We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)

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Crouton

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We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« on: February 27, 2020, 12:46:51 AM »
I have done something deceptive for the greater good

So... This new female doctor who is just bad.  Wait wait! Before you call me a sexist hear me out.

I watch this show with my wife on a regular basis.  For the last two seasons she has been just giving me looks.  And I've been avoiding discussion the series.  I think we have both come to the conclusion that this is bad.  New episodes are stacking up in the DVR and we awkwardly scroll past them when we're finding something to watch.  On a scale of 1 to 10, my level of fear is about a 6 that should say "hey let's watch some of those new episodes."

My deception for the greater good is, Um, I've just deleted the recordings and removed it from the schedule.  At least I think it's for the greater good.  We don't discuss this.  It's possible that she likes it.  In which case this is a giant miscalculation.

My central critique of this show is two things.

1.  The companions are terrible.  I don't know how many there are.  I don't know why they're there.  These companions are in very stark contrast to every other companion where they put in an extreme amount of story justifying why a human would travel around with a stranger.

2. Jodi Whittakeris not a good choice for this character.  There's a few traits between regenerations of the doctors that are usually common.  He's a terrifying god like creature.  He wears this goofy persona as a mask to hide his true nature.  The feel I get from Jodi Whittaker is that If I were the companion she's volunteer to clear the toilets.  That's the best way I can sum it up.
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Jura-Glenlivet II

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2020, 03:13:31 AM »

So, I have been watching this program for longer than I care to mention, it died for a time when they had Sylvester McCoy as he was just shit, but I digress.

I was intrigued when they said they were going for a female lead, having done a sex change on the Master with Missy and the excellent Michelle Gomez, and the first name I heard in connection was Tilda Swinton, which would have been excellent, then there was a bit of flagging spirits when Jodi Whittaker was announced as I didn’t know too much about her, exacerbated when it became apparent that they had opted for another second rate “comedian” as a side kick with Bradley Walsh.

But I didn’t like Matt Smiths face when he arrived, and he was great at it, and I love Dr Who, so.

But I hate it. Bradley Walsh has actually turned out to be better than I expected and Jodi can act, you can see she can act, but the whole thing is like the famous five go to space, no problem is met without a reading from the ridiculous screwdriver thingy that at a push of a  button and a glance, seems to be inspector gadgets Hitchhiker’s guide/Haynes manual to the universe plus, and the other two are just wooden, there’s no menace in her character and too much running away from adversaries, that inexplicably can only shoot filing cabinets with fireworks, despite having pretensions at ruling the universe, how can you develop tech’ to transit time and space and not have decent target lock or shrapnel? 

So, I’m with Crout’s here, it’s a chore to sit down now, I don’t blame Jodi, something has gone out of the planning, the writing and the vision of Dr Who.
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Space Cowgirl

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2020, 06:31:09 AM »
The writing is shit.
I'm sorry. Am I to understand that when you have a boner you like to imagine punching the shit out of Tom Bishop? That's disgusting.

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Yes

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2020, 10:12:10 AM »
I sense the same problem that Star Trek: Discovery has.  The plots just makes no gorram sense.

Things don't happen for a reason. There's no cause and effect.  The show is just a series of transitions from one dramatic moment to another.  There's no explanation, there's no consequence.

All of the companions could be removed, or perhaps condensed down to a single character, and the plot could continue without modification.  Meanwhile, new Doctor is just yammering on to herself in every scene to make up for it.  Maybe it's supposed to make her "wacky", but it just comes off like there's no reason for anyone to be doing anything.

What a shame.
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John Davis

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2020, 10:17:25 AM »
We stopped watching as well. It's a chore to watch, and its lost a lot of the magic it had.
Quantum Ab Hoc

Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2020, 12:12:48 AM »
Call me sexist if you will, but the strongest traits for the doctor is he's first and foremost a middle aged to old age caucasian british man with strong opinions, an eccentric wardrobe, and slightly unkempt feel to him. He's a he. He has more testosterone than oestrogen. He goes to the loo standing up. He chooses attractive female companions.

