WHOCHURCH: The Chris Chibnall era

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have at it, folx

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Thursday, 9 November 2017 16:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

So are we looking forward to this? I'm liking the new-broom approach to the casting/costume, and much as I enjoyed the last series (a lot), the fact that it ended with two incarnations of the Master in a Cybermen origins story that culminated in a surprise appearance from the Hartnell Doctor indicates a freshen up might be in order.

But jesus, Chibnall's previous Doctor Who sits on a spectrum of bland to poor - some of the most unmemorable episodes in recent memory. Or am I being pessimistic?

(cheeky plug: we review Chibnall's Silurian two-parter on the most recent edition of my Doctor Who podcast - http://www.illexplainlater.com/post/166422653503/episode-27-land-of-make-believe - where we discussed some of this stuff...)

bamboohouses, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink

v much looking forward to seeing how jodie whittaker plays it, v much apprehensive about everything else

drinkmaster sealcup at yr service (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:04 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The whole show has been feeling very tired and in need of a new injection of ideas for quite some time now. On the other hand I've never seen Broadchurch and most of the episodes Chibnall had written have felt like mid-series filler so I dunno if he's the guy to provide them.

Matt DC, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:10 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The incredibly shoddy photoshopped TARDIS behind Whitaker's Mork cosplay in the promo photo sets the tone for exactly the level of quality I expect from ol' Chinballs.

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Boring writer doesn't neccessariy mean boring showrunner, I'm hoping.

chap, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I am excited the same way I am excited for any new actor who takes on the role of the Doctor. I'm also looking forward to the Doctor-companion interaction and which parts will change and which parts will stay the same. I also enjoyed most of Chibnall's Who stories and think his worst work appeared in the first season of Torchwood.

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I did read somewhere that he was planning to have more season-long storylines, which is the opposite direction things should be going in imo. A series of only very loosely connected, straighforward one and two parters each written by a different good writer would do the job fine.

chap, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:26 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I get that on the one hand, but on the other hand the current Golden Age of Television is really strong on bingeable serialized stories that last the whole season, plus his biggest critical praise came from doing that with Broadchurch.

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I think the problem with recent Doctor Who arcs is that they're neither fish nor fowl - an awkward mix of 'arc episodes' and deliberately less important standalones that fails to really build to any sort of dramatic crescendo or are rushed at the final stages. I'd be fine with either 10 completely discrete episodes or a single 10-part story (an updated spin on The Daleks' Masterplan would suit me very nicely).

bamboohouses, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:36 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I think RTD's first season was the only to really pull off its "arc" - unless you count the Riversong episodes as a single story (and why not - at least "Wedding..." finally gave it a satisfying ending).

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:49 (eleven months ago) Permalink

S1 barely had an arc, just some flash frames of graffiti shot later on and inserted into episodes months after they'd been written

S5 had a fantastic, coherent, satisfyingly complicated plot arc (only undermined by Rory's prop badge), and the first two Capaldi years together pulled off successful parallel character arcs

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Thursday, 9 November 2017 17:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

TBH I'd be happy to settle for the show being fun again and it hasn't felt like that for ages.

Matt DC, Thursday, 9 November 2017 18:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

^ x1000000
i may try again now

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 9 November 2017 19:35 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Maybe I read too many Virgin/BBC novels but I can't point at a single season of the reboot that I would say is anti-fun, including Tennant's first season (which is the only one I haven't seen every episode of despite owning multiple copies of it)

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Thursday, 9 November 2017 19:38 (eleven months ago) Permalink

lost me with matt smith, tried again with capaldi and still found it a slog

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Can we count the 2008-2010 specials?

xp ulysses you crazy, Matt Smith's first season was the best yet.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i agree, first matt smith season is one of the most classic

I demand much less from Who then all of you. I'm happy if it's marginally entertaining which it consistently is. I don't care for her suspenders, but I like her coat, and I think she'll be an interesting doctor. I'm more concerned with three full time companions; that pushes this too far into an ensemble which makes me wonder if they will let her carry the show or not.

akm, Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:09 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the ONE thing I did grow tired of under Moffatt was the manic pace of every episode though. LIke, 1000 things would happen in some of those smith episodes and they just got impossible to follow. Broadchurch, like it or hate it, has a much more staid pace that I hope he brings to the show.

akm, Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:24 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I look at it as back to basics with the caveat that the show has often struggled to juggle story arcs for the Doctor and three full-time companions (the most notorious example I can remember being "Kinda", where Nyssa spends the entire story napping in the TARDIS and pops up at the end asking "hey, did I miss anything?")

