey and didn't invite the Master? You are going to have one royally pissed off nemesis on your hands, Doctor. The one time you do what the Master wants, and you do it without inviting them for the show? That's just mean.

Twelve saving Clara and Clara yelling at him for it was so IC and kind of heartbreaking. Him getting his memory wiped was great--I want to add the Brooklyn 99 "VINDICATION" Captain Holt gif here. I never criticized Donna's ending too much, because it made sense for Ten's character, but it's so nice to see that storyline subverted.

Clara and Lady Me heading out to travel the universe is my aesthetic. LADY IMMORTALS FOR THE WIN. They even got their own TARDIS. :3 Now everyone's got one, except the Master. Poor Master.

I reject the hybrid theory. Or, well. Back when I was roleplaying the Doctor, my backstory for him was that he didn't know his mother, and invented the I'm-a-human-hybrid story as a poor neglected kid of a rich and absent father based on a book about Earth he'd found in his dad's library. Just to, you know. Get some attention, get to be a little extra. And over the years he's told that story a few times to a few people, and has started to wonder if maybe it's true, since it's not like he actually knows. Which--that's the backstory I still like best. Is the Doctor half human? Even the Doctor doesn't really know at this point.

I like the idea that he actually knows nothing about any warrior race hybrid, and was just making shit up to get through to Gallifrey and Clara. Mostly because in my extensive backstory, I know why the Doctor left Gallifrey, and it was not because of some hybrid. >_> Also not because he was bored, though, that much I agree with.

Well, and then there were the two Christmas specials. The River Song one was cute. I never liked the whole River Song story much, but I've always really liked the actress, and I liked them getting to have a fun Christmas adventure with some melancholic everything-ends angst thrown in. And the superhero special was just really funny. The squeaky toy was great, and "some situations are simply too stupid to be allowed to continue" is perhaps my favorite quote of everything I've watched today. When did Moffat learn to write funny Christmas specials that don't utterly dissolve into nonsensical incoherence?


I'm very much looking forward to meeting the new companion. She seems fun! Man, the new season is coming out soon, and I'm actually excited. Such a strange feeling to be getting back into this show after so long ...
pulangaraw: (Default)

[personal profile] pulangaraw 2017-03-19 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
I am so tempted to watch it now. It's like a pattern repeating itself: you raving about a show and me eventually watching it and loving it. You've usually been right in the past, so why am I even fighting this... ;)

Maybe we'll actually match up fandoms again!

That reminds me! What are you up to second week of April? I have a holiday coming up and was thinking of a short trip down south?! Maybe the weekend of 8/9 for a night or two.
glinda: pirate TARDIS (pirate TARDIS)

[personal profile] glinda 2017-03-19 01:52 pm (UTC)(link)
It was really good, wasn't it! :D I loved this year's Xmas special (that was a great line, so Doctor-ish and also so much what I was thinking before he said it!) which made me go back and watch Seasons 8 & 9 over the holidays and I just love Twelve and Clara's friendship. I think the end of Season 9 was so fitting for both their characters.

I miss being fannish about the show, but at least I'm enjoying the episodes in their own right again now...
glinda: compassion - dr who extended canon icon (compassion)

[personal profile] glinda 2017-03-19 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Haha, yes, it is rather. I'm totally biased towards Peter Capaldi because he's been kicking about being awesome in cult tv all my life.

My Doctor was technically Seven. I saw Remembrance of the Daleks at an impressionable age (the episode with Ace hitting the Dalek with a baseball bat) when it aired and fell in love. Pretty much just in time for it to be cancelled. The TV Movie came out when I was 12, and therefore the perfect age to fall into full fannish obsession - comics, audio adventures, books, extended canon 4eva! - so as much as I love Seven that's really more about the awesomeness of Ace. Eight is really my Doctor. I was so so pleased and excited when he got his tiny mini-episode appearance during the 50th Anniversary celebrations.

I was massively fannish about the show during RTD era, especially Nine, though I got a bit frustrated towards the end there (I generally just pretend that the specials didn't happen, and Ten's era ends with him losing Donna) and while I really enjoyed Season 5 I noped out during Season 6 and essentially didn't watch the show for a couple of years (I really enjoyed Moffat's episodes during RTD era but I'm somewhat disappointed in him as a showrunner), I really only made the effort again because Capaldi is such a good actor but I'm glad I did.

But then again, I suppose having been a fan of the show for nearly thirty years I can afford to be mellow about it! 2 or 3 seasons that I think are a bit ropey is nothing when there was 16 years when the entirety of new canon was a TV movie and a couple of silly interludes for Children in Need and Comic Relief! :D
randomdrops: (Default)

[personal profile] randomdrops 2017-03-19 06:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Re: Torchwood. Everyone died except Jack and Gwen (and I think Gwen's fiancee/husband?). Which I kind of liked, but I know it angered a lot of people.

looking back now, it bugs me that only the older, more "matron-y" companion got to have a friendship like that with the Doctor. Why the fuck couldn't Rose or Martha have had that? They had to have a romantic infatuation, because they were young and attractive.

Yes! I'll admit I never liked Rose. Just something about her character always bothered me. But I loved Martha, or rather loved her potential. Why did they need to make her so infatuated? She was so awesome and could have really stood on equal footing, much like Donna, if not for that frustrating romantic nonsense.

I haven't watched much Who since Donna. It still makes me sad, how her storyline ended. But now you've got me curious. I might have to check out a few episodes to see how it is now!
topaz_eyes: (alarm clock)

[personal profile] topaz_eyes 2017-03-20 04:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Did they give Moffat a brain transplant? Did someone ghostwrite all of his episodes?

Season 8 was so yikes, I wouldn't be surprised if someone higher up in BBC drama (or possibly Capaldi himself) told Moffat to improve his writing game or else. And that's why Sherlock S4 ended up so terribly self-indulgent, b/c he couldn't be such an ass on Doctor Who. (Not that I know personally about Sherlock b/c I'm still allergic to Moffat. I learn a lot by fannish osmosis though.)

Bringing in Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and Osgoode were great decisions, and "Face The Raven" was brilliant. I wasn't impressed how the season finale basically gave Clara immortality (that final heartbeat thing) b/c it proves Moffat still can not handle the finality of death. But there is an (eventual) end, and the idea of Clara and Ashildr/Me traveling the universe together is awesome, so I'm good.
topaz_eyes: (fat babies)

[personal profile] topaz_eyes 2017-03-20 10:49 pm (UTC)(link)
then it makes little sense that he's announced his departure after s10

Ah, but Chris Chibnall is taking over as showrunner in 2018. And the higher-ups apparently want a Doctor and Companion more along the lines of Ten and Rose, i.e. more appealing to a broader general audience.

One thing I've noted during Twelve's run, is that the audience appreciation index (AI) figures have been consistently lower compared to other Doctors. A lot of fans consider "Heaven Sent" to be the best New Who episode ever, but its AI was 80. Doctor Who is a legacy brand compared to Sherlock, with all sorts of spin-offs and (more importantly) merch, so if BBC's going to preferentially invest in one series, it's going to be Who.

As for Chibnall... he's got Law and Order: UK and Broadchurch under his belt, and he ran Torchwood too, but his episodes of Who are... not the best. (Though I quite liked "42"). So it remains to be seen how his run will go. But I'd watch Law and Order: Gallifrey...