Doctor Who; The Star Beast( 60th Anniversary Special 1)

nixie

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I'm not sure if this is the first of the new series or one of three specials leading to the introduction of the 15th doctor on the 9th December.
One word, bonkers, and what ever anyone else thinks I loved it. Had some real belly laughs. Nice to see Donna again and meet her family. The Meep felt like a bit of a homage to gremlins but it was refreshing to see the cute cuddly thing as the monster and the terrifying creatures as the good guys.
 
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hitmouse

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The car park they stop in after fleeing the house is underneath the Welsh Government building in Cathays, in the middle of Cardiff.
 

Dave

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If you asked me 40 minutes of the way through, then I'd have said fantastic, great that RTD has returned, best WHO for years! I thought the Meep was a little childish, so absolutely brilliant when Miriam Margolyes did her voice change, and acted evil instead.

But did it really need to turn into a public information film with the non-binary and "presenting as a woman" stuff? And not because it isn't good for non-binary young adults to see that it is accepted on mainstream TV, but because that man is totally obsessed with sex. The ONS says that 0.06% of the population identify as non-binary, but I see now that he can't help himself not to treat us to this gender advocacy again, because it is in every story that he writes for television. The bigger problem with this is that Rose didn't look younger than the fifteen years that have passed (the friend did) but if being bullied at school was meant to represent the experience of the 8-14 year-old target audience, then they wouldn't relate to Rose anyway.

Edit: It was a major plot device too - because Donna had a child the danger was split in two; because they were women, they could have just let go of the Time Lord energy at any point they had wished. Now I do understand that he had to write himself out of a corner, but he could have done it in a believable way; instead he doubled down on it with the trailers and introduction, that Donna would die if she ever remembered. I've said many times before where I hate this kind of "serial" lies - end of one week, the hero is hanging over the edge of the flaming pit, his hands slip - start of next week, he jumped over the pit entirely.

And then the coffee spills onto the Console and it becomes a firework. Now, I do appreciate that every science fiction spaceship has a box of fireworks built-in to the inside of their control panels and Bridge stations, and usually also they have a false ceiling that will collapse with excess wiring, but given everything that the TARDIS has been through in the past (including Jo Grant using a fire extinguisher on the dematerialisation unit) it would easily survive half a cup of coffee. Maybe I just didn't find that sketch as funny as I'm quite sure others did.

On the plus side, the music has improved with an orchestra. Music and sound effects in general make a huge difference to science fiction shows, and in that regard it is something that Doctor Who has suffered from with its very low budget in the past. Also, very good acting performances, top alien costumes, special effects, and high production values all around.

Still the best WHO in years, but who is Nerys?
 
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Ursa major

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but who is Nerys?
Surely it's Nerys Hughes.... :rolleyes:


And then the coffee spills onto the Console and it becomes a firework.
It wouldn't have been quite as bad if it hadn't been so drawn out. Even as I knew I shouldn't be, I was transfixed by that cup...

...but it did strike me that the coffee machine appearing for the benefit of a character who'd lost her job by spilling coffee into a machine was linked up with the Doctor, his strange (repeat) regeneration and his rematerialising close to where Dona was at that moment ar all linked. Perhaps the release (to wherever it was released) of whatever it was that was in Donna (and her daughter) was part of something bigger.
 
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Pyan

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Yes, there were flaws in it (Chekov's coffee cup, the complete reversal of the damage done by the Dagger Drive, the mysterious ability of Shirley Anne Bingham to find the Doctor in the middle of the wreckage of a steelworks with a crashed spaceship in the middle of it).

Overall, though, it renewed my sheer enjoyment of the series, wiping away the stagnation of the Capaldi/Whittaker years when I felt I was being preached at to the extent that I just stopped watching.

Agree with Dave - the music was exceptional. And nice to know that RTD has read the RAH juveniles...The Star Beast

Dave said:
Still the best WHO in years, but who is Nerys?

Nerys was a friend of Donna, with whom she shared a love-hate relationship in The Runaway Bride.
 

sule

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I HATED the "I can just let go of it" resolution - completely (in my opinion) undercut Donna's farewell fifteen years ago because... why couldn't she have "just let go of it" back then? It's the worst possible way for Davies to write his way out of that corner.* Personally, I thought the "psychedelic sun" would be used to get rid of it: They'd pump up the danger of the mind-controlling miasma, then use the standard Doctor Who gobbledygook to explain that Donna and Rose need to use their portion of the Time Lord DNA to defeat it before it takes over the world (like it did the Meep's world) - a couple seconds of glowing eyes and lights and whatever and poof it's all better.

*Speaking of undercutting, I was disappointed by their 'nod' to the passing of Bernard Cribbins. At first I was touched that we had a nice moment for the Doctor (and us) to grieve the loss of a friend - then they spiked the whole thing and played it for a laugh (which it did not get from me) with the silly "Oi, you're stupid for assuming that the phrase 'he's no longer with us' was a euphemism for his passing" shtick.

For some reason, I was not at all surprised by the mid-story twist - in fact, I expected it. Maybe because it's not the first show I've seen where a cute space creature named the Meep/Meap falls to earth and is more than it appears. If I had a nickel for every time that's happened, I'd have two nickels (which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice).
 