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

If they do it with Bradley Walsh every week I'm all in.

nashwan, Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Hot take: Bradley Walsh will be good in this.

But doctor, I am Camille Paglia (Bananaman Begins), Thursday, 9 November 2017 20:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Whooch.

Entree 3000 (Leee), Thursday, 9 November 2017 21:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I 100% know Bradley from The Chase (not the Doctor Who story) - what is he like when not being really annoyingly anti-intellectual all the time?

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 9 November 2017 21:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

in cases like this (like with james corden, when he appeared on Who) I'm glad I'm not english and don't have the full context of how annoying this person is supposed to be (I liked corden's turn on who a lot. now that he's inflicted on the US with his own show, I see why people are tired of him though)

akm, Thursday, 9 November 2017 21:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

CHURCHWOOD

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 9 November 2017 21:24 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"an updated spin on The Daleks' Masterplan"

The Master's Dalek Plan

Chunky Backgammon (onimo), Friday, 10 November 2017 00:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

^irl giggle

shackling the masses with plastic-wrapped snack picks (sic), Friday, 10 November 2017 08:31 (eleven months ago) Permalink

CHURCHWOOD

it was early in the day and i have... no idea what i meant by this

re chibnall: i'm excited that it's essentially a minor ~reboot~ (god knows this show needs it) but chibnall's writing has never done anything for me. cyberwoman was one of the worst things that has ever happened, although to be fair it was a really long time ago.

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 10 November 2017 08:58 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Bradley Walsh is a decent actor. He'll be fine.

ailsa, Friday, 10 November 2017 10:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I worry that being Bradley Walsh gameshow host who's never off the telly might overshadow his acting ability.

Chunky Backgammon (onimo), Friday, 10 November 2017 14:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

re chibnall: i'm excited that it's essentially a minor ~reboot~ (god knows this show needs it) but chibnall's writing has never done anything for me. cyberwoman was one of the worst things that has ever happened, although to be fair it was a really long time ago.

"Cyberwoman" was terrible but "Exit Wounds", "Countrycide" and, to a lesser degree, "Fragments" were great. I also think his weakest Who story is "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" which I still enjoyed a lot because of how silly it was.

the Hannah Montana of the Korean War (DJP), Friday, 10 November 2017 16:28 (eleven months ago) Permalink

He was chirpy never-off-the-telly gameshow host while he was doing Law & Order UK and it didn't seem to have much of an impact on him then.

xpost

ailsa, Friday, 10 November 2017 17:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink

dan otm, chibnall's writing didn't stay at "cyberwoman" level thank god. also yeah, it feels wrong bagging "dinosaurs" because it was only ever meant to be the thing that it was. moffat/the bbc clearly wanted silly escapist quasi-blockbusters and that's what the writers delivered.

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 10 November 2017 20:32 (eleven months ago) Permalink

How much Gatiss are we expecting this time round?

Never changed username before (cardamon), Friday, 10 November 2017 23:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i have seen a lot of lols about the new Doctor’s outfit on FB & elsewhere & it is making me annoyed

her look is on point & awesome
the short trousers with tall boots is such a great look esp with her height & propotions etc, and stripes are great & suspenders are cool wtf is wrong with ppl arg

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 November 2017 00:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

don’t you get it veg she’s feeeeeeemale

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Saturday, 11 November 2017 01:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

grrr

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 November 2017 04:30 (eleven months ago) Permalink

suspenders are a 'little' costumey and it felt a bit like we were past costumey with capaldi, but I like her coat alot and I'm not sure what people have against culottes, I think they are cute on women.

akm, Saturday, 11 November 2017 04:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

suspenders are great on those who are shaped to accomodate them and horrific for everyone else, any suspender backlash is just indicative of the 90% of the population who can't wear them or who tried and failed
if you can pull them off (and Jodi Whittaker definitely can) I say put the pedal to the metal and go for it

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 November 2017 04:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

otfm

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Saturday, 11 November 2017 05:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(to whittaker pulling off the look)

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Saturday, 11 November 2017 05:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Otfm

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(to me wearing suspenders)

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The coast is very Took Baker but with some Davison styling, especially around the lapels. The striped shirt also goes with the retro give.

