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Zeke 01-01-2010 12:02 AM

Doctor Who: The End of Tennant
 
Oh, I mean the End of Time, of course. Silly mistake.

So we're halfway into the final Tenth Doctor story, with the conclusion airing tomorrow. So far I have mixed feelings. It's an odd story, this one -- overdramatic and pretentious in some parts, genuinely impressive in others. We're expected to take a lot as given and go with it. The Doctor, for instance, is suddenly so overcome with a sense of his own doom that he actually sheds tears. (Has DW ever shown this before? We've seen Doctors get choked up...) Yet in that same scene, he gives an amazing description of what regeneration means for him, impressing on new viewers that it isn't just a matter of changing bodies. From the ridiculous to the sublime and vice versa.

I don't envy the position RTD was in when he wrote this. We all know going in that the Master will return and the Doctor will die -- he can't get any surprise out of those things, and yet they have to be the main dramatic points. His solution, it seems, is to not just concede but stress that it's all inevitable; he does this with the Doctor's fey mood and especially with the narration, which sets up a genuinely shocking revelation at the end of part one. RTD's script indulges in some of his bad habits, but there's enough good stuff to make it worthwhile; I'm eager to see where he's going with the whole thing.

As for acting, Tennant is his usual self, and you'll like that or not. I do. John Simm does a great job of getting across how different the Master is from the last time we saw him. He's still smug and confident, but no longer in control; if he was a rapier before, he's a meat cleaver now. This guy is dangerous. Bernard Cribbins is always a treat -- I'm glad old Wilf got to ride in the TARDIS, and I really hope he doesn't die in part two.

By the way... I know it's easy to make puns with the Master's name, but I still have to wonder if the entire story was written around that joke at the end.

So! What did you all think?

Nate the Great 01-01-2010 12:25 AM

My thoughts would immediately get me lynched by you guys, given my controversial opinions on Trek XI. Moving into tamer territory, however...

If the writers and producers of DW feel that they can continue to honor the franchise by continuing the show, more power to them. After all, I jolly well hope by now they know the wrath of the fanbase and have learned to pay attention to it.

Tennant needed to get out of this role. It's been proven numerous times before that if you stay in a role too long you will get locked into it. This isn't fair, never was, never will be, but it's true.

Why isn't a broadcast station showing reruns of this show? I have yet to see a single episode of DW, and I don't feel deprived. It's in the best interest of the Powers That Be that I as a twentysomething scifi geek get hooked on this show, right? So why aren't they hyping this show for all it's worth?

Zeke 01-01-2010 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 77258)
My thoughts would immediately get me lynched by you guys, given my controversial opinions on Trek XI.

Aw, c'mon -- we can disagree without fighting, and there are many different views on Doctor Who represented here. I'm guessing Valium can out-negative you any day where the recent series is concerned. Speak your mind.

Nate the Great 01-01-2010 12:58 AM

Brutal honesty, then. You asked for it.

I'm surprised the series has lasted this long. I'm surprised that there are missing episodes of any television show ever. I'm surprised that to this day the legal hassles involved in the DVD release of older shows continues with no end in sight. I'm still ticked that the show is called Doctor Who, because it IS a stupid joke.

Zeke 01-03-2010 02:18 AM

Almost time for part 2. It's already aired in Britain, but I'm watching the Canadian premiere tonight. SPACE is building up to it with a marathon of "Season 5", i.e. the Doctor Who specials Tennant has done since S4 ended. I'd already seen The Next Doctor (which rocked) and Planet of the Dead (which was okay). I hadn't yet seen The Waters of Mars, so I watched that. It was pretty unremarkable, but it did set the stage a bit more for End of Time; the Doctor's heightened emotional state makes a little more sense now.

Mars also addressed something that needed attention: the Doctor's arrogance. Some of his incarnations are more full of themselves than others, and over the last four years, Tennant's Tenth Doctor has been increasingly comfortable playing God. ("I'm the Doctor! There IS no higher authority!") Now he's outright declared himself a "Time Lord victorious" who can do whatever he wants with the timeline; everyone he would have had to answer to is dead. And I can understand that. It's exhilarating to realize that something is completely under your control; in the Doctor's place, I'd probably do the same. But as someone other than the Doctor, I'm not impressed, and neither was the person he broke the rules for. (Her reaction was unreasonably extreme, though; she only knew she was fated to die because he told her about half an hour ago. Apparently that little talk was so convincing she wouldn't abide him changing his mind.)