I'm yet to watch him as a her, so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.....I just can't get my head around it being a bit like watching Uncle Darryl who is now Aunty Darryl.

« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 12:18:35 AM by Sunset »

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Crouton

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2020, 12:28:35 AM »
To me this doctor seems poorly written and miscast.  If they got the right actress, like Tilda Swinton.  And a room of writers that knew how to handle female characters I think you might change your opinion.
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John Davis

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2020, 12:31:14 AM »
Meh. In the new era, he's good because he's intrinsically evil. He goes around saving folks and time and all, but those in his wake are fucked to the teeth. It's a nice balance. The old days, it's changed each time. He's a bit of the trickster eh?

I should give the new one a few more tries perhaps. Are they good? They just were kinda... flat to me. And believe me, I like things flat usually but with the doctor I expect more wiggly whimly time wimey stuff.
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John Davis

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 12:32:17 AM »
Ahem - *timey wimey
Quantum Ab Hoc

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Shifter

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 01:41:20 AM »
To me this doctor seems poorly written and miscast.  If they got the right actress, like Tilda Swinton.  And a room of writers that knew how to handle female characters I think you might change your opinion.

Exactly this. Have no problem seeing a female lead but if you are going from a character with a decades old look and writing for a male character, the change should be organic and not just for tokenism or 'SJW points'.

Dr Who has the mechanism that this is something that could be done if written well. It's not like trying to change James Bond to a female. That is something that should be left right alone!

Hollywood et al have tried the 'going woke' but I think it's largely been a disservice to the very groups they want to represent. For example nothing wrong with a female 'ghost buster' or an Oceans 11 style heist movie, or a female spy like James Bond or even casting Ruby Rose as a new batwoman but to make it so obvious its for 'equality' and then have really crappy writing only does a disservice for the very audience you wanted to represent.

But of course, if you hate on those movies, society will deem you sexist

Elizabeth Banks on her movie reboot of Charlies Angels, blames its failure not because it was poorly written or crappily directed but because we're all sexist (her words)

Personally, I like seeing female action stars or leads in movies. I'm a guy. They turn me on more than an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger or Stallone lol
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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 10:54:49 PM »
I love the doctor's own take on his different incarnations. We are different people as we go through life, even physically, and his deaths and rebirths exaggerate this fact. But, unless we go in for the operation, our gender is one thing that never changes.

I'll give her a go, and I guess the character does lend itself to a gender reassignment, and does perhaps appeal to a whole new audience base.......

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Denspressure

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2020, 08:02:38 AM »
I love the doctor's own take on his different incarnations. We are different people as we go through life, even physically, and his deaths and rebirths exaggerate this fact. But, unless we go in for the operation, our gender is one thing that never changes.

I'll give her a go, and I guess the character does lend itself to a gender reassignment, and does perhaps appeal to a whole new audience base.......
Are you suggesting one of the most powerful entities in the Who Universe has to comply with our understanding of biological reality?
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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2020, 10:41:45 PM »
No, I'm suggesting the regeneration process is a clever way to replace the lead actor, and now it will be used to replace the lead actress.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 01:44:16 AM by Sunset »

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Space Cowgirl

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2020, 07:42:53 AM »
It happens every couple years anyway, doesn't it?

IMO, they need to replace the writers. If writing and directing is shit, then everything else is shit.
I'm sorry. Am I to understand that when you have a boner you like to imagine punching the shit out of Tom Bishop? That's disgusting.

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Lorddave

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2020, 10:59:06 AM »
I thought they did replace the writers when Chris took over.

Anyway, I didn't mind Jodi as The Doctor.  My issue was that half the episodes of the 11th season (Haven't seen season 12) were crappy political stuff shoved in your face so bluntly that it just failed to work. 

Yes, Jodi's doctor is softer than her male versions, but I didn't mind. 