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*coat

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*Tom Baker

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

*retro vibe

Entree 3000 (Leee), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:43 (eleven months ago) Permalink

lol

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 November 2017 07:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink

“Took Baker Coast”, the new contribution from Mark Gatiss

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Saturday, 11 November 2017 08:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Loads of crap things tonight (those accents, that song, the feeble baddie, the dialogue) but on the whole I thought that was Chibnall's first decent episode: a couple (only a couple) of jokes that actualy worked, two actually affecting moments with the usually-wooden Bradley Walsh, and Tosin Cole is just fucking charming as shit, and the show drags whenever he's not onscreen.

Feels like the weak link might be... Jodie Whitaker? She's still a bit dull.

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 21 October 2018 21:22 (three days ago) Permalink

i liked the scene between yaz & ryan behind the extremely not-50s skip, a nice moment there. mandip gill is a delight imo

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 21 October 2018 21:28 (three days ago) Permalink

the feeble baddie

Dunno kinda feel hundreds of years of racism takes a bit of killing

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Sunday, 21 October 2018 21:52 (three days ago) Permalink

space racist crim greaser was pants

speaking of accents??!

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 21 October 2018 22:37 (three days ago) Permalink

This reminded me of Who rip-off "Timeless" where our band of travellers keeps making sure significant moments in history happen properly despite the efforts of a saboteur.

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Sunday, 21 October 2018 23:18 (three days ago) Permalink

welp that was a solidly middle-tier episode of quantum leap

― i’ll hufflepuff i’ll blow you away (bizarro gazzara)

i'd agree. definitely huge Very Special Episode vibes to this one. having said that, i did find it an unusually tense episode. partly this was because the setting was far more menacing than, frankly, i've ever seen on doctor who in the past. and partly because i watched the whole show with bated breath hoping they wouldn't fuck it up.

they didn't fuck it up, i don't think. did i enjoy watching it? not really. the actual plot of the episode was utterly contrived and implausible. i have to recognize, though, that i am not the target audience here. i don't need to be the target audience here. it's certainly possible to tell more dramatically compelling stories about racism, but doing so, i think, greatly increases the chances of fucking up.

i found the antagonist surprisingly plausible for a cliche stock figure. i don't find it implausible that there's still racism eight (or eighty, whatever it was) centuries in the future. given the way prison systems work today, i'm not terribly surprised that an ex-con would be tremendously racist. i think the episode struck a good balance between acknowledging that what rosa parks did was important and recognizing that she didn't, in fact, end racism forever (the yaz & ryan scene was indeed a good one).

and if the plot suggests that much history implicitly depends on happenstance, well, i can't say i disagree.

anyway, i kind of figured this episode would be the make-or-break point for me. i'm on board with chibnall.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Sunday, 21 October 2018 23:28 (three days ago) Permalink

This reminded me of Who rip-off "Timeless" where our band of travellers keeps making sure significant moments in history happen properly despite the efforts of a saboteur.

― Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo)

i loved watching "voyagers" when i was a kid.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Sunday, 21 October 2018 23:28 (three days ago) Permalink

I can't remember Voyagers. It possibly wasn't shown in the UK. Looks interesting.

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Sunday, 21 October 2018 23:39 (three days ago) Permalink

it was very early-tartikoff. mostly remembered nowadays for starring jon-erik hexum, aka that guy who shot himself in the head accidentally.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Sunday, 21 October 2018 23:55 (three days ago) Permalink

i'll also say, i wondered how the show would incorporate sci-fi into montgomery 1955. i mean we're definitely running the risk of getting into "dr. doom crying at 9/11" territory here. a lot of times science fiction writers want to abstract racism, tell parables about how the blue skinned people hate the purple skinned people and how ridiculous it all is. this story took the most obvious and direct route and i have to say, in all fairness, i didn't think of it. oh, here is a white time traveller from the future who hates black people. well, can't say that doesn't make sense!

dub pilates (rushomancy), Monday, 22 October 2018 00:20 (two days ago) Permalink

oh man I remember voyagers. and I remember jon-erik hexum. what a terrible thing that was.

akm, Monday, 22 October 2018 01:19 (two days ago) Permalink

ughhhh this episode was my kryptonite. next to bad fake wigs i hate bad fake accents

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 22 October 2018 02:22 (two days ago) Permalink

the ending was v good tho... got me teary

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 22 October 2018 02:38 (two days ago) Permalink

It was a clear break from the previous administrations, who presumably would have had the events "double deadlocked" or "a fixed point in time".