Okay, time for part 2. I'll post about that in due time (and Nate, I'll answer your points as well).

MaverickZer0 01-03-2010 04:59 AM

The specials are recorded. I will be watching them...a lot. Especially End of Time.

The Time Lord victorious scene is the only time I've actually been aware of exactly what he can do. Yeah, the universe would technically be his, but as he ends up realizing..."That's how The Master started."

I will miss Tennant. He was incredible. All of the Tenth Doctor run was incredible.

If you excuse me, I just remembered my laptop has torrenting. >>

Chancellor Valium 01-09-2010 04:30 PM

I did think about writing a review, but since "poor, 3/10" sums my views up perfectly, and the one I wrote was deleted when I was auto-logged out, I shall make some recommendations instead.

Here's a few stories you can watch instead or as a counterweight; they're all excellent:

Ghost Light
Vengeance on Varos
Revelation of the Daleks
Kinda/Snakedance
The Robots of Death


It was hard to choose six from twenty-six years of serials, but here's a shortlist. Kinda is not essential, but is the backstory to Snakedance, so watching it first is advised, even if it's rather boring and lacks pace. The choices are not entirely at random.

Soşlice.

Edit: Warriors Gate is another shockingly-excellent piece I forgot to mention, with some truly brilliant direction. Unfortunately, the director caused ructions on-set and with the producer to such an extent that the head of drama wrote to the producer (who, in the end, loved the product that came out of it all) about it, so he was blacklisted because JNT effectively had no choice. Anyone who says New-Who gets better than this is just... wow.

Wowbagger 01-27-2010 03:22 AM

I will take you up on that, Val. As a DW convert pulled in by the Ninth Doctor, the only pre-TV movie material I've seen is Battlefield... which was fine, but given the ruckus the old-school fans make about the old show, I think I missed something. So I've been waiting for somebody to give me a short list of Good Old Serials for a while now. In short, thanks.

FINALLY got around to watching TEoT part II tonight. Since I thought part I was pretty much more or less pants, except for the lovely scene Zeke mentioned between Wilf and the Doc in the pub, I had very low expectations -- particularly since I think RTD crossed the line from "extravagant" to "fanfic writer" with "Journey's End."

But Part II was excellent. Really, really excellent. When Ten snuck up on me with one more use of "Allons-Y!", I actually -- and quite by accident -- shouted "YES!" very, very loudly, which brought my roommate in wondering what was going on. My eyes widened when Ten took the gun, I sweated as he tried to decide whom to shoot, my blood chilled when he "knocked four times", and I teared up several times during the final visit to each of the companions. In short, I was utterly reduced to being RTD's emotional plaything for the better part of an hour. That sneaky b***rd. Making me think he can't write just to lure me into a trap on the very last day.

Incidental question: was the absurdly powerful gauntlet Rasillon was wearing that famous "Hand of Omega" I've occasionally heard about? For that matter, was Lord President Rasillon the same Rasillon I've occasionally heard about? Big scary mythic figure from the dawn of the Time Lord era?

I am pleased the Time Lords didn't get restored. I am also pleased they are now officially on the villains list. One day, I'd like to see them return for real... but I still think there are a lot of stories to tell from the "Last of the Time Lords" angle before it would be right to bring them back.

Aight. Guess I'm off to find torrents of OldWho serials. Cheers!

EDIT: I will say that, having seen "The Waters of Mars" first, I very much expected "The End of Time" to be a direct result of the Doctor's meddling with a "fixed point in history." I was a bit disappointed they didn't follow up on that. After all, the Doctor only went "too far" (as he claims) if something bad actually results from it. And, since there were apparently no consequences to his interference except two of the "little people" lived and Adelaide died a bit more grouchy than she otherwise would have, I have to believe that the Doctor interfering was actually the right thing to do.

And, knowing that he was going to die but not yet having any idea how -- none whatsoever, for those of us who were unspoiled, except a guess that it would be The Master who was "returning through the dark" -- it was a bit more powerful. He was... Zeke nailed it... he was fey, he was fighting a destiny he couldn't discern and didn't want to face, and I and those with whom I watched it all felt the very same way. When started shouting that, "The laws of time are mine... and they will obey me!", about half of me thought he was crossing some kind of line... and the other half of me was crossing that line right along with him.

