dr who 2

I find myself dissatisfied: the new Who

Ha, ha. Shoulda taken that left toin at Albuquerque. Get it? Get it?

Retread. A pastiche of itself. With painful cultural cliches mixed in. What's more, it's a retread of RTD's own plots, most especially the end of last season. No subtlety. Anywhere. This is what makes me weep more than anything else.

If the intent of the script is to convince me that Donna is important, it is failing to do so. Anyone could have told the Doctor to move just then. Give me instead some action that is uniquely Donna-ish, some act she does because she is who she is. (The choice at the end of "Pompeii", for instance.) I dunno that that act rises to it. I like Donna. I want her to be herself. I do like the Ordinary Person Reduced To Heroism Because No Choice Remains setup, but again! Retread! Pete Tyler!

There is no way Donna would be so stupid about the "labor camps". No. Way. I call that sort of writing nervous underlining: the writer doesn't trust his audience to understand, so he grabs the pencil and draws a few lines under the important words. I don't buy the argument that writing for younger people requires dumbing things down; great YA lit is just plain great lit. Look what Philip Pullman got away with, so magnificently.

Mr Pedia says, as Donna runs to meet her destiny: "This is the very definition of fake tension."

Then everything is undone, just like we knew it would be in the first minutes of the show. Of course the alternative timeline would be unwound. So... was that all a character piece for Donna? I'm dissatisfied. Was it supposed to whet our appetites for Donna's future? Don't really need it, because I already care. (And as you know, Bob, I ship Nine/Rose far more than Ten/Rose, so that teaser doesn't tease me.)

And what's wrong with Billie Piper's mouth? Not only does it look strange, she's lisping. Hubby requires my translation services.

Things I liked: Donna's grandfather, who's a great character. The Queen singalong. The moment when Rose almost did a good Ten imitation. Best thing about the whole episode: "Bad Wolf". And the trailer.

"Midnight" was far better, even though it was a bit pastiche-y itself. The alien went gloriously unexplained (which I loved) and the speech thing was way creepy. The threat was real: the Doctor's mind, with all that it knew, was the quarry. Strip-mine that and you've got something. Shiver!

The best threats are something the viewer believes you might deliver on. This is one reason why season 4 of House was so good-- "you're fired" was real. The character walked.

Pondering a bit further now that it's over, I realize that it lost me in the very first scene, with the faux Chinese market. The shot failed to persuade me, and we paused the video to discuss why it failed. Too pat, too derivative, too much in one shot to be real, too crowded, too Baedeker's guide. Compare with how Firefly achieved the same effects on a budget. So I was perhaps not on the episode's side the whole time.

And in conclusion, I love Donna. More, please.
Seeking? Gah. Hoping against hope to find a little scrap of each? I'm most alarmed by how he's recycling his own material. It's a good thing he's moving on, because he might have run out of stories to tell about the Doctor. Which baffles me, 'cause woah, the Doctor's setup is science fictional heaven. Time travel, space travel, choose your desired level of tech, the main character is a geek self-identification joy, and you can choose your Companions to fill in however you like. And if you want quieter plots, investigating the psyche of a 900+ year old super-intelligent alien with that kind of backstory is... well, I'd have a lot of stories to tell, is all I can say.

Strenuously resisting being lured into Who fic-writing...

Edited at 2008-06-22 04:14 pm (UTC)
I agree - but RTD is like that. Subtle he is not.

And I love Donna - so I cared anyway ...don't like Rose...so couldn't really give a flying f*** about her. Not if we're going to get that bloody puppy look between her and Ten.

But - I do have issues with the episode. The main one (amongst many) being that ... if the Doctor dies at the end of Runaway Bride...he'd never meet Donna...so they'd never gone back to Pompeii...never stopped the Pyroviles...and the Earth would have been turned into fire anyway so none of it mattered...

Pink Elephants. Think about pink elephants - that should replace the time stuff.