That's three episodes in a row where the baddie has been teleported away to an untold fate. In previous hands this would be an obvious indicator they would be back but I'm inclined to think it's just lazy writing. Are the characters not fully fleshed out or do they have 'unanswered questions'?

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Monday, 22 October 2018 08:17 (two days ago) Permalink

Also given the punning nature of next week's title, it's disappointing this week wasn't called "Parks and reparation".

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Monday, 22 October 2018 08:33 (two days ago) Permalink

lool

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 22 October 2018 08:40 (two days ago) Permalink

the ending was v good tho... got me teary

― Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 22 October 2018 03:38 (six hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah this is the first Doctor Who i've watched in an eternity and it was shit really but i did get something in my eyes round the ending

don't think i'll bother watching again, mind

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Monday, 22 October 2018 08:50 (two days ago) Permalink

The problem with having a TARDIS entourage is that it gives you very little space to flesh all the characters out properly while also making space for cool stuff. The original series would get round this by not bothering to flesh them out in the first place but I don't think you can get away with that in 2018.

Matt DC, Monday, 22 October 2018 09:08 (two days ago) Permalink

Another point of having a large entourage is splitting them up, and the tension of bringing them back together - which hasn't really happened yet, although Ryan doing his own thing yesterday was nice.

I'm split on the ending last night - I thought they'd really aced it until they brought that fucking song in. I mean, they also kind of made it about the White Man's Pain (i.e. Grahame having to make Rosa stand) but I think they just got away with it?

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 22 October 2018 09:18 (two days ago) Permalink

The uplifting song at the end vs the dialogue snippets from next week about spiders was kinda lol mostly awful

nashwan, Monday, 22 October 2018 09:20 (two days ago) Permalink

There's a good documentary on one of the Davison era dvds where it looks into how three companions is too many and the tactics they used to get rid of one of them for the purpose of telling the story (Nyssa spends Four To Doomsday 'investigating' in the TARDIS, Africa spends Castrovalva trapped in The Master's 'web', Nyssa becomes Anne in Black Orchid etc).

Chibnall has dealt with it so far by splitting the team into two each time:

TWWFTE - an 'action' team of The Doctor, Yasmin and Ryan and an 'information' team of Graham and Grace

Ghost Monument - boys vs girls (including the guest stars)

Rosa - whites and non-whites

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Monday, 22 October 2018 09:23 (two days ago) Permalink

IIRC in the first few minutes of Kinda, Nyssa says "I fancy a wee lie-down, you go on ahead," and stays in the TARDIS having a kip for the next four weeks while the other three repeatedly get almost shot and et

My Gig: The Thin Beast (sic), Monday, 22 October 2018 10:11 (two days ago) Permalink

Just noticed Adric autocorrecting to Africa.

Nyssa in Kinda is set up in the last episode of Four To Doomsday iirc when she finally re-appears in it.

I think she spends half of The Visitation in the TARDIS making something too.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Monday, 22 October 2018 10:38 (two days ago) Permalink

That resolved better than I expected. I love as amused by the villain being a future alt-right douchebro even if they didn’t use him very well. I half expected him to be captain jack when he had a vortex manipulator.

Next week spiders in Park Hill.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Monday, 22 October 2018 11:32 (two days ago) Permalink

This was decent enough that I have some renewed faith in this season.

I rewatched Ghost Monument. I expect them to return to the issue of dead planets again, since there's so much repeated setup there without any payoff. But if Texas Ranger Boy and Dead Lesbian Syndrome Woman and Hunger Games Toymaker never get mentioned again, it's the worst episode since... Victory of the Daleks? Daleks in Manhattan? Something around there. Just so little that makes any sense, and so many details that never add up to anything.