I haven't had the time nor desire to really watch the latest season because time and we do not get Doctor Who here in Norway so I need to watch it via other means, which are often unreliable.
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Shifter

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2020, 12:14:59 PM »
To me this doctor seems poorly written and miscast.  If they got the right actress, like Tilda Swinton.  And a room of writers that knew how to handle female characters I think you might change your opinion.

Agreed. Tilda Swinton would make a bloody good Doctor Who

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Yes

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2020, 07:26:39 AM »

"Actual, professional writes came up with this."
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Slemon

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Re: We need to talk about Dr Who (come at me Jane!)
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2020, 09:52:09 AM »
I'm just here for Doctor Who.

Eh, my perspective is different to a lot of people because I'm into the EU, so I have firsthand experience of:
a) poor writing on the show's part in no way ruins a Doctor becuse they're always going to show up in novels and audios, with different writers, so you end up with the much-maligned Colin Baker actually being a lot of people's favourite Doctor on audio
b) revelations and reveals no one likes just get ignored, else the Doctor would still be half-human.

I have my issues with Chibnall's run, but I'm more likely to blame Chibnall than I am Whittaker.
Thirteen as a Doctor has some really nice traits. The Doctor as someone who's incredibly competent but still likes to chill sometimes is a recurring trait, and for Whittaker it's just ramped up to the point that next to nothing actually bothers her. Once you've stared down a few gods, why on earth would you be bothered by some generic alien species? The whimsy's ramped up for her because she's accepted the fact she doesn't need to be scared. That's why you end up with moments like Resolution where what would normally be the big dramatic confrontation with a Dalek has her just laughing her head off at it in genuine amusement because why would she be afraid of some tin can she's defeated dozens if not hundreds of times before? She gets serious when lives are in danger, but beyond that she takes nothing seriously because, well, why would she? It's reminiscent of Seven being faced with the so-named Gods of Ragnarok and literally deciding to just do parlour tricks.
It's a character angle I love, albeit it comes with a few things I'm not a huge fan of, like Chibnall bringing back RTD's near-deification of the Time Lords.
Her companions, yeah, they took two seasons before their characterisation felt distinct. Graham was the jokey guy, but they were flat beyond that. I'm hoping her next season sees Graham and Ryan leave, because the story would allow for it and focusing in on just Yaz, who's now clearly a much more reckless character, has really interesting potential. I've heard from someone who watched the classic series when it was on that it's reminding them of Five's era, where there were so many companions that none of them were made particularly interesting because attention was split too much between them. I like them in theory, and I was interested in the dynamic of multiple companions, but so few episodes do anything with all of them that they either need to cut down the cast or have more multi-parters.

There are still good moments. Rosa, Demons of the Punjab were great and bringing back near-straight historicals certainly plays to the series' strength as there's a more established setting to split the cast up in. Spyfall Part 1 was a solid romp, The Haunting of Villa Diodati was mostly brilliant with a wonderfully expanding scope (and hilarious when you remember that according to the audios, Eight's going to show up and bug them the next day). It's just that they tend to be significantly better than most of the surrounding episodes as opposed to more minor peaks, and they generally work because of some focal element beyond the main cast, whether the historical side, or atmosphere/villain design. There's no good character episodes.
Then there are episodes like Witchfinders and It Takes You Away that feel more like they should have been two-parters, with a perfect point for a cliffhanger, but because they're not that they feel rushed and lack the impact they should.

