purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
It's the Eleventh Doctor's final story and, oh look! it's Victorian Christmas planet again. I really didn't rate this story much last time around so I was suprised to find myself liking it much better on second viewing.

More Under the Cut )

First time around I thought Time of the Doctor was a bit of a mess. I still think it is a bit of a mess, though it works better on re-watching. Still, as a story, it is burdened with trying to explain a lot, resolve a lot, set up alot and that prevents it really telling its own story.




I asked The Child if she wants to rewatch the Twelfth Doctor stories - Deep Breath being where she came into the show and she has decided not. She wants to see the "important" classic Who stories (which is defined as companions arriving and leaving, Doctor's changing, and other significant events - I'm guessing first appearances of recurring monsters and characters) plus the "really good" ones. I have a tentative list though I'm dubious about some of it (even deciding that if only telesnaps exist we may content ourselves with just watching the relevant bits of episodes). However, given she's seen An Unearthly Child, we obviously need to watch The Daleks next and we'll play it by ear from there.

Could be a while though, there is the family Buffy rewatch to get through and Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I didn't really write about Day of the Doctor when it first aired since it all got tangled up in my birthday Who-watching marathon session. I really enjoyed it at the time, but we had already watched a lot of good Doctor Who by that point and were not necessarily entirely sober. I was anxious to see whether it was still as good on a second viewing.

It was still good )

The multi-Doctor story is a difficult beast and I think Day of the Doctor is better than all its predecessors. I don't think it's better than Remembrance of the Daleks (but then, as noted above, despite all appearances to the contrary that was not an anniversary story). Where Doctor Who had been succeeding in series 7 it was with tightly focused, fairly serious, stories such as Hide and A Town Called Mercy, so it was good to see it make a success of something much more light-hearted and rambling. It is immensely enjoyable.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I liked The Name of the Doctor better than I did when I first saw it (though I didn't dislike it then). Part of that is expectation management. I wasn't expecting much of the Great Intelligence. I wasn't expecting an appearance from the yeti. I knew that the name of the Doctor was largely misdirection and I knew that we would be seeing River again.

More under the Cut )

However, for a story burdened with a number of ongoing elements I'm less fond of, The Name of the Doctor comes out of it all pretty well. It isn't as good as the strongest stories in season 7 of Doctor Who, but it is better than the weaker stories which is no mean feat for a season finale (even if this is a finale that, by circumstance, is the first in a sequence of three specials). It makes a good job of the hand it has been dealt, but I'm glad that Moffat has since moved on to less intricate over-arching plots.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I want to like The Crimson Horror. It has Diana Rigg in it, Madame Vastra and her gang, and the plot holds together pretty well, but somehow I can't get over feeling it's all a bit over-the-top and has too much of the grotesque.

More Under the Cut )

All that said, it is difficult to find a lot to criticise here. The performances are good. The plot makes sense, at least by its own gothic standards. The use of flashbacks, and starting the story in the middle works surprisingly well. Even the unwanted kiss between Eleven and Jenny is more a failing of the era as a whole, than of this story in particular. Still, I it's not a story I find I like much and the best I can say is that my dislike may not really be the episode's fault. Since the story isn't really trying to do anything beyond entertain, it's difficult to even say I can appreciate it even where I don't much like it.

Addendum: Over Christmas The Child discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. NuWho viewing has slowed considerably as a result.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I was very disappointed with this story first time around. I thought it had a potentially interesting set-up which was then squandered with a rather mundane resolution and a reset button. I enjoyed it more this time around, since I was going in with low expectations, but I still think it is a wasted opportunity. NLSS child (who it should be noted is not only no-longer-so-small but actually bigger-than-I-am so should possibly be renamed BTIA child) thought it was great. Her good opinion of this half season remains intact.

More under the cut )

I still think this story marks the beginning of a down turn in quality for this half-season of Doctor Who and I still think there are much more interesting things you could do with the concept of being trapped inside the Tardis. However it works well enough, I suppose, on its own terms.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I'm still considering my thoughts on this half season, but I think Hide will prove to be the strongest story. Unlike the first three which were solid episodes but which, to a large extent, were retreading well-explored paths, Hide feels like it is bringing something a bit new to the table.