I said the special effects were good in the first episode. I suspect there were some scenes in the script for Ghost Monument that they decided would look like crap and just cut them out. Like how you don't see the team get picked up in space, or the first ship landing, or flesh eating microbes, or even that fucking door.

adam the (abanana), Monday, 22 October 2018 11:59 (two days ago) Permalink

I felt this episode was decent enough in illuminating who Rosa Parks was and how awful Jim Crow era racism was, and the reactions of the two POC characters to all of it were thoughtfully done, and provided some good moments... But on the level of the overall plot, yet again, it was pretty weak.

What they seemed to be saying was that Parks' moment of protest was a random incident, a personal reaction to a bus driver who'd been mean to her. Except that the episode also shows, rightfully, that she was part of the civil rights movement, so her act of civil disobedience wasn't really so random. So in the light of that, the bad guy's plan makes little sense: even if Parks didn't ride the bus that night, or the bus wasn't full enough, most likely she would've refused to give her seat the next time the same situation happened.

So really, all Krasko would've managed to do was to postpone the Montgomery bus boycott a bit. And it's not like Parks was the only black person willing to go for such a protest (in fact, a black teenage girl had already done the same a few months before Parks), so even if Krasko somehow made sure Parks would never ride a full bus again, it still wouldn't have changed history. So it's nice for the writers to give Rosa Parks her due, and the actress playing her did a good job in portraying her dignity, but to reduce the birth of the entire African-American civil rights movement to a single (no matter how important) act without which it wouldn't have happened feels kinda disrespectful to the countless other who were involved in it.

All of this could've been explained away by simply stating that the villain was stupid, that what he thought he was doing could never be achieved, since others would've taken Rosa Parks' place in history. In fact, the Doctor saying something to that effect to Krasko, telling him he was doomed to fail, would've been a nice way to emphasize the collective nature of the struggle and the inevitable victory over segregation. But the Doctor seems to agree with Krasko that his plan would work, so she has to make it so that everything happens exactly as it did in the history books, including having the exact same douchebag bus driver there - because apparently Parks wouldn't have protested if another racist white driver had told her to give her seat? It's all just so stupid.

Tuomas, Monday, 22 October 2018 19:21 (two days ago) Permalink

the episode struck a good balance between acknowledging that what rosa parks did was important and recognizing that she didn't, in fact, end racism forever (the yaz & ryan scene was indeed a good one).

Keep thinking about this and how fucking Ryanair only last week asked a black woman to move because an abusive racist fuck wouldn't sit next to her on a plane.

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Monday, 22 October 2018 19:27 (two days ago) Permalink

"the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice, except when one tiny thing is out of place and then it's like, the butterfly effect! jurassic park! chaos theory wtf!! WE'RE ALL JUST ELECTRONS, MAN"

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 22 October 2018 20:40 (two days ago) Permalink

It's true that there's no-one who can say whether that specific bus driver was important. Other than Rosa Parks, who had sworn never to take his bus again after the incident in 1944. And Emmett Till had been on her mind, but might in time fade.

Which is not proof - there is no proof. The episode does definitely comes down on the side of "small things can be crucial", whereas you're presumably a fan of "social change will happen independent of the small details" - I don't think it's weak plotting though to pick one over the other, though.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 22 October 2018 21:08 (two days ago) Permalink

It is weak, self-contradicting plotting, because the episode (rightfully) shows her as a part of network of activists, and yet we're expected to think that if circumstances had stopped her from protesting that specific night, neither she or none of the others would've done it on any other night? Yes, Emmett Till was freshly on her mind, but I would imagine he was on the minds of every civil rights activist in the country, since his murder had sparked a nation-wide outrage. Would the memory of Till have faded from her and everyone else's mind after that one night? Would no one else been inspired to protest due to his lynching?

I've nothing wrong with Doctor Who with doing "one deed by one person can change history" type of plots, but when it's done with a real-life collective movement that cannot be reduced to one person or one deed, it does feel disrespectful and weak, despite the writers' obvious good intent.

Tuomas, Monday, 22 October 2018 21:37 (two days ago) Permalink

The one deed in this case is hugely symbolic. Despite all and any other work done by Rosa Parks that one deed stands out across the globe.

I think the story both highlighting her activism and focusing on the symbolic deed is fair.

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Monday, 22 October 2018 22:13 (two days ago) Permalink

I think they rightfully say if she hadn't done what she did when she did, things might have panned out differently. Given the range of awfulness that "differently" entails, it's worth trying to make sure things go as they did.