And Catherine Tate was utterly superb.
I agree with everything you said.

And Donna's grandfather is becoming my favourite Who supporting character ever!
So... was that all a character piece for Donna?

It's a bit more practical than that. This is one of those eps that they shot by splitting the crews over two locations - the other being last weeks ep. Hence, The Doc mostly on his own last week, and Donna mostly on her own this week. I thought it was a bit more effective than their previous versions where the Tardis crew just isn't around at all for one ep. (except obv. for Blink)

....faux Chinese market....Compare with how Firefly...

My first thought was 'Firefly!' He's on record as being a big fan of Joss, and I think that's always been Rusty's problem. He's been trying to make himself into a Brit version of Joss. And he's just not.
I very much enjoy watching Donna in action, so though I groused at the writing I had a good time anyway. Next week's will be epic. Whether that's "epic fail" or "epic good" is anybody's guess.
I'm so glad someone else noticed Billie Piper's mouth, what was up with that? My husband said straight off there was something wrong with her.

The whole episode was lacking in my opinion, I didn't buy the "Donna is really important" thing at all. That said, I disliked Donna in Runaway Bride, but she has grown on me over this season and I now like her, alot.

I think RTD underestimates the intelligence of his viewers. My nine year old daughter has studied "The Diary of Anne Frank" at school, kids of that age know the basics of labour camps.

So, I now have a week of kids bouncing with enthusiasm to the next Who ep, Captain Jack and the Torchwood team and Sarah Jane and her sidekicks, it's going to be a very long week until next Saturday. :)
Compare with how Firefly achieved the same effects on a budget.

That's a great point. As a chinese person these scenes always make me nervous anyway, not in the same lame way that a Charmed episode does, but almost. I feel like Margaret Cho, "me no speaky Engrish! tee hee!" ARGH.

I really miss Firefly.

There was definitely something wrong with Billie Piper's lips. That weirded me out. I did continue to love the Grandfather character, however. And "Bad Wolf" always makes me love an episode, no matter its flaws.
Even if she was wonky while they were shooting, couldn't they have had her dub in clearer dialog in post? Mr P had a hard time understanding her, and it was way distracting.

I too love the "Bad Wolf" thing. I love grand sweeping plots about grand sweeping manipulations of the timestream.
Saturday night for me consisted of exchanging "OMG!!! Squee!!!" texts with every Doctor Who fan I know. Even my brother with his new, unexpected and very premature baby was excited enough to send me a text reading "Omg did you see that?"

I think that His Dark Materials went right over the heads of the reading children, honestly. The main characters may have been children, but I'm not of the opinion that the books were written for them.

I didn't get the inference of the labour camps straight away - outraged as I was by the racism, I was thinking more along the lines of temporary internment rather than concentration camps. I don't think it was dumbed down; the idea that we would EVER be part of such a scheme here could not be more alien to the British way of thinking (despite all literary and cinematic dystopian visions of our future!) and if I didn't get it right away, why should Donna?

Even without meeting the Doctor, we saw Donna grow, showing that under the right circumstances her potential could be brought out. Would most people have sacrificed themselves that way? That was the point of the episode, I thought. You're right, anyone could have snapped the Doctor out of it in the Raknoss lair, but in our reality, it was Donna, and without the influence of the Doctor she remained the self obsessed character we originally met and her potential was wasted.

There was definitely something weird about Billie's mouth but I understood her fine, perhaps because I'm used to hearing her accent all the time. Couldn't stop staring at her gub every time she was on screen but I thought it was just me.

There will never be another Firefly and one could easily go mad looking for it and constantly comparing other things to it. We must let it go... ;-)
I had no trouble understanding Billie, either. I'm often cast as the translator for Mr P, though.

I wish I could find my squee for this one-- I do love that crazy moment of OMG! you get when you find something completely great. I had those moments for the season opener this year and for "Silence in the Library", but I didn't feel it at all for this one. Sigh. Next week's, though, promises to be completely over the top.