More Under the Cut )

At the end of this NLSS Child demanded to know why I had said this half-season was a bit disappointing (The Bells of St. John has, in retrospect, been upgraded to "a bit weak" in her estimation) and it is difficult to argue with her judgment so far. However, looking ahead, I'm not particularly excited about re-watching any of the remaining stories this season. This is, I think, as good as it gets.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Continuing with the template set up back in 2005, the third Clara story takes us back in time. Having said that, I think Cold War is more distinct from the Davies template than either The Bells of St. John or The Rings of Akhaten. In particular, its period setting isn't emphasised in the same way as it would be in a Davies' story. While there is a nod to the pop music of the time and the plot, to an extent, hinges upon the "finger on the trigger" animosity of Russia and America during the 1980s there is relatively little attempt to invoke either nostalgia or storybook history.

More under the Cut )

Like Rings of Akhaten this is a competent story but it feels solid rather than exciting and, as an old Who fan, I was disappointed in its vision of the Ice Warriors.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
The Rings of Akhaten introduces us to one of NuWho's only completely alien worlds. Possibly its the only completely alien NuWho story (I'm not sure). Here the value of things is measured in terms of the personal significance of objects which, in turns, ties into the angry god hidden in the sun who must be sung to sleep.

More under the Cut )

The Rings of Akhaten is a competent episode but, to be honest, oddly forgettable. Lots of the trappings of Clara that get introduced around now - the book, the leaf, turn out to be irrelevant and the show does not need, yet, to retell the story of what it is and how it works. The Doctor is no longer a mystery to be unravelled and so this is mostly, more of the same, as opposed to something that moves matters forward.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
This is Clara's first "proper" episode in which the Great Intelligence is downloading people into the Internet for Reasons! NLSS Child was not impressed. In fact, for the first time ever, she complained to me that the story was "not realistic". I think the deal-breaker was uploading human minds over Wifi. I clearly haven't made her read enough Cyberpunk. Actually, given she isn't yet a teenager, I haven't given her any to read, but maybe I should?

More Under the Cut )

To be honest, I think The Bells of St. John is about par for the course as a season opener and companion introduction. I thought it weaker than many of Moffat's attempts but no worse than most of the RTD ones. I was, therefore, a little surprised by the strength of NLSS Child's dislike.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Oh look! We're on Victorian Christmas Planet again (I think this the third in a row and the fourth over all)! The fact that this is actually England in the Victorian era doesn't really help. That aside, like most Christmas specials, this mostly works well enough, trundling along on good spirits and Christmassy imagery.

More under the Cut )

I complain a lot about Victorian Christmas planets, not that I don't (mostly) think Moffat does them pretty well, but just because one gets tired of this kind of schtick. I think this is one of his better efforts - certainly better than either A Christmas Carol or Time of the Doctor - I also think it is one of Clara's best stories to date.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
The Angels Take Manhattan is Amy and Rory's last story in which the Weeping Angels have taken over all the statues in Manhattan and have, in particular, occupied an apartment block. They then trap people in time loops, someone enters the apartment, witnesses their own death of old age, and is then sent back in time. The episode is mostly very good with, sadly, a massive makes no sense at the end.

More under the Cut )

With some reservations, I think that the run of stories from Asylum of the Daleks through to The Angels take Manhattan is one of the most consistently good in Moffat's tenure, if not the whole of Nu Who. I think the Ponds' story, towards the end, could have used a little more space, in particular to allow the break up and reconciliation to happen more slowly, and to give them more time travelling with the Doctor after deciding that this really was the life they wanted but given, if memory serves, the stories in the next half of the season are mostly rather disappointing, I'm glad they got the one's they did.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I was, and remain, pleasantly surprised by both Chris Chibnall's episodes for this season. At the time I recall this was generally more highly acclaimed than Dinosaurs on a Spaceship though I actually think it is the weaker of the two stories. It is trying to be a little (though frankly only a little) more serious than Dinosaurs on a Spaceship but it doesn't actually manage to tie its ideas together so well.

It is supposed to be the year of the quiet invasion, where the Doctor comes to live with the Ponds. Only he doesn't, he pops in and out, not quite business as usual, but pretty close. The threat from the cubes never really manages to make much sense either. Viewed as a outline the underlying plot seems choppy and rather thin.

Where the story works well, it is as a The Lodger-like light-hearted look at the Doctor intersecting with the every day lives of his companions, with a couple of opportunities for reflection and introspection. Brian Williams, for instance, works really well here, as he did in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship allowing him to provide a sympathetic but external viewpoint on the Doctor's lifestyle. And there is a neat inversion of expectation at the end. The Ponds have grown up and are seriously considering moving on and yet the ending seems to assert that you do not need to grow out of Doctor Who, even if you have redefined your relationship with it. But the moments of domesticity and reflection don't manage to gel particularly well with the more traditional Who story that is ostensibly driving the plot.