One thing that the episode did really well was the sense of threat: Ryan felt in real, unpleasant danger in a way any number of aliens menacing previous companions failed to achieve.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Monday, 22 October 2018 22:58 (two days ago) Permalink

It is weak, self-contradicting plotting, because the episode (rightfully) shows her as a part of network of activists, and yet we're expected to think that if circumstances had stopped her from protesting that specific night, neither she or none of the others would've done it on any other night?

Whatever its flaws, I thought this was probably the strongest episode aired in years. The scene between Yaz and Ryan behind the dumpster was something really great to see in Doctor Who, and they managed to be less frantic and more focused on letting the characters react to the story instead of be dragged around by it. Anyway, it's a pretty standard time travel trope that there are certain pivotal events in time that, if changed, change history. Yes, this detracts from the historical reality that Parks' action was very much a group effort, but I'll choose to see it as dusting off a stock Doctor Who plot line, warts and all, and doing a pretty decent job of wielding it with POC characters and history.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 02:27 (yesterday) Permalink

Also I dug the concept of a villain who can't kill people.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 02:28 (yesterday) Permalink

Whatever its flaws, I thought this was probably the strongest episode aired in years.

Oxygen was less than 18 months ago, and Thin Ice and World Enough And Time were also really, really solidly built

Teasing The Big Myth (sic), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 02:50 (yesterday) Permalink

Last two really good stories (IMHO) were the Day of the Doctor from 2013 and a Christmas Carol from 2010. I didn't even bother to watch Capaldi's last season. Blink, Unicorn and the Wasp, Midnight, and Boom Town are other ones I thought were interesting/solid to give my definition of "solid" some context. Human Nature/Family of Blood, The Lodger, Gridlock, School Reunion, and most of Eccleston's season.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 03:19 (yesterday) Permalink

Yes, this detracts from the historical reality that Parks' action was very much a group effort

I get that this wasn't what you meant, but one of the things that I liked about it was that it wasn't "Tardis team give encouraging thumbs-up while historical figure does something difficult".

Though I did also like that it isn't "Operative Parks, you'll enter the bus at 17:51..." - it deftly* makes clear that while she is an activist with MLK, he is literally just the local preacher at this point. Something like this was likely to happen, but it was her choice that it was her and on this day.

One enormous trap that I'm glad that they avoided was having her being another historical figure saying "Yes, Doctor, I think we should do as you say"

(I'm choosing to believe that a terrible staging error means that her nod and smile at the end appears to be directed at the Doctor rather than Ryan)

*I enjoyed Ryan as Terrible Time Traveller, and I not-enjoyed-but-appreciated how this put him in mortal danger for some of this episode, but I think another polish would have smoothed the transition from "The first lady to drive a bus" to "I AM SHITTING MYSELF WITH EXCITEMENT THAT I'M SERVING COFFEE TO ROSA PARKS"

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 05:58 (yesterday) Permalink

I think they rightfully say if she hadn't done what she did when she did, things might have panned out differently. Given the range of awfulness that "differently" entails, it's worth trying to make sure things go as they did.

One thing that the episode did really well was the sense of threat: Ryan felt in real, unpleasant danger in a way any number of aliens menacing previous companions failed to achieve.

― Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Monday, 22 October 2018 22:58 (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

otm. justified paranoia and threat in everyday surroundings. best thing about this episode. krasko fairly unnecessary, other than to have a focus for the villainy, as it could have shown the daily contingent uncertainty about events, with Doctor Who and team attempting to ensure it stays on the tight rope – how history is every day in the balance. an essay in historical materialism!

having slated chinballs for his linear, flat stories, I must admit a part of me quite likes the very old school approach to an adventure, feels quite retro. but episode 2 was awful.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 06:05 (yesterday) Permalink

The one half-decent idea that I ever had for a Doctor Who story was similar, but about Einstein's theory of General Relativity.

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 06:21 (yesterday) Permalink

Also who has the key for the DJP-signal?

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 07:57 (yesterday) Permalink

I so nearly agree with yr list f. hazel that you not rating Heaven Sent is even more startling!