But maybe that's because I was raised on the massively hubristic Nine and Ten, and so I haven't really decided that hubris is a bad thing, at least in the case of a demideity like the Doc.

Chancellor Valium 01-29-2010 11:52 AM

edit: double-posted by mistake. Ignore, please.

Chancellor Valium 01-29-2010 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wowbagger (Post 77342)
I will take you up on that, Val. As a DW convert pulled in by the Ninth Doctor, the only pre-TV movie material I've seen is Battlefield... which was fine, but given the ruckus the old-school fans make about the old show, I think I missed something. So I've been waiting for somebody to give me a short list of Good Old Serials for a while now. In short, thanks.

I think you just summed Battlefield up perfectly. It's not doing anything spectacular, and it didn't set out to. Although the hamminess of some of the performances are slightly too awful for words. And that's before we get on to "THERE WILL BE NO BATTLE HERE!"

Quote:

Incidental question: was the absurdly powerful gauntlet Rasillon was wearing that famous "Hand of Omega" I've occasionally heard about? For that matter, was Lord President Rasillon the same Rasillon I've occasionally heard about? Big scary mythic figure from the dawn of the Time Lord era?
On your first question, no. The Hand of Omega isn't remotely hand-shaped. It is (or was) contained in a large box about he size of a medieval sarcophagus. But (IIRC) it's a big ball-of-energy style thing, and so doesn't look like that at all. It certainly doesn't shred people like crispy duck. Or it didn't.

On your second, that appears to be what RTD is trying to do, yes. This is what in the old days we called a "gratuitous continuity reference", and called the person responsible a fool on account of - it confuses the average viewer and simply annoys the fans.

It's also why the late 80s often get a bit of a lambasting in Who circles - there's a disproportionate number of stories which demand knowledge of the show's history - often stretching back to the early 70s. And you only need to look at the ridiculous recaps you see toward the end of season 10 of SG1 to realise how bad a decision they were. It's a bit different in the books, since they were catering by necessity to a narrower audience, but on TV I'd have generally said it shouldn't be so. And it's partly why I didn't mind the Time Lords not being in the revival (even if most of the backstory to the 2005 series was nicked from elsewhere...

Quote:

I am pleased the Time Lords didn't get restored. I am also pleased they are now officially on the villains list. One day, I'd like to see them return for real... but I still think there are a lot of stories to tell from the "Last of the Time Lords" angle before it would be right to bring them back.
You see, this really annoys me. Actually, both of these annoy me. First, because the destruction of the Time Lords is utterly pointless. You scarcely saw them in the original run anyway (until the aforesaid 80s, when navelgazing became the order of the day almost), since they didn't, generally speaking, interfere. They weren't seen or heard from, aside from the occasional dialogue reference or redirection of the TARDIS to a place with a problem the Time Lords want clearing up. Which is no worse than what we've had since 2005.

Second, I'm annoyed by the redundancy of it. Why bring them back for all of ten minutes? For the love of Simeon Stylites, Rusell, make your damned mind up for once. If you're going to kill them, let them stay dead. If you're going to resurrect them, keep them alive. But enough with the toing-and-froing. I can accept Gallifrey being destroyed; I can't accept it acting like a bloody yo-yo in and out of existence.

I can accept the Daleks being wiped out - hell, I can even respect that as a pretty damn bold decision. I can't accept that they're wiped out... except for that one that landed in Kansas... and those four that escaped in a mysterious, ominous, looming black sphere ( (C) 2001, Miles, Lawrence, again)... and that secret army that's been breeding itself for four-million years... and that army that's trapped in a Time Lord box... and that army over there that were hiding with lampshades on their heads and behind the curtains. Do you see what I mean? If you're going to take a bold stand, at least stick with it for a few years.

Third, it annoys me that the Time Lords are now the standard idiotic, deified villains du jour of every sci-fi ever. Because they used to be actually interesting. I'd write more but I'm going to Berlin in about three hours. But if you want to see the Time Lords as they were, watch The Deadly Assassin. Less brilliant than the others I suggested but worth a look.

Quote:

But maybe that's because I was raised on the massively hubristic Nine and Ten, and so I haven't really decided that hubris is a bad thing, at least in the case of a demideity like the Doc.
The deification of the Doctor is another issue, but like I said I'll write more later.


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