My biggest concern is Chibnall.
One, I know Broadchurch was meant to be stellar, but I think he wrote, like, every episode of that which means he had so much more creative control, and I feel his editing muscles have gone downhill because of it. So many things should have been tweaked and changed, but weren't. You could cut the whole last act out of Witchfinders, shake up Timeless Children (more on that later) and so many complaints would have gone away, but...
Two, taking DW back to its more edutainment roots isn't a terrible idea, but he struggles with sublety, Orphan 55's the best example, quiet theming would've worked better than just having the Doctor look directly into the camera. That being said, that ties into:
Three, the unfortunate meta problem of the audience. RTD wrote a show for kids, and I was a kid when I watched it. Moffat took the Harry Potter approach and had the show grow up somewhat with the audience, tackling darker and more mature themes, something like World Enough and Time's 'pain... pain... pain...' is spine-chilling even as an adult, that probably would've sent me behind the sofa years ago. Chibnall's gone back to focus on a younger audience, so you get something more like the Doctor as Barney the Dinosaur with a bunch of random people to bounce ideas off of on a monster-of-the-week romp, but, well, a lot of the audience aren't kids any more. We've been spoiled by years more stuff. Imagine, say, Chibnall writing the Slitheen, aliens that invade the Earth by farting a lot, he'd be bloody crucified but no one really cared back then.
Four, I don't actually know if he wants to be writing Doctor Who. His first season was devoid of any continuity, his second season completely screwed over Moffat's last without even a word, RTD got very surface-level nods that were nearly copy-pasted script-wise, though at least there was some Classic acknowledgement. It's just a bit weird.

Things I will stand by are:
Jodie Whittaker is a good Doctor, with a fresh interpretation that has serious potential, but it's hampered by the writing's unwillingness to commit to anything deep.
The companions individually are interesting and have personalities that mesh well, but they take too much screen time from each other so no one gets a chance to stand out.
The idea of multiple companions all playing off each other is a good one, but there need to be more multi-part stories or fewer companions to give them focus.
Individual episodes are good, but the overall quality is lowered enough that first impressions and expectation can dampen enjoyment of what would otherwise be great.
Chibnall's approach isn't irredeemable, but it's unclear what the target demographic is.
The actual monster design last season was top tier, even when the monsters themselves were just ok.

Plus part of me's just annoyed that with the whole run of the new series, we've never gone back to the days of having a companion that isn't from Earth in the present.
It doesn't help if you engage with the fandom and run into people that still think Ten and Rose are the only actual thing that counts as Real Doctor Who and everything else is wrong, negativity poisons a lot.

Timeless Children is... complicated, I could talk a lot about the reveal and my mixed feelings, and how overblown the reaction has been, but it is an episode that epitomises a lot of the flaws in the writing to me. It has two moments that were some of the darkest TV-Who's ever had to offer, and they were completely ruined by light sweet gentle music or a lack of focus that it felt like either Chibnall didn't think it through or (if I'm right) he wrote a dark story, then hastily scribbled over it on the second draft because he's much more intent on making a younger-oriented show even when it screws over the story he'd actually written. It genuinely felt like there were two drafts vying for dominance and as a result neither quite worked.
The reveal though, eh, the people saying Chibnall killed Doctor Who need to grow up. Doctor Who survived:



and

It's been going almost sixty years at this point, there's always good and bad mixed in. This isn't the best it's been, but there are still good parts mixed in with the lack of focus. I'm hoping Chibnall's learned from the objections for his next season, just like he acknowledged the objections from people who wanted continuity for the last season.

But honestly, I just love Doctor Who in its basic premise, and I take a perverse kind of joy in trying to fit all the continuity together because you get some fun reveals that way. (Leela's the Doctor's mother and the Doctor is a vampire). It isn't that bad, Jodie Whittaker does a damn good job as the Doctor, but I don't think Chibnall's up to the job of showrunner. None of his episodes for Doctor Who were outstanding (as opposed to Moffat taking over after having written some of the best of the first four seasons), and while his pedigree on other shows is apparently good (I'm not familiar) it doesn't translate to weekly sci-fi or to everything else running a writer's room requires. From what I've seen he's either not been head writer, or been head writer while also writing most of a show, on almost all of his past projects (judging by wikipedia). He was involved with Torchwood but, like, the first two seasons weren't exactly consistently good, and the third series (which seems to have been done without him) was by far the best so...
I'm hoping he's picking up the skills necessary to wrangle multiple writers and edit all those distinct stories into a cohesive whole, but I thought we'd reached that point after Resolution so eh. I'm still enjoying it well enough, even if it's not as good as the seasons before he took over.

This was more rambling than anyone wanted but once I start I can't stop
DOCTOR WHO DOCTOR WHO DOCTOR WHO

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Jura-Glenlivet II

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