Glaysher

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*Speaking of undercutting, I was disappointed by their 'nod' to the passing of Bernard Cribbins. At first I was touched that we had a nice moment for the Doctor (and us) to grieve the loss of a friend - then they spiked the whole thing and played it for a laugh (which it did not get from me) with the silly "Oi, you're stupid for assuming that the phrase 'he's no longer with us' was a euphemism for his passing" shtick.
I was under the impression that Cribbins did some filming for these specials and that we will see him. Presumably the joke was written and filmed before he died.
 

MemoryTale

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This episode felt like putting on a pair of comfortable TARDIS slippers, it's pretty much all the RTD tropes in one episode... For good and bad.

+Loved seeing Donna again. I really couldn't stand her during The Runaway Bride, but grew to love her over series 4.
+Loved Beep the Meep and how Miriam Margolyes (sp?) portrayed him. I never had the comic he came from, but I knew he was a thing, so I was chomping down on my tongue whenever Mrs MT noticed something that didn't add up like the lack of damage to the taxi.
+Liked Rose as a character, and Donna and Sylvie's conversation about not knowing how to address her felt very real. Felt the trans issue was handled well for the most part.

-Felt the sonic's new abilities were a bit rediculous.

There were some other bits I was iffy on, however...

I feel it's entirely possible none of this is happening in the real world. Meep mentioned a "Boss". We know the Toymaker is returning in special 3, so he could well be this boss. The Toymaker resides in his own personal dimension. This whole series of specials could be one of his games.
 

Ursa major

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I feel it's entirely possible none of this is happening in the real world. Meep mentioned a "Boss". We know the Toymaker is returning in special 3, so he could well be this boss. The Toymaker resides in his own personal dimension. This whole series of specials could be one of his games.

All the nonsense with dinosaurs in the Thames and the Moon being an egg (amongst a whole lot of other nonsenses) could be explained away by the Christmas(?) special that showed that they could all have been happening in a sequence of dreams, so... er... who knows what could be going on.
 

sule

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I was under the impression that Cribbins did some filming for these specials and that we will see him. Presumably the joke was written and filmed before he died.
Thanks for mentioning that - when they mentioned the care home for his character I did have a little hope we'd get to see him (although at the time I was imagining some amount of stock footage) and when the episode ended with the coffee incident I guess I lost hope. Gives me one more reason to watch the subsequent specials.

Having re-read my previous comment I do want to say that, beyond the gripes I've already aired, I did think this episode was good. Not mind-blowing and certainly not the best revival special, but an acceptable amount of fan service combined with an OK plot (that came apart in places) and good acting from Tennant and Tate.
 

REBerg

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Curses!
It looks like the only way I'll be able to watch the new Doctor Who episodes in the US will be to resume my Disney+ subscription -- just when I had decided I could do without it. :(
 

Dave

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I feel it's entirely possible none of this is happening in the real world. Meep mentioned a "Boss". We know the Toymaker is returning in special 3, so he could well be this boss. The Toymaker resides in his own personal dimension. This whole series of specials could be one of his games.
That would helpfully explain a great deal of the other weirdness we have seen lately such as this:
(the complete reversal of the damage done by the Dagger Drive, the mysterious ability of Shirley Anne Bingham to find the Doctor in the middle of the wreckage of a steelworks with a crashed spaceship in the middle of it).
It would also explain why the Doctor has an old face again. On the other hand, "it was all a dream" is a very poor cop out IMO. The worst trope/cliche in all of storytelling.

I was under the impression that Cribbins did some filming for these specials and that we will see him. Presumably the joke was written and filmed before he died.
I had also read spoilers that Bernard Cribbins would appear, so maybe since there are three of these episodes he will appear later.

Felt the trans issue was handled well for the most part.
If it helped some children that it obviously a good thing (and I could be entirely wrong on this, and that being bullied at school about their sexual identity is an extremely pressing problem for that the target audience of 8-14 year-olds today, rather than about their unfashionable clothes, shoes, bags and accessories, their physical appearance, their acne, the colour of their skin, their accent, their physical disability, or their learning difficulties.) However, IMO it would be good if they could sometimes cover other different issues that children have i.e. young carers and the lack of support for them, something which affects up to one in five of all children in the UK. Anyway, current affairs and politics, so I'll stop there.
 

Matteo

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Saw it last night and liked it - thought I would start with that since I just realised (after a re-read) my comments below are fairly negative...

Should also say that I've not read the comments above - as I'm not sure if spoilers for other episodes are allowed (and I've made a concerted effort to avoid any...). Though presumably this discussion can include spoilers for this episode? Also not sure so I've protected those below.

It started well when it didn't say "Written by Chris Chibnall" :).

I thought the reintroduction of Donna was a bit of a disappointment - though the trailers were something I have not been able to avoid, so I knew it was coming - considering how nicely/poignantly her last appearance was handled. It was also a bit clumsy - though it improved as the episode progressed

A nice nod to Bernard Cribbins, and joke: "Grandad's not with us any more. I'm sorry for your loss. No...he's in a care home".

