An Ideal Time for Reflection

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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Since Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005 (12 Years ago!!!), we have had two showrunners.

Russell T Davies kick-started the whole thing 9If the stories I remember at the time are true he was poached from Channel 4 after the success of Queer as Folk, with the BBC offering him whatever he wanted if he would sign to them.

I don't think they could possibly have expected 'Doctor Who' but they let him have it and the rest, as they say is history.

I loved the fact that Doctor Who was back on air, loved the modernisation and felt that the set up worked well enough. I did not like Rose though....

Looking back over the RTD era I felt that he kept trying to surpass himself toward the end of each season, trying to make it bigger and bigger... and as an adult (sort of) watching I felt that it was on the edge of ridiculous. I am prepared to admit, though, that these overblown juvenile and ridiculous moments were perfect playground fodder, and those very bits I did not like would have been the source of thrilling discussions in the playground the following Monday! (The TARDIS towed the Earth home!!!!).

The strength of RTD's run were his characterisations. Much as I hated Rose and her 'romance' with the Doctor, it was good solid stuff, with a heartbreaking end.

Martha's journey to end up with Mickey, getting Jackie a replacement Peter, all superb touches, while David Tennant's 'I don't want to go," was only surpassed by the whole Donna arc.

Giving us a character that was so shallow, unlikeable and gobby was brave, but seeing her interaction with the Doctor, the way it opened her up, made her grow as a person into someone spectacular was good enough, but then to not kill her, but to strip it away and put her back to what she was before was a tragedy that still resonates today.
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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The change of showrunner is always a big time for the show, in the modern Doctor Who it seems to be a chance to wipe the slate clean and deliver new sets, new companion and most of all a new Doctor.

Steven Moffatt came onboard as a writer who had written some of the best episodes of the show, and that indicated possibilities for the show. His choice of Doctor was unexpected but genius. Matt Smith was a revelation, and the first season is, for me, the best season of the show since it started.

But unfortunately it did not last, I feel that both Smith and Capaldi were let down by those middle four seasons. Yes there were some exceptional episodes, but they failed to live up to the standard of the first. Moffatt seemed to be intent on show how clever he was and how much he knew and loved Doctor Who by plaing around with continuity, adding bits here and there, retconning as he felt was necessary and generally kicking the sand all around the sandbox with his ingenuity that imaginative as it might have, was undirected and contradictory.

He did redeem himself slightly with this last season, which was mostly superb, but RTD remains the best of the two.

I also feel that Moffatt spent a lot of time putting things into place for a female Doctor, something that did not need to be done - it felt as though he put it all into place then handed over to Chibnall with a 'she's all yours' knowing that if it doesn't work it's his successor gets the blame.

I'd have liked to see just enough done to know it is possible, had a male Doctor, perhaps even for a season, then allowed a female Doctor to come in. (I think there is a way they could have done it so it was a complete surprise...) But there we go.
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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So how does everyone else look back over the first twelve years of New Who?

Agree, disagree. discuss.

(This is not really meant to have anything to do with the future of the show, so not too many comments about the future!)
 

HoopyFrood

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I will disagree ;)

Well, I liked the RTD time well enough and Donna will always have a special place in my heart -- plus we had the excellent episodes like Blink and Silence in the Library -- but at times it was just too silly for me. Moffat is definitely not without his problems, particularly in terms of female characters, but I just love the Matt Smith series because my mind boggles at how much happened.

We had: the cracks in time, the pandorica opening, all of River Song, Melody Pond, Amy turning out to be a jelly person, the Dream Doctor, the tardis exploding, the silence, their wedding, souffle girl, trenzelore, lake silencio, new Daleks, the return of gallifrey and in between all that, the 50th anniversary! Plus all the usual inbetween episodes! Honestly, I can't even work out how we had so much. But I am a sucker for twisty turny, timey-wimey stuff, so all the big revelations and epic plots were my thing, even if they did fall short at times.

I've enjoyed Capaldi's more sedate, less action hero Doctor, and there has been a whole handful of some absolutely standout episodes (the start of season two with Davros and Missy and the three linked episodes at the end, especially the middle one where it's just him in the confession dial, wow) but I really did enjoy the madness of Smith's tenure.
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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Isn't it wonderful how we can all watch the same thing and have different feelings? :D

If I were to choose my favourite season of New Who, it would be Matt Smith's first, there is no doubt about that.

But there are some very badly thought out episodes, and the worse season of New Who too. (Season 7). Overuse of Clara and trying to make her an integral part of Doctor Who history. The New Daleks who arrived in a fanfare then fizzled away. And Davros opening his eyes!! Just no.

;)
 

thaddeus6th

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Stopped watching a few episodes into Capaldi's first season. A shame, as I think he's a good cantankerous Doctor, but the writing didn't enthuse me.

There have been a few great episodes. Blink and the two-parter with the Silence stand out. But a lot of nonsensical plots that get wrapped up by a deus ex, not to mention serial overuse of the sonic screwdriver and 'emotions' (not like the good old days when cybermen were stopped by getting catapulted gold in their chest grilles).

I agree on RTD. I think his Time War nonsense was a cool-sounding idea that led to no more Time Lords (mostly), and the daleks being gone. Except they're not. It was just a bit rubbish. Also, the Master getting revenge by refusing to regenerate was limp, and Davros 'reaching an arrangement' to be a co-operative prisoner is about as far removed as you can possibly get from his magnificent megalomania in Old Who.

The best New Who stuff is what's new, because the old favourites get some rubbish new spin on them, whereas Weeping Angels and the Silence get to just be what they are.

Some comparisons are rose-tinted. It's worth noting the special effects aren't hysterically bad any more (some Old Who stuff did make suspending disbelief very difficult). And we tend to only remember great serials/episodes, but I'm sure there were plenty of duffers too.

One thing I do dislike a lot is the Doctor fanboyism all the time. Preferred it when he (or she) was an eccentric travelling through time and space, not a celebrity who's sometimes a bit up themselves.

Edited extra bit: not a fan of the teletubby daleks? :p
 

HoopyFrood

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I didn't mind Clara in Matt Smith's run; it was the spill over into series 8 and still focusing so much on her that I didn't like.

I agree about the overuse of enemies. As much as I love the Daleks, I'm glad they've had a long rest. And even the Angels suffered, especially when the Statue of Liberty turned out to be one.

I also agree with the inflated ego. I have that issue with the companions as well. I loved when there was nothing overly special about Bill, but more than that I dislike when they start becoming Doctor-like and being smug and condescending to people. Bill verged on that in the Smiley Robot episode.

You might have heard this a few times, Thad, but you should give Capaldi's second and third series a chance. The difference is incredible. And he really is cantankerous!
 

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