All that said, I think both Chibnall's stories from this season mark a genuine leap in quality from things like The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood and (*shudder*) Countryside. [personal profile] londonkds has noted that one of his weaknesses is a desire to insert grimdark elements (e.g., the more jarring parts of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship) and Countryside, in particular, was definitely pushing grimdark. One wonders if this is one of those situations where a writer's strengths (which seem in Chibnall's case to be light-hearted froth) don't well reflect what he actually wants to write. Both his stories this season seem to want to entertain first and foremost, and are, I think, the stronger for it.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)


I've linked this before from my other LJ, but thought I'd put it here as well


Under the Cut )



Since Andrew Brooke refused to charge for the above I bought this from him as well.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is basically series 7's big dumb two-parter except that it only has one part and its completely aware of how dumb it is, and is just going for the silliness. I love it.

More under the Cut )

*Shrug* There are dinosaurs on a spaceship and, in that context, the family is very, very easy to please.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I really like this story. In fact, I still really like this story even though I was a little worried that, once you were aware of the various reveals, it would lose some of its force. The Doctor, Amy and Rory are captured by the Daleks and sent to infiltrate the Daleks' asylum and shut off its forcefield so the Daleks can destroy it. On their way they are rescued repeatedly by Oswin Oswald, "souffle girl", who claims to have been trapped in the asylum following a spaceship crash.

More Under the Cut, including possible oblique spoilers for the Magician's Apprentice )

In lots of ways Asylum of the Daleks is similar in structure to something like The Girl in the Fireplace - it is a science fiction short story with a twist in the tail. Unlike, The Girl in the Fireplace, it isn't self-contained and much of its context, I would argue, is dependent on a wider folk-understanding of the Daleks. It's also burdened with the rather rushed Ponds sub-plot which needed more space to breathe.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Oh hi there Victorian Christmas Planet!! Obviously, set during WWII, this story isn't actually on Victorian Christmas Planet but it is mining the same nostaligic tropes to the extent that it might as well be. The episode has a lot in common with A Christmas Carol (unsurprisingly given it's Moffat's second Christmas Special, I suppose). It's bringing his fairy tale aesthetics to the fore, its exploring themes of family, loss and grief (though from a radically different angle), and it wraps it all up into a package that is almost saccharine. Obviously The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe is also deliberately riffing on the Narnia books, so much so, that I was momentarily surprised that there wasn't a lamp post on the other side of the box.

More Under the Cut )

I'm moderately tolerant of Moffat's Christmas specials. Individually I think they tend to be fairly strong standalone stories. It's only taken as a group that they gain a certain homgeneity that doesn't do them any favours.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Ugh, yes, this season's arc is a real mess. The Wedding of River Song is, in many ways, a typical season finale. We have a great deal of spectacle, particularly the establishing shots of a temporally mashed up Earth with its steam trains, roman legionaries and pteradactyls, emotion and tears as the plot strands surrounding River, the Ponds and the Doctor are resolved and, of course, the answer to the season's opening question "how will the Doctor get out of that?".

More under the Cut )

I don't dislike The Wedding of River Song, it has a lot going for it and some nice moments, but I do think the over-arching plot line through season 6 makes precious little actual sense and is probably the weakest of Moffat's confections and I do hold that against the finale a bit.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I've actually been back and read my previous review of Closing Time because I was interested in seeing how I reacted to the reappearance of Craig. I wrote "I'm glad I don't know who James Corden is" and that sentiment prevails. I still haven't a clue about Corden beyond the confines of Doctor Who and, given other people's comments about him, have no wish to. I think Craig works really well as a character. Hanging a second story from his "ordinary bloke with an ordinary life" schtick is, perhaps, stretching things a bit. But the character and set-up are likeable enough, and the episode sufficiently undemanding that one can forgive it being a little repetitious thematically.

NLSS child was very concerned about Stormageddon and had to be reassured that he would be fine. That done she particularly enjoyed the Doctor's fish-out-of-water moments with the baby. She didn't recognise Lynda Baron as Val, but then I don't think she was ever that fond of Come Outside (a pre-school kids programme which was mostly like the "through the window" bits of Playschool only without the windows and with the addition of a dog and an aeroplane). There was also a lovely moment early one when the doomed shop assistant was checking the changing room. NLSS child became increasingly agitated until the point where she pulled aside a curtain to reveal a Cyberman at which point NLSS child said "OK, so it's a Cyberman, but it could have been someone changing!"* - such are the anxieties of the pre-teen. Interestingly she was less affected when the Doctor did precisely the same thing only to find a woman changing, I suspect the framing of the moment as comedic made the difference.