Teasing The Big Myth (sic), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 08:28 (yesterday) Permalink

It is weak, self-contradicting plotting, because the episode (rightfully) shows her as a part of network of activists, and yet we're expected to think that if circumstances had stopped her from protesting that specific night, neither she or none of the others would've done it on any other night?

I've nothing wrong with Doctor Who with doing "one deed by one person can change history" type of plots, but when it's done with a real-life collective movement that cannot be reduced to one person or one deed, it does feel disrespectful and weak, despite the writers' obvious good intent.

― Tuomas

you realize you're asking the impossible here, right? a large part of the appeal of history stories is that we all wonder what made things happen the way they did. the challenge is that we don't know - worse, we don't agree. there's a whole spectrum of beliefs, from "god plays dice with the universe" on one end to complete predestination on the other. doctor who has been unsatisfactorily ping-ponging around that spectrum since 1964. both of the extremes are narratively useless, so in practice writers wind up with some muddled and confused equivocation in the middle.

as far as i can tell the writers' intent in this episode was to say that what rosa parks did was good and important. considering there are plenty of people who are questioning right now whether what she did even mattered, i think it's both a good intent and was accomplished well.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 13:35 (yesterday) Permalink

Also I dug the concept of a villain who can't kill people.

― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel)

i think a lot of the best chibnall has to offer is asking questions and going with the most obvious answer. writers' room question: racists are well known for their love of using violence to accomplish their goals, so given that he could totally get away with it, why doesn't he just kill rosa parks and be done with it? because he literally can't. done and done. i could write pages on how this simple decision makes the story immensely more effective and powerful, but i don't know that they necessarily considered all that before making the decision.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 13:46 (yesterday) Permalink

otm. justified paranoia and threat in everyday surroundings. best thing about this episode. krasko fairly unnecessary, other than to have a focus for the villainy, as it could have shown the daily contingent uncertainty about events, with Doctor Who and team attempting to ensure it stays on the tight rope – how history is every day in the balance. an essay in historical materialism!

― Fizzle

i'd argue krasko isn't a focus for the villainy, though! to my mind his presence gives doctor who and team reason to be in an environment where they otherwise wouldn't belong.

dub pilates (rushomancy), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 13:49 (yesterday) Permalink

In the moment I was most pleased with it because it avoids the exhaustion involved in a Who villain presenting an ever-escalating threat like wiping out England, then Earth, then destroying the universe (but I still love you, Logopolis) which gives license for a lot of easy drama and stagy speechifying by the Doctor that only pays off about 10% of the time. But I think you're right... intentional or not, making the bad guy's objective erasure instead of Dalek-style mass murder worked way better.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 14:57 (yesterday) Permalink

This was comfortably the best of the three so far but it would probably have worked as a straight historical with no aliens (other than the Doctor) turning up at all. The stakes felt high enough for there to be some real tension and it's the first one where I felt the cast and characters actually gel with one another.

Next week's looks suitably boilerplate, you can't really go wrong with spiders.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 17:33 (yesterday) Permalink

Unless you're the third Doctor.

nashwan, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 19:01 (yesterday) Permalink

otm. justified paranoia and threat in everyday surroundings. best thing about this episode. krasko fairly unnecessary, other than to have a focus for the villainy, as it could have shown the daily contingent uncertainty about events, with Doctor Who and team attempting to ensure it stays on the tight rope – how history is every day in the balance. an essay in historical materialism!

― Fizzle

i'd argue krasko isn't a focus for the villainy, though! to my mind his presence gives doctor who and team reason to be in an environment where they otherwise wouldn't belong.


yes, that’s definitely correct. lazy wording or thinking by me.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 20:00 (yesterday) Permalink

I so nearly agree with yr list f. hazel that you not rating Heaven Sent is even more startling!

...in that case I'll sit myself down in the near future and check out Heaven Sent, Oxygen, and Thin Ice!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 October 2018 23:50 (yesterday) Permalink

It seems there's a lot of faint praise or excuse making being used to describe the poor writing thus far, because as far as I'm concerned, the plotting and the dialogue have only been barely competent. I don't think time will see these episodes in much regard, if I can prognosticate.

I do really wish the series would get fun again. Doctor Who should be fun.

Is Guardians of the Galaxy worse than it used to be? (Leee), Wednesday, 24 October 2018 04:41 (one hour ago) Permalink


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