Was very concerned about the cute alien - that would eventually give them a great gift, or tell them something important. But of course, this was not the case - that was good (though my wife guessed it, more or less)

seemed unable to kill anyone and their guns did not destroy anything - including the car. But that also was explained - and I wonder if that was a deliberate "joke" for people like me who thought "pfft! their plasma guns hit the car and did nothing, and those guys they hit just fell down...pfft"!

taking off caused massive rifts to appear in the ground - but the houses a few metres away were unaffected??!! And those rifts closed up when the process was reversed?? No. Just no.:mad:

Really annoyed me. A supremely sophisticated piece of machinery effectively caught fire/exploded and went haywire because some coffee was spilled!!! That makes no sense, and the joke is not funny. I get that the TARDIS had to end up somewhere unexpected but they could have done this a number of better ways - external influence somehow getting through the defenses, the TARDIS itself (which has a mind of it's own) sending them off, even a mistake by the Doctor (because the control panel was new). Anything, just anything else:mad:...

There was a message (which seems to be de rigueur these days :rolleyes:)
Rose being binary
but at least this wasn't the entire focus of the episode (as Chibnall would have done) - though it was also dealt with a bit confusingly at the end.

IT WAS ALSO VERY LOUD!! and there were several times when I missed dialogue because the music and incidental sound was so loud (the music was good though).

On the whole, a good one - not great, but good.
 

Ursa major

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I suppose my first comment on the episode wasn't particularly complimentary, but ought to say that I did enjoy it overall. And as others have said (with reservations about the sonic screwdriver's new capabilities), it's a big improvement on what's gone before (particularly, in my opinion, with regard to the scripts that were dumped on Peter Capaldi's Doctor).
 

CupofJoe

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I quite liked it. Overall I thought it a lot better than what had gone before in the last few years. And I don't mind the odd bit of handwavium to get from A to B. After all, it is Doctor Who - the place were terrifying all conquering cyborg machine can't climb stairs.
It did take me three goes to watch it all, which might say something about how much it held my attention.
Allons-y! - for the next two!
 

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I enjoyed it, my son less so, but it was still a distinct improvement on the entire Chibnall / Whitaker era. Yes, too preachy, in my opinion, and a poor ending / explanation.
 

Brian G Turner

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Just watched this last night - FANTASTIC EPISODE! Absolutely loved it - the rollicking dynamism in everything from Tennant and Donna's characters, the pacing, Tennant's energy, and especially the representation - a trans character, someone in a wheelchair, the Sikh officer wearing his turban instead of a helmet. Great safe family entertainment for all ages. :)

Just good old-fashioned Tennant Dr Who greatness, before it all went downhill. :)

Also loved seeing Camden Market as a main filming location, too - my favorite part of London, and always visit there when I'm in town. Even missed the Arthur C Clarke award presentations one because I was shopping there. :)

The ONS says that 0.06% of the population identify as non-binary

And of the (probably) hundreds of Dr Who episodes, how many have had a trans character -about 0.06%? :)

Besides, regardless of the number of openly trans people in society, there are a ton who know someone who is trans and how horrendously difficult life is for them so can probably relate to the character in that way.

Also interesting to see in the opening sequence a credit that the story was based on something by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons - so I'm presuming it must have been a 2000AD story? Pat Mills was a big writer there, famously for Slaine, and also became its editor for a bit, while Dave Gibbons did some work on 2000AD, too, before he made it big with Watchmen. I wonder if the story was one of Tharg's Future Shocks?

Curses!
It looks like the only way I'll be able to watch the new Doctor Who episodes in the US will be to resume my Disney+ subscription -- just when I had decided I could do without it. :(
I tried subscribing to Disney+ a couple of weeks back but they didn't have these new episodes in so I cancelled and got a refund. Instead I bought them from Amazon Prime video.
 
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Dave

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And of the (probably) hundreds of Dr Who episodes, how many have had a trans character -about 0.06%?
Well, he had another one this just week (one of Ruby's friends in the Taxi) but before RTD took over, no I'm not sure I can remember any. But I recently rewatched some Torchwood....

Besides, regardless of the number of openly trans people in society, there are a ton who know someone who is trans and how horrendously difficult life is for them so can probably relate to the character in that way.
I hope that is the reason he does it. My point was more that this is still supposedly made for young children. There have been some BBC TV programmes around the 60-year anniversary that have said so, and yet many of the stories seem pitched at a higher age. I do think the three specials were better than usual as they seemed to each be pitched at a slightly different audience. You can see from the comments here that not everyone liked all three, but everyone seemed to like one of them. Having seem them all, I think better of them when taken as a whole.
 

Brian G Turner

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the rollicking dynamism in everything from Tennant and Donna's characters
Just another pointer on this, it was so refreshing to see Tennant and Tate step back into their roles as if they'd never stopped playing them, with the same fun and energy. It was difficult to believe it really had been 15 years since they'd last played together - and such a change from more recent reboots, such as The Matrix and Star Wars, where established characters come back old, miserable, and jaded.
 

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