Closing Time is a nice little episode with few pretensions. It's not as good as The Lodger who's basic set-up it recycles and is deliberately less significant than many companion-lite episodes. However it has plenty of charm and the wisdom not to pretend to be more than the filler it is.

* Sadly, and this from a child who frequently complains about the prudishness of her own contemporaries in changing rooms.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
The core concept of The God Complex, in which the Doctor must destroy a companion's faith in him, had been done before in The Curse of Fenric but its framing here is very different and, this time around, the differences between the two stories seemed more significant to me than their similarities.

More Under the Cut )

Do I like this? Like Night Terrors I appreciate what this is trying to do and I think it achieves it pretty well. However, it also feels a bit restrained and melancholy for Doctor Who and I can't see it as a story I would particularly choose to rewatch.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I recall being mildly disappointed by Let's Kill Hitler on first viewing (though looking back at my my review at time I see I loved it but thought it was a bit of an acquired taste). But it doesn't really continue on from A Good Man Goes to War tonally, even if it does carry the plot forward. I think that may suffer from the the burden of expectations. We'd had to wait over the summer before the episode aired and we were expecting more of the same epic scope and spectacle. Instead Let's Kill Hitler is primarily a frothy comedy.

We've jumped ahead several months in time. Amy and Rory have, apparently, grown tired of waiting for the Doctor and resolve to summon him, a la River Song, by leaving conspicuous graffiti somewhere. This is interrupted by their best friend Mels who more or less hijacks the Tardis, takes them back to World War II (allegedly in order to kill Hitler), regenerates into River Song and attempts to murder the Doctor. This is all played with a deft comic touch, particularly Amy, Rory and the Doctor's reactions to Mels and River. NLSS Child was genuinely surprised and delighted by the reveal of Mels identity, having been prepared for previous revelations by her "How to be a Time Lord" book. She also loved the flashbacks to Amy, Rory and Mels as children.

In continued arc plot nit-picking, I feel bound to note that it is strongly implied that Melody Pond is the result of the child's regeneration we saw at the end of Day of the Moon. This entirely fails to explain how, as a toddler, she got from New York 1969, to Leadworth in, presumably the early 21st century. It also doesn't tie in well with River's description of her first meeting with the Doctor in The Impossible Astronaut which implied strongly that she, like Amy, had been a child at the time. It is just about possible, I think, that the Doctor did actually find her in 1969 and bring her forward to Leadworth, but I think you have to read a lot into what we get to draw that conclusion.

There was a discussion in the comments to my review of The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon about whether it was the regeneration that triggered River's conditioning to kill the Doctor. I think it is difficult to say, particularly without knowing much of Mels' back story. It is true she doesn't immediately attempt to kill the Doctor, but she does point a gun at him, and apparently fires it within the Tardis, and River (like the Doctor) rarely takes the shortest path between two points. The flashbacks establish her interest in using time travel to meddle with history so it is plausible that she was waiting to make her move until the Doctor had brought her to Berlin. Again this is really not at all clear and adds to my feeling that River's story was presented in a very confused fashion.

[livejournal.com profile] daniel_saunders, I know, feels that the aftermath of the events in A Good Man Goes to War, particularly as they effect Rory and Amy, were never really dealt with. I think we do see the repercussions, particularly in the way Amy reacts to discovering she is now infertile in season 7. However I think it is fair to say that the production team shied away from ever explicitly showing us their distress. Let's Kill Hitler skips us forward several months from the events of Demon's Run, giving them time to start coming to terms with the situation, and then gives us a comedy in which any direct exploration of Amy and Rory's emotional state would be inappropriate. Like the Doctor's own awkwardness around human emotion, the show seems uncomfortable with actually confronting how Amy and Rory feel, preferring that we should infer this from small clues. I suppose, in a way, the whole thing is terribly British.

Like so much of this season, Let's Kill Hitler, is very good in isolation. I think a comedy was also the only logical direction to take after A Good Man Goes to War if the show didn't want to directly present Amy and Rory's grief. Whether that was, overall, a good way to drive the ongoing drama is less clear.




metanews coding: <a href=http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/167025.html>NuWho Rewatch: Let's Kill Hitler</a> (DW) <i>Discussion of the sixth series episode</i>

Profile

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
purplecat

October 2017

S M T W T F S
123456 7
8910111